The First Turbo Tractor ALLIS-CHALMERS D-19

Diesel World - - Tractor Talk -

The turbo diesel is so com­mon­place to­day that nat­u­rally as­pi­rated diesels stand out. Go back nearly 60 years and the op­po­site was true.

In 1961, tur­bocharg­ing wasn’t yet com­mon in the world of diesels but it was nonex­is­tent in the realm of pro­duc­tion farm trac­tors. There were many rea­sons for that, start­ing with cost. Be­ing fairly new tech­nol­ogy, it was ex­pen­sive to im­ple­ment and farm­ers weren’t al­ways will­ing or able to ab­sorb that ex­tra cost. The be­gin­ning of the ’60s was when a down­sized, mod­er­ate-cost turbo diesel be­gan to be prac­ti­cal. It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore some tractor com­pany fielded a tur­bocharged diesel and Allis-chalmers (AC) was that com­pany. Funny thing is… they in­tro­duced a tur­bocharger onto an old-school Buda-lanova diesel

that re­ally wasn’t all that well suited to it.

The tur­bocharged D-19 was in­tro­duced into Allis-chalmers’s very suc­cess­ful D-se­ries tractor line for 1961. Launched in 1957, the D-se­ries started with the D-14, a 34-horsepower, four-

cylin­der gasser. It would be sup­ple­mented with the D-17, which had the op­tion of a 262ci six-cylin­der diesel. The D-10 and D-12 would soon join the group and the D-15 would re­place the D-14. The D-19 would come next and then the D-21.

The D-17 was a pop­u­lar “just right” tractor when it was in­tro­duced in the fall of 1957 as AC’S “big” tractor. The diesel was rated at 51 Ne­braska-tested PTO horsepower. With the lat­est ver­sion of AC’S Power Di­rec­tor (a power-shift de­vice), Trac­tion Booster draft con­trol, power steer­ing, a power-ad­justable front axle, rear wheel track ad­just­ment and a solid pow­er­train, it was a very ca­pa­ble and well-equipped tractor. By the turn of the 1950s, though, a self-re­spect­ing tractor com­pany needed more than 51 horsepower in its star tractor for brag­ging rights.

A new model was de­signed as a stop­gap to fill in as AC de­vel­oped an all-new big tractor. The D-19 was it, and you could call it a D-17 diesel af­ter a body­build­ing course. The big dif­fer­ence be­tween the two broth­ers was the ad­di­tion of a Thompson tur­bocharger. Boost was mod­est, only 4-5 psi, but it took the D262 diesel from 51 PTO horsepower to 67 (about 90 hp on the fly­wheel). On the draw­bar, the D-17 de­liv­ered 36 horsepower in the Ne­braska test while the D-19 cranked out 62.

The D262 was an up­dated B-se­ries legacy en­gine from Buda (pro­nounced “Beuda” not “Booda”). In late 1953 Allis-chalmers ac­quired the Buda En­gine Com­pany, mak­ing it the Buda En­gine Divi­sion of Allis-chalmers. Buda had been mak­ing au­to­mo­tive, in­dus­trial and ma­rine in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gines since 1910 and formed the ba­sis of what was to be­come Allis-chalmers’s short but il­lus­tri­ous era as an en­gine builder. One re­sult of that era was the Con­sol­i­dated Diesel agree­ment with Cum­mins that yielded the leg­endary 5.9L diesels in the ’80s.

For a brief pe­riod the D-19 was Allis-chalmers’s most pow­er­ful rowcrop tractor. Jim Stam­men’s ’64 has all the bells and whis­tles, in­clud­ing front weights (75 pounds each), Power Ad­just rear wheels, rear-wheel weights (75 pounds for each “pie” sec­tion),...

Here’s what made the D-19 stand out, the Thompson tur­bocharger. Thompson Prod­ucts (a part of what would later be­come TRW) was a well-known builder of tur­bos back then and is best re­mem­bered for mak­ing the turbo for the Cor­vair Monza. The D-19 turbo...

 Stam­men’s D-19 is loaded for bear. With 600 pounds of iron on the 18.4-34 rear tires, 400 pounds of iron on the front wheels and an­other 300 pounds on the front weight rack, plus about 2,000 pounds of liq­uid bal­last in the tires, this beast is in the...

 The air cleaner marks an­other first for AC, a paper air fil­ter. AC en­gi­neers claimed the paper fil­ter was 20 per­cent more ef­fi­cient than a typ­i­cal oil bath fil­ter, thus adding to en­gine life. Ear­lier ver­sions of the B-se­ries Buda en­gines had used an...

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