Classic Machines

Classic Machines: Euclid’s SS-12 scraper

The SS-12 was one of Euclid’s first machines and the Ministry of Works imported 22 of them, putting them to work on various government projects around the country. BY RICHARD CAMPBELL.

The Euclid SS-12 was one of the first machines manufactured in England by the fledgling Euclid Great Britain Ltd. It was based on the US-produced, model 77FDT, three-axle scraper, and had a 12 cubic yard struck rating.

Machines imported from the UK were either powered by a Rolls Royce (model B6FDT), Leyland (model B8FDT), or Cummins (B10FDT) diesel engine.

As this column is primarily concerned with machines that have some links to New Zealand, we will not be examining the US manufactured types, as none were brought here.

The SS-12 tractor unit had many components in common with the range of Euclid off-highway dump trucks of the era, and was very ruggedly built and simple to maintain.

As mentioned, there were three engine options available: The 184 horsepower, six-cylinder, Rolls-Royce model C6NFL was fitted in the type B6FDT; the 178 horsepower, six-cylinder Leyland UE680 was fitted in the type B8FDT; and the B10FDT was fitted with a 200 horsepower, six-cylinder Cummins NH600.

Apart from the type of engine installed, all of the other SS-12 specifications were the same:

Manual, five-speed, Fuller 5A series constant mesh transmission with an 18 inch single plate Borg & Beck clutch, which had an air booster for ease of operation.

The steering was hydraulically assisted by way of a Vickers steering booster. Having had a go on one of these machines myself I can assure readers that amount of steering assistance was minimal! The turning circle was approximately 42 feet on level ground, with an athletic operator.

The front axle usually featured a “windrow breaker” – a V-shaped steel attachment that spread piles of earth to either side – rather like a snowplow. It was designed to prevent the machine from becoming bottomed out in the cut or fill. This attachment was standard equipment on machines outfitted with the optional bottom dump.

Brakes were full air, expanding shoe type and operated on the drive and scraper axles only.

As with many machines of the period, comforts for the operator were quite few. In the case of the SS-12, these were limited to a suspension seat and a windshield or a Standard Euclid cab with a heater.

With one exception, all of the New Zealand machines came into the country without a cab.

The layout of the scraper followed the usual Euclid pattern, with dual lever bowl lift (the bowl is actually lowered by gravity), lever and cable apron, and roll-out ejection.

All of the scrapers functions were hydraulically operated by single acting, interchangeable hydraulic rams.

Capacity of the trailing scraper was 12 cubic yards struck and 16 cubic yards heaped.

Always a good loading unit, the scraper featured a 4-section reversible cutting edge.

In operating trim, an SS-12 weighed around 19½ tons.

The SS-12 was produced in the UK from 1954 through to the mid 1970s – long after this model configuration had been discontinued in the USA. One further model was introduced during this time, the GM 6-71 powered type B14FDT.

The New Zealand Connection

Of the 22 machines brought into New Zealand, all were Rolls Royce powered, except for one Leyland powered example. It is worth noting that no units with Cummins engines were imported.

All of the Rolls Royce powered SS-12 type B6FDTs were bought by the Ministry of Works and were used throughout the country on hydro, airport, roading and government-sponsored housing projects.

After their retirement and disposition through government stores board auction, they found a second life with new owners, although not many of them in their complete form.

For some reason the tractor units were auctioned off separate to the scrapers, and while some contractors bought both ends and mated them back together again, many of the tractor units were modified into self-propelled compactors.

Even the Ministry of Works modified the tractor units into house-towing tractors and penstock movers.

The scrapers, with the addition of a front axle, made excellent towed scoops and the occasional one of these can still be seen putting in a days work around the country

The sole Leyland engined B8FDT was bought by the Hatuma Lime Co and worked for this company’s stripping operation its entire life. It was delivered fitted with a factory cab although this has since been removed. The company still owns the machine.

Brief Specifications Euclid SS-12

Engine:            Rolls Royce model C6NFL, six-cylinder, in-line diesel, rated at 184 flywheel horsepower at 2100 rpm.

Transmission:  Fuller 5A1210 constant mesh, five-speed with one reverse gear

Clutch:             Borg & Beck 18” single plate with air assist

Brakes:                        Full air expanding shoe

Steering:                      Cam & Roller type with hydraulic assist

Operation:                   Full hydraulic via Hydreco pump

Capacity:                     12yd³ struck, 16yd³ heaped

Length:                        40’ 9”

Width:             11’

Height:                        9’ 9” (without cab)

Top Speed:                  31mph

Operating Weight:       19½ tons

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