Apprentice-rebuilt historic dozer-shovel takes pride of place in new Komatsu HQ


apprentice-dozer15-(2).jpg"The dozer-shovel which was initially located on e-Bay - had certainly seen better days and was much the worse for wear when it arrived at the Fairfield workshop on August 6, 2014," said Komatsu Fairfield's Branch Manager, Matthew Tosolini.

"Having spent many years out in the Australian weather, the machine was in very poor condition, with a badly corroded bucket, lots of rust on panels, numerous missing and damaged ancillary components, leaking hydraulics, and a seat that had just about fallen apart," he said.

"However, mechanically the machine itself was in very sound condition, and has now been brought back to as-new condition for its new home as a centre piece in the foyer of Komatsu Australia's headquarters in Fairfield NSW."

Andrew Grenfell , Komatsu Australia's Technical Support Manager Wheel Loaders, explained how Komatsu's Awazu Plant in Japan where the machine had been manufactured in May 1980, were contacted and asked for assistance in the restoration efforts that helped rebuild the D10S-2.

Awazu Plant also has a restored centre piece in the form of a 1940 G40 Tractor and was excited to be involved.

At the time the D10S-2 was revolutionary in design, a unit mass under 2 tonne made it easily transportable on widely used small body trucks, Komatsu design engineers went as far as weighing everything down to the bolts and washers to ensure this target weight.

A well balanced and compact frame meant challenges laying out hydraulic piping and components, integration of a new steering clutch system meant ease of manoeuvrability for operators, and an optional rear backhoe attachment rounded off the D10S-2 operational capabilities to see it take on tasks including land clearing, road building and hard to access civil works.

Even in 1980 Komatsu was striving for reduced emissions, with the D10S-2 94 series engine using new diesel technology and producing class leading power.

The restoration project was carried out by a team of four Komatsu apprentices selected by ballot; the team consisted of:Brad Schofield, third-year apprentice and team leaderHamish Rowe, first-year apprenticeJason Brook, third-year apprenticeMichael De Angelis, third-year apprentice.

The restoration tasks included:Stripping, inspecting and resealing all hydraulic componentsReplacing hydraulic hoses and ensuring all seals workRepairing the bucket and backhoe attachments; in fact the bucket was in such poor condition, it ended up being replaced with a new unit fabricated following the original factory drawingsRepairing powertrain components where necessary, including the engine, transmission and final drivesComplete inspection, repair and overhaul of all undercarriage componentsReplacing the operator's seatRepairs, including stripping, inspecting and repainting, of all panels and coversFabrication, following the original factory drawings, of missing elements, including engine air filter housing, muffler and engine bonnet skinNew paintwork and decals in the original factory colour and designs.

Andrew Setterfield, Komatsu Fairfield's Workshop Supervisor, detailed how an incredible amount of research went into the restoration project, with some parts and components sourced from like Komatsu machines if the originals were not available.

"These included replacing control lever ends from existing stock, as well as original bucket teeth still held by Komatsu Australia, and even sourcing three new genuine D10S-1 steel operator's lamp assemblies from Komatsu America the last three in the world!

"Other parts had to be fabricated from scratch using original factory drawings, and even photos in some instances.

"An example of this was the decision to build a new operator's seat from scratch, as the original had deteriorated so much from being out in the weather!"

A complete new operator's seat was manufactured with assistance from drawings supplied by Awazu Plant. This included manufacturing and painting a new seat base and rear frame, with padding and a vinyl cover provided by a local automotive trim contractor.

"A very pleasant surprise during the project given the age and wear and tear on the machine was the excellent condition of the dozer's main frame, undercarriage, loader frame and backhoe arm and components," said Andrew.

The general condition of the machine was very good. We found no cracks in any of the frames once we had sandblasted them down to bare metal, allowing the team to proceed quickly to undercoating and then painting.

"Other key components, including the fuel tank, hydraulic oil tank, gear box and bevel cases were also found to be in very good condition with no rust or scale, or any metal contamination showing up in a KOWA test."

Once stripped down and re-assembled, the engine started readily following some minor tuning of the fuel pump and shut-off mechanism.

"The completely rebuilt machine was then test-operated, with all functions, controls, components and systems working has they should have," Andrew said.

"Then it was off to the paint shop for final painting, including re-undercoating any areas scratched during assembly, smoothing any rough surfaces with light filler, applying two top coats of Komatsu yellow paint, followed by two final protective coats of clear lacquer."

Branch Manager Matthew Tosolini said that in order to avoid damaging the freshly painted tracks, or the brand new floor of Komatsu's foyer the dozer-shovel could not be driven into its final display area.

Instead it was moved to the foyer by forklift, then on mobile wheels placed under the machine for the final manual move into the display area.

"The final deadline for the machine completion was Friday, December 5 at 4 pm; we had the finished machine in the display area at 3.52 pm on that day! It was a very hot day and very hard work," said Matthew.

"The finished restoration is a credit to our apprentices, as well as the quality and durability built into every Komatsu machine.

"And it's a fascinating look back at our history and to reflect just how far machine design and features have come in just a few decades!" he said.

Komatsu Australia would like to acknowledge the following for their assistance in restoring this D10S-2:The Apprentice Team, Supervisors and Workshop Management.Mr Yukio Kikuchi and the Working Gear Group, Komatsu Awazu Plant.Paul Rapp and Co. Pty LtdPirtek Salmon Buckets and Attachments Pty LtdBoltons Motor TrimmersBeno's Metal FabricationsWestern Mufflers