The Clark-Michigan 110HT

RICHARD CAMPBELL explains why this Michigan motor scraper model upgrade was such an improvement over an already successful machine, and a winner among the more famous giants.

Clark_3.jpgWorking on the principle that two engines are better than one, Michigan introduced its model 110HT twin powered elevating scraper in 1970.

A modification of the company’s already successful model 110-11 elevating scraper, the new 110HT featured a bigger bowl, larger tires and, of course, loads more power to handle grades and poor underfoot conditions.

The original Michigan 110 was introduced in 1957 and the 110H elevator arrived on the scene in 1965 featuring a 12 cubic yard bowl that was designed and manufactured by Hancock.

Hancock, the originator of the elevating scraper, had become a subsidiary of Clark in 1966.  Clark had also bought out Michigan thus keeping everything “in the family” so to speak.

It was decided that the market could use a twin powered elevating scraper and a model 110-15 was taken from production and modified with an extra engine and transmission to gauge both its productivity and serviceability. The experimental machine proved that the twin-engine concept worked and, accordingly, the model 110HT was put into production

Rated at 16 cubic yards capacity, the 110HT had no competition in its size class, the closest being the Wabco model 252FT, which was a considerably larger and heavier machine.

As a result, sales of the 110HT were steady throughout the period of its production. In a bizarre twist of marketing, the 110HT was also sold under the Hancock brand name as the model 294.  This machine was almost identical in all respects to the 110HT but was only offered for sale for about three years, Clark deciding that the twin branding was just to confusing for potential buyers.

Vital stats

Power for the 110HT came from two 144 horsepower General Motors Detroit Diesel 4-71N naturally aspirated diesels. These were connected to identical Clark 5-speed full powershift transmissions that could move the 110HT along at a top speed of 28 mph.

Clark planetary axles were of course utilized and these featured a 26.5x29 tire as standard with a 26.5x25 being offered as an option.

Brakes were of the full-air operated S-cam type on both axles.

Clark_1.jpgThe bowl was a typical Hancock product – strong, durable and well designed. Power for the elevator assembly was provided by a single hydraulic motor that turned the 15 flight elevator at approximately 260 rpm.  The elevator was reversible.

Ejection was by sliding floor and bulldozer ejector with a strike-off blade that dropped down as the floor retracted to aid in trimming up the fill. Most Hancock-built scrapers featured this useful gadget. Four teeth could also be bolted to the cutting edge to aid in breaking up tough soil.

Fair comfort

As far as comforts went, the 110HT operator did not fare too badly. An air suspension seat was standard equipment and a heater and cab were offered as options.

To monitor vital machine functions a comprehensive set of gauges were provided for tractor and scraper.   Visibility was average to the right of the machine, but good to the cutting edge where it mattered.

Steering was via two hydraulic rams placed high up on the gooseneck and these permitted a full 90 degree turn in either direction.

Due to the machines width and axle loading it was usually transported from job to job and was rarely roaded.

Never one of the ‘big three’ in motor scraper manufacturing (Euclid/Terex, Caterpillar and Wabco’s sales dwarfed that of Clark’s), Clark-Michigan still turned out a very respectable and reliable product. This fact is evidenced by the number of Michigan scrapers still operating long after Clark ceased producing them in 1983.

Total production of the Clark-Michigan 110HT was approximately 1000 units.

The New Zealand connection

Clark_2.jpgAt least seven Clark-Michigan 110HT elevating scrapers were imported by New Zealand franchise holder Andrews & Beavan, and the author knows of two still in operation in the Auckland region alone.

They were dispersed evenly throughout New Zealand and most, if not all, of the 110HT’s imported had the optional cab fitted.

These machines were a real performer in their day and it’s good to see (and hear) the occasional one still operating.

For the Modeller

There are currently no models available in any scale of a Michigan 110HT (or any other Michigan scrapers for that matter aside from a 1:150 scale type 210 issued in the early 1970s).  Hopefully one of the many model manufacturers will redress this oversight before too long.

Brief Specifications 

Michigan 110HT

  • Engine(s): 2 x GM Detroit Diesel 4-71N 4-cylinder, naturally aspirated diesel engines rated at 144 flywheel horsepower each.
  • Transmission(s): 2 x Clark 5-speed full powershift transmissions
  • Brakes: Air operated S-Cam shoe type on all wheels
  • Tyres: 26.5x29
  • Top Speed: 28 mph
  • Steering: Two hydraulic cylinders, 90° left & right
  • Capacity: 16 cubic yards
  • Elevator Drive: Single hydraulic motor with gear reduction
  • No of Flights: 15
  • Turning Circle: 31’ 6”
  • Length: 37’ 8”
  • Width: 9’ 2”
  • Height: 12’ 8”
  • Operating Weight: 23.5 tons  (empty), 40 tons (loaded)

Contractor Vol.33  No.4  May 2009
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