Classic MachinesScrapers

The International Harvester 270 PayScraper

Ten years ago, when I first wrote about the International 270 PayScraper (Contractor, September 2005), the article was heavily abridged to fit available publishing space. Also, the photos used at the time weren’t all that good so it is high time to revisit this machine, and give it the treatment it deserves! By Richard Campbell.

Designed to replace the obsolescent model 2T-75 PayScraper, a design that International Harvester (IH) had inherited when it bought out Heil in 1954, the model 270 PayScraper was introduced in 1963.

It was originally intended to call the new machine the 2T-70 but IH management vetoed the idea as it wanted to present a fresh image to the construction world, so the name 270 PayScraper was used instead.

Rated at 14 cubic yards struck and 18 cubic yards heaped, the 270 was all-hydraulic as opposed to its predecessor which was predominantly cable operated.

You are seated on an International TD-25B track type tractor while it push loads an International 270 PayScraper in sticky clay. The good line of site the operator had is quite apparent here.

IH appears to have “got it right” from the outset with the model 270, as very few changes were made to the machine during its nine-year production life.

Previous PayScraper models did not have 90 degree steering ability to either side, so to save some time and money in R&D costs, IH bought licence rights from Euclid for its follow-up style hydraulic steering system and incorporated it into the 270.

The main hitch casting and kingpin was angled forward approximately three degrees from vertical to help prevent nose-over during sharp turns, a common issue with overhung scrapers of the day.

An aggressive marketing campaign began in earnest in 1964, with advertisements in all the major construction magazines with IH ready and willing to demonstrate the new scraper on the jobsite of your choice.

There was also a great deal of lobbying of state highway departments and overseas authorities promoting the new machine.

Sales were initially slow but picked up as time went on with several large sales to fleet owners.

International Harvester had stiff competition in the 14 cubic yard market segment with offerings from Caterpillar (619C and from 1965 the 621), Michigan (model 210), Wabco (model C and from 1968 the 229F) and Allis-Chalmers (TS260).

Although Euclid did not offer a single-engined 14 cubic yard machine, it more than made up for this shortfall with its twin-powered TS-14.

Despite all the heavyweight competition, the 270 sold reasonably well and was popular with operators.

International also sold a few 270s to the US Army, which shipped them offshore to Vietnam for airbase construction.

During 1965, IH also introduced a self-loading elevating scraper based around the 270’s tractor unit called the E270 (a machine we examined in the August 2010 issue of Contractor).

International-Harvester began design work on a replacement for the 270 PayScraper in the early 1970s which ultimately resulted in its 400-series of machines built around a modular concept.

The 270 remained in production until 1972, by which time just over 720 had been manufactured.

It was superceded by the model 431 PayScraper in 1973.

The 270 described

The model 270 PayScraper was powered by an International DVT-573 turbocharged V8 diesel engine putting out 260 horsepower.

Twin-Disc provided the transmission, a full powershift 8-forward 2-reverse speed type which gave the 270 PayScraper a top speed of around 34mph.

Brakes were air over hydraulic shoe type, with automatic slack adjusters.

When introduced, the standard tyre was the 24×29 but this was upgraded to the wide base 26.5×25 type quite early in the machine’s production life

As mentioned previously, International got its steering system from Euclid.

This consisted of two, double-acting hydraulic cylinders with follow-up control, giving a full 90 degree turn in either direction. It featured variable ratio which allowed the machine to steer faster the quicker the wheel was turned.

The bowl was constructed of high tensile steel and held 14 cubic yards struck.

Operation was all-hydraulic with two vertically mounted cylinders providing down pressure and lift (similar to the Caterpillar 621), a single cylinder powering the ejector and another cylinder attached to a fabricated arm for raising and lowering the apron.

The apron mechanism was very reminiscent of Euclid scrapers of the period as the arm was attached to the apron by a short length of cable.

A three-section reversible cutting edge was used with an adjustable drop centre.

Cutting edge width was nine feet nine inches.

Great factory photo showing the operator’s position on a 270 PayScraper

Good all-round  visibility was a feature of the operator’s compartment.    The operator sat well forward on an air-suspension seat with all instrumentation to the right of the steering wheel in an easy-to-read group.

Operating levers for the bowl, apron and ejector were located directly to the operator’s right and actuated the appropriate hydraulic valves (which were remotely mounted) by means of linkage rods. These linkages could get a bit sloppy as wear and tear set in resulting in a slight delay before things happened.

The transmission shifter was placed in front of the bowl control levers and took the form of a notched quadrant.

 Optional equipment

Not a great deal of optional extras were ever offered for the 270 PayScraper.

There was a fully enclosed factory installed cab but the author has only ever seen one of these fitted, the usual installation being either a lightweight sun canopy or plain windshield.

Other options included heavy duty cutting edges, cold weather starting aids for the engine and a full lighting package with heavy duty alternator.

The New Zealand connection

Largest user of this type was the NZ Ministry of Works which bought 10 machines from International-Harvester NZ, three in 1964 and a further seven in 1967.

These were used quite extensively in the Wellington, Turangi and Auckland regions on roading, subdivision and some of the North Island hydroelectric jobs before they were sold off at government auction into private ownership.


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