Don Shewring, of used equipment specialist
Consolidated Crane & Tractor, continues with our
\u201cnon-mechanic\u2019s\u201d guide to appraising used
equipment: in this case, a motor grader. By
working your way through the points in this
article, you\u2019ll have a good guide to what a used
piece of gear is worth \u2014 whether it\u2019s your own, or
one you\u2019re considering buying.
MANY people are wary of motor grad- ers because they appear so large and complicated.
combination of weight and horsepower to cut material to grade, either dir ectly under the machine or to the side (bat- ter position) \u2014 a bit like a dozer blade does, but a grader is mor e sophisti- cated and capable of the finest adjust- ments.
Like all wheeled equipment, grad- ers have an engine, transmission and final drive surr ounded by the \u201cMeccano set\u201d of the frame and the thing that makes graders unique \u2014 the \u201cA\u201d frame or \u201cT\u201d frame which supports the tur n circle and grader blade.
For the purpose of this article, we appraised a John Deer e model 670B, manufactured in 1987, with 14,000 operating hours and complete with air - conditioned, low pr ofile ROPS cabin, 3.65 m mouldboard and r ear-mounted rippers.
The initial impr ession was of good appearance, in accord with the indi- cated hours. Ther e were signs of r ea-
All up, a well-maintained machine in good operating order , with pr omis- ing indications of giving its next owner a good run for his money.
Remember our main criteria in these
1 We haven\u2019t got all day \u2014 allow an
2 What we need to know quickly is what is serviceable, what isn\u2019t and how much to fix
3 Normal wear and tear is acceptable, for example 50% worn out, mean- ing 50% life remaining, is quite okay
For a very good r eason, I start the appraisal at the serial number plate using a pr epared check sheet.
correct serial number and, ar med with that, we can consult r eference books or check with the dealer for the actual year of manufactur e.
We now move ar ound the machine, taking note of tyre size (are they relugged or r ecapped?) and condition, damaged or missing panels, doors, etc,
appraisal machine: A
John Deere 670B
owned by a shire
condition of blade, lift rams, cir cle, circle drive, cir cle wear pads, \u201cA\u201d frame, \u201cA\u201d frame bearing, fr ont axle including wheel lean bearings and rams, fr ont axle stubs, wheel rims.
Moving back down the other side, open engine inspection doors and check batteries, fluid levels, radiator , etc.
We believe the best r esult is obtained by mentally sectionalising the machine and examining each section thor oughly before going on to the next.
Is it ROPS (most important), is it low profile (which is considered advanta- geous in today\u2019s market)?
must be as good as it can be. Check the controls, gauges, switches, air condi- tioning if fitted, wipers, lights, doors and glass condition.
During our static inspection, we would have pulled the dipstick, inspected the engine oil, water level, etc. This reveals whether it is old, smelly or has water present, which indicates major prob- lems.
We should inquire as to the ma- chine\u2019s maintenance and service his- tory. Who has been carrying out the services \u2014 the manufactur er, dealer or someone else? Ar e the service invoices available for inspection?
Bring the engine to operating tem- perature, check all gauges, check for bubbles in the radiator and for exces- sive \u201cbreathing\u201d from the crankcase breather. All ar e signs of major pr ob- lems.
cards. Buying a grader with a wor n engine is not too big a deal pr ovided you allow for it in the price. If you buy a grader with an excessively wor n engine, allow $7000 to $10,000 to fully recondition it and you will be close to the mark.
Rule of thumb: if visual inspection gives the unit a clean bill of health, it starts easily and runs sweetly with no faults and doesn\u2019t have major oil leaks, it\u2019s usually okay, given the excellent reliability of moder n engines.
Because a lot of today\u2019s graders have up to eight-speed transmissions and generally perform their work in one or two ranges, you must test all ranges.
We are looking for indications of faults, oil leaks, excessive play in drivelines, minimum delay in taking up drive, and signs of cr eep in neutral. A high-pitched whine indicates wor n gears and bearings. Generally if we find faults, we further investigate.
Unless faults indicate otherwise, we can\u2019t at this time r ecommend oil sam- pling or r emoval and splitting of oil filters. This inspection practice entails replacing the filters with new ones and can be expensive. In any case, a smart mover with something to hide would have changed the oil filters.
If you bought a motor grader with 14,000 hours with an original transmis- sion which operated well and within specifications, you would start sched- uled oil sampling and carry out main- tenance and r epairs as indicated. At the first opportunity, a set of bearings and seals in the transmission would be a good investment.
ally easy to \u201cpull\u201d the tandem inspection covers and have a look inside to check for chain and spr ocket wear.
standing up straight, because if they start to lean inward, it\u2019s a sur e sign of major wear in the axles, bearings or tandem pivot bearings.
Because of the length and weight of a grader, the arctic bearing, actuating rams and ram anchoring pins get a severe workout.
repellent, screw drivers, tape
measure, vernier callipers, metal
rulers, spanners, extending
magnet, a book which tells where
the serial number is located on
different equipment, and another
which shows the year of
manufacture for each serial
Here is that most important item,
the serial number plate. Much
very necessary information can be
gleaned from this, likewise the
The batteries are easy to inspect
on this particular make and
model. They are full of fluid and
During the start of the walk
around inspection, it can be seen
that all is neat and tidy and as it
should be under the covers.
As we continue around the unit,
we check the hour metre and the
oils in the engine and
This is just a small thing, but very
important. Each time the fuel cap
is removed to refill the tank, an
amount of this fine dirt falls in. It
should have been pressure
The \u201coffice\u201d. Make sure it is well
kept and presentable, as this is an
indication of how the operator
treated the unit. This machine is
clean and tidy.
Now bringing you back...
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