A more modern look at the Allis-Chalmers TS-200 motorscraper

Although it was not an original Allis-Chalmers design, the model TS-200 motorscraper paved the way for a far more successful machine in Allis’ product line, the TS-260. By RICHARD CAMPBELL.

We first took a look at the Allis-Chalmers TS-200 way back in 2003, and for the benefit of our newer subscribers and those who may have missed the original article, here is an updated version incorporating all the latest information at my disposal.

La Plant-Choate Manufacturing Co designed and built the original TS-200 scraper.

It was the second motor scraper it had put into production, its first, the model TS-300, was introduced in 1945 and proved to be immediately successful.

La Plant’s TS-200 was introduced in 1950 and although smaller than the TS-300, was quite advanced for its time as it featured all-hydraulic operation.

Even the cable on the apron was activated by a hydraulic cylinder.

The New Zealand connection

There were two Allis-Chalmers TS-200s imported into New Zealand, both originally owned by Taylor & Culley.

These machines did sterling service for Culleys for almost 20 years before they were traded in to Clyde Engineering on an order of new Terex TS-14s.

The TS-200s were used in the construction of many big jobs around the North Island including Wellington Airport and I believe their last job was in the Bay of Plenty before being traded-in.

As an example of just how well made they were, the bowl unit of one of them still exists, and is in use converted to a towed scraper!

Located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, LaPlant-Choate was no stranger to hydraulics.

Along with cable-operated attachments, the company also manufactured a very wide range of hydraulically operated tractor attachments and was a preferred supplier to Caterpillar, in fact the second largest supplier next to LeTourneau.

Its hydraulic systems were simple and reliable which won it much favour among owners.

LaPlant-Choate can definitely be considered a pioneer when it came to hydraulic control.

Prior to the end of WWII, LaPlant invested heavily in the research and development of two-axle overhung scrapers, no doubt spurred on by the success of LeTourneau’s Tournapulls.

It obviously saw a great market opportunity.

Both the TS-300 and TS-200 were well accepted by the industry at the time.

However, by the beginning of the 1950s LaPlant-Choate was a little strapped for capital and became a prime acquisition target. So, when Allis-Chalmers came calling in 1952 the deal was done.

Allis-Chalmers was seeking a motor scraper to complement its track type tractor range and the takeover of LaPlant-Choate saved it millions of dollars in R&D costs in designing its own.

It all made economic sense.

Allis-Chalmers had no need of LaPlant’s dozer blades and other attachments as it had already bought up Baker and GarWood ,so LaPlant’s blades, rippers and tree pushers vanished into history.

Allis-Chalmers did keep LaPlant’s towed scraper line however, as they were a better design than the GarWood types Allis-Chalmers had been promoting.

When originally introduced, the TS-200 was powered by either a 165 horsepower Cummins HRB600 or 176 horsepower Buda 6DA779 diesel engine depending on customer preference.

Allis-Chalmers ran with the Buda engine as it had acquired the Buda Engine Company in a buy-out in 1953 and that pretty much kept everything “in-house” for Allis-Chalmers.

While the Cummins engine was retained for a time as an option, it was quietly phased out in 1954.

Allis-Chalmers actually made very few alterations to the TS-200 scraper design; the most noticeable was the change from Hi-Way yellow paint to Persian orange.

It also deleted the front vertical radiator guard overrider bars for whatever reason.

In this form the Allis-Chalmers TS-200 was manufactured right up until 1958 when it was replaced by the new TS-260.

Just as a matter of interest, even though the ‘new’ TS-260 had a totally redesigned tractor unit, Allis-Chalmers kept the TS-200 bowl virtually unchanged and mated it to the new tractor.

Obviously LaPlant-Choate had been on to a good thing when it originally built it!

Combined production of both LaPlant-Choate and Allis-Chalmers TS200s totalled 1282 machines

The TS-200 described

Of conventional two-axle overhung scraper design, the Allis-Chalmers TS-200 was usually powered by a 176-flywheel horsepower Buda 6DA-779 inline diesel engine, connected via manually operated 17 inch single plate clutch, to a Fuller 5A1220 constant mesh manual transmission.

In this form the machine was capable of a top speed of 21.6mph (34.8 km/h).

Shoe type air brakes were used on all four wheels.

Tyres were limited to 21.00×25 E3 type.

One of the issues which was not in Allis-Chalmers’ favour was steering.

Although the machine had twin, double-acting steering rams, due to the geometry of the system, turns were limited to 60 degrees either side of centre.

This shortcoming was carried over to the initial production models of the TS-260 as well.

A very large vertical kingpin held the scraper to the tractor unit on an oscillating hitch which also held the steering cylinders and their multiplier linkage.

The bowl held 10 cubic yards struck and 13 cubic yards heaped, and all functions were hydraulically operated.

Adding sideboards to increase capacity was near impossible owing to the design of the ejector system which had linkage directly connected to the apron.

The apron was lifted hydraulically by a single action cylinder attached to a length of cable and lowered by gravity.
A bulldozer type ejector utilizing a two stage hydraulic ram was used.

For the model collector

Although there is a superb model of the LaPlant-Choate/Allis-Chalmers TS-300 available from First Gear in 1:50 scale, no models have ever been issued of the smaller TS-200.

As the ejector moved forward to dump the load, linkage from the ejector top attached to the apron raised this unit high up out of the way to prevent load ‘hang up’ between the lower apron lip and the bowl cutting edge (a common problem for some other scrapers of the period).

The bowl floor had a slight curvature at the cutting-edge end which really helped to boil the load in, especially when working in clay.

Caterpillar copied this design for is own early towed scrapers but discarded it after a while as a special cutting edge had to be fitted for finishing purposes.

Machines of this era had very few operator comforts and the TS-200 was no exception.

The operator’s seat was mounted on a plinth directly above the drive axle, and even though a decent sized seat cushion was supplied, every bump would have been transferred directly up the operator’s backside!

Full instrumentation was installed and the machine had the characteristic half-round steering wheel favoured by Allis-Chalmers.

Optional extras were limited to a full weatherproof cab with heater and windshield wiper.

The trailed scraper could be replaced by an 18-ton capacity hydraulically operated rear dump if required and in this configuration the machine was known as the TR-200.


Brief Specifications Allis-Chalmers TS-200

Engine:            Buda 6DA779 6-cylinder, inline diesel engine rated at 176 flywheel hp at 1800 rpm
Clutch:             Borg & Beck 17″ single plate, self-adjusting
Transmission:   Fuller 5A1220 5-speed constant mesh
Brakes:            Air operated shoes on all 4 wheels
Steering:           Full hydraulic with multiplier linkage, 60° either side of centre
Turn circle:      26′ 2″
Tyres:              21.00×25, 20-ply E3
Top speed:       21.6 mph
Scraper:           Based on LaPlant-Choate C-44 Carrimor towed scraper
Capacity:         10 cubic yards struck, 13 cubic yards heaped
Operation:        All hydraulic
Length:            32′ 10″
Width:              10′ 11″
Height:             9′ 9″
Op weight:         18.6 tons (empty), 31 tons (loaded)

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