|Champion (Volvo) Grader|
Champion sold out to Volvo so these days you see Volvo Graders around that look like Champions which they really except for the Decals. What is featured here, however, is The 1990's version of Champion's construction grader. Champion made several graders all of which were about the same size and similar horsepower. The difference was their weight. The 780 is the heavyweight that replaced the venerable 760 shown elsewhere on this site.
Notable improvements over the 760 include: Articulated frame (behind the cab), Front wheel drive (on some models), and a high torque rise Cummins 8.3 instead of the Detroit Diesel 6-71.
The optional front blade is shown in the photo. This is particularly useful in logging road work as you can push stuff out in the woods without having to climb over it with your front tires. It is also helpful in making ditch ends. Straddle blades are great for most things, but if you want to drain water over a cliff, you have to drive over the cliff to complete the ditch, or in as one of my favorite refrains: Don't use a road grader to scrape brush over the bank that is already over the bank. I've been there, done that, and then had to go looking for a string to drag the grader back on the road.
Front wheel drive is particularly useful when you have a front blade. Without the blade something like 80% of the grader weight is on the rear wheels,but with the blade the balance shifts forward quite a bit, and the front drive keeps from from getting stuck with a front wheel behind a wet rock.
The articulation greatly simplifies maneuvering the machine. The straight frame grader is pretty much a barge. Logging roads tend to go out to no where in particular and stop. I've had to back my grader up for half a mile for want of a place to turn around. You can also use the articulation to dog trot the grader if you want to keep your rear wheels a little further from the soft shoulder, or if you want to pull a ditch without getting in with your work.