Classic Machines Scrapers

Classic Machines: The Caterpillar 619 scraper

The 619 motorscraper introduced a number of firsts for Caterpillar scrapers, including planetary final drives, two-cylinder hydraulic steering and semi-modular construction for easier maintenance. By Richard Campbell

First of the Caterpillar 600 series motorscrapers, the model 619, was first introduced in 1959. It was originally called the DW16 and was intended as a replacement for the obsolescent DW15.

The initial model offered to contractors was the 619 series B and matching No.442B cable-operated scraper, with a 14 cubic yard struck and 18 cubic yards heaped capacity. An optional 17 cubic yard rear dump, known as the PR619, was also produced for the machine.

Cable control was via the rugged and dependable No.27 two drum PCU.

Powering the 619B was a Cat D337T six-cylinder turbocharged diesel (the same engine as used in the DW20 and DW21), rated at 225 horsepower.

The machine was offered with either gasoline starting engine or direct electric start, and a six speed constant mesh transmission with double plate 16” clutch was standard equipment.

Riding on 26.5 x 25 tyres, the 20.5 ton 619B was capable of a handy 30 miles an hour.

Produced for only one year, the 619B was plagued with a few problems, including engine difficulties, weight issues and a bowl considered by operators to be hard loading.

So in 1960 the new model 619C was released.

This featured a number of improvements and modifications, most significant of which was an entirely new engine.

Caterpillar chose the new model D340 four-cylinder, 250 horsepower, turbocharged diesel for the 619C and at the same time introduced an optional 9-speed powershift transmission to go with it. The constant mesh transmission was still offered for those contractors who preferred direct drive but with the added bonus of an air boosted clutch to make the operator’s life a little easier.

A foot operated differential lock to reduce wheel spinning was also added.

Both gasoline starting engine and direct electric start were still available options.

It is interesting to note that the D340 engine was not used in any other Caterpillar earthmover then or since.

To try and remedy the loading complaints, a supposedly redesigned low-bowl No.619 cable-operated scraper replaced the former 619B’s No.442, but capacity remained exactly the same at 14 yards struck and 18 yards heaped.

Having studied the two scraper bowls at length, the author cannot discern anything other than minor differences between the No.442 and No.619 scrapers, leading one to wonder just exactly what was altered.

The cable control unit remained the No.27 but now featured air boosted controls for easier operation.

With these modifications, the empty weight of the machine had risen to 21.5 tons, but it was still capable of 30mph according to specifications published by Caterpillar.

During 1963, the Johnson Manufacturing Company of Lubbock, Texas, began offering an elevating scraper to mate with the 619C tractor unit. This combination, known as the J619, was widely marketed by Caterpillar. This was the first elevating scraper offered by Caterpillar and was produced right up until the 619 ceased production. Caterpillar subsequently acquired Johnson and its elevating scraper technology.

As was common during the 1950s and early ‘60s, operator comforts were few, and on the 619 these consisted of a suspension seat, optional windscreen with wiper and a sliding panel between the operator and the engine compartment to provide some warmth during winter. The author has only ever seen one photo of a 619 with a cab and it was definitely not a factory fitted example!

The 619C was manufactured through to 1965 when it was replaced by the vastly superior all-hydraulic model 621.

The New Zealand connection.

New Zealand distributor Gough, Gough & Hamer imported at least seven 619 motorscrapers between 1960 and 1965, and all were of the 619C (61F series) type.

These were used throughout New Zealand on roading and subdivisional earthworks by contractors such as Fouhy, Mahar & Thompson, Cross Contractors, F.Phelps and Hitchens Transport to name a few.

I would be pleased to hear from any of our readers who still has, or knows of, one of these machines still in operating order.

Brief specifications – Caterpillar 619C (61F series)

Engine:            Caterpillar D340, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel rated at 250hp at 1900rpm

Transmission: Caterpillar nine-speed, barrel type, planetary powershift transmission

Top Speed:     30mph

Brakes:            Cam-operated expanding shoe on all four wheels

Steering:          Full hydraulic, 90 degrees each way

Std.Tire:          26.5 x 29 (22pr)

Capacity:        14 cubic yards struck, 18 cubic yards heaped

Control:           All cable via two-drum PCU

Length:            36’4”

Width:             10’10”

Height:                        12’1”

Operating Weight: 48,300 lb (21.5 tons)

If you enjoy Richard’s classic machinery profiles you may wish to read his blog posts at www.contrafedupdate.me.

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