Even if you have a love for heavy machinery, sometimes it can be tough to learn how to operate massive construction equipment. That's usually because the only way to learn is to get some seat time. But, that's hard to do when you don't own one, know someone who owns one, or work for someone who owns one.
That's why today, we'll be hoping in the drivers seat, courtesy of YouTuber Stephen Cox, and showing how to drive a Caterpillar D6K bulldozer.
Let's start from the beginning. You'll climb up onto the tracks of the machine and open up the door to the cab. If you want to run this dozer with the doors open, all you have to do is make sure the doors are all the way back, and it will clip into the side of cab. One thing you'll probably notice once you get in is that you have no steering wheel and no throttle pedal. Instead, you have one pedal by your foot which is a brake pedal.
Now, once you're sitting in the seat, directly in front of you is the ignition key, so you'll want to flip that to the "on" position, wait for the gauges to sweep, then crank it up. You'll notice two joysticks, one on each side of you. The joystick to the left will change your gear and speed. By pushing that stick forward, it will put the dozer into a forward gear, while pushing it backwards will put it into reverse. Moving the stick left and right will turn the tractor. There is also a thumb wheel on the left stick, which will control your speed. To the left of this stick, you'll also find your AC controls.
The joystick to your right will be your grade control for the blade on the front. Pushing that stick forward will lower the blade down toward to ground, and pulling it backward will raise the blade. You can also push the stick left to rotate the blade counter-clockwise, and right will rotate clockwise. There will be a thumb wheel on this stick, as well, that will control the angle of the blade. You'll adjust with this thumb wheel if you're wanting to push dirt to the side of the tractor instead of straight forward.
To the right of the right joystick, you'll find a panel of buttons. There, you can find the throttle speed, which is indicated by the turtle for slow and the rabbit for fast. Also, you'll find a switch to control your parking brake. Make sure to disengage this before you try to move, or you won't be going anywhere. Lastly, you'll see a stick in this area to control the equipment on the back of the tractor. Many of these dozers will have a ripper on the back, and this stick will allow you to raise or lower that.
That's basically all there is to it! Now, these track type tractors are pretty awesome, so just to get a little more information, let's run through the specifications of this Cat D6K dozer.
Caterpillar D6K Dozer Specs
This bulldozer is powered by a 6.6L 6-cylinder diesel engine, which produces a net power of 125 horsepower. The length of this machine, including the blade, is 16.34 feet. The height to the top of the cab is 9.7 feet, and it has a ground clearance of 1.18 feet. For its final drive, it has massive tracks to get just about anywhere. The track gauge for these are 6.57 feet.
It features seven track rollers on each side and a C-frame 6-way blade so you can push dirt exactly the way you need to for the job at hand. To make the job even easier, this dozer even comes with GPS ready to use with Caterpillar Accugrade, so your grading is absolutely spot on.
Did I mention this thing also comes with an air conditioning cooling system for the inside of the cab? That's bound to make your work day a little more enjoyable. With a fuel capacity of 77.9 gallons, it's likely that you'll be out in the sun for quite some time.
So, now you know the ins and outs of this Cat D6K dozer. Maybe that will motivate you to go get that dream job so you can finally get in the drivers seat of one of these huge machines. Remember, if you do, safety should be a number one priority. Heavy equipment like this can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time if not used properly, so keep a close eye on your surroundings, and good luck out there.