Downtime management may be the greatest value in repairing components before failure, particularly with crawler dozers. Construction Equipment lifecycle research suggests that the average machine's utilization falls off fairly steeply at 7 years old—from about 1,200 hours/year down to 800 or 900 hours—just as engines and transmissions require major repair. Hourly cost climbs.
But it may be that the threat of failing reliability raised by an engine or transmission failure is what cuts into utilization. Without changing component life significantly, it may be possible to keep annual usage up around 1,200 hours into the ninth year by repairing engines and transmissions before failure. It not only makes more productive time available, but also precludes the heartburn caused by unexpected downtime. Operations that maintain high usage, and stretch undercarriage life about 20 percent, will drop the hourly ownership and operating cost of a 165-hp crawler dozer below what it was before they started rebuilding the power train.