The 1960s were the halcyon days of big motor scrapers.
Most of the large equipment manufacturers had a machine in their sales catalogue with a rated capacity above 40 cubic yards and Euclid proved no exception with their model SS-40. By Richard Campbell
Euclid were quite early to the marketplace with a big capacity, three axle, open bowl motor scraper, introducing their model SS-33 in 1959 and getting a jump on their major rival, Caterpillar.
With a 33 cubic yard capacity the SS-33 could move a lot of dirt on jobs where there were not too many grades encountered.
A matching bottom dump hauler was also available for the SS-33 tractor unit and this held approximately 35 tons.
Euclid manufactured quite a few of these units (scrapers and bottom dumps) before switching to the new model SS-40 in 1961.
At 40 cubic yards struck (level) measure, and 52 cubic yards heaped, the SS-40 was a real monster of a machine and was developed to compete with the recently introduced Caterpillar 660 which had a similar capacity rating.
Customers could choose either a 432 horsepower Detroit Diesel 12V-71 or a 450 horsepower Cummins NVH-12 depending on what powerplant suited their application best.
The transmission in both configurations was an Allison CLBT5840 four-speed, full powershift with an in-built retarder.
This engine transmission combination was revised at the end of 1962, Euclid electing to fit the 530 horsepower Detroit Diesel 16V-71 with a six-speed Allison CLBT5960 powershift to gain better utilization of the increased horsepower available.
The Cummins engine remained an option, but with the six-speed transmission in place of the former four-speed type.
The Euclid SS-40 was designed from the word go to shift large quantities of material, fast, on relatively level haul roads.
As such, it was an ideal choice for really large highway and industrial jobs or opencast mine overburden removal.
Fully loaded, the SS-40 weighed around 110 tons but could move its bulk at up to 38 miles per hour!
Stopping a machine the size and weight of the SS-40 was no simple task. Along with the transmission retarder, Euclid employed full air brakes on the tractor and scraper axles with an area of some 2,360 square inches.
The steering axle was of conventional ‘A-Frame’ design and employed a hydraulic steering booster supplied by Vickers Hydraulics.
This permitted a turning radius of 44’ 6”, not bad for a machine the size of an SS-40.
A vertical kingpost universal hitch was fitted as standard.
This allowed the easy interchange between scraper to bottom dump configuration if the client wanted maximum utilization from the tractor unit.
The SS-40 scraper held 40 cubic yards and had the standard 4-piece Euclid cutting edge which allowed easy replacement of the segments by a single person.
Unlike some of it’s contemporaries, the SS-40 did not have a power down bowl, instead employing a single acting hoist cylinder (as used on other Euclid scrapers) connected to the bowl via a lever and two links.
Gravity and the weight of the bowl did all the lowering.
This meant that the material being loaded had to be very “scraper friendly” or well ripped.
Ejection was also by the standard Euclid method employing a roll out ejector with the curved bowl floor hinged behind the cutting edge.
Two double acting hydraulic cylinders accomplished this task.
An externally mounted radial arc apron actuated by two double acting cylinders completed the bowls operating package.
The two cylinders allowed a modicum of force to close the apron when the bowl was full rather than rely on gravity for this operation.
Apart from being rather loud (!), the SS-40 was regarded by many as a comfortable machine to operate.
The operator was well placed to the left of center with a very good view of proceedings and had a Milsco air suspension seat.
Full instrumentation was provided with the steering column bisecting the instrument panel.
Three individual lever controlled all the bowl functions.
Optional accessories included a welded steel cab with a heater and demister.
Where operating conditions demanded, the SS-40 could be fitted with dual wheels on the tractor drive and scraper axles.
These were usually specified when the standard 33.5×33 tyres would have been placed under heavy loads or very high speed operation where tyre blowout due to high ton-miles-per-hour operation were a factor.
Euclid manufactured several customer-specific models of the SS-40 to meet certain customer demands.
These hybrids are in some cases quite famous, more so than the original parent machine.
Two notable examples are as follows:
- The TSS-40 – a standard SS-40 with an 8V-71 diesel engine in the scraper unit for extra power and grade handling ability. Capacity remained the same at 40 cubic yards.
- The TTSS-40 – this was an enormous double bowl SS-40 with three Detroit Diesel 16V-71 engines. These machines were capable of hauling well over 100 cubic yards per trip.
Western Contracting owned five of these giant units for use on the California Aqueduct project and there is excellent video footage on YouTube showing these machines in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L45GRECeer0
Euclid manufactured well over 400 SS-40’s during the time this type was in production.
This total includes scraper and bottom dump versions.
A few can still be seen in operation, mostly in the Western United States, doing utility jobs on construction sites such as pulling land planes for rapid haul road maintenance.
New Zealand Connection
No Euclid SS-33’s or SS-40’s were ever imported into New Zealand.
There were simply none of the really large projects with long flat hauls that suited this style of motor scraper to make them practicable.
However, having said that, they could have been used in the Waitaki basin for cutting the canals but after that there would have been no jobs for them.
The canals were eventually tackled by a fleet of smaller, conventional scrapers.
For the model collector
Well for goodness sake, you are in luck!
There is one very recently released model of the Euclid SS-40 by Minatur Models to 1:50 scale and an older and somewhat rarer model of the tandem bowl TTSS-40, also to 1:50 scale, by EMD Models.
Both are excellent representations of the real machines but, being limited run resin models, they are not cheap.
Buffalo Road Models, New York, USA stock both of these items.
Brief Specifications – 1965 Euclid SS-40
Engine: General Motors Detroit Diesel 16V-71N V-16 diesel rated at 530 flywheel horsepower at 2100 rpm
Transmission: Allison CLBT5960 6-speed full powershift transmission with in-built hydraulic retarder
Top Speed: 38 mph
Brakes: Retarder plus full air operated shoe brakes
Steering: Manual recirculating ball type with Vickers hydraulic booster
Turn Circle: 44’ 6”
Std.Tyres: 33.5×33, 42-ply, E3 on drive axle & scraper
14.00×25, 20-ply on steering axle
Dual options available for long sustained hauls
Capacity: 40 cubic yards struck, 52 cubic yards heaped
Operation: All hydraulic
Length: 51’ 5”
Width: 12’ 9”
Height: 10’ 9”
Op. Weight: 48 tons (empty), 110 tons (loaded)