Caterpillar D Series track loaders designed from scratch

Tuesday, June 24, 2014
The new Caterpillar D Series of loaders features enhanced visibility, redesigned operator control and a Tier 4 final engine to meet the latest emission standards. (Contributed photo)

The compact track loader is become a more popular choice for farms as producers look for ways to be more efficient at work. The track design offers greater versatility in a lot of situations. And the new Caterpillar D Series is designed to offer a better user experience, more cab comfort and improved visibility.

During a recent walkaround, two Caterpillar representatives from the company's building construction products division talked about the new features on the machine.

"These are Tier 4 final machines," BCP Marketing Representative Rich Harms said. "They use a diesel particulate filter to meet final emission standards; there's no diesel exhaust fluid for this system."

That's an achievement even at this lower horsepower rating. The new D series includes six new models which replace the B3, C and C3 series predecessors. They range in rated operating capacity -- 50 percent tipping load -- from 2,800-lb. to 4,650 lb. Mid-size frame models as narrow as 66 inches are the 257D Multi Terrain Loader and the 259 D Compact Track Loader. Larger frame models include the 277D and 287D MTL and the 279D and 289D CTL. Tier 4 final power comes from an electronically controlled 3.3 liter engine.

The Cat 3.3B engine provides 74 horsepower with 8 percent more torque and 6 percent improved fuel economy compared to the previous models.

For Harms, and his colleague, Joel Ongert, also with Cat BCP, the key is operator comfort and visibility.

"There's an advanced display option for the line that comes with a rear view camera," Ongert said. "In the past, customers had been adding the camera as an aftermarket item." That optional integrated camera is a first for the industry.

White-paper start

Harms notes that engineers and designers at Cat started fresh for the overall design of the D-Series loader. The cab of the new line got plenty of attention. For example, there are three seat options -- basic, air-ride with a higher back and even a heated seat option. And all air-suspension seats feature independent arm bar/joystick control adjustments so the machine can be configured for a wider range of operator sizes.

The standard control monitor offers single-code security to prevent theft. And the Advanced Display Control expands the number of security codes to 50 and can store and recall operator preferences for each one. Those preferences include language, gauge style, ride-control, creep speed, top speed and other features.

This allows the machine to be tailored to specific operator preferences or experience levels. And that display expands the diagnostics capability too.

For the optional cab -- which includes that rear-view camera -- there's a larger five-inch display that provides he operator a lot more information during use of the machine. "The user can set the display to show what they need to see during operation," Harms said.

That fresh-start approach created a roomier cab design, but there are also improvements to everything from the chassis design to hydraulics. The tough working conditions that loaders encounter was also part of the design - especially with a new diesel particulate filter in operation. That unit can get hot, but it's away from the cab and engine checks and maintenance points are designed away from those heat-producing areas.

As for maintenance, the cooling system was designed for easy cleaning. A side-by-side placement design is easier to reach than a system with stacked components. Even drain lines are strategically positioned.

"These are details that count, especially to an agriculture customer who does a lot of his own maintenance," Ongert notes.

You can learn more about the new Caterpiller D Series by visiting