Cat has replaced the D9T with the new D9. As a next generation dozer, there are some foundational changes to the structure of this machine to discuss, but most of what’s new focuses on reducing O&O costs, including a new torque converter and maintenance improvements.
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As we’ve discussed several times over the last year or so, Cat is in the process of a lineup-wide refresh of its dozers.
They started back in 2018 with the introduction of the first of these new next-generation dozers, the D6 and D6 XE. The company then followed that up with replacements for most of the small and medium dozer lineup with the new D1, D2, D3, D4, D5 and D7 models over the last 12 months.
And now we’ve got our first next-gen large dozer, the new D9, which is replacing the D9T.
A hallmark of these new next-gen models has been a new cab, but the new D9’s got a bit more going on than that when it comes to upgrades. Specifically, much of this new dozer’s development was focused on saving you money over the course of the life of this machine.
But before we get into the specifics of the D9, as we’ve done with all of our coverage of next-gen Cat dozers, we have to take a second and acknowledge the new model name on this machine.
In 2017, Cat decided to stop using letters in model names to denote new generations of machines with the hope of making every machine lineup within the company a little bit easier to understand.
Within the dozer lineup, this was actually a little more complicated because not only were letters being used to denote generations of certain models, they were also being used to denote different sizes of the same dozer model.
An example of that being the three different kinds of D6 dozer that you could buy at one point.
So, under this new naming convention, the D9T is now just the D9. If you want a more thorough explanation of this new way of naming dozers, check out our video on the new D4—which used to be called the D6K2. In that video we get more into Cat’s thinking behind this change and how it clears up the product line a bit.
A next-gen D9
Now, because the D9 is a next-gen dozer, there are several important changes made to this machine that while not outwardly apparent, as Cat dozer and mining product expert Todd Cole outlined, are still very significant to the platform.
“Electrical architecture, reduction of ECM, some changes to the frame that are really minor, [but are important] for manufacturability and interchangeability with different configurations and commonality too with some of the large dozer families,” Cole says. “The more parts we can utilize, the less variation [there is between models] and [that is] really a benefit to the customer, to the dealer and to us.”
Beyond bringing the D9 in line with other next-gen dozers, the other focus for Cat on this new model was total cost of ownership, and that’s an important consideration for this machine specifically because it is a large machine that is used in pretty rough production environments.
Plus, thanks to its size and a wide range of blades and attachments available for it, it can be used for several different tasks across multiple industries.
“So depending on where you are in the world, it is a mining machine. In North America, it’s probably more viewed as heavy construction. But it definitely sits in that land in between two continents,” Cole says. “We’re in waste, we’re in stockpile applications, heavy construction, wood chip, ripping applications, trap loading with loaders, and of course mining and production dozing. So we’re in everything. If you had to break it up, looking over the last 20 years, [it’s] 25% mining, 40% is heavy construction/general construction. And the remaining pieces are that specialty, the industrial, the rental, the waste, so I would call it the Swiss Army tool of dozers.”
Obviously return on investment and total cost of ownership are always important, but they’re paramount when plugging a machine into these severe environments. And to that end, Cat says it has reduced TOC by reducing fuel costs, reducing maintenance time and cost and through a few production boosting technology features.
New specs, same performance
But let’s start with that reduction in fuel cost, because what makes this interesting is that it’s not achieved through an Eco engine mode or some other software feature that might constrain performance. It’s a hardware change.
The new D9 is powered by a 452-horsepower Cat C18 engine. Now, that’s the same engine that powered the D9T and though Cat’s spec sheets rate the new D9 a bit higher in terms of horsepower than its predecessor, it’s a negligible amount and Cole actually tells me it probably has more to do with differences in the testing done to find that rating and small differences in what rpm peak horsepower is achieved at rather than real world performance differences.
Another important spec apart from horsepower that is higher on this machine is operating weight. The new D9 weighs in at 110,225 pounds, while the D9T weighed in at 105,539 pounds. However, it’s also another change that hasn’t impacted performance.
So, despite the fact that the D9 is heavier and technically has more hp, in terms of raw power, the D9 isn’t all the different from the D9T.
“We did make some changes as I mentioned, we moved some weight around. There’s a new radiator guard and some slight changes really to the frame for manufacturability. But there is not what I call meaningful change to the weight of the machine,” Cole says.