A direct development of Deere’s first elevating scraper, the model 840, the model 5010 incorporated many improvements over its predecessor.
John Deere to many people is better known for its agricultural equipment and is in fact one of the oldest established manufacturers of ag equipment, being founded in the late 1830s.
Deere ventured into the construction industry via its agricultural track type tractors and are now well established as a producer of construction and logging equipment as well as catering for folks down on the farm!
The original John Deere model 840 was a 3-axle elevating scraper and utilised a bowl manufactured for Deere by Hancock of Lubbock Texas.
Hancock, recognized as the originator of the elevating scraper concept, had already been manufacturing this type of bowl for some years and built them in several sizes. They were originally designed for land levelling and intended to be towed behind agricultural tractors or small track type tractors, an area in which John Deere excelled.
A manufacturing agreement was set up between Deere and Hancock in 1957.
John Deere were something of a pioneer in respect to elevating scrapers being the first company to offer this type of machine as a motor scraper on a commercial production basis.
The John Deere 840 sold in relatively small numbers but was sufficiently successful that Deere considered it worth developing and subsequently in 1962 the model 5010 was introduced.
Deere also chose a 3-axle configuration for the model 5010 and powered the machine with one of its own 6-cylinder naturally aspirated diesel engines.
This engine produced 129 flywheel horsepower and drove an 8-speed manual transmission with live PTO through a double 11 inch power assisted clutch.
A top speed of 26 mph was attainable in 8th gear which was very respectable for the time.
The live drive PTO (power take off) was essential for drive to the scraper elevator whose operation was entirely mechanical via a complex series of reduction gearboxes and drive shafts.
This may seem rather odd but hydraulic technology was still basically in its adolescence and hydraulic motors of sufficient capacity to drive the elevator simply did not exist.
Having 3 axles made the JD5010 a smooth rider which no doubt endeared it to operators.
Power assisted steering and hydraulic brakes were standard equipment and a partial cab could be fitted as an option.
The operator was placed on the left of the machine with good visibility in all directions and a fully adjustable seat.
An instrument cluster was directly to his right so a handy eye could be kept on vital functions during loading and unloading.
Bearing a remarkable similarity to the model 400 Hancock elevating scraper fitted to the previous model 840 (why change a good thing), the model 5010’s bowl was in fact manufactured by John Deere and held 8 cubic yards.
Deere had made several small refinements including changing the profile of the elevator’s flights and modifying the geometry of the cutting edges and sidecutters.
As mentioned previously, drive to the elevator was through a series of gearboxes and shafts which drove the 16 flight elevator at 227 rpm.
Dumping was achieved by the common method of sliding floor and doze out ejector.
Bolt on teeth could be fitted to the cutting edge to aid in loading tough materials.
At 8 feet wide, and with an axle loading of only 11 tons the John Deere 5010 was legally roadable just about anywhere making it a very flexible tool.
Interestingly, elevating scrapers were only type of scraper that John Deere offered during the 40 years that motor scrapers were listed in their sales catalogues.
The John Deere model 5010 was discontinued in 1965 and replaced by the model 760, also a 3-axle scraper.
The New Zealand Connection
The Ministry of Works imported five John Deere model 5010 tractor units during 1963 through the (then) New Zealand distributor Dalhoff & King.
These were used to tow high speed compaction rollers and sets of discs on various jobs in the North Island and were not imported with an elevating scraper.
They were disposed of through public auction in 1977.
It is unknown why Dalhoff & King were not more aggressive in marketing the range of John Deere elevating scrapers.
Although a conservative bunch, New Zealand contractors were already purchasing the Wabco 110E2/111A elevating scraper so the technology was not unknown to them.
The author does not know if any of the John Deere 5010’s are still in existence.
Brief Specifications – John Deere 5010
Engine: John Deere 6-cylinder, naturally apirated diesel rated at 129 flywheel hp at 2200 rpm
Clutch: twin 11” plate, hydraulically boosted.
Transmission: John Deere 8-speed constant mesh manual
Tires: Front: 11.00 x 16, Drive & Scraper: 23.5 x 25
Steering: Full hydraulic power boost on front axle
Brakes: Expanding shoe, hydraulically activated
Top Speed: 26.1 mph
Capacity: 8 cubic yards
Elevator: Mechanically driven from tractor unit PTO
Length: 32’ 10”