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Steep Slope Grading

 
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:16 PM   #1
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Steep Slope Grading


I'm a home builder who has run an international 125e (1980 or so vintage) track loader for years digging basements, building roads, sometimes logging, but never had such a steep lot as I have now. I've also run excavators up to 200 size (not an expert), but never a dozer. I need to grade a 200 ft. x 100 ft slope in fill to 50% grade. I benched it with the track loader and now need to move material from the top to get a smooth slope and compact it. Can you excavation guys offer any advice on equipment & procedure? If my track loader will even go up a 50% slope it would be so slow as to be practically useless. Will a dozer go up & down such a slope? Will it traverse?
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Old 05-19-2007, 05:09 AM   #2
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Dozers will go up steep slopes alot better than a loader. The grouses on a dozer grab better than the loader pads. I don't suggest taking a loader up a steep slope with a empty bucket because most loaders have a rear counterweight. Very easy to flip them over.

A dozer will travel up a steep slope forward better than backwards. This is because the weight of the blade takes the weight off of the rear of the tractor. 2:1 slopes are about the max you can run a dozer sideways on a slope. This is depending on the material. If you can't run it sideways, then run it up and down the slope. Also, there is a technique called "slope walking" for compaction. After you are graded up, take the dozer and walk it up and down the eniter slope. This compacts the slope and the grousers leave horizontal impressions in the slope which will slow down runoff and prevent erosion. Also, if you seed it, the seed will stay in the impressions and not wash away.

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Last edited by rino1494; 05-19-2007 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 05-20-2007, 11:18 AM   #3
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Thanks, rino, that was helpful. I think I'll rent a dozer. Still, I need to move more that 1,000 yards down the hill and I wonder if that could be done more efficiently with an excavator, using the dozer only for the final grading and compacting. What bothers me about this is that the soil dumped on the slope by the excavator would be pretty loose except for the top foot or so compacted by the dozer. It's pretty cohesive soil, mainly silt. Does anyone know if a sheepsfoot compactor can travel on a 50% slope?
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Old 05-20-2007, 01:57 PM   #4
 
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


if it wasnt such a steep slope an excavator (8-12 tonne) with a blade would work fairly well for this job.
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Old 05-26-2007, 10:57 AM   #5
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Remember too.....If you are going to be compacting quite a bit of material benching so you can run your track loader for compaction on the slope would be recomended. A dozer will compact the material to a certain extent, but depending on the soils, maybe not enough. Hate to see your slope wash away the first big rain storm that comes along.
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Old 06-13-2007, 08:20 PM   #6
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


50% Slope? Will your building dept. even allow such a steep slope on a residential property? They wont around here. 20% is max.

I have steped a steep slope and then as I am on each step down I grade the top slope towards me. On commercial stuff I have done steep grades with the bulldozer quite easily. Considering gravity is in your favor, why not run the dozer up and push it all down?
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Old 06-30-2007, 08:24 PM   #7
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


I haven't looked at this site for a while since I've been pretty busy, and I'm not very chatty anyway. But I see there have been a couple of new replies since I last looked, and I want to let you guys know that I appreciate the comments.
A 50% slope is generally considered the maximum that can be made stable, although with cohesive soils steeper slopes can be stable. This site was mostly a sandy silt to silt, with lots of concrete chunks from very small to the biggest you can fit in a truck, and very uneven with some regions much greater than 50% when I got it, even vertical cuts of 8 feet which seem to have been stable for years. I was a critical area because over 40% slope, so the permit process was long and arduous.
I made the final slope with a 120 excavator, working across the hill on level benches, moving material from above, placing it below and compacting as best I could with the bucket. I knew the 50% grade would come out right at the top, so I just used a torpedo level screwed to a pitch block and set on top of a 12' 2x4 to establish the grade, setting a stake every 50' or so with a surveyor's tape at grade. 12' was about as far as I could reach for compacting. This took a week and got real boring before I was done. Starting with the second bench, I could sight along the finished slope below and come pretty close to the grade stakes by eye. I buried most of the concrete pieces, but plenty of them rolled to the bottom and had to be gathered up by hand.
I know it won't hold up the way it is when we get heavy rain, and I want to make it smother, so I'm still planning to get a dozer. I found that my track loader (1980 or so Dresser 125E) will go up the slope, but it is painfully slow. I'm hoping a dozer of newer vintage will have lots more power, and with the deep growsers I have no worry about traction. I would like to grade across the hill, but I'm not sure I'l be brave enough to try, and it seems it would be awfully hard on the undercarriage. Has anyone graded across a 50% slope?

I'm not sure if tracking will be provide enough compaction to prevent deep gullies when the rains come, and I've looked at specs for some sheepsfoot rollers. Some of them claim they will climb a 55% slope, others only 45%,and the one I've found available (Ingersoll Rand) doesn't give a gradeability figure in their specs, so this is still undecided. Any advice on rollers? Again, thanks for the comments.
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Old 06-30-2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Hi rccon, A contractor friend just recently told me about how a hired operator ruined the engine on a fairly new dozer by running the machine across a slope that is not even as steep as you described.
I guess the engine was not picking up enough oil due to the sidewise angle of the slope. Anyways, the engine burned up.
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:18 PM   #9
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Check those specs carefully on those rollers, they are extremely decieving!!! They can climb a slope that steep going forward.....not backward!!! A dozer can pack it pretty well. To prevent erosion, track up and down the slope, not sideways. Also, finish grade the slope with a track skid-steer, they'll run on 2/1 slopes no prob.......
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:02 PM   #10
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


rccon it has been over a month since your last update, how did it go? A 50% slope is no problem in a cat.

Kapena I dont think running on the slope would have been to blame for your friends engine getting cooked. Up here it is common to trim across slopes as steep as 1.5:1 with no problems.
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:27 AM   #11
 
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


I am new to this subject. I have been a cabinetmaker for 35 yrs and have bult 4 homes. I thought I would try my hand at home building and thus excavation. I am considering purcahsing a good used excavator about a cat 307 -312, about that size. The reason Is I can do all my own trenching, septic systems, and use for timber framing (Raising beams ans such. I even thought about having some forks modified to fit. What do you think about that idea?) I have run Dozers, Backhoes, Road graders, skid steers in the past but never considered myself a professional.
So I will rely heavily on what I learn here.
Is a 50% grade the same as a 6/12 pitch on a roof?

Best Regards, Joe
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Old 08-05-2007, 06:35 AM   #12
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Hi Joe a 50% grade is 27 degrees or a 2:1 slope, meaning for every 2 feet (or whatever unit of measure you are using) you move over your elevation changes 1 foot....sounds like it would be the same as a 6/12 pitch but I dont know.
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:14 PM   #13
 
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Thanks, In our trade that would be 22 1/2 degree angle which is a 6/12. I wonder how that works out?
ANy thoughts on my choice of excavator?
Regards, Joe
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:03 PM   #14
 
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Hi, if you go over 12 and up 6 that is 26.6 degrees. I thought a 5/12 roof would be 22.6 deg?
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:15 PM   #15
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


I dunno how that works...I used the conversion chart in the Cat performance handbook to figure out how many degrees 50% is.

I dont have much input on your choice of machine for what you want to do with it. I don't have much experience with that type of work. Most of my time is on larger projects building roads, canals and sub divisions. But I'm sure someone will be along with some good input for you. There are a few guys here that do that type of work.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:21 PM   #16
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


That makes sence to me Mike. I rounded the number on the chart up.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:41 PM   #17
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike J View Post
Hi, if you go over 12 and up 6 that is 26.6 degrees. I thought a 5/12 roof would be 22.6 deg?


This may help some.

http://www.napacounty.us/gov/apps/viewshed107/slope.htm
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:52 PM   #18
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Quote:
Originally Posted by ABLE1 View Post
Thanks Able1 for the link which shows the visual example and methodology of figuring slopes.
I can see that my former understanding of 50% slope is way off. The slope that ruined the dozer was at least 30 degrees slope, which is more than 50% slope. Operators that run sideways at that angle are sort of crazy (or too young to know better) as I see it.
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Old 08-07-2007, 06:42 PM   #19
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Quote:
Originally Posted by kapena View Post
Thanks Able1 for the link which shows the visual example and methodology of figuring slopes.
I can see that my former understanding of 50% slope is way off. The slope that ruined the dozer was at least 30 degrees slope, which is more than 50% slope. Operators that run sideways at that angle are sort of crazy (or too young to know better) as I see it.

Your welcome. Remember: Google is your friend.
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Old 08-12-2007, 09:26 PM   #20
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Re: Steep Slope Grading


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecabinet View Post
I am considering purcahsing a good used excavator about a cat 307 -312, about that size. The reason Is I can do all my own trenching, septic systems, and use for timber framing (Raising beams ans such. I even thought about having some forks modified to fit. What do you think about that idea?)

Forks on an excavator bucket

Now that I have never seen. I had them on my backhoes front bucket. I think you would be better off using a sling or getting a set of forks they use on those truck mounted cranes. Problem I see is adjusting the forks once you get it up to where you want it.

If your getting an excavator, you are going to want some kind of bucket machine like a skid steer (preferred) or a backhoe or one of those mini loaders. Any of them could have forks easily attached to them. Put it on one of those machines instead.

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