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I know, not an L&G, but . . . . Stretch D8 Caterpillars


Hick

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Totally fascinating!! (To me, anyhoo . . . )

I copied several comments from the OP from guys who had been there and worked with them.

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Bobby Bronstein

Here's a project I was part of in the early 90's in Antarctica. Mid 50's stretch D8 pulling a broken C130 on a sled.

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This was Rebecca 48-07233

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Short history of the Stretch 8s:

- track pads are 54" wide.

- to fit the wider track pads the dead axles were longer and an extension was fitted to the sprocket carrier.

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- main frames and swing frames were lengthened about 4-5 feet.

- the tractors were built for both the Arctic (Army) and Antarctic (Navy/ USARP).

- originally the Antarctic tractors were all naturally aspirated 14A. Most of those were retrofitted with turbos. Later tractors were oem with turbos, and several were made with 353s. Rebecca is the only surviving non turbo.

- the original tractors were developed by Peterson Tractor in San Leandro, CA. Production runs were at Peoria.

- in the mid 70s the Navy decided that the Stretch 8s were no longer economical and made the decision to replace them with D6D LGP. The new tractors arrived in the resupply ship in February 79, and half a dozen or so of the Stretch 8s went north in Feb 80 and sold as surplus.

- the remaining tractors, Pam, Rebecca, Linda and Big John were to go north in Feb 81. However during the 80-81 season it became very apparent that, regardless of being similar on paper, the 6Ds could not replace the Stretch 8s. This led to the NSF contractor recovering tractors abandoned by the Navy at South Pole in 82-83 and Byrd a few years later.

- I found the remnants of the tractors sent north in Feb 80 at FP Smith Equipment in Cordelia CA. The contractor bought back the Stretch 8 specific parts for use on the remaining tractors in Antarctica.

- Pam was sent to Gough Gough and Hammer in New Zealand for rehab in Feb 82, and returned in Feb 83.

- Linda and Big John (353 engines) went north for rehab later. Rebecca, the oldest Stretch 8, was retired and spent many years on display in the Seabee Museum at Port Hueneme.

- the tractor recovered at South Pole returned to SP as Mary Anne. She was named by the crew at GG & H, possibly after a gal in the office.

- the Byrd tractor may have returned as Colleen.

- the only known Antarctic Stretch 8s left are Pam (owned by Seabee Larry Cruz), Rebecca and Mary Ann (owned by the Glen Ghilotti estate in Nor Cal), and Colleen (at the Cat Museum in Peoria).

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they were originally built to pull trains of cargo (otaco) sleds when the Navy built all the camps on the continent. Not made for operating on dirt, several had undercarriage ruined that way. Lasted forever if run only on snow

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low ground pressure LGP built especially for Antarctica. They had a huge belly fuel tank as well for long range. There were 3 versions, a D7 with a bigger engine (not sure now which engine, then the D8 you see pictured with the standard engine of the day and then there was at least one D8 with a 353 (D9) engine up front.

They walked those bad boys all the way to Pole Station from McMurdo and back

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Thanks for the history.  I guess they needed a very large track area to lower the square inch pressure from the weight so they wouldn't be buried in the snow plus be able to span crevasses.

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rich_kildow

I was a Seabee stationed at Hueneme...I'm 99% sure I saw that in the museum when I was there from 04-06.

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