MAZ-537 "Hurricane" truck tractor
Since the MAZ-535 truck tractor [sedelnyj tjagach] load capacity and traction capabilities were not entirely satisfactory to the customer, the task was set to create machines with higher operational parameters on the basis of unified units and aggregates, primarily in terms of traction and dynamic properties and increasing the maximum load.
In the early 50-ies of the 20 century in the USSR, there was a need for new powerful vehicles for the military. Rocket complexes, heavy armored vehicles on caterpillar tracks, fortification excavators and other equipment needed transportation both for near and long distances. Especially difficult was the redeployment of military units, which was carried out regularly. It took up to six months to travel by rail and small-sized motor transport.
The Council of Ministers of the USSR in June 1954 adopted a resolution on the creation of a special design bureau for the development of particularly powerful military tractors with the possibility of subsequent modification in the civilian industrial version. It immediately became clear that the existing plant technologies and equipment in the automotive production would not be enough. It was neccessary to start from the machine shop, to buy modern equipment abroad and create new technologies. At the Minsk Automobile Plant a large special Design Bureau [SKB] was organized, under the direction of the chief designer Boris L. Shaposhnik. Before the specialists set a task to design and launch a heavy wheel tractor.
The design of the universal tractor began in the autumn of 1954, and by the summer of 1956 prototypes were ready. The four-axle full-length four-wheel drive chassis has become the base for several modifications of the military saddle tow. Characteristics of the machine were designed for long-distance travel at a speed of 40 - 50 km / h. The capacity of the tractor was sufficient to transport the platform with a ballistic intercontinental missile. However, the road train could only follow the road with a hard surface and only on level ground. To overcome even a small recovery did not work, because the trailer did not possess inertia.
Work on a more powerful truck tractor began in late 1956. The projected MAZ-536 was conceived as a tractor for towing semi-trailers with a carrying capacity of about 30 tons. It was planned to install an engine with a capacity of 520 hp, a spar frame, but the project was never implemented, and gradually improved to the next MAZ- 537, assigned by the number of changes made.
The design of the tractor is quite simple, and therefore reliable. The design of the machine was largely based on the units of the tractor MAZ-535B. From the last MAZ-537 differed the increased base, strengthened by a frame and more powerful engine. In this connection, the cooling and lubrication systems of the engine, fuel and air supply, exhaust of the exhaust gases have changed. The engine preheater was moved under the cab to the frame, and its outlet branch was shortened and withdrawn through the front protective sheet of the frame.
The overdrive received an increased gear ratio to drive the hydromechanical transmission. On the shank of the upper shaft, a pulley was installed to drive the compressor. The torque converter and the planetary gearbox have remained virtually unchanged, and the transfer case has been enlarged in size flanges of the driveshafts of the drives of the leading bridges. The flanges of the central reducers and the driveshafts themselves were enlarged. To transfer a larger value of torque, the gear ratio of the gears was increased and an enlarged tooth gear module was used.
The suspension design has not received any significant changes. Torsion shafts of the front wheels along the length and diameter were enlarged in size. Strengthened levers of a suspension bracket, connection of levers have been executed on bronze plugs. The knot turned out to be more durable and durable, but it was necessary to introduce additional lubrication points, which slightly increased the laboriousness of maintenance. In comparison with the predecessor, the compressor drive installed on the overdrive was changed. Now it was powered by two belts and, unlike the more complex drive MAZ-535 with cardan transmission through the intermediate support, it was simpler and more technologically efficient.
The brake system was thoroughly improved. MAZ-537 received wheel brake cylinders of one-way action, two for each wheel, brake drums and brake pads with a width of up to 140 mm. The air compartments of the main brake cylinders were enlarged in diameter to increase the expansion force on the wheel brake pads, and the working pressure of the brake fluid in the wheel cylinders was brought to 120 kg / cm². The new tractor did not have a winch and a power take-off box, which later was installed on its modifications.
The tractor MAZ 537 "Hurricane", the technical characteristics of which showed its reliability, was also widely used in the regular troops for the transportation of various long-range combat systems. However, the towing of long platforms was hampered by the overly remote coupling. The road train did not fit into the turns, maneuverability was limited.
Every move to another place of deployment was an archetypal task for the military, the road train had to be stopped often, by means of complex manipulations, to align the course. Difficulties arose because of the narrow roadway. In the post-war USSR, all roads were extremely narrow, motor vehicles moved in a single row, in both directions. The danger of moving into the ditch was every minute. The heavy tractor occupied its full lane and then drove to the other. Complaints were filed from the civilian population, but the situation did not change. In the end, military departments began to warn about the upcoming transportation of missile systems in advance. The notices of the forthcoming redeployment were received by road services and the state traffic inspectorate. The police blocked traffic on the highway, within 25-30 kilometers, the tractor with the trailer occupied the entire width of the carriageway and safely passed the free site to the next post.
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