Chris Tweedie, Komatsu Australia's NSW used equipment sales representative, gives an overview
of the long-lived Komatsu Dash 6 excavator range and how it's still performing stellar service today, over 10 years since it was discontinued.
Komatsu's Dash 6 excavator range can truly be regarded as a "classic" line of machines.
It was ahead of its time when it was first released, and much of the technology incorporated within it still features on today's Komatsu equipment.
Just think of our "HydrauMind" closed circuit hydraulic system which continues to be used on our newest Dash 8 excavators, along with our wheel loaders, dozers, backhoes, graders and other equipment and can't be beaten for responsiveness, efficiency and low fuel consumption.
The initial Dash 6 machines came out in late 1991, when the first Dash 6 excavator the PC200-6 was delivered in October 1991. Just under a year later, the first PC220-6 was delivered, in August 1992.
By the time we sold our last PC200-6 in July 2002, we'd delivered 484 of them; our final delivery of a PC220-6 was in January 2003, and we'd sold 427 of these.
With nearly 1000 of just those two models sold in Australia alone, there are still plenty of them around and they can still give you a good ROI if you choose wisely.
Of course, the Dash 6 line was more than just two machines, ranging from the 12 tonne PC120-6 to the 110 tonne PC1100-6, but throughout the 1990s, 20 and 22 tonne class excavators were the most popular in the market. And because of their technology, and the durability and reliability built into them, Dash 6 excavators are continuing to operate around Australia and around the world. Bearing in mind that the first Dash 6 machines are now nearly 20 years old, you can expect that, assuming 1000-1500 hours a year, they'd have a good 20,000-plus hours on the clock. You'll still find a few of these in civil construction and earthmoving applications today, but many have been sold to farmers who appreciate their reliability and ease of spares availability in what are usually fairly undemanding applications. Quite a few have also been sold to developing markets overseas, particularly in China (more on that shortly).
The later model Dash 6s will be closer to 10,000-15,000 hours,
and therefore still good reliable workhorses.
So, if you have a Dash 6 excavator or you're looking at purchasing one what should you be looking out for?
The most important element because it's the most costly is the
track gear. That's where you'll have to spend a lot of money if it needs
replacing or a major overhaul. If you own a Dash 6 (or any piece of
tracked equipment, for that matter), look after your tracks. If you're looking
at buying one, look closely at the track (and seek advice if you are unsure).
The next thing to look at is the engine. The Komatsu engines used
on the Dash 6 excavators are good for at least 15,000 hours before
requiring a major rebuild or other expensive attention assuming
they've been looked after, of course, with regular servicing, oil and filter changes, and so on.
Similarly, the Komatsu HydrauMind hydraulic pumps will go for 12,000-
15,000 hours providing the oils have been kept clean. That means that older Dash 6 excavators may well have gone through an engine rebuild or exchange, or had new pumps fitted; if they haven't, that's something you may have to budget for
Through our Komatsu Used Equipment division, we are still selling Dash 6 excavators; for one of these machines with 12,000-15,000 hours and in pretty good condition, you can expect to pay $25,000-30,000.
Parts are still readily available for them, so you won't need to
worry about having a machine go down and being unable to put in
There's also reasonable numbers of Dash 6 machines out there that have been maintained and serviced by Komatsu Australia throughout their working lives so if you are offered one of these, you can be assured that it will be in good working order, and with a complete maintenance history.
And if you own a Dash 6 machine, you can be secure in the knowledge that they have kept their resale value all along; a 15-year-old unit is still going to be worth a decent amount of money. Even if you have an older machine, which is really starting to get on, don't consign it to the scrap heap just yet. There is still good strong demand for this line overseas. For example, in China, there is high demand for high-hour even 15,000-20,000 hours machines. Basically, they don't care what sort of machine it is, so long as it works.The exception to all this will of course be machines used in heavy duty hammer applications, in demolition or scrap handling. That sort of severe work takes it out of any excavator, and I would expect that machines used in these applications would have long since been retired. But for machines that have spent most of their lives in general earthmoving and digging/loading applications, with a bit of hammer work (but not too much!), there is still good demand. All in all, the Komatsu Dash 6 excavator was a good solid, reliable design, and still has good resale value.
So, in summary, things to look when evaluating a Dash 6 excavator:
All in all, the Komatsu Dash 6 excavator was a good solid, reliabledesign, and still has good resale value. So, in summary, things to look when evaluating a Dash 6 excavator:
Track condition sprockets, idlers, plates, drive motors and other components.
Engine service and oil analysis records will give you a good indication of how good it is.
Hydraulics again, oil analysis records and service history will be your best guide.
Overall service history if it's been serviced by Komatsu over all its life, that's a pointer to a machine that will continue to operate reliably for years to come.