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Thread: Michigan loaders

  1. #1
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    Michigan loaders

    Love the the old michigan loaders. I would like to see all the clark or michigan loader photos you guys got. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Junior Member CatMatt's Avatar
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    Michigan Loaders

    Here are some of my photos taken back in the 80's at a mine in New South Wales,Australia. I operated these loaders for more then 15 years,and at the end of the day you knew you did a days work. They had 1710 Cummins at approx 800+ Horsepower. We loaded a tri axel tipper every 3 minutes at one and a half buckets per truck. These loaders are still being operated to this day, however not at the same mine site.These Old Michigan Loaders Shifted loaded and stockpiled up to 20,000 Tons of coal a day. I have operated at another mine Michigan 175 and 275 Loaders with 871 Detroits. These photos are of Michigan 475s. Equivilant to a Cat 992. Hope you enjoy. Dave
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    Junior Member CatMatt's Avatar
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    A couple more

    A few More Pics
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    Senior Member stretch's Avatar
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    YESSS!!!! Bring on the 475's, I've been up close with those, they are monsters! Unfortunately the camera developed issues when I was there so I'll have to see about a trip back this spring for fresh pics.

    Here's one I've got of an old Michigan, I believe it's a 175. Non-articulated.
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    -Austin

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    Here's one we took on trade a couple years ago.
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    We use to haul shale to a facility that made cement and they loaded use with an old 475. It didn't take long to load a tri-axle. This is a picture of the 175a series 2 I bought to loade clay.
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    I have been working on the transmission over the winter it had a slight malfunction.

  7. #7
    Charter Member BKrois's Avatar
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    Here is a Michigan 35A my friend just finished restoring, i believe the machine resides in MA.
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    Hi all, new member here from the UK. I spent most of the 1980's & 90's maintaining a fleet of heavy earthmovers over here including a fleet of Michigan loaders. Every thing from a couple of little 55's up to a pair of 475's. The main stay of the fleet were ten 275's and a couple of 280 wheeled dozers. These were all used in the steelworks where the 55's were lifted by crane into the bulk ore carrier ships to get into the corners where the crane grabs couldnt reach, the 275's were used on the iron ore stocking grounds whilst the pair of 475's were used to remove the slag from the slag pits at the blast furnace. These were all 'B' machines apart from one of the 475's which was a 'C'. This was bought as a replacement for a 475B which fell through the crust of slag into the molten iron and met a 'firey' end!! Ive got a few pic's here of the 475's to post but being a new member I cant just yet......Watch this space.

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    These are great photos. I am looking foward to your photos TEREX!

  10. #10
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    I am surprised CatMatt, that any 475's would still be working today. I fought the bloody things at steel mills near Gary, Indiana for a while. Ours had the Detroit’s 16V71's, and constantly busted motor mounts and wasted hydraulic pumps. Had a storage yard full of used pumps and a warehouse full of new ones. Of course, those systems ran on Houghto-Safe 500, a water/glycol mixture, instead of regular mineral oil 10wt. These were used in digging slag, positively the worst duty for a loader in the world.

    Another was in a coal mine in Kentucky. It was in the Michigan exhibit at the Houston ConExpo in 1980 and was bought new by the mine owners at the show. Had very smooth sheet metal like a new car, and fenders, only one I ever saw with fenders. It had led a rough life for four years with virtually no PM. I was the last foreman hired at the mine under a maintenance contract and being the last, the other maintenance foremen tried to stick me with the dern thing, offered to trade me for one of the six 992C's I had, also rather run down. I told those guys I'd shoot myself first before I'd give up one of the 92's. I'd already had my fill of 475's.

    I ended up with the critter not quite a year later anyway when the coal market went south and all the contract people were let go but me and one other fella. I didn't have to do anything with it for another year because it wasn't used. Then we got busy, I had fixed some beat up Wabco 75 tonners, and we needed a loader for them. It didn't work out though, the old girl was just to beat and tired and I couldn't throw money at it fast enough to keep it going. It had the 1710 Cummins in it, but our main trouble was the transmission. It wasted the tranny one last time and my boss and I decided to deadline it with no more repair. It was still there several months later, sitting in our boneyard, when I left the company. I didn't shed a tear over it.

  11. #11
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    clarke 475

    this one working down under in 1989 now retired to loading logs cheers malcolm
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  12. #12
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    Michigan 475B

    Heres some images of the two 475'B' loaders I maintained for British Steel back in the 1980's.

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    Pictured outside the workshops looking very clean. They used to be covered in white dust/grit off the slag , must have been steamed cleaned ready for servicing.

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    A room with a view ! The orange light and button in front of the steering wheel was the fire extinguishing system often set off by the operators as they hit the button whilst cleaning the window !

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    This 475 fell through the slag and into the hot stuff. Only the bucket and front arms were salvaged the rest was cut up on site.

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    This is one of the tyres off that that caught fire. It exploded with such force it caused damage to a few buildings and from this time on we inflated the tyres with nitrogen to prevent any further possible explosions. The operator who was not the fittest of people (20 stone plus) was seen running like an olympic 100m. sprinter away from the fire ! He was OK once he changed his underwear !

  13. #13
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    Michigan 475 C

    After one of the 'B' loaders caught fire they bought a 475 C to replace it. It had the same cummins VTA1710 engine as the B only it was rated at about 800bhp which meant it made more smoke! The transmission was similar too only Clarks called it a 'modulated' transmission which meant you could powershift (change gear under full power) also you could shove it in forward gear whilst still traveling in reverse again under full power without damaging the transmission. It was a lot more comfortable with a much better cab, had a bigger bucket, had massive disc brakes all round which would put you through the windscreen if you pressed the pedal hard enough.

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    Reading SurferJoes comments, we also had to use water / glycol in the hydraulics (sickly smelling stuff) because if a pipe burst in the hot slag it was not as flamable as the hydraulic oil.

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    Needless to say the drivers prefered the 'C' machine as it was more comfortable,quieter etc. but when the going got tough and the slag was proving difficult to dig out the 'B' machine was prefered as it had more low down grunt.

    Hot slag it must be remembered is similar to trying to dig concrete that has been left to set, ideally a D9 with a ripper should have been set loose first to break up the slag, but no the 475's were left to do it. As a result the transmissions took a real hammering, first gear clutch packs and forward gear clutch packs were my speciality, also we had the odd tooth break off the crownwheel in the diff, if you were lucky the magnetic sump plug would catch it first before it caused any more damage, the Cummins engine would be OK for 8000 hours then it was time to change the heads before the valve seats fell into the engine and a whole lot more...but I wont bore you !

    At that time it has to be remembered that neither Cat, Komatsu, Volvo, Terex or any of the other big names made a similar sized machine and then of course there was the 675. Twice the size of the 475..double trouble !!

  14. #14
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    I'm surprised that the "C" model shown has teeth on the bucket. All of our machines, the 992's and 475's, has spade nosed edges with no teeth or adapters. They could not be kept on for digging the pits. In fact, we had trouble keeping the edges on at all. The original Cat machine sealed bucket pins and bushings were removed, the loader arm bores made larger, and extra fat high temperature bronze bushings were installed. They were never greased for obvious reasons. The Michigan loaders received the same treatment.

    The water/glycol fluid supposedly gave the operator about 13 additional seconds to evacuate the cab if a hose or something broke and started spraying fluid all over that would catch fire from the immense heat in the still hot or liquid slag. We used DowTherm 209 for the same reason, plus silicone coolant hoses. Doesn't seem like much extra time, but one would be surprised what an operator can do when threatened by being badly burned or killed in a machine fire.

    All our tires used the Erlau chains, and all were loaded with calcium chloride. Even so, the slag burned holes in tires with regularity. Our machines also had a lot of counterweight on them. The 992's received a slab 18 inches thick that wrapped around the entire radiator housing and that covered both battery boxes. It weighed about 12000 pounds alltogether. If not used carefully by an experienced operator, our 992’s broke in half very easily.

    We were just getting around to installing whole-machine fire suppression systems when the steel economy went to hell in 1980. Up to that time, we had some home-made setups that required the operator to pull the pins from the bottles as he was exiting the machine. As I recall, the company had several burned up machines in a boneyard in Detroit. They also has several dead and severely injured operators in those early days. One ran through a pool of liquid slag to get away from a crawler loader that died and was on fire. The company set him up with his own gas station which he ran for years. His legs were burned off half way to his knees. Another operator was killed when an overhead crane operator dumped a pot full of molten slag behind him in a mill in Detroit. The loader operator burned to a crisp, a fitting end to a man that was having an affair with the crane operator’s wife.

    Slag was first removed by hand and horse and mule powered wagons, then early steam and power shovels took over. When Cat first came up with the traxcavator, it was tried and used with some success along with early chain-drive trucks. That trend in crawler loaders continued with what were called “steel mill specials.” The 983 loader started out as a “special.” 977’s were a great favorite for years.

    Rubber tired loaders were around the mills from their early origin, Hough’s especially. As loader technology advanced and they became bigger, they gradually took over from the crawlers. The firm I worked for used all sizes as they became available and were huge buyers of Hough 560’s and 400’s. They never really used the 25K Cat 992’s, preferring the Michigan 475’s instead. That may have been because of the unfortunate incident of the first Cat 773 haul trucks with the fiberglass hoods that burned to the ground on their first loads due to super hot slag spilling off the loader buckets onto the hoods. But in later years, Cat 988’s and 992’s became the preferred machine, with brand new spare machines ready to go and parked at Michigan Tractor in case of need. Haul trucks remained Euclid’s however.

  15. #15
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    Looking at a 1962 85A. Does anyone have an idea on parts availability for these loaders? It has a hercules motor, was this a repower?

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