Probably the most unusual looking elevating scraper ever put into production, the Wabco 101F made its first appearance in 1970. By Richard Campbell
An entirely new design for Wabco, the 101F bore no family resemblance to any other scraper in the Wabco range and was entirely hydraulically (rather than electrically) controlled.
Instead of replacing the company’s existing 11 cubic yard model 111A elevating scraper, the slightly smaller nine cubic yard 101F complemented it. It wasn’t until the model 101G was introduced in 1976 that the model 111A (which was first introduced in 1960) was finally discontinued.
Design studies on the 101F were undertaken in 1968 and the first prototypes put into test in the same year.
Remarkably simple in design, the 101F boasted outstanding visibility for the operator.
At only eight feet wide (2.4 metres) and only 27,900lb (12,600kg) in tare weight, a 101F could be legally driven from job to job under its own steam, making it a most versatile tool.
Although there was a little market resistance to the machine at first, no doubt caused by the machine’s unusual appearance, pretty soon the 101F began to sell in quantity and was especially popular with land development, irrigation, landscaping and utility contractors.
As mentioned, during 1976 Wabco undertook an upgrade of the 101F which resulted in the model 101G. Principal improvements included a completely redesigned, higher capacity bowl, which now had a rating of 11 cubic yards.
Other changes were largely system improvements that had been brought to light during the production run of the 101F. Many of these later machines were delivered in all-white paint with red trim which made an unusual looking machine even more striking.
The Wabco 101F was directly competitive with the Michigan 110-9, John Deere 760A and International E200, while the later model 101G counted the Caterpillar 613B, International 412, Terex S11E, John Deere 762 and Michigan 110-11 as adversaries.
Wabco pulled the plug on 101 production in 1984 when it sold its construction equipment division to Dresser Industries. Regrettably Dresser did not reintroduce the machine (or any others of the Wabco scraper line for that matter) under its own brand.
The Wabco 101F described
The engine selected was the 178 horsepower Cummins V-504, an industrial version of Cummins’ V-555 truck engine. This was a lightweight, high output naturally aspirated V8 similar to the Caterpillar 3208 and gave the 101F a particularly good power to weight ratio for an elevating scraper.
In a further departure from normal practice, a Clark (rather than Allison) powershift transmission was installed featuring eight forward and one reverse speed. This allowed the 101F to move along at approximately 28 mph in top gear. This was mated to a Wabco differential and final drives to complete the power train.
Air operated, hydraulically actuated shoe type brakes were used on both axles.
Standard tyres were listed as 18.00 x 25 but most New Zealand machines were delivered on the optional wide base 23.5 x 25 tyre, giving them a larger ‘footprint’ and better flotation.
Steering was via twin, double acting hydraulic cylinders attached low down on the scraper universal hitch. As well as maintaining a low centre of gravity, this made them readily accessible for service if need be.
The pump used to provide steering pressure was one of the first generation variable displacement types that are now so common on machinery. This produced 21 gallons per minute at rated engine speed.
Wabco designed and built the bowl and elevator assembly (rather than Hancock) and this was rated at nine cubic yards. It featured a 15-flight hydraulically powered two speed elevator and the usual sliding floor with bulldozer ejector.
Contrary to usual Wabco practice, the cutting edge was not a fixed item and retracted with the floor, doing away with the normal drop down strike off levelling plate, an item which Wabco had formerly promoted.
Four bolt-on cutting edge teeth could be fitted to aid in penetrating hard to load materials.
The operator enjoyed control tower visibility and was provided with a Milsco air suspension seat.
The entire operator’s deck was mounted above the engine and radiator assemblies. All instrumentation was located on a small panel directly in front of the operator on a tubular frame, which also supported the steering column.
To the operator’s right were the bowl, elevator, ejector and transmission operation levers, all closely grouped and within easy reach. These levers had a relatively short throw and required little physical effort to use, a definite plus over a long day’s work.
Optional extras included a front surround and windscreen, sun canopy, full cab, heater and air conditioning.
Most Kiwi users took advantage of the front surround with windscreen options.
A New Zealand connection
As far as I can tell, a total of 14 Wabco 101Fs were imported into the country by Wabco distributors Industrial Steel & Plant (latterly Domtrac).
These were quite popular in the Auckland and Northland regions and many can still be found in operational condition.
A short list of contractors using Wabco 101Fs would include ND Giles, Kay & Sons, LP Scherer, Ian Sergeant, Rex Wilkinson Earthmovers and Dawson King, just to mention a few.
It is not known if any of the later model Wabco 101G elevating scrapers were imported and I have never seen one in operation on my travels.
For the modeller
Regrettably, there are no models of the Wabco 101F or the later 101G available in any scale. If you wish to add one to your collection it will have to be scratch built.
Brief specifications Wabco 101F
Engine: Cummins V-504, naturally aspirated V8 diesel rated at 178 horsepower at 2500 rpm
Transmission: Clark eight-speed full powershift
Brakes: Air over hydraulic shoe type on all four wheels.
Std Tyres: 18.00×25, 12 ply
Top Speed: 28 mph (43.6 km/h)
Steering: Full hydraulic, 90° each side.
Turning circle: 25’ 11’’
Capacity: Nine cubic yards
Elevator: Two-speed hydraulic motor
No. of Flights: 15
Elevator speed: 233 fpm at rated engine speed.
Length: 29’ 11’’
Height: 8’ 3’’ (to top of elevator)
Operating weight: 12.5 tons (empty), 23.5 tons (loaded)