Caterpillar’s model 619 motor scraper was the very first of its ‘600’ series machines and introduced quite a few innovations not seen on its previous DW series motor scrapers. By Richard Campbell
We last took a look at the Caterpillar 619 in December 2006, and since that time a lot of new material on the type has been collected by your author, so its high time the type was reviewed.
The Caterpillar model 619 was originally to be known as the DW16 and was intended to be a replacement for the obsolescent DW15.
Introduced in 1959, the DW16/619 featured a range of new ‘firsts’ for Caterpillar motor scrapers including planetary final drives, two-cylinder hydraulic steering and semi-modular construction for easier maintenance.
It was also the last motor scraper manufactured by Caterpillar to feature an all-cable operated bowl.
Two versions of the initial production model, the 619 series B were offered – the 89E series and the 90E series.
The only difference between the two was the method of starting, the 89E series being direct electric start and the 90E series featuring the familiar two-cylinder Caterpillar petrol starting engine.
Both machines utilised the Caterpillar D337T, six-cylinder turbocharged diesel rated at 225 flywheel horsepower.
The chosen transmission was a Caterpillar-built, six-speed constant mesh transmission with a double plate 16” clutch which was air boosted.
Bringing up the rear as they say, was the No.442B cable operated scraper rated at 14 cubic yard struck and 18 cubic yards heaped.
Cable operation was via a Caterpillar No.27 double drum PCU.
Capable of 30 mph on the flat, the 619B/442 combination tipped the scales at approximately 23½ tons empty.
The 619B was not in production for very long and actually had a few problems in service, including operator complaints of sluggishness and a hard to load bowl.
Caterpillar manufactured 620 of the 90E series between 1959 and 1961, and a mere 86 of the 89E series before production switched to the improved model 619C.
The 619C introduced an entirely new engine, the Caterpillar model D340T, plus, for the first time, a choice of transmissions, direct drive or powershift.
Unique in not being fitted to any other Caterpillar machine, the new four-cylinder Caterpillar D340T diesel engine used in the 619C produced 250 flywheel horsepower and was turbocharged.
As with the former 619B, there were two versions of the 619C, the 61F series with the new powershift transmission and the 62F series with a manual direct drive transmission.
Both versions were available with either gasoline or direct electric starting systems, and for the first time, a pedal operated differential lock to reduce unwanted wheel spin when loading.
In an attempt to address some of the complaints regarding the previous models hard bowl loading characteristics, the 619C featured a redesigned bowl known as the No.619.
This had the same capacity as the former model No.442B and employed the same PCU for operation, the No.27.
Curiously, differences between the No.442 and No.619 bowl are very hard to spot, both having the same overall dimensions!
An operational 619C weighed approximately 24.2 tons empty.
There are two distinct offshoots of the Caterpillar 619, one produced by Athey and the other by Johnson Manufacturing.
Athey – pretty much from the introduction of the 619B in 1959, Athey products Corp offered a hydraulically operated 20 cubic yard rear dump designed for maneuverability and ruggedness in rock applications.
These dumpers were manufactured for the 619B and 619C but precise numbers produced are unknown and photographs of them are quite rare.
Johnson – In an attempt to break into the elevating scraper market, Caterpillar approached Johnson Manufacturing Co. to produce a suitable elevating scraper that could be mated to the powershift version of the 619C.
The end result was the J619, a 20 cubic yard hydraulically operated elevating scraper which Caterpillar identified as their 43F series.
The J619 featured a two-speed elevator and, while not a runaway success, did set in motion the range of Caterpillar elevating scrapers which were to follow, particularly the J621.
Introduced to the marketplace in 1964, the J619 was in production for only one year before being discontinued in favour of the 619C’s successor, the 621.
Photos of surviving J619s are rare.
Caterpillar subsequently acquired Johnson and its elevating scraper technology.
As with many earthmovers manufactured during the early 1960s, creature comforts were relatively few and far between.
The operator was provided with a sprung seat and a good set of instruments and that was about it!
ROPS had yet to make an appearance so all 619Bs and 619Cs were manufactured without ROPS frames or mounting hardware.
A cab with heater demister was available but seldom fitted and photos of 619s with this attachment normally show an aftermarket example.
Production of the 62F series 619C was discontinued in 1964 with approximately 1370 examples produced and the 61F series 619C halted production a year later with a total of 2373 units manufactured.
The New Zealand Connection
NZ franchise holder Gough, Gough & Hamer imported seven 619C scrapers, all 61F series between 1960 and 1965.
They were used throughout New Zealand on roading and sub divisional earthworks and one or two of them still exist in one piece.
For the Model Collector
Currently no models exist in any scale of the Caterpillar 619 in either 619B or 619C versions.
This also includes variations such as the PR619 and J619.
Hopefully, some manufacturer will address this shortfall in the not too distant future.
Brief Specifications – Caterpillar 619C (61F series)
Engine: Caterpillar D340T, 4-cylinder, turbocharged diesel rated at 250 flywheel horsepower @1900 rpm
Transmission: Caterpillar 9-speed planetary powershift transmission
Top Speed: 31 mph
Brakes: Air operated expanding shoe on all 4 wheels
Steering: Full hydraulic, 90° each way
Turn Circle: 30’
Std.Tire: 26.5×29, 22 ply, E3
Bowl Operation: All cable via Cat No.27 PCU
Capacity: 14 cubic yards struck, 18 cubic yards heaped
Length: 36’ 4”
Width: 10’ 10”
Height: 10’ 4”
Operating Weight: 24.2 tons (empty, 45.1 tons (loaded)