The Wabco 222
A genuine success story for Wabco, the model 222 elevating scraper could trace its ancestry right back to the electric steered Model C Tournapull of the late 1940s. BY RICHARD CAMPBELL
Wabco’s first experiments with fitting an elevating scraper to a model C Tournapull were conducted in 1962 when a Hancock type 216, 16 cubic yard elevating scraper was trialed behind a used C Tournapull. Results were so encouraging that the type was put into series production in 1963 as the model 222A.
These first machines sported a 290 horsepower GM 8V-71 engine and were rated at 21 cubic yards capacity. They retained the electric steering of the original C Tournapulls but incorporated hydraulic bowl lift and ejection functions. Electric motors powered the elevator. Transmission could be either a Fuller five-speed direct drive or a four-speed powershift Allison, depending on customer requirements.
A major revamp of the entire Wabco motor scraper line was undertaken in 1967 and one of the resulting machines was the model C222F elevating scraper (later known simply as the 222F).
Hydraulics replaced all the previous electrically operated functions apart from the elevator motor drive. While the naturally aspirated GM 8V-71 engine of the 222A was retained, horsepower output was raised to 318 and the bulk of the tractor unit was of a completely new design. The Allison powershift transmission was now a standard item.
Well accepted by the contracting community, the Wabco 222F was a market leader and a superior performer to its nearest rivals, the Caterpillar J621, International E270 and Allis-Chalmers E260.
In order to remain competitive Wabco upgraded the 222F in 1971 producing the model 222G. Changes included a turbocharged GM 8V-71T diesel engine (now rated at 333 horsepower), replacement of the Allison VCLBT4460 transmission with an Allison VCLBT4465, and a major redesign of the scraper’s back axle – from outside supported to a cantilever stub axle, which made changing a tyre much easier.
The 222G was also as big a seller for Wabco as the 222F had been before it, and was in production from 1971 through to 1977
To maintain their market status Wabco undertook a further upgrade of the 222G in 1977, which resulted in the model 222H. As fate would have it, the 222H was to be the final production version.
Although the family resemblance was very strong, the 222H was quite a different animal from previous models, with a ROPS cab now standard equipment and a totally revised bowl, which was constructed of rectangular box sections as opposed to the former models’ sheet steel sides with external stiffeners.
Capacity however, remained the same at 22 cubic yards.
The GM 8V-71T engine now produced 350 horsepower and the transmission was changed once again, this time to a five-speed Allison VCLT750 powershift.
More power was certainly needed as the 222H was almost half a ton heavier than its predecessor.
All versions of the 222 series used the same type of ejection system using a sliding floor and bulldozer ejector.
The three-section cutting edge was fixed to the front of the bowl for increased bowl rigidity and a drop down strike off plate was attached to the leading edge of the floor to assist in maintaining a level fill. Five removable teeth could be fitted to aid in loading tightly packed materials.
The Wabco 222 was always a solid performer and it was regrettable that the type finally disappeared from production in 1984 with the demise of Wabco’s earthmoving division.
The 222s were manufactured in Peoria, Illinois, USA; Campinas, Brazil and Rydalmere, NSW, Australia.
From an operator’s perspective
The author has had considerable ‘seat time’ on both Wabco 222F and 222G machines and enjoyed every moment of it.
They were comfortable to operate, rode well and had good visibility plus plenty of get up and go. In sandy material the machines had no equal and could out-cycle the opposition with ease.
Their only downside was a tendency to nose over in a turn which could catch out a novice operator and force a cubic yard of material through the radiator!
The New Zealand connection
In their heyday, New Zealand Wabco franchise holder Industrial Steel & Plant (later Domtrac) imported seven Wabco 222Fs and 10 Wabco 222Gs. Subsequent to these machines a further two 222Gs and two 222Hs have found their way to New Zealand via private importation.
Users have included Duck Bros, McKay Earthmovers, Papakura Earthmovers, Alan Cameron and Cloutman Bros, but by far the biggest user remains Goodman Contractors of Waikanae, who have examples of the 222F, 222G and 222H in its fleet.
No Wabco 222As were ever imported.
For the modeller
Disappointingly, for those whole collect models, the news is not good. Apart from a very expensive limited edition resin model in 1:50th scale of a Wabco 222G, there are no models available of any of the Wabco 222 range in any scale.
Hopefully one of the model manufacturers will address this oversight in the near future.
Wabco 222G (the most common NZ variant)
Contractor Vol.33 No.10 November 2009
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