Cat Site Prep Tractor Runs Cool, Stays Clean, and Powers High Flow Attachments

Oct. 6, 2014

The new Cat 586C Site Prep Tractor is a multi-purpose, heavy-duty machine with the muscle to run power-hungry mulchers and brushcutters. Applications include residential/commercial development, land management, right-of-way construction and maintenance, wetlands and wildlife habitat management, plantation reclamation and management, and clearing for flood control and firebreaks.

“The tractor runs cool and doesn’t collect debris, so you’ll spend less time cleaning and more time working,” said Matt McDonald, Caterpillar Forest Products product specialist. “Plus, you can tackle a variety of projects with one machine, lowering your owning and operating costs.”

New Cat work tools have been developed to match the powerful capability of the 586C. The Cat HM825 Mulcher and the Cat BR624 Brushcutter are available from the factory and supported by Cat dealers. Other attachments, such as buckets and rakes, are offered by Cat dealers.

Powerful Performance

The PowerDirect Plus system optimizes performance by monitoring operator and attachment hydraulic demand and delivering power where and when it is needed. The 350 hp engine and oversized hydraulic system push more flow to the attachment for faster recovery without slowing other functions.

“You’ll see strong performance in all applications. Simultaneous lift-tilt and lift-steer functions and attachment recovery are significantly faster than major competitive machines,” McDonald said. PowerDirect Plus also helps with fuel efficiency by maintaining a consistent load on the engine.

Clean, Cool Operation

“This tractor is often working in hot, dry and dusty environments, so it’s important to have a machine that runs cool and doesn’t collect debris,” McDonald said. The high capacity cooling system and on-demand reversing fan keep the machine running cool. The oversized, hydraulically driven fan spins at a slower speed overall and only turns as fast as needed to maintain proper hydraulic and engine temperatures. In colder weather or when the machine is first started, for example, the fan spins more slowly to conserve power and fuel and reduce noise.

The machine is segmented into separate compartments that are pressurized to prevent debris from entering. The pressurized airflow also keeps electronics, sensors and other key components cool during long workdays.

HJM Forest Resource Management, LLC, in DeKalb, Miss., ran a pilot machine to provide feedback for finetuning the tractor. One of the company principals, Jimmy Wayne McGowen, reported that the radiator and air filter stayed clean and the pressurized engine compartment kept debris out. “We have to blow out our older machines like crazy,” McGowen said. “We don’t have to with this machine. That’s a big thing for us, because we were spending a lot of downtime keeping our older tractors up.”

He also said he never saw the hydraulic oil temperature get to medium even on 41°C (105°F) work days. “The cooler your machine runs, the better it’s going to perform and the longer it’s going to last,” he said.

Comfortable cab

The cab is positioned between the axles for a stable, smooth ride. A clean three-piece front windshield, standard back-up camera and skylight provide a 360° view. The standard air suspension seat with neck and back support and high capacity HVAC system add to operator comfort. “We never could run the air conditioner on high; it blows good on low,” McGowen reported.

Operator controls are fully adjustable. Special functions that enhance operation and reduce operator fatigue include Creep Mode, Terrain Selection Mode, Road Steer Mode and optional Attachment Float Control. Creep Mode gives the operator the ability to adjust speed up or down on the fly with joystick buttons, instead of with just a foot pedal. “Pushing through thick vegetation or mulching and back dragging can be hard on the operator if speed is controlled strictly with the foot pedal. Creep Mode makes it a lot easier on the operator,” McDonald explained.

Stays in the field

Robust box section frames and a field-proven center hitch design with large dual-tapered roller bearings and 76.2 mm (3 in.) diameter pins provide a solid foundation. The control valve, pumps and cylinder seals were “torture” tested to ensure reliability. Steering cylinder mounts and chrome plated lift arm and tilt link pins are two more examples of structural features built into this tractor to increase uptime and machine life.

“Stuck-to-the-Ground” Stability

With the engine at the back of the machine, the weight of the tractor is distributed evenly over the axles for rock-solid stability. The rear engine also acts as a counterbalance for heavy mowing and mulching attachments. The center hitch is positioned between the front and rear axles to facilitate tire tracking.

Easy maintenance

Daily service points are in easy reach. Hydraulic oil is added at ground level with the standard electric hydraulic oil fill pump and a quick coupler hose stored on the machine. Oil is pumped through the filtration system before it enters the tank, safeguarding the hydraulic system. The fuel fill is also at ground level. Other components are easy to reach with the tilting cab, hinged panels and three-sided access to the engine and hydraulic pumps.


Both the HM825 Mulcher and the BR624 Brushcutter are durable and reliable. Rugged structures, reinforced skids and internal abrasion-resistant plating minimize downtime and repairs. All daily service points are at ground level and adjustments are easy to make.

The operator has clear visibility around the attachments. Discharge is directed down and away from the tractor. When the attachments are turned off, the tractor’s hydraulics slow the attachments’ moving parts to a safe stop.

The pilot machine operated by HJM Forest Resource Management was equipped with the HM825 mulcher. McGowen said the tractor and attachment’s ability to handle big timber was an advantage when they were clearing standing timber to widen power line right-of-ways. “The attachment is equipped with a hydraulic push bar and that’s a big plus,” he said.

The Cat 586C, along with the mulcher and brushcutter attachments, will be in production in May. For more information visit