International Harvester IH VF190

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IH VF190
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VF 190 Mule train
log truck
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International Harvester VF190
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VF190 parked with 1975 IH pickup
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Shown here is a 1960's something IH truck. In its day this was the king of the gas trucks featuring a 549 Cu. in. gas engine, a 5 speed main box, a 4 speed brownie, and SQHD 34m rearends. In the Gas configuration the gas milage was 2.5-3 mph.

The photograph here was taken in 1975. Up until that time we had been hauling logs to town on a 'short logger', which implies that we did not have a trailer, and were stacking short logs (those of 16 to 24 feet long) on the truck. By 1975 we had improved our roads sufficiently that it was feasible to add a trailer thereby getting to town with twice as many logs for each trip. Due to market conditions we still wanted to ship logs in shorter lengths, so we selected a mule train trailer shown here in contrast to the more common stinger steered trailer intended for bridge loads between the truck and trailer. At that time this combination was cleared for 84,000 lbs gross--20k per axle on the trailer, 34k on the tandems and 10k on the front axle. In that era long log trucks were usually stuck at 76-78k---34k on each set of tandems plus a front axle. Washington State was even worse as they had a special anti-log truck rule that limited bridge loads on tandems to 66k for the 2 sets of tandems. Given that this was not a bridge load, we dodged that problem in Washington State and the only real inconsistency that we had to deal with was that Oregon required the vehicle to be 75 feet long to get the maximum load while Washington State would allow the same weight but prohibited trucks over 65 feet long.

The trailer had a telescoping tongue, and we had a telescoping hitch on the back of the truck as well so we could readily adjust the what ever length any bureaucrat wanted. The only real problem was that Oregon and Washington were separated by a bridge and our markets were at the Washington end of the bridge, and there was no place to stop on the bridge to change the length of the truck (at the state line).

The truth is that we didn't pull this trailer very long with this truck. The 6V-53 is only around 200 HP, and we have hills around here. There were plenty of gears as the brownie had a deep low in it. I think the truck frame would have twisted off before the engine ran out of power, but speed was not in the cards. 15 MPH on the highway blocks a lot of traffic. It wasn't long before this truck was retired in favor the the DF400 with a Cummins 335. That meant the same weight with half again more power. If this was not not a power house by today's standards of 400 to 500 hp., but fewer cars gathered behind it on the hills.

Structurally, the V series IH was very similar to the traditional R series. The front end was simply reworked to accommodate the big block V-8 Gas engines. This provided a little shorter Bumper-Back of cab measurement. I think they achieved BBC of 96" inches which was critical in many states at the time due to length issues. Big block gas engines were available from just over 400 cu. in. to the top of the line V-549 -- The ultimate gas burner. The Cab, itself was the same cab that IH used on all trucks beginning in about 1950.

During this era IH simply was not in the big diesel truck market, but then big diesels were not the dominate truck either. To be sure there were some around particularly on the West Coast and IH even made a diesel truck that took a Cummins that was called the "West Coaster", but the Macks, Kenworths and Peterbilts which did exist were a class unto themselves. I would characterize the decade of the 1960's as the decade that trucks switched from Gas to diesel, starting with the biggest ones first, and alas by 1975 IH wasn't making gas trucks any more.

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