A big ‘heavy hitter’ from International-Harvester, the 295 had quite a measure of success during its production life, even making the transition into a ‘B’ model. By Richard Campbell.
We last looked at the International-Harvester 295 PayScraper back in April of 2006 and, since then, much more information on this machine has come to hand.
The Model 295 PayScraper was International’s first real attempt at designing and building a motor scraper.
Previously, the manufacturer had used the designs, jigs and tooling from the Heil Company, which it purchased in late 1953.
While these two scrapers were quite good when they were first released in the mid-40s, by the middle 1950s they were quite obsolescent and very much “first generation” technology.
International-Harvester engineers came up with two new motor scrapers, the two-axle model 295 and the three-axle model 495.
Both machines had a fair amount of commonality such as engines and transmissions, but the biggest shared component was the bowl that was identical for both the 295 and 495 – although the two machines had different goosenecks.
The first model 295 was released for sale in 1959.
International started with a clean sheet of paper when developing the model 295.
It was powered by the company’s recently introduced model DT-817 six-cylinder diesel engine that also powered its new TD-25 bulldozer.
The turbocharged DT-817 was rated at 375 flywheel horsepower.
As International didn’t manufacture any transmissions large enough to suit its new scraper, it chose GM’s Allison division to provide a suitable gearbox.
An Allison four-speed powershift model CLT5840 was chosen as suitable and, with this powertrain combination, the 295 was capable of over 30mph on the flat.
Conventional cam-activated air brakes were fitted.
International-Harvester, who had decades of experience manufacturing trucks, built all their own drive axles and differentials.
While the universal hitch of the 295 was conventional, the steering system was unique in that it featured two hydraulic cylinders whose piston shafts were cut with a rack.
When activated, these acted on a fixed gear attached to the hitch, thus giving steering to the machine.
When this arrangement was new it worked quite well, but problems began to appear when the system got a few hours on it.
This caused ‘wandering’, requiring the operator to be constantly vigilant, especially on the haul road.
As this setup could not be shimmed out to allow for wear, the only fix was to replace the steering rods or the main hitch gear – usually both!
This was a fairly time, money, and labour intensive exercise.
At the rear of the tractor units’ main case was the two-drum cable control (PCU), a Model 280A manufactured by Superior Industries and driven by an extension shaft off the engine’s PTO, thereby giving “live-drive” operation.
International manufactured a 24 cubic yard struck, 31 cubic yard heaped bowl for the 295.
All cable-controlled, the machine’s original bowl had an unusual apron that was lever actuated via the ejector circuit.
In service, this soon began to cause problems when, in certain materials such as heavy clays, the apron would not open to allow the load out, bending the levers in the process.
International fixed the problem by a redesign of the apron system and bowl resulting in a more conventional cable tower and sheaves being mounted on the gooseneck to lift the apron part way up – at which point the original lever actuator did the rest.
Many existing 295s were retro-fitted with this apron system.
At the same time, bowl heaped capacity was raised from 31 to 34 cubic yards by the addition of side-boarding, as executives hoped the extra capacity would make the machine even more attractive for bulk earthmoving.
International manufactured approximately 130 Model 295 scrapers before the type was replaced in 1962 by the 295B.
In order to keep up with the competition and ever-changing technology, International redesigned the Model 295 and released the new Model 295B in late 1962.
It was a fine and very businesslike looking machine and there were some quite extensive changes from the original Model 295, none the least of which was an all-new, all-hydraulically controlled bowl.
International also purchased the patent rights from GM-Euclid for its hydraulic steering system and so replaced the troublesome rack and gear system of the original 295 for good.
The DT-817 engine was retained, only now it was the improved DT-817B model that was rated at 396 flywheel horsepower.
International-Harvester also replaced the former 295s four speed transmission with a new six-speed Allison CLT5860 that better matched the operating characteristics of the machine.
As mentioned, the bowl was an all new design that held 24 cubic yards struck and 32 cubic yards heaped.
Gone, were all the lever and cable actuation, replaced by heavy duty, double acting hydraulic cylinders.
The machine’s apron was operated by a very “Caterpillar-esque” lever and rod design and was a power up and down type.
Remaining in production until 1974, the 295B was the most successful of all the “95” series motor scrapers with over 500 units being built.
A minor sequel
Introduced in 1965 was a 295B spin-off called the E295B that was a big and hefty 32 cubic yard elevating scraper with an elevating scraper bowl partly designed by Johnson Manufacturing.
This machine was in production until 1974, but does not appear to have gained much market acceptance with fewer than 100 machines being manufactured.
The New Zealand connection
International-Harvester 295s and 295Bs were imported here by the dealer, International-Harvester NZ.
Exact quantities of each model are unknown, but the cable operated machines were sold to Earthmovers Waikato and Drydens, to mention a couple, and at least three saw service into the mid 1970s owned by John Pavan of Wellington.
The Ministry of Works imported several Model 295Bs that were operated almost exclusively in the South Island on the many hydro schemes before they were sold off.
Later users of these machines included LD Collis, Harliwich and Baker Construction.
For the model collector
Regrettably, no manufacturer has seen fit to issue a model of the 295 or 295B.
While it may not have set the world on fire in terms of total sales, the International 295 is deserving of a model as it is a link in the development of the motor scraper as a whole.
Brief specifications – International-Harvester 295B
Engine: International-Harvester DT-817B, 6-cylinder, turbocharged and aftercooled diesel rated at 396 flywheel horsepower
Transmission: Allison CLT5860, 6-speed, full powershift
Top Speed: 32mph
Brakes: Full air operated, wedge activated shoe brakes
Tyre Size: 33.5×33, 32-ply, E3
Steering: Euclid type, twin-cylinder, 90° each way
Turn Circle: 42’ 5”
Capacity: 24 cubic yards struck, 32 cubic yards heaped
Operation: All hydraulic
Length: 44’ 5”
Operating Weight: 33 tons (empty), 70 tons (loaded)