Saturday, March 26, 2022

JD 450

I love yellow iron. Guess that's why one Sunday morning in 2004 as I was riding my bike to Church this John Deere 450-C dozer caught my eye. I turned around to check it out and immediately the wheels in my head started to turn. It went up for auction a couple days later and I bought it. She sure has brought a lot of joy to my life over the years.

It was originally used by Mountain Bell as telephone cable installer in Montana. 

The ditcher unit we would use to install poly pipe for developing springs. I eventually took it off and fabbed a backhoe attachment on to it. With hydraulics, the sky’s the limit. 

We also have a drawbar where we can pull all sorts of other tools. 

She was handy to have around the farm, but once I entered seminary, I thought the Carmelite Monastery might have a better use for it. In 2013, some of the family and I made a pilgrimage up to Meeteetse with her. They got some good use out of her, but for her last years there she had been sitting still, and not in running order. So we went back up and got her. 

The main problem was oil getting into the water. Eventually this turned into water getting into the oil as well. This both/and had us stumped. We tried a head gasket and later had the head rebuilt. None of which solved both of the problems, though ever since we rebuilt the head, oil no longer was getting into the water. So we decided we better tackle the inevitable, o-rings at the bottom of the cylinders. 

Taking the head off was no problem. Pulling the jugs was another story. 

This time we had to pull the skid plate, which then exposed the oil pan, and eventually the crankcase. We took a chance and left the pistons in the cylinders as we pulled them. 

Dad was lead mechanic on this job. The top o-rings did look bad. But we still weren't too sure that was the problem. 

Reinstallation really went about as smooth as one could expect. 


So we fired her up and put her to some spring work. Problem solved, thanks be to God!

Bring it.

Sometimes I think golfing might be a simpler hobby to have, but I just don't think it'd be as fun. I've always loved moving dirt. Dad and I have been working on or with dozers since I was a kid. It's good father/son bonding time. We are certainly glad our little 450 is back on the ranch. I'm feeling like she's gonna get a bit of use this spring and summer. 

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