In 1885, “Little Wonder,” the first motor grader, was developed by JD Adams. It was a two-wheel horse-drawn grader, simple by today’s standards but the first real precursor to the earth-moving giants we know today.

From there, motor graders developed rapidly along with changing sources of power. Steam tractors and crawler tractors took the place of horses, and then came the first self-propelled graders, starting with the Russel Grader Manufacturing Company’s Motor Hi-Way Patrol No. 1 in 1920. Blades got more advanced, and machines got bigger.

Introducing frame articulation: the JD570

john deereIn 1967, the construction world was awed by the JD570, developed by John Deere. In addition to front-wheel steering, the JD570 featured frame articulation. The machine could operate more efficiently, especially in confined areas, than any previously built grader.

The two steering methods combined let drivers “crab steer”, allowing for completely new uses. The grader’s front wheels could be articulated to move on slopes, on windrows and in ditches, while the back wheels stayed on solid footing.

The JD570 remained relatively unaltered until 1972, when it was only slightly modified and launched as the JD570A. Other manufacturers cottoned on, and soon all of them were offering graders with articulated frames in their lines.

Caterpillar's G series

Caterpillar G SeriesIn 1973, Caterpillar revamped its line of machines, introducing its G Series of articulated motor graders. These proved so popular that their design was changed little over the next 20 years.

Today it's still true that articulated frame graders can be used for more operations than rigid-frame graders, reducing the need for additional equipment on site.


Using the articulated grader: key operating tips

For output in maintenance procedures, there are three modes available:

  • Straight: Only front steering is used. For most finishing, ripping and scarifying, long-pass blading, light to medium windrows, blading shoulders and dry-ditch cleaning,
  • Articulated: Uses front and frame steering. As it gives the shortest turn radius, it’s good for close work, like in corners and cul-de-sacs. For constructing V ditches, spreading materials or operating in small areas, for short turns, V-ditch construction, spreading material and cutting high banks. If you want to change the cutting width of the moldboard and lessen blade loads without using the circle, this is the mode to use.
  • Crab: Here, the front wheels and the frame go in the same direction. For cleaning wet ditches, heavy windrowing operations, faster finishing or cutting banks on a gentle slope.

For steering, articulation helps operators greatly. Follow these steps:

  • Go into articulated mode.
  • To steer left or right, have the rear module on centre. Without moving the steering wheel, articulate the rear module sharply.
  • When turning, lean the wheels. This will decrease the turning radius.
  • For turning right, lean the wheels to the right and articulate to the right. Vice versa for turning left.
  • Finally, note that there's a tendency for the front of the machine to veer out of line. If this occurs, articulate the rear module in the opposite direction until the veering is corrected. Then hold the machine in line, keeping an eye on both the tyres and the heel of the blade.

For information about the range of refurbished Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders available from KH Plant, contact us online or call one of our representatives on +27 83 274 4882