View Full Version : Ever driven a grader??

Shaggy Sheep Driver
12th May 2003, 05:53
.....Or bulldozer (I think they are really called graders). I had a go today on an old, restored 'International'. Respect to guys who do this professionally.

Driving the tractor is OK - engage gear, pull in the hand operated clutch, and steer by pulling the left or right clutch lever and applying brake pedal on that side, then letting go the lever.

But - actually grading. The blade is raised and lowered by another lever. So you drive and steer, and CONTINUOUSLY position the blade with millions of tiny up/down inputs to leave level ground behind you. Hah!

The blade moves slowly, the tractor tips fore and aft on the uneven ground you are trying to level, causing he blade to tend to dig in or skim over the surface.

I'm sure it gets easier with practice. But I'd never realised just what a skill it is to do it right (as the guy teaching me demonstrated).

He then drove a scraper - big big Caterpillar tractor towing a scaper unit and continuously manually controlled by cables and winches to 'scrape' or 'deposit' soil. And behind him was a loveley level 'carpet'

Then he demonstrated the dragline excavator. Well, a complex aerobatic sequence seems piss easy in comparison......

To see any skill demonstrated I always find facinating. But I never knew just how much skill is needed to operate this (admittedly pretty old) construction plant.


12th May 2003, 06:08
No I haven't but have dug the odd trench or two with a JCB back hoe. Fortunately they were later filled with concrete so the evidence is buried.

Much the same it does require a degree of skill.

12th May 2003, 06:09
Always looked safer letting some navvy in a dayglow jacket do it.

12th May 2003, 06:17
Back when I was studying for ATPL exams I did some agency work to make ends meet. One day the agency asked me if I could drive an articulated dumper. I thought they meant one of those little putt-putts you see on building sites, so I said yes.

Next day, there I was in the cab of one of those huge yellow Volvo BM thingies in a quarry. Great fun, like having your own full-size Tonka toy, just carting loads of stone and mud from one side of the quarry to the other (money was sh1t, though).

12th May 2003, 11:51
Shaggy Sheep.
The more ancient the gear is the harder it is.I drive machinery,and really its not that hard after a while------even long term operators arent to flash at times.True ,graders have more levers than you can poke a stick at,but you can get away with 2 once your up and away--once set up for a run.
Also Dozers are much easier now---no more gear levers and steering levers----just a control like a computer game.Unfortunately mine doesnt have it but it still works the same.Hardest part is learning to keep things level with the blade when learning.Have to say though nothing beats a D11 size--what you can do with them is great.
Trucks--ours are the size of a house--carry 240 tonn,but are deisel -electric.Easier than a mini to drive.Once you get used to size its no problem.Roads etc are made for them so really no different than driving a car down the A4.

Of course only the big mines have the big gear---most common are 80 to 100 ton trucks,but aussie has 1,000s of mines,and guess where they are-----out in the middle of no-where,hot and dusty-------------------The big attraction ,moneys good or you have done a runner from the wife.

Getting back to the machines-------its no different to learning a chopper.The more hours you do ,the more you get told,some helpful hints etc------piece of cake

Onan the Clumsy
13th May 2003, 05:56
No, but I'd love to.

We do "teambuilding exercises" from time to time and of course, they always have the exact opposite effect. I thought a good one would be to go to a place that has some old equipment and some piles of dirt and learn the basics.

Talking about it getting easier, I heard a story of a guy loading up a truck and hearing a lot of shouting. Turned out the truck was full and the stuff was just rolling off the top. He was doing it totally on autopilot (so to speak) . He said it was just like picking up sand with your hand and putting it in a bucket.

13th May 2003, 09:22
I can recommend driving a 7.5 tonner for pure stress relief. T'was great driving through south London at 8 o'clock on a Monday morning, with my own little tailback.

Admittedly, parking wasn't fun but some vehicles can make space for themselves. :)

The whole experience made me a better driver, espesh on the M25 - those honeys don't pick up too quickly, and there's nothing worse than using a downhill gradient to your advantage, only to see an eejit in a Rover pull into the space you'd lined up for overtaking.

Er, what do I drive? That'd be a Rover, no happy ending to that story... :( ;)