The 1954 International R180

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1954 IH R180
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This 1954 IH R180 came to us in 1964 from a grain elevator in Perrydale Oregon. Seen here with a flatbed and scissors hoist it is hauling rock. However, with different sideboards, it served general farming purposes well hauling bulk feed, and with extensions even hauling cattle to market. Though configured similarly to the D35 it was a much better truck. The brakes were big enough to actually stop the vehicle and the 5 speed transmission with an electric shift 2 speed rear end was vastly superior to the 4 speed found in the D35. It featured a 282 Cu in. version of the same Black Diamond engine. which International used for years. It lacked the replaceable dry sleeves of the smaller displacement engines of this same series, but otherwise was similar. The cab was the same sturdy cab that International used throughout the 1950's on all of their trucks. Indeed one of the things that has made IH trucks so popular over the years was this cab. The doors never seems to fall off. Truck doors take a lot of use and abuse, and when they fall off or sag or won't close properly, the truck is pretty much at the end of the road. These doors never seemed to fail. The truck did, however, when one day the hinges on the rear of the bed broke loose, and the bed and a load of rock such as you see here tipped forward over the scissors hoist and slammed down sagging the frame several inches. To be sure, we straightened the frame out with the help of a bulldozer and some creative rigging, but it was never quite the same thereafter. Such is the life of trucks in the woods.

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The VanNatta Fleet Circa 1976
Each truck has its Own page

Of course, in 1954 no one had thought of dual braking systems, but the single system did work, though it might have worked better if the truck had been equipped with a vacuum tank, because as with all vacuum assisted brakes, you only got to step on the brakes once after the engine died. I mention that the 2 speed rear end was electric. This was good, as in prior years many trucks had vacuum shifted 2 speed rear ends. These puppies used vacuum one way and a spring the other. These vacuum ones had a nasty habit. You see if you left the truck parked with the rear end 'on the spring' when the vacuum leaked down, the spring would disengage the rear end and the truck would go bye-bye. Setting the parking brake was of no help because you had a drive line brake and the disconnection was of course in the 3rd member, so short of blocking the wheels it was bye-bye. In contrast the electric 2-speed used a reversible motor (as is the custom today) which wound a shifting spring. Thus you could flip the switch, and then pop the clutch, or the throttle to slack the drive train and it would shift. Electric 2-speeds are still in common use today, and they work quite well, but can provide you with a surprise or two if you don't understand how they work.

We bought this truck for general farming purposes. It was a 16 foot stake bed and we had cattle racks and a grain box for it. As the need for rock hauling arose, it was what we had so it was adapted for that purpose with the 12" plank sides. The Case Backhoe was all we had in the beginning to load it with. The Case would scoop crushed gravel from the crusher, but otherwise when used to haul pit rock for road base, it was loaded with the backhoe. It took about quite a while to load a load, and a load didn't go far. If you trace the trucks through used to rock roads here at the ranch this was was the first of the trucks, followed by a tandem axle SF180, A Mack B, another Mack (not shown), then an IH Quarry truck was added to the fleet, and finally a 20 yard belly dump pulled by various off the road tractors.

This truck was quite faithful to the task, but the scissors hoist contributed to its demise. the scissors hoist uses a really big hydraulic cylinder laying flat inside a subframe between the bed and the truck frame. there is then a monkey linkage that lifts the bed. the cylinder with about an 8" diameter bore only has about a 2 foot stroke, but the linkage shoves the bed up smartly. The problem with this design is that the linkage is well to the back of the bed. You are lifting and dumping the whole bed based on a linkage attached to the bed about 4 feet from the hinges. In the 1950's this was a pretty standard approach to dumps, but it put tremendous stress on the hinges if the load was heavy to the front of the bed. It basically tried to lift the hinges off the back of the truck which I did one day. when the hinges brake, the bed overbalances and the back of the bed comes up and the front of the bed flops down--in this case with a full load of rock, and it sagged the frame about 8 inches when it hit. To be sure, we straightened the frame and used the truck for some years more, but it wasn't quite the same.

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