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An earth-moving experience

10/6/2014 | Words: Chuck Mahnken | Pictures: Hidrogradnja Co.

2-Cycle engines, Terex

Hidrogradnja Co. was founded in 1947 in Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) for one purpose—to build the country’s first hydropower station. In the following years, Hidrogradnja helped build almost every big hydro- and thermal-power plant and heavy industrial structure in the country

The Kirkuk irrigation project in Iraq was a particularly challenging job. The worksite called for digging 61 km (38 miles) of irrigation canals in soil consisting of sand, silt and clay. When work started in 1976, progress was slow and difficult, so Hidrogradnja decided to send in reinforcements—six Terex TS-24 scrapers, powered by Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle Series 71 engines.


The Terex scrapers proved to be very efficient and reliable at the Kirkuk site. Most of the year, the machines worked 24 hours a day, six days a week. During the rainy winter months, they got a slight break—working 16 hours a day. At that time, Petar Grisogono served as a mechanical engineer at Hidrogradnja. Of the Terex scrapers at Kirkuk Petar says, “Only occasionally, in heavy rain, they needed assistance from a bulldozer. Most of the time they were self-loading with ease, picking up loads very fast and hauling them away.”

The Terex scrapers completed their assignment at the Kirkuk Irrigation Project in 1980, fulfilling every job and deadline as promised in 1976. After enduring years of grueling work, the vehicles were still in very good mechanical condition.

In 1983, Hidrogradnja put the TS-24s back to work on a large drainage and irrigation system in central Yugoslavia. The Terex scrapers had a big job to do—excavate nearly 100 km (60 miles) of large canals. In 1984, the project faced one of the coldest winters on record. Low temperatures dipped to -25 C° (-13 F°). “At the site, we worked only the daylight hours,” Petar says. “And it was a very hard job for the mechanics and operators to start the engines in the morning due to the waxing of fuel.” Despite the harsh conditions, the Terex TS-24s toiled on, moving tons upon tons of earth. Maintenance procedures were strictly followed, mechanical breakdowns were rare, and no major problems occurred. The large main canals were completed in 1985.


Over an eight-year period from 1977 to 1985, the Terex scrapers worked tirelessly in two very different conditions—the dry, very hot climate of Iraq and the humid, cold climate of Yugoslavia. Petar says, “In both of these extremes the Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle engines performed extremely well, never overheating in Iraq or failing to start in Bosnian winter. For most of the time the machines were used for 24 hours in a 6-day week. No major engine failure was experienced during this time, none of the main engine parts (such as liners, pistons and bearings) were replaced.”

Conducting major infrastructure work in extreme conditions takes time. Powered by meticulously maintained Detroit Diesel 2-Cycle Series 71 engines, the Terex scrapers were always up for the challenge.

The content of the stories reflects the status as of the respective date of publication. They are not updated. Further developments are therefore not taken into account.

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