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Thread: Cat D7 3T Rescue

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
    20

    Default Cat D7 3T Rescue

    So this is the story of how I became acquainted with Garlic Pete, Daron Dustin, and Mike Mc (and how I came around to joining ACMOC). In July of 2010 my then-91-year-old Grandfather, who lived alone on his old 3-acre farm where 3 generations of my family were raised near Stockton, CA, suffered a fall and was admitted to the hospital. The paramedics were so appalled at his living conditions that they got Social Services involved, and deemed the house unlivable (and rightly so). Grandpa hadn't allowed any of us inside since 1999, and we later found out that he was living like a hoarder (stuff & junk piled to the ceiling, with only narrow walkways through the house; a firetrap waiting to happen), and there was no working septic nor running water. So, we initially set about cleaning out all the junk inside the house and repairing the septic system; the original septic system was only a 950-gallon redwood tank! My parents paid for a brand-new 4500-gallon concrete septic system, and I spent a week there in August 2010 installing a whole new water supply line (the original 1-inch galvanized pipe had corroded so badly that there was barely a trickle of water flowing...I ran 80-feet of 1-inch PVC from near the newly-installed well pump). Inside my cousin and uncle had remodeled 2 bathrooms and re-installed LOTS of new copper piping...they also installed 2 new toilets, vanities, and sinks. However, when I slowly turned on the new water supply (only 40 psi), something broke loose inside and plugged the interior copper water pipes. We also found some electrical issues (old fabric-insulated 2-wire, with a fuse box) and several plumbing drain unions were cracked/broken inside the walls), so we decided to call it quits and wait to see if Grandpa would even be able to live on his own again, before calling Social Services.

    Turns out that Grandpa never returned to his old 3-acre farm, where he had been stockpiling "good stuff" for more than 67 years. My Mom found him a very nice assisted-living facility nearby that was not Medicare-approved (so you know it's a nice place), and she & my father decided to pay for his care on their own to ensure he had a nice place to stay. I offered to move him into my home in Las Vegas, NV, but he quickly shot that idea down. So now he gets to sit and watch TV all day and wait for his rare visitor...my Mom, sister, & I see him the most (at least twice a month), and we have 1100-mile round trips to make to do so; my aunt & uncle make a 150-mile round trip to see him once a week. But he's worth it, and we are tired of scolding family members who live close by to go visit with him. Oh well.

    Since it became obvious that he would never return to his old 3-acre farm again, and that he had racked up quite a bit of debt in the previous decade or two, the decision was made to sell the property to pay for his care & settle his debts. However, 67+ years of acquiring "good stuff" meant it was going to be quite a task. Many options were considered, but in the end I was put in charge of clearing the outside and finding homes for all of the useable equipment, implements, and tractors. There were 4 Caterpillar crawlers (a 1938 D2; a 1948 D4-7U; a 1950 D7-3T; and a 1959 D4C), 17 cars & trucks (only one or two even ran; the rest were only good for parts), 2 old tractors, and literally dozens of old implements and plows, as well as attachments. Most had been sitting for many many years in the rain and dust, and were buried in the weeds; ALL would require quite a bit of work to get useable again.

    I quickly became acquainted with Garlic Pete and Daron, and later Mike Mc, and invited them up to take a look at the equipment. I was determined to find good homes for these old Cats and the equipment, and I was willing to sell everything for less than scrap prices in order to do so. Most were sentimental, as the old LeTourneau Carry-All scraper and D7-3T were what put food on the table when my Grandparents were raising my Mom & her siblings. If I had my own transportation, I would have kept the D7-3T myself; in the end I decided to keep the 1948 D4-7U, as I do have the means to transport it myself. Pete and Daron really tried to talk me into keeping the D7, even offering to haul it to my home in Las Vegas for only the price of fuel, but I had to decline...I won't have any property suitable for storing the D7 pending restoration until I retire in 2018 and move to Northern Nevada. Finally Daron offered to purchase the D7, which I gladly accepted. A fellow from Santa Cruz (Wayne) purchased and hauled away the little D2, Pete hauled the D4 to Bakersfield to store for me until I'm ready to have it delivered to Las Vegas, and the D4C was purchased by Pete (but stays with the property until it sells, otherwise I have no way to keep the weeds down!).

    I must say, Caterpillar (especially fans of antique & older Caterpillars) have no finer ambassadors than Pete, Daron, and Mike. Top-notch gentlemen they are! I cannot thank them enough for all of the hard work they put in while rescuing all of my Grandfather's old equipment, and for having us treated like First Class VIPs at the Best Harvest Spectacular this past July.

    OK, on to the photos!

    The old 1950 D7-3T that my Grandfather spent around 35K hours working:



    It had sat for 30+ years, slowly being buried by weeds and wind-blown dirt. The tracks were so buried that they rusted stuck and the D7 wouldn't budge when Pete & Daron tried:



    The blade for the D7 was detached and sitting on an old WW2 bomb trailer, buried in the weeds:

    The old cable rippers can be seen behind the blade.


    The little D2, sitting neglected in the weeds:



    Just in front of the D2 is my D4-7U:
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
    20

    Default

    A small snapshot of how difficult it was to access the D7, as well as the random junk just lying around all over the 3 acres:



    The D4C sits nearby with the disc plows hooked up, but the ring rollers are buried in tumbleweeds nearby and not visible:



    On a miserably cold & wet March day, Wayne winches the D2 aboard his trailer for the trip to its new home in Santa Cruz:



    Later that day, Pete, Daron, and Mike arrive with their equipment to begin rescuing the implements and Cats they purchased. Here is Pete hooking up the old cable rippers to the D6C he & Daron brought, with Daron at the helm:



    Daron takes the rippers away:
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
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    Default

    Now Pete & Daron turn their attention to rescuing the old LeTourneau Carryall:



    Pete tows the Carryall through the narrow driveway heading to the front of the property, where his truck & trailer are parked. This is how Mike Mc remembers the property!



    Once at the front of the property, Pete shows off his Cat Skinning Skills by carefully manipulating the 2 pivot points on the Carryall to line it up to back onto his lowboy, all without touching the pavement of the road. Quite impressive to watch!



    Pete backs the 2-pivot-point Carryall to his awaiting lowboy trailer:



    Not long later, the Carryall is loaded and ready to be tied down:
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
    20

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    The LeTourneau Carryall is ready for its journey to its new home aboard Garlic Pete's chariot:



    Mike Mc was on hand to assist, and carried the D6C dozer and a Burma Jeep with gin poles that Daron purchased from me there:

    (sorry for the poor quality; it was getting late in the evening and light was fading, my cell phone doesn't do to well either)


    Pete and Daron returned later to retrieve my D4 7U, but I didn't get photos of it unfortunately...they also were able to pick up several old plows & implements, and some miscellaneous equipment they had purchased.
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
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    The next month, April, I spent almost 2 weeks there to kick off the first big cleanup effort. Pete & Daron returned to try to retrieve the D7 3T, and brought an old D7 cable dozer to pull it out with. Unfortunately, the cable D7 wasn't strong enough to break the D7-3T free from its rusted-stuck tracks buried under all that dirt for 30+ years:



    Despite Pete's best efforts, the cable D7 dozer just wanted to try to bury itself instead of pulling the stuck D7-3T free:



    Pete did manage to rotate the D7 and dig away some of the dirt around the tracks...he and Daron were able to shift the gear levers into Neutral, so it didn't appear that the clutch discs were frozen/siezed:



    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
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    With the D7 3T being stuck pretty firmly with its rusted tracks, it was apparent that a heavier machine would be needed to try to break the tracks free. Unfortunately Pete & Daron had to depart pretty empty-handed in April, but they planned on trying to get Mike Mc's D8 up there to use for the next rescue attempt.

    The Tulare show came and went, which took up a good portion of Pete & Daron's time, and then it was time for the Best Harvest Spectacular (where we got to see the above Carryall & cable rippers in action!! Thanks again Pete!). In the meantime, I had been traveling up to my Grandfather's old farm on two weekends per month to clear away what I could in a days' worth of work, and every little bit seemed to be helping. I racked up about 2500 miles per month on my pickup and trailer doing so, as well as working a full-time job during the week! UGH.

    Finally, I was poised to spend nearly 2 weeks of my personal vacation time in August to clear the property of everything left outside and have my Mom list the farm for sale. Pete & Daron were able to make it soon after I arrived, and brought along their D6C dozer again to make another attempt to retrieve the D7 3T for Daron:



    Hooking the D6C to the D7 with a dogbone drawbar didn't have any effect:



    Pete guided Daron to place the edge of the D6C blade against the D7 3T's track grousers, and push the tracks forward in an attempt to break them free:



    It worked!!! For the first time in 30+ years, the D7 3T was rolling:


    Daron then took the D7 for a couple of laps around the field, to shake the rust & corrosion off the tracks. When they took off, though, we saw several little black objects falling from the D7: turns out they were little 4- or 5-week-old kittens, with their eyes barely opened, who had made a home inside the D7's engine compartment! We tried to scoop them up, but they scampered away too quickly into the weeds & brush. It appeared to be a trail of kittens the D7 left behind!! LOL!
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
    20

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    Now it was time to re-attach the old blade:






    Luckily all the nuts & bolts were present, so that it could be re-attached to the bosses:



    Aahhhh, much better:
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
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    Daron hooks back up to the D7 with the dogbone drawbar, in order to position the D7 for loading onto Pete's lowboy trailer:



    Some skillful guidance and maneuvering on the part of Pete & Daron get the D7 lined up and ready to be loaded:












    She's all ready to go to her new home, at long last! It was a long process, but well worth it! I'm so happy to see this old reliable breadwinner go to such a good home with Daron! I even offered to buy her back from Daron if he ever decides to part with her, once I obtain my retirement property in several years.

    Success!! We were even able to completely clear the property afterwards, and list the old farm for sale. Now it's time to sit back with our fingers crossed and hope that someone buys it.
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sin City, NV
    Posts
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    As a comparison, here is the old dirt driveway before & after:





    It was a LOT of work (couldn't have done it without the help & dedication of my cousin, who is only related to my Grandpa by marriage; thanks Steve!), but well worth it. I'm so glad it's done! Now to get down to repairing all the damage incurred to my truck & trailer during this past year of work.
    Warren

    1948 D4 7U Crawler
    ACMOC Member #9212

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    hook hampshire England
    Posts
    163

    Default thanks

    great story and pictures thanks for taking the time to post
    the D4c looks a sharp little tractor

    cheers graham

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