A big brute of a machine

Euclid’s S-18 motor scraper is an excellent example of the old adage, “if it looks right, it probably is right”, and went on to form the basis of what was to become the very successful S-24 series of machines. By Richard Campbell.

During the early 1950s, Euclid had been going from strength to strength with its motor scrapers, with new machines being introduced and existing machines improved on a very regular basis. However, the majority of these machines were of the three-axle variety.

In 1954, Euclid introduced its new model S-18 (model 27LOT-28SH), a two-axle overhung machine with a struck capacity of 18 cubic yards and a heaped capacity of 21 cubic yards.

It was quite unlike previous Euclid motor scrapers and heralded a new approach by the Company who were bent on capturing a larger slice of the rapidly expanding motor scraper market.

Concurrent with the release of the S-18, Euclid also released the model S-7 (7 cubic yards), S-12 (12 cubic yards), and a tandem-powered version of the S-18 called the TS-18, a machine that would later morph into the extremely successful TS-24.

The S-18 was a big brute of a machine and was powered by a General Motors model 6-110, six-cylinder, inline diesel, rated initially at 300 flywheel horsepower.

Connected to the engine was an Allison model CLT5640, four-speed, full powershift transmission with a torque converter that allowed for on the go shifting with little manual effort on the part of the operator.

This was a big deal back in the early 1950s when the majority of this kind of machine still had a manual clutch and transmission.

The machine also featured planetary final drives and floating half-shaft axles, which isolated the drive train from shock. All of these items were readily accessible for maintenance, making the machine very popular with maintenance staff.

The steering was hydraulic, as were all bowl functions, and the operator was well catered for with a deeply padded seat, good visibility and easy to operate controls. A conventional hitch connected the tractor to the scraper and permitted lateral oscillation of 20 degrees each way to facilitate movement over uneven ground.

In fact, the S-18 was quite a nimble machine for its overall size with a turning circle of only 36 feet (10.97 metres).

In its original form, the S-18 had a bowl capacity of 18 cubic yards struck and 21 cubic yards heaped.

The design of the scraper followed usual Euclid practice using four single-acting and interchangeable, hydraulic cylinders – two for the bowl (attached by solid links), one for the apron (attached via a 16-foot length of three-quarter inch cable) and the other for the ejector. The ejector with hinged behind the cutting edge and returned to loading position by gravity as did the apron.

The cutting edge consisted of four interchangeable and reversible pieces to obtain maximum economy for the owner.

Air brakes were fitted to both drive and scraper axles and were operated by S-cams. The standard tyre that was fitted was narrow – 27 by 33 inches with the 33.5 by 33-inch trye listed as an option.

In operating trim, a 27LOT-28SH Euclid S-18 weighed 66,700lbs (30.2 metric tons) empty.

At the end of 1956, because of field testing and requests from customers, Euclid undertook a comprehensive redesign of the S-18, which resulted in the model 30LOT-31SH.

This new S-18 retained the GM 6-110 diesel of the former model 27LOT, but with an increased output of 336 flywheel horsepower and the final drive planetary ratio was changed. This necessitated a change in final drive covers from a “dimpled” variety to a plain smooth casting, and is a good spotting feature between early and later build Euclid S-18s.

Changes were also made to the bowl, which increased the struck capacity to 24 cubic yards and heaped capacity to 30 cubic yards.

The single stage ejector cylinder was replaced with a three-stage, single-acting cylinder, the other cylinders remained unchanged, and the ejector spill guard was raised and widened.

Empty weight of a 30LOT-31SH Euclid S-18 was 69,000lbs (31.2 metric tons).

Enter the British version

Commencing in 1959, Euclid’s manufacturing facility in Newhouse, Scotland, began production of the Euclid S-18 in a version known as the B3LOT-B6SH.

Externally, the UK manufactured S-18s resembled the US built 30LOT series, but there were some significant changes, most of which were internal.

These included substitution of the GM 6-110 diesel with a Cummins NRTO-6 engine, rated at 320 flywheel horsepower, and replacement of the AC-Delco electrical system with British Simms equipment.

Externally, the British S-18s had a slightly different shaped bowl spillguard and the standard tyre was the 27 by 33 inch tyre. However, most customers opted for the optional 33.5 by 33 inch tyre, which gave better flotation (and a better ride).

Optional extras

While most Euclid S-18 production emerged from the factory as scrapers, there were a couple of outside suppliers who manufactured optional attachments for special applications. These included Easton, who built rear dump and bottom dump wagons, and Southwest Manufacturing who fabricated water tankers for ‘war weary’ scrapers.

End of the line

The Euclid S-18 was removed from production in 1961 in favour of the all-new model Euclid S-24, powered by a GM 12V-71 diesel.

Total production of all S-18s (including UK-built machines) was over 1000 units.

A New Zealand connection

During the period when the Euclid S-18 was manufactured, a total of three machines were imported by dealer Clyde Engineering, two of the later 30LOT models and one British B3LOT variant. These worked all over the country on many of the high-profile jobs of the day.

While none of these machines survive, during their lifetime they worked for several well-known companies including Collis and Herron, O F Howey, and the main user (who ended up with two of them), Taylor and Culley.

For the model collector

It is slim pickings for the collector I’m afraid. For years, the only model available was a rather crude and scale offering from UK die caster Budgie Models, examples of which today change hands for silly money and as mentioned, it is rather crude.

The only other model available is a rare 1:50 resin diecast from European manufacturer Miniatur Models (available through Buffalo Road Imports USA), but it is quite expensive. It is, however, a good representation of a later 30LOT series Euclid S-18.


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