Replace or rebuild – the decision behind Daracon reviving its “workhorse” Cat® 825H Soil Compactor

Daracon made the decision to rebuild its Cat® 825H Soil Compactor which, up until late 2022, had spent 12 years' operating under the Daracon badge on large subdivision jobs in NSW. Investing in this rebuild came in at 50% of the price for a new machine.

With operations spread across civil construction, land development, mining, crushing services and more, family-owned NSW business Daracon Group has a large fleet of machines to look after. It’s no easy task for Daracon’s Maintenance Operations Manager Mick Hingerty, but keeping on top of fleet performance is a must.

That includes performance of a trusty Cat® 825H Soil Compactor, which up to late 2022 had spent 12 years' operating under the Daracon badge on large subdivision jobs between Sydney and Newcastle.

Faced with the decision of what next for “the old workhorse”, Mick had two options – replace or rebuild.

“Our modelling didn’t stack up in terms of purchasing a new machine, so we ran the model on the rebuild scenario and that’s where we landed… overwhelmingly in favour of rebuild over replace,” he recalls. “Part of our decision making was the quickest timeline to have a machine back in service.

“From a cost comparison perspective, investing in a rebuild came in at 50% of the price for a new machine – all inclusive.”

So began the conversation with WesTrac, looking to put Daracon’s Cat 825H Soil Compactor through a Certified Power Train (CPT) Plus Rebuild.

WesTrac Customer Support Manager Lyle Murdoch managed the Daracon rebuild from the moment it was received by the workshop in October 2022 with 16,141 hours on the clock.

In a tip of the hat to Daracon, Lyle points out Daracon’s maintenance history was meticulous, with “top notch” record keeping and sample history, albeit with the compactor showing some wear and tear expected for a machine its age, doing the kind of work it was built for - compaction.

“Both WesTrac and Daracon knew where the components were up to and that it was time for a decision to be made,” Lyle says.

“At that point, it was pulled in and given a real good birthday with that CPT rebuild.”

WesTrac’s workshop quickly stripped down the 825H, shipped components to their Component Repair Centre (CRC) at Tomago for overhaul, fitted a Cat Reman Engine and overhauled the cab for improved operator comfort.

The Cat 825H chassis, frame and covers all underwent crack and rust repairs, with all hoses and machine harnesses being fully replaced.

Daracon Cat 825H Compactor Before Rebuild 1

Aesthetically, the machine was completely re-painted, with new and Daracon and Cat decals installed as finishing touches.

The machine was returned to Daracon in the first week of January 2023 sporting a new presence after a brief holiday in WesTrac’s Tomago workshop.

“To put some context around that, the machine was originally painted lime green from the previous owner. So, to have that presented back to our job site in Cat yellow and all the Cat dress - to say we're impressed is an understatement,” laughs Mick.

Lyle estimates Daracon’s Cat 825H Soil Compactor will achieve another 15,000 – 16,000 hours of work following the rebuild, carrying on as the “workhorse” it has come to be known as.

How was Daracon’s experience?

“The real benefit was that WesTrac assigned a central point of contact for that build,” Mick says.

“That person was intimately involved with where the quotation was, the exacting work scope and we had daily if not weekly communications, with the communication being excellent.

“So nothing was left to chance. It was very, very transparent. Decisions that needed to be made along the way, were made very quickly and efficiently so it didn't hold up progress with the rebuild.”

Lyle says it’s an aspect of the rebuild process WesTrac prides itself on.

“We walk through the customer’s expectations of what a rebuild looks like, whether it be a bit of a tidy up, a new engine, if it’s at the end of its life or has completely failed, or they may want to go the full kit and caboodle and basically put a machine back to zero hours so it comes out close to new,” Lyle explains.

From there, WesTrac’s workshop is engaged to run through the scope and a quote is provided to the customer.

Customers can also sit down with workshop technicians and hear direct how the rebuild will unfold and what sort of timeframes will be met.

Daracon Cat 825H Compactor After Rebuild

“Customer involvement is a very important part of the process – right from the beginning – because it’s their machine,” Lyle says.

That includes regular progress updates right through to running checks, final testing and inspection stages before machines are released back to customers.

For those in the construction sector weighing up a rebuild versus a replacement, Mick has some sage advice.

“For me, importantly, you have to understand the inherent rebuild-ability of the machine you’re considering. Not all manufacturers design their machines to have multiple lives. Determining this upfront is critical, especially when I’m considering the purchase price of a machine vs how many lives it could have in the future.

“There is definitely a place for rebuilding some Cat machines; there is some inbuilt value you can extract later in life from a rebuild.”

And according to Lyle, the rebuild option is being favoured increasingly by companies operating in the construction sector because the rebuild process is cost-effective, fast and allows the company to keep a machine on their fleet that their operators are already comfortable with.

At WesTrac, all work is carried out in-house by dealer trained Cat Certified technicians with the latest updates being applied to every machine that goes through a rebuild. The rebuild process with WesTrac is easy with the Cat dealer providing access to the latest parts, competitive pricing and support all the way through the process, from quoting to getting the machine back in the dirt – where it belongs.


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