Caterpillar – Nancy McDonnell’s restored vintage 1956 Caterpillar D4 dozer
Nancy McDonnell had been watching her husband, David, and others working classic development gear at vintage machine exhibits, and she or he determined it was time she had a flip.
After a neighborhood search within the late 1990s, the Germantown, Ohio, couple discovered a 1956 Caterpillar D4 dozer. It was in tough form, so that they checked out one other D4 of the identical period. It additionally had issues.
“And my husband said, ‘You know, everything that’s good on this one is bad on the other one, and everything that’s bad on this one is good on the other one,’” Nancy remembers. “So we ended up buying both of them and putting them together.”
And that’s how she received her first piece of development gear.
“At that point, I’d never been on one before,” she says. “So I had no idea what this was going to be like to operate.”
The couple spent most evenings after work for a number of weeks restoring the 1956 D4 whereas utilizing components from the opposite one. It was additionally the primary time she had labored on development gear.
One reminiscence stands out of changing the grousers. David wished to maintain the chains. He hoisted the tracks with a backhoe and gave Nancy a blow torch.
“I cut the bolts with a torch and then whacked them out with a sledgehammer and got all the plates off,” she remembers, “and then helped him bolt the new plates on.”
She discovered to function the D4 on the a number of vintage exhibits the couple would journey to every yr, additionally bringing their 1961 Mack B61 dump truck.
“It took me quite a while to learn how, just doing it a few weekends a year,” she says. “But I did figure it out. Every time I got a little better at it.”
Her favourite job is transferring the grime for the previous crawler cranes to make use of to load the vehicles. Her abilities as an operator have additionally been seen by the lads – she’s often the one feminine operator. She remembers being requested to assist clear up round a crawler crane at one present. “It made me feel good that all these guys had enough confidence in my ability to operate the machine that they would ask me to do something for them,” she says.
Many on the exhibits are additionally impressed together with her capability to start out the D4 with the horse motor. The small gasoline engine is used to start out the dozer’s bigger diesel engine. It includes a number of steps and generally is a irritating course of.
“It had a little bit of trouble at times,” she says. “And my husband used to threaten that if it died, he was going to place an electrical starter on it.
“And I mentioned, ‘No, you’re not. I like beginning the horse motor.’”
Since restoring the D4 within the late 1990s, Nancy has retired from her job as an environmental supervisor for a paper mill. David handed away in 2017. She has offered a few of the couple’s bigger items however nonetheless has the D4 and a Northwest Model 25 crawler crane. She continues to service them, having needed to be taught to do extra of her personal upkeep. She additionally nonetheless loves the chance to get again on the D4.
“I don’t even mind in the middle of August when it’s hot and humid,” she says. “When I’m on it, I’m paying attention to what I’m doing. And I don’t realize how hot I am until I stop.”
Editor’s be aware: Collector’s Nook is an ongoing collection of articles by Gear World by which collectors of vintage development gear and development models speak about their favourite finds. In the event you’ve received a particular piece of classic gear or a model you’d like featured, electronic mail Don McLoud at DonMcLoud@randallreily.com.