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Thread: Old Tournapulls

  1. #1
    Junior Member tournadude's Avatar
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    Old Tournapulls

    Here are some pics of old Tournapull scrapers

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    Senior Member qball's Avatar
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    nice pics.
    point of order, though, we will never see pics of a new tournapull
    SO MOTE IT BE.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member tournadude's Avatar
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    Maybe not, but you could see old pics of a new Tournapull. I just found out I'm going to get a chance to transfer a film taken in 1948 of a project in Peoria Illinois that had some Super C Tournapulls that were used. They were on loan from the factor RG had in Peoria, so they might be pretty new.

  4. #4
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    Cool pictures.Would the scraper in the second picture be an early C-pull? Seems like I remember the first models had the 6-71 detroit diesel in them.Heres a link showing a few pics of our c-pull. http://www.heavyequipmentforums.com/...5-Wabco-c-pull

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    Hello Tournadude,
    Great pictures, Keep them coming! In one of my old CoOperator magazines there is a short story about a job that RG and Cat showed up with some equipment to do a job for the city. If I remember rite they ran around the clock and also filmed most of the work. I have a 1953 Model D Pull that my GrandDad bought new.I also have a 1948 and 1953 Model C Tournadozers that are not restored yet. Good to have you on this site.
    dpull
    Last edited by dpull; 01-19-2011 at 10:48 PM.

  6. #6
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    Hi Tournadude,
    As long as you are posting some of your family's old pictures I would like to ask a question. Did your grandfather keep a written log when he was working closely with engineering and the field crew ? I for one would love to hear some of the old stories about production problems, changes that came about by chance and any anecdotes that you may have, they would all be of interest here.

  7. #7
    Junior Member tournadude's Avatar
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    You might regret asking BillG. Yes he did keep a sort of written log. As I've heard and seen the story, he always kept a small spiral flip notebook on him to jot down ideas that came to him, wherever he was. Then at night, before bed, he would transfer those ideas to a 81/2 X11 spiral notebook on his desk at home. As the story goes, when he died, he still had 200 ideas in that notebook at home that he had never gotten around to.

    Another story my dad told me at dinner the other night was about the old Tournapull factory in Peoria. Coming out of WWII, the Tournapull was the hottest selling machine that RG made. It was the old original style that had the clutch steering that is similar to the steering on a dozer. Well, in the early 50's I believe, he had designed his first electric steering model Tournapull, which he thought was far superior to the old clutch steering model, but it wasn't selling. He couldn't understand this and blamed his sales force for not making customers aware that the newer model was superior. This was back when RG LeTourneau Inc was doing $30-40 million a year in sales after the war. Well, not always being the smartest business man, RG shut down production of the older model Tournapull at the Peoria Plant and only produced the newer electric steer model, even though he had not really worked all the kinks out of the new model. Sales at the company plummeted and he nearly went bankrupt, but they survived and sales eventually picked up. As my Dad tells it, that was when some of the senior management at the Peoria plant began looking around for a buyer for their operation which eventually turned out to be Westinghouse Air Brake Company and led to my grandfathers exit from the earthmoving machinery for a number of years.

    While my grandfather was brilliant in many ways, he was quite eccentric and dictatorial in his style and relationships. He fired my dad once in the 60's for suggesting that he "retire". I have great admiration for much of what he did and a passion for his machinery, but the man had serious flaws as well. In a way that is comforting to me, being brilliant and successful doesn't mean you have to be "perfect".

  8. #8
    Senior Member DPete's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, I've never been around the Super C pull though I have heard old timers talk about having to cross friction going downhill just like a crawler, I can imagine there were more than a few zigs when they meant to zag. We did have a few FP scrapers and K30 rippers where I worked growing up. Later I owned a K30 for a time, only change I made was to fit motorgrader tires and rims to the standard steel wheels and changed the ripper points and boots to Esco noses. Quite a chunk of iron!

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    I worked for one company in the early eighties that had four or five of the C turnapulls. We kept one for a dump tank for a coal wash plant and two spares when the operators would strand the ejector cables pulling them into dead head. The monsters would flex so much the limit switches would get missed and you know the operators couldn't be bothered to look behind them for even a second. I hate to admit I got pretty fair at dragging stranded pieces of wire rope out and threading old burned up elevator cable back in. Then again I left equal amounts of skin in those buggies proving I knew what I was doing.

    All ours had the electric steering and I remember constantly pulling burned contacts out, filling them smooth and sticking them back in. The smell would get on your hands and the wife complained about that more than the diesel smell.

    Finally these things had manual single disk clutches in them with a manual transmission. Our operators usually tried to drive the things like they were mini pickups instead of like real old trucks and I don't suppose the amount of time that they sat around did the clutches any good anyway. Changing them got a little more routine than it should have. That wouldn't have been much of a big deal except that there was a generator between the engine and the transmission. It was real tough getting the whole mess to balance the first time I did one and get it out of the machine. The job was really like pulling the stinger out of a bumble bee. You start at one end and just rip and pull.

    That company finally cut those things up and sent them to the scrapper a couple of years after I moved on. It's kind of sad to think about it now but back then I was plenty happy that I would never have to crawl into one of those dinosaurs ever again.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DPete View Post
    Interesting thread, I've never been around the Super C pull though I have heard old timers talk about having to cross friction going downhill just like a crawler, I can imagine there were more than a few zigs when they meant to zag. We did have a few FP scrapers and K30 rippers where I worked growing up. Later I owned a K30 for a time, only change I made was to fit motorgrader tires and rims to the standard steel wheels and changed the ripper points and boots to Esco noses. Quite a chunk of iron!
    Dan;
    I was not quite a teenager yet in the early 50,s but I remember the old Super C's with the steering clutches and brakes they were both levers and and ones my Dad had in his spread were I believe powered by Cummins with the round fuel pump before the PT. The brakes didn't work so you snapped the steering clutch lever back and rev'ed the engine to turn and yes going down hill was a sight to see sometimes.

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    old dirt
    I was wondering if any of you old hands ever run a old C Pull heard a lot stories about them . My dad is gone so i can,t ask him. Would like to hear some stories. Having trouble with my eyes first post in awhile .Thank you
    old dirt

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tournadude View Post
    You might regret asking BillG. Yes he did keep a sort of written log. As I've heard and seen the story, he always kept a small spiral flip notebook on him to jot down ideas that came to him, wherever he was. Then at night, before bed, he would transfer those ideas to a 81/2 X11 spiral notebook on his desk at home. As the story goes, when he died, he still had 200 ideas in that notebook at home that he had never gotten around to.
    I'd love to have a peek at that notebook!

  13. #13
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    I was having a discussion the other day and we were discussing these old Tournapulls. What was the biggest single bowl Tournapull or even biggest single bowl scraper Letourneau built?

  14. #14
    Senior Member WabcoMan's Avatar
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    Largest Tournapull with single bowl was the Model A5/A6 with Model N or NU Carryall.
    Both over 40 cubic yards - not bad for the 1940s

    Biggest single bowl motor scrapers:
    Cat = 660/666
    Euclid - SS40
    Allis-Chalmers = TS562
    Wabco = 353FT (elevator)
    Curtiss-Wright = CW226
    Komatsu = WS23S
    MRS = 250 with Wooldridge OS60
    Michigan = 410
    Deere = 862B

    The WabcoMan

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    I dont know if I posted this or not but in December I had to run to Jackson MS to take my DEQ Lanfill Operators exam. I figure I had to endure 15 hours of boring class I was gonna drive the 45 miles to LeTourneau Vicksburg plant. It was neat to see the TournaCranes with the Detroits buzz around. I drove past the office and to the Oilrig plant on the MS River. I saw a Lay down yard and had my binoculars and saw the remnants of the big 3 wheeled dozer. I went back to the office and talked with some managers and they told me Corporate would have to give permission to see the machines up close. I talked to the one manager and he saved a ton of old pics from the trash. THeres stuff that that wasnt in any of the books I got on Letourneau.

    I m waiting on clearance for this December when I have to retest. I was amazed that the parted out 3 wheel dozer was for good that it keeps one running and also a 4 wheel dozer that was completely gone through. And a tank Chassis winch that was a jungle crusher tender. They use them to launch the jack legged rigs. They steer them into the current of the MS with them. I did sneak near the property lines to get close to the parts machine and its book pictures dont do it justice.


    I have pic of the flag pole base that stated the plants date at 1943. I also met some locals that had pics of the old GMC CrackerBox that had the genset drive unit.

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