Allis Chalmers Proving Grounds

All most everyone who has ever driven a tractor is interested in how they’re tested and some of you may even have the idea that many of them never were. That sentence is the opening line to a great vintage promotional film by Allis Chalmers regarding the severe testing of their tractors. They barely waited even tens seconds before launching in to the jokes. Despite the light hearted opening line you’ll soon realize how serious AC took the testing of their protype tractors. It’s a fascinating look into the methods used to simulate years of heavy and demanding use in a fraction of the time. An ingenious setup was designed to simulate three hours of field use for every hour of testing by connecting test units to old tractors weighted down with concrete and iron. The film mentions the engines have been converted at the manifold level to make them function air compressors. I’m not sure what conclusion I should make from that detail but I’m not tractor expert. Either way, the test engine is effectively run at 100% design horsepower load for days on end, a condition rarely seen under normal use. Components or systems that fail during this testing or modified or corrected until the entire power train is deemed worthy of production. Other highlights of the film include chuck hole testing and ROPS engineering. You’ll gain a greater appreciation of the test farmers on these tractors after watching them drive repeatedly over broken roads and rough terrain. The roll over test at the end of the film is the grand finale. While no operator is in the cab it appears an engineer had to run along side the tractor with a long cable that presumably controlled the throttle and steering. At the last moment he would let go and watch at the tractor shot up the cambered ramp and on it’s way to destruction. Can you say hazard pay?

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1 Response to Allis Chalmers Proving Grounds

  1. Jill Gooden says:

    Do you happen to know anything about the proving grounds just north of Topeka, Kansas?

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