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123 dozer conversion

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Just noticed the corner of your dash board in one of your last pictures. Are those rocker style switches? Nice!
Indeed they are Dorman-style rockers. I really like the versatility they offer as well as the many mounting options. Much cleaner than toggle, etc.

Switches left to right:
Rear floodlights.
Rops lights (not yet installed)
Winch lockout. As the winch switch is on the steering brake lever, it's prudent to have a dedicated way to interrupt switch activation.
That wee bit of black plastic peeking around the steering levers is an led dash light. Comes on with the headlights...
I'm back from FL and back to working on the dozer. It's still cold here with temps in the minus range at night so slow going for another week or so yet, but I'm working down the list of smaller stuff.

I found some expanded metal so I made up a grille to vent the muffler. I also removed the new front hood support and did a bunch of detail work on that. Will and I made a run to Ace hardware and picked out some paint so it'll start looking a bit more like a tractor.
We had our first official "breakdown" today. Will has been running it pretty much every day without issues but today the temps got up to the sloppy snow weather and the track sprocket holes became so packed with ice it wouldn't move. We spent some quality time hacking the ice from the tracks and succeeded in getting them clean enough to nurse it back to the garage. I have talked about this before and figured it was just a matter of time before that happened. It's not been a problem when the snow was cold and dry but the wet stuff packs like granite. When I take it apart here in a couple of weeks for paint and to service the transmission I'll take the tracks somewhere and have holes plasma cut into the pads.
But for now at least we've slowed down the rust and can leave it outside. Mom likes having a spot in the garage for her van so I'll take the win for now...
Hey all,
I've been doing a lot of other things but the weather took a turn for the better so I got in a few hours on the dozer.

Here's the new steering handles/switch housings. Got that put to bed.

I spent a lot of time improving the blade and mounts:

Here's the new larger blade. I added 4" top and bottom and stiffened the ends. I also added 2" angle iron stiffeners (not shown here) top and bottom.

I made up some proper support arms and a tilt turnbuckle as well.


I think I'm finally getting the carb dialed in. I can now do fine adjustments that improve the off-idle transition. I've still got to replace the tensioner for the throttle lever but for now, a hair tie works well.
Big news: I got the transmission oil leak fixed. Turns out, it was leaking out the bolts that hold the left side axle housing. Pretty easy fix for that.
Next order of business this week is to do surgery to add 2" to the front of the track carriers and do the finish work to the track adjusters. Once that big job is done, it's use, modify, repeat.
The temps are back to tolerable here (30-ish) so I put on my big-boy pants and did a job on the tractor I'd not been looking forward to. I broke both tracks, jacked it up and removed all the front idler sprockets assemblies on bother sides, then cut the frame horns off and added 3 1/2" to the track frames. This required adding 3 track links per side and making 2 new pad assemblies. Once that was done, I did a bunch of finish work on the tensioners for both sides.

The blue road wheel is just setting there. I'm thinking about adding another row.

Now that I have more track/frame clearance, I'll remove the support roller "experiment".

Ugly, but functional track adjuster/tensioner. They are on both outside and inside the frame on both sides. No springs....
I took it out and did a test drive and it seems to be working well. The primary reason for doing it was to solve an issue with track tension. I had the track tension set as tight as it would go and tension was pretty sloppy. Rather than remove a couple of links, it was prudent to add some length. I gotta say, while 3 1/2" didn't sound like much, it looks a lot longer now.

It's butt-ugly right now but I'll get to the cleanup when I take it apart for painting. I'm hoping to get to that by the end of the month.
For now, I'll take the win for having that job behind me.

I received my generator rebuild kit so that's the next order of business. It charges well and starts okay, but I'm hoping new brushes and an armature cleaning will yield me a couple more rpm's while starting. Should do that. While I'm in there I might as well replace the bearings too....
Did a bunch more putzing today. Another job I wasn't looking forward to! I moved the blade winch off the middle of the grill and down under the tractor. I had a cross-rail there I had put in when I made the subframe so I welded mounts to it for the winch. Mostly it was a day spent laying in snow and slop trying not to get electrocuted. I also mounted the fairlead under there so now I can also use the winch to pull the tractor if need be. It was much too high on the grill for that.
Made a cable pulley run and attached the free end of the cable to the grill with a bolt for now. I'll fab up an attachment for the cable hook for that. For now it's working really well. Much better than before. The blade now goes so high it will block the headlights.
I'm going to move the anchors for the support arms so the blade will lift more vertically. I have the hardware but just ran out of steam today.

Here's the new cable run for the blade mount. I also stiffened up the blade tilt point while I was at it.

The full cable run with anchor.

The winch in it's new home.

Last detail will be to make a spring loaded pulley arm so when the blade is down in float mode, it will keep enough tension on the cable to prevent jumping the pulleys....

I took it out for a quick test and it's working much better. Knock on wood, but I think I got the carb on the run. It starts in a few cranks now, hot or cold... Fingers crossed...
Winches, floating cable blades and more time soaking up salty water with my pants.....

First things first: I got the rear winch wired, plumbed, bolted and hooked up. It's working fine. One of the biggest reasons I had for rebuilding the tractor to fit a car battery was the ability to run a proper winch. Along with a career in the Army, I'm also a jeep guy. That means the luxury and serviceability afforded by using a proper winch....or two... My front hoist winch is a Badlands 2500 lbs winch from Harbor Freight. It's fine and does the job of lifting the blade. For the rear winch, I wanted something with a lot more beef. I selected another Badlands, Harbor Freight winch but in the 3500 lbs variety. It's bigger, but has a series wound motor and a single row planetary gear. It also came with two hard wired switches. I haven't beat on the rear winch (yet) but running it in and out is a joy compared to the front one. It's fast, quiet and purposeful. It'll serve double duty pulling and as a hoist winch for the three point hitch.

Using a winch in lieu of hydraulics:
The comparisons are many, but one of the obvious downsides to a winch over hydraulics is dealing with cable loading while letting the blade float. If the winch.has enough slack to allow the blade to float, it's a given that there'll be inevitable cable snarls and jumping off the shelves. I set out to solve that and feel I've come up with a working solution. I made a cable spring/pulley tensioner that allows for up to 10" of cable float while still keeping enough tension on the cable to prevent problems. It was much more problematic with the winch up on the grill but now that there's more cable run, it was easier to sort it out. I'm uploading a short video clip (a picture is worth.....etc) and as soon as it completed the upload I'll post it.
Will (the boy) had it out in the driveway this evening torturing the poor thing on the ice and his professional opinion of the longer tracks is that it steers better with less tendency to just spin wildly at the slightest lever pull. My own experience is that it still steers easily, but is more predictable.

I got off my wet hind end and bent up a brush guard. It's welded on and solid. Will thinks it should get some stretched-steel on it so I'll make that happen. Does it need it? No.....but it looks cool...
What's the diameter of the drive sprocket?
Apologies guys. I've been rereading some posts and realized that I've not been very good at responding to questions in any detail. I will try and do a better job of it going forward...
To that end:
Drive sprocket diameter and gear ratio. I'll be the first to admit that math is not my strong point, but let's look at sprocket diameter vs tire diameter. The rotted old stock tires had a diameter of about 23 inches measured from the garage floor. The drive sprockets have a diameter of 12.55 inches at the "pitch". I didn't know what "pitch diameter" was so I looked it up. Turns out that sprockets are measured not in outside diameter but through the diameter of the center of the chain pins as they sit on the sprockets. Makes sense now that I think about it. The overall outside diameter of the drive sprockets is just over 14", but the effective gear ratio of the sprockets is measured through the "pitch". So 12.55" is just a bit more than half of the stock wheel diameter. If I did my math correctly, that means an effective gear reduction of 1.91 or just short of 50%. The stock tractor had a top speed (I looked it up) of 7.5 miles per hour. The new top speed with the new sprockets is just under 4 miles per hour. Jeep/off-road guys can compare this ratio to low range in a transfer case. Stock transfer case low ratio in a new jeep is 2.72, so in essence, the drive sprockets are like adding a low range.
By way of testing, I tried this:
We had significant ice the other day. So much that it was impossible to get cars in and out of our steep, curved driveway. I was able to creep in with my Cherokee Trailhawk by locking in low range with locked rear differential and stuffing one side of the tires in the snow. My wife's Dodge minivan (the "Mominator 5000") however, was hopeless. She was going to park it at the neighbor's house. Instead, I had her jump in and steer as I just hooked on with the dozer and pulled her up the hill in neutral..... On the ice. That's a pretty impressive demonstration of both power and traction.
That should be adequate power for gardening...
Steady by jerks, as my mom used to say. Wi weather isn't done with us yet. Back to -6° yesterday. Sigh....okay. It is what it is. Rather than work in the garage I ran to town for some bits and kipple for the project. I got another spring for my cable tensioner as well as some bigger pivot bolts for the blade frame to replace the twinky 1/2" all-thread you've been seeing in the photos. I also got a sack full of electrical stuff so I can do a proper job of routing the rear winch wiring. I'll get to that soon. I started on the ROPS mount yesterday afternoon as the temperature galloped up to 20-something. The ROPS is not only a good idea safety-wise, it will also be the upper mount point for the 3-point hitch hardware so it's got to be pretty stout. Here are a few photos of my progress thus far:

It's a tight squeeze between the track and winch motor. Should be fine. The base legs will be welded to the track frame and will have bolt-on connection to the fender lip. I haven't worked out the details of that yet but I have a pretty good idea of how to do it. I am also playing with the idea of running the top bolt-on support up under the seat mount. The seat frame (tractor side) is really stout and pretty accessible, but too much hardware running over the top of the winch might get crowded. My primary concern is to keep things so I can easily remove the fenders for access to the growing pile of electrical junk under there.

The flat bolt-on thingy is from some roll-around caster wheels I got from Harbor Freight. I'm going to be using the wheels (the blue ones in photos) for rollers, plus I cut the stems from the mounts to make the blade pivots. Now I'll use the mounting flanges for the bolt-on ROPS. I try to use as much as I can from everything.

The crossbar for the three point hitch will sandwich between the two ROPS mount plates. That'll give me more flexibility in the event that I need to massage the top mount for the three-point hitch without having to chop everything to bits.

I'm sick as a dog today so going will be slow today. As the weather gets better my productivity will hopefully go up. Gotta be far enough along to be ready for some paint when it gets warm enough.

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