PL87 Pipelayer

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PL87 Pipelayer

Cat® Pipelayers have been the standard of the pipeline industry for decades. A worldwide network of Cat dealers, in tune with the special high production needs of pipeliners, supports these durable and dependable machines. Cat Pipelayers are purpose-built to meet the unique demands of pipeline customers. And like every Cat machine, pipelayers are designed for long life, serviceability and rebuild capability to help keep owning and operating costs low. The PL87 answers customer needs for increased lift capacity, enhanced slope capability, ease of operation, performance and transportability.
  • Standard Equipment
  • Optional Equipment
  • Specs
  • Features
  • Media

Standard Equipment

    • Alarm, backup
    • Batteries, 4, maintenance free
    • Converter, 12V, 10 amp with 1 outlet
    • Diagnostic connector
    • Horn, forward warning
    • Lighting system, halogen, (2 front, 2 rear)
    • Starting receptacle
    • Armrest, adjustable
    • Deactivation switch, hydraulic controls
    • Horn
    • Hour meter, electronic
    • Governor switch, electronic
    • Key start, single
    • Monitoring system, electronic warning system with temperature gauges for coolant, power train oil and hydraulic oil
    • Pedal, decelerator
    • Pedals, dual brake
    • Seat, Vinyl suspension
    • Seat belt, retractable
    • Service indicator, air cleaner
    • Steering control, electronic, finger tip control
    • Storage compartment
    • Block and hook with latch, heavy duty
    • Counterweights, extendable segmented
    • Drawworks, hydraulic actuated and controlled
    • Advanced Modular Cooling System (AMOCS)
    • Aftercooler, air-to-air (ATAAC)
    • C15 ACERT diesel engine with EUI (Electronic Unit Injection)
    • Coolant, extended life with protection to -37° C (-34° F)
    • Electric starting, 24 volt
    • Fan, suction, hydraulically driven blower
    • Filter, air with electronic service indicator
    • Final drives, four planet, double reduction planetary
    • Fuel priming pump, electric
    • Muffler
    • Parking brake, electronic
    • Precleaner, stratta-tube dust ejector
    • Prescreener
    • Starting aid, ether
    • Torque divider
    • Transmission, electronically-controlled powershift, 3F-3R speeds
    • Transmission, control module, electronic
    • Turbocharger, wastegate
    • Water separator
    • Carrier roller
    • Frame, 9-roller tubular track roller frame
    • Hydraulic track adjusters
    • Master links, two piece
    • Non-suspended undercarriage
    • Rollers and idlers, lifetime lubricated
    • Sprocket rim segments, replaceable
    • Track adjusters, hydraulic
    • Track guiding guards
    • 864 mm (34 in) super extreme service grouser with sealed and lubricated track (48 section) clipped grousers
    • Bumper, front with towing device
    • Drawbar, heavy duty
    • Ecology drains - Engine oil, coolant, hydraulic oil, torque converter, fuel tank, power train case and transmission
    • Guard, hinged bottom
    • Guard, hinged radiator
    • Hood, solid
    • Hydraulic system, pilot operated for hook, boom, and counterweight control
    • Oil cooler, hydraulic
    • Parts book, CD ROM
    • Product link ready
    • S·O·SSM sampling ports
    • Steering, electronic clutch brake
    • Vandalism protection for fluid compartments

Optional Equipment

    • Drains, ecology, power train
    • Product Link PL321, none
    • Product Link PL321, Satellite
    • Product Link PL321, Cellular



Long Name:
PL87 Pipelayer


Engine Model:
Cat® C15 ACERT™
Flywheel Power:
366.0 hp / 273.0 kW
Gross Power:
394.0 hp / 294.0 kW
Net Power - SAE J1349:
362.0 hp / 270.0 kW
5.4 in / 137.0 mm
6.75 in / 172.0 mm
928.0 in3 / 15.2 L
U.S. EPA Tier 3, EU Stage IIIA
Flywheel Power (Metric):
371.0 hp / 273.0 kW
Gross Power (Metric):
400.0 hp / 294.0 kW
Gross Power - ISO 14396 (Metric):
382.0 hp / 281.0 kW
Gross Power - ISO 14396:
377.0 hp / 281.0 kW
Net Power - EU 80/1269:
366.0 hp / 273.0 kW
Net Power - EU 80/1269 (Metric):
371.0 hp / 273.0 kW
Net Power - ISO 9249:
366.0 hp / 273.0 kW
Net Power - ISO 9249 (Metric):
371.0 hp / 273.0 kW
Net Power - SAE J1349 (Metric):
367.0 hp / 270.0 kW

Pipelaying Equipment

Lift Capacity:
214000.0 lb / 97069.0 kg
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Boom and Cables, 7.3 m (24 ft):
180.4 ft / 55.0 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Boom and Cables, 7.3 m (24 ft) Extended:
242.8 ft / 74.0 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Boom and Cables, 8.53 m (28 ft):
205.0 ft / 62.5 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Boom and Cables, 8.53 m (28 ft) Extended:
282.8 ft / 86.2 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Drum Diameter:
10.0 in / 254.0 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Drum Length:
14.0 in / 355.6 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Flange Diameter:
20.0 in / 508.0 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Boom - Wire Rope Diameter:
0.75 in / 19.0 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Boom and Cables, 7.3 m (24 ft):
375.0 ft / 114.3 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Boom and Cables, 7.3 m (24 ft) Extended:
375.0 ft / 114.3 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Boom and Cables, 8.53 m (28 ft):
407.6 ft / 124.2 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Boom and Cables, 8.53 m (28 ft) Extended:
407.6 ft / 124.2 m
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Drum Diameter:
10.0 in / 254.0 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Drum Length:
14.0 in / 355.6 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Flange Diameter:
20.0 in / 508.0 mm
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Hook Speed (Raise) with 8 Part Line:
50.8 ft/min / 15.5 m/min
Planetary Hydraulic Winches - Hook - Wire Rope Diameter:
0.75 in / 19.0 mm
Removable Counterweight 13 Segments - 2 @:
628.0 lb / 285.0 kg
Removable Counterweight 13 Segments - 5 @:
1725.0 lb / 785.0 kg
Removable Counterweight 13 Segments - 6 @:
1562.0 lb / 710.0 kg
Total Weight Extendible:
30587.0 lb / 13903.0 kg


Shipping Weight:
94501.0 lb / 42865.0 kg
Operating Weight:
120119.0 lb / 54485.0 kg


1 Forward:
1.9 mph / 3.0 km/h
2 Forward:
3.3 mph / 5.4 km/h
3 Forward:
5.8 mph / 9.4 km/h
1 Reverse:
2.5 mph / 4.0 km/h
2 Reverse:
4.4 mph / 7.0 km/h
3 Reverse:
7.7 mph / 12.3 km/h
1F - Drawbar Pull:
139.0 lbf / 618.5 N
2F - Drawbar Pull:
76.0 lbf / 338.2 N
3F - Drawbar Pull:
42.0 lbf / 186.9 N


Ground Contact Area:
12.2 ft / 3715.0 mm
Grouser Height:
3.6 in / 93.0 mm
Length of Track on Ground:
11.8 ft / 3.587 m
Number of Carrier Rollers:
1 per side
Number of Rollers (each side):
Number of Shoes (each side):
Shoe Type:
Super Extreme Service
Track Gauge:
8.3 ft / 2.54 m
Width of Standard Shoes:
34.0 in / 864.0 mm

Service Capacities

Fuel Tank:
150.3 gal / 569.0 L
Cooling System:
20.0 gal / 76.0 L
Hydraulic Tank:
44.9 gal / 170.0 L
Crankcase and Filter:
10.0 gal / 38.0 L
Final Drive (each side):
3.4 gal / 13.0 L
Power Train:
50.0 gal / 190.0 L


Brakes meet the standard SAE JISO 10265 MAR99
Optional ROPS (Rollover Protection Structure) meets the standards SAE J397 OCT95, SAE J1040 MAY94, ISO 3164 1995 and ISO 3471-1

Lift Capacity

Lift Capacity at Tipping Point - ISO 8813:
214000.0 lb / 97069.0 kg

Hydraulic System

Counterweight (gear):
26.7 gal/min / 101.0 L/min
Implement Pump Output - Max (closed loop):
73.2 gal/min / 277.0 L/min
Relief Valve Setting:
6033.6 psi / 41600.0 kPa
Variable Charge Pump Output - Max (open loop):
57.9 gal/min / 219.0 L/min

Operating Specifications

Lifting Capacity:
214000.0 lb / 97069.0 kg



Integrated, robust components


New heavy-duty winch design works with updated machine hydraulics for greater productivity. Boom and hook draw works are driven by independent hydraulic winches. Oil-disc brakes provide smooth operation and positive retention of boom and hook positions. A modular, pin-on design allows for fast replacement and easy field service. Interchangeable parts between hook and boom winch assemblies help reduce cost and downtime. The winch profile has been reduced to enhance visibility and meet critical transport requirements for rail shipment.


New counterweight profile adds more counterweight, increasing lift capacity. Segments are contoured to provide a low center of gravity and enhanced visibility to the front and side. The counterweight is extended hydraulically for improved load balance and clearance. Segments are splined for ease of assembly and disassembly. The PL87 has a rated lift capacity of 97 069 kg (214,000 lb).


The light weight, durable boom features high tensile strength steel construction for narrow structures and maximum visibility to the work area. Replaceable boom-mount bearings aid serviceability and long life.

Blocks and Hook

Updated block set profile enhances visibility to the pipe and helps take advantage of the full length of the boom. The heavy-lifting components include hook and boom blocks with sleeve bearings, a forged hook with latch and serviceable handle, and ductile iron sheaves. A bolt-on block horn has been added to the front of the machine for convenient storage of the block set during transport.


A robust drawbar tows a wide range of attachments for maximum versatility.

Operator Station

Designed for Productive Comfort

Caterpillar designs operator stations for maximum productivity. Operator comfort features and excellent visibility all around the machine help operators work more efficiently and contribute to job site safety. Customers may choose an Open Cab (OROPS), an Enclosed Cab with single pane glass, or an Arctic Cab with Dual Pane glass.

  • A Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) provides added operator protection with an open or enclosed cab.
  • A more durable access ladder design aids access/egress to the operator station, and can be removed to minimize the machine’s shipping envelope.
  • Additional mirrors further enhance the operator’s visibility all around the machine.
  • Ergonomically designed seat is positioned for enhanced visibility to the trench and for convenient access to key operator control levers and pedals.
  • Monitoring system provides instant feedback on the condition of operating systems and records performance data for diagnostics and to help manage undercarriage wear. The system also features a digital and gauge-type tachometer.
  • 12-volt outlets power devices like cell phones and laptop computers.

Implement and Steering Controls

Ergonomically Designed for Ease of Operation

Pipelayer Control

Right joystick places all of the boom, hook and counterweight function control in one hand. Low-effort, ergonomically designed control handle allows simultaneous, precise positioning of the load line and boom. 1) Increment/decrement buttons on pipelayer control handle provide continuous adjustable throttle. 2) Thumb rocker controls the counterweight functions. 3) Joystick forward lowers the hook and joystick back raises the hook. Joystick left lowers the boom and joystick right raises the boom. 4) Quick drop control. 5) Rocker switch allows the operator to increase/decrease engine speed to a set level with the touch of a button.

Quick Drop Control

The new quick drop control, when pushed, will allow the load on the hook to free fall to the ground. This control is to be used only in emergency situations where the load must be released immediately.

Dual Brake Pedal Controls

Dual brake pedal controls provide enhanced maneuverability and steering control, especially in slope applications. Brakes are spring applied and hydraulically actuated.

Finger Tip Steering Control

Finger tip controls are grouped to the operator’s left for easy one-handed operation to control steering, direction and gear selection.

Enclosed Cab

Designed with Pipeline Productivity in Mind

The optional enclosed cab is designed by Caterpillar specifically for demanding pipeline applications. The cab is designed to work with the Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS), and is fully insulated with a heater. Air conditioning is available as an option. Glass area is maximized for excellent sight lines around the machine and to the trench to aid productivity and enhance job site safety. A skylight window provides a view to the boom and upper block. The cab includes eight additional halogen lights: three facing forward, two to the rear, two to the boom side and one to the winch side. Wipers provide a clearer view during inclement weather.

Arctic Arrangement

An arctic arrangement equips the pipelayer for optimal performance in arctic conditions. The Arctic Cab has many of the same operator comfort features as the enclosed cab, but adds dual pane windows for cold weather environments. The arrangement also incorporates fluids, final drive and roller seals, and batteries designed to perform in severe cold weather environments.

Engine and Power Train

Powerful Efficiency


The Cat C15 engine with ACERT™ Technology provides the large displacement and high torque rise for the power needed on challenging jobs. Matched to the high-efficiency torque divider and electronically controlled power shift transmission, the C15 ACERT engine will provide years of dependable service.

Constant Net Horsepower

Constant net horsepower maintains high standards of performance and response. The engine automatically adjusts to maintain power output and conversely lowers output when demands are low. This provides significant fuel savings in cooler climates and during long engine idle times typical of pipeline applications.

Planetary Power Shift Transmission

The planetary power shift transmission offers smooth shifting and quick speed and directional changes for maximum productivity. With three speeds forward and three speeds reverse, the transmission utilizes large diameter, high capacity, oil-cooled clutches for long life. An oil-to-water cooler facilitates maximum cooling capacity, and forced oil flow lubricates and cools clutch packs for long life.

Electronic Clutch Pressure Control

The Finger Tip Control (FTC) system has an additional drive train feature for added performance, Electronic Clutch Pressure Control (ECPC). This feature provides smoother shifting by modulating individual clutches. ECPC also provides the auto-shift and auto-kickdown feature.

Steering Clutch and Brake

Clutches are fade resistant and adjustment free. The multi-disc, oil-cooled steering clutches are hydraulically applied and electronically controlled. The brakes are applied by springs and hydraulically released for safe and reliable braking performance.


Underlying Strength

The Pipelayer main frame is engineered to handle the most demanding applications. The mainframe is built to absorb high impact shock loads and twisting forces, and full box section frame rails are designed to keep components rigidly aligned. Heavy steel castings add strength to the main case, center saddle and front cross member for outstanding durability. Top and bottom rails are continuous rolled sections, with no machining or welding, to provide superior mainframe durability. The final drives are elevated well above the ground level work area to protect them from impact loads, abrasion and contaminants. Caterpillar uses robotic welding techniques in the assembly of the case and frames. The deep penetration and consistency of robotic welding insures quality for long life and durability.


Engineered for Performance

The PL87 features a non-suspended, Cat elevated sprocket undercarriage. Track roller frame length has been increased by 128 mm (5.03 in), and the rear idler has been moved down and rearward, resulting in more track on the ground to enhance machine stability, especially on steep slopes. Undercarriage components are built for long life and ease of serviceability. Rollers and idlers feature Duo-Cone™ seals to help prevent oil loss and dirt entry. Tubular roller frames resist bending and twisting, with added reinforcement where operating loads are highest. Cat Tough Steel™ sprocket segments are precision machined after heat treat for proper fit. Segments can be removed or replaced without breaking the track. Pipelayer track is designed for high-impact and high load applications. The Positive Pin Retention Sealed and Lubricated Track is an exclusive Caterpillar design that locks the link to the pin for enhanced service life. Track shoes help optimize the machine for performance in demanding underfoot conditions. The PL87 features an 864 mm (34 in) super extreme service grouser with sealed and lubricated track (48 sections) and clipped shoes.

Integrated Technologies

Solutions to Make Work Easier and More Efficient

Cat Product Link*

Remote monitoring with Product Link improves overall fleet management effectiveness. Product Link is deeply integrated into machine systems. Events and diagnostic codes, as well as hours, fuel, idle time and other detailed information are transmitted to a secure web based application, VisionLink™. VisionLink includes powerful tools to convey information to users and dealers, including mapping, working and idle time, fuel level and more. *Product Link licensing not available in all areas.

Load Monitor Ready

The PL87 is Load Monitor Indicator (LMI) ready from the factory and can accept regional LMI systems. New hydraulic circuitry, integrated mounting hardware and the ready-mount power supply makes system installation simple. The LMI ready hydraulic system enables installation without opening the hydraulic system thus preventing contamination.


Thinking Generations Ahead

  • Fuel efficient engine, and power saving features like constant net horsepower, help save fuel to reduce costs and lower emissions.
  • Technologies like Product Link help improve overall efficiency, save fuel and fluids, and reduce equipment wear and tear.
  • Longer service intervals help reduce parts and fluids consumption.
  • Ecology drains make draining fluids more convenient and help prevent spills.
  • Major components are built to be rebuilt, eliminating waste and saving customers money by giving the machine and/or major components a second - and even third - life.


More Productivity, Less Cost

Grouped service points and easy maintenance contribute to increased machine up-time for greater productivity and reduced costs.

Easy Diagnostics

The machine monitoring system provides instant feedback on the condition of operating systems, utilizing a three level warning system. The system can easily be upgraded by flashing software.

Service Access

  • For ease of servicing, all regular engine maintenance points are easily reached through the left-hand engine compartment.
  • Engine doors are equipped with door handles and keyed locks for better protection.
  • Enlarged service panel doors provide easier access to all maintenance locations.
  • Remote-mounted fuel and hydraulic filters located within easy reach
  • Optional fast fill fuel tank available
  • Hydraulic oil, pivot shaft oil and washer fluid levels are conveniently monitored using a sight gauge
  • Fuel tank fill, hydraulic oil sight gauge, fuel tank water and sediment drain and S·O·SSM sampling ports are conveniently grouped within easy reach on the back of the machine.
  • Pressure taps are grouped to allow for quick monitoring of the hydraulic system, and have ground-level access through the left service access door.

Cooling Package

Cores and fan are accessible from ground level, with grill doors that are easily removed for cleaning and maintenance. The core is also easily accessed from the back through the engine compartment. The radiator fill cap for engine coolant refill is located on top of the hood.

Ecology Drains

Ecology drains provide a convenient method for draining fluids that saves time and helps prevent spills. They are included on the radiator (coolant), hydraulic tank and engine oil change.


Designed with Protection in Mind

Job site safety is a key concern for pipeline customers, and Cat pipelayers are designed with features to help protect people in and around the machine.

  • A Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS) provides added operator protection with an open or enclosed cab.
  • New winch profile and additional mirrors provide even greater visibility around the machine.
  • Increased undercarriage length and repositioned rear idler enhance slope capability.
  • PL87 pipelayers are Load Monitor Indicator (LMI) ready to help operators monitor loads for enhanced job site safety and efficiency.
  • Grab handles help personnel maintain three points of contact while servicing.
  • Updated quick drop release conveniently located near right-hand controls.
  • The PL87 features dual brakes that provide smooth operation and positive retention of boom and hook positions.

Renowned Cat Dealer Support

When Uptime Counts

Cat dealers excel at providing parts availability and equipment service to even the most remote areas. With more than 10,000 service technicians employed in over 3,000 Cat dealer locations around the world, Cat parts and service resources and capabilities are beyond compare. - Manage costs with preventive maintenance programs like Custom Track Service, S·O·SSM analysis, and guaranteed maintenance contracts. - Stay productive with best-in-class parts availability. Cat dealers can even help you with operator training to help you boost your profits. And when it’s time for machine replacement, your Cat dealer can help you save even more with Genuine Cat Reman parts. Receive the same warranty and reliability as new products at cost savings of 40 to 70 percent for power train and hydraulic components.


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