KAELBLE dumper

Project KAELBLE: Resurrection of a legend

Happy discovery in Alsace
KAELBLE: Happy discovery in Alsace

Prehistory

Happy discovery in Alsace

MEILLER tippers are robust. Just like the jewel that was offered for sale to Jacky Below, Managing Director of MEILLER Lipsheim, in September 2007 in Alsace: a KAELBLE KDV 22 E 8 from 1963 with a dumper made by F.X. MEILLER. A total of only approximately 50 units of this chassis were built. MEILLER dumpers were built on about half of them, tractor units or special vehicles were produced from the rest. Only a few survived. The vast majority was scrapped after active use or cannibalised for parts.

Our vehicle had also been parked at a gravel plant owner in Alsace who was a vintage vehicle enthusiast. He had bought the truck in a bad condition from KAELBLE in Backnang. KAELBLE produced, for example, wheeled loaders which is the means by which contact was made to the Alsace gravel plant. KAELBLE itself wanted to tackle restoration of the old dumper after it had received one of two similar dumpers from a quarry in the Swabian Alb. But unfortunately the company discontinued operations before the project started.

It was then also clear that more work was required than a little fresh paint. After all, the dumper was in a really bad condition after its last owner in the Swabian quarry. Its sister vehicle was considerably better preserved and still runs today – of course as a vintage vehicle and no longer in daily operation.

So on 20 March 2012 the KAELBLE dumper arrived at the MEILLER main plant at Munich in a sad condition yet in bright sunshine. 17 tons of scrap iron – not roadworthy. Freshly unloaded, the vehicle was firstly towed into an empty hall. A concept was needed to carry out restoration of the vehicles outside of, and in tandem with, the actual core business.

Video: Kaelble KDV 22 E 8 with MEILLER tipper body

It became a project

11 January 2013 was the day: the green light for the project was given with the kick-off event in the Customer Service and Service Workshop at the main plant in Munich. The goal: the KAELBLE dumper was to be presented fully restored and in a new glory at BAUMA in April 2016. At events and trade fairs the historic vehicle will be representative in the future for the tradition of innovative tipper and transport solutions from MEILLER.

In the meantime inquires could be conducted, and intensive contacts were established to various KAELBLE experts and the KAELBLE archive. The data plate was analysed and drawings of the tipper body were dug out from our archive. The previous owner as well as the work locations and life history could be reconstructed. Detailed statements on the condition of the vehicle and its components could only be made little by little at a survey.

Restoration goal

With the aid of reliable information on the conservation and use of historical cultural heritage, during the first project meeting on 25 January 2013 we agreed to restore the KAELBLE dumper based on the following approach:

Restoration philosophy

Given the planned purpose, the approach was a mixture of "preservation restoration" and moderate "better-than-new-restoration" without installation of modern technologies such as an electronic ignition system. We placed high value on modern corrosion protection measures for metal plates and technical parts that were not yet comparable in the 1950s (such as galvanising procedures and painting with acrylic varnish and clear varnish).

Registration type

Historic registration plate (H registration plate). The benefits are obvious: favourable tax rate, no usage restrictions (e.g. international journeys, entry in environmental zones) and a higher vehicle value.

Technical changes

The original condition should be fully preserved except for the modifications required for German registration and a European appearance. This includes for example: orange indicator lenses at the front, hazard warning lights and VDO instruments with German dials as well as European headlights and sidelights.

Parts preparation/procurement

We had formulated the following objectives:

  • Parts still adequate as a used part, then recondition.
  • When a part is damaged, ruined or missing, then buy the original part on the relevant spare parts market.
  • If a part is disproportionately expensive or unavailable as a new part, then purchase on the used spare parts market or, if required, individual replica.
  • No compromises in road safety.

In order to achieve the restoration goals we outsourced specific work, such as bodywork on the cabin, upholstery work, engine overhaul and electroplating.

The tipper pump still looks good.
The tipper pump still looks good.
Brake chamber on the rear axle
Brake chamber on the rear axle
The front axle
The front axle: Steers and turns - clear for overhauling.
Kaelble electrics
The electrical system is still there, but can it still work?
Engine test run: Let's see if it still runs.
Engine test run: Let's see if it still runs.
The openers for the quarter windows and the air outlets for the heating are also present.
The openers for the quarter windows and the air outlets for the heating are also present.
Porous rear axle
The nasty surprise: We have decay and tooth gaps in the rear axle.
Something is broken on the exhaust manifold
Something is broken on the exhaust manifold
Removed Kaelble rear axles
The removed rear axles. There is another nasty surprise here.
View of the Kaelble clutch and engine
A view of the clutch and engine.

Survey

"When you screw it apart there are surprises, and nothing is as it seems." These are really the two core wisdoms that accompany us when handling historic vehicles.
We had set ourselves the goal of restoring the dumper not only optically, but also functionally. All parts and components therefore had to be taken into hand, inspected, reconditioned or replaced. We wanted to avoid nasty surprises as far as possible with this thorough survey and corresponding documentation - even though this was not entirely successful...

Restoration

Follow the restoration of KAELBLE KDV 22 E8 with MEILLER tipper step-by-step here in our text and story board.

  • Tipper body
  • Hydraulics
  • chassis frame
  • Drive train
  • Engine
  • Cabin
Tipper body removed
Tipper body removed
The old tipper body. Despite thousands of m³ excavated material, the tipper body floor is still intact.
The old tipper body. Despite thousands of m³ excavated material, the tipper body floor is still intact.
Tipper body production at MEILLER in Moosach. This is how tipper bodies were welded in the sixties.
Tipper body production at MEILLER in Moosach. This is how tipper bodies were welded in the sixties.
Straightening the tipper body on the welding frame
Straightening the tipper body on the welding frame
The finished fully welded tipper body
The finished fully welded tipper body
The new tipper body comes into being
The new tipper body comes into being
Freshly painted in RAL 1007
Freshly painted in RAL 1007
Our expertise in Slaný
Our expertise in Slaný

During its working life the tipper body had moved approximately 5.6 million m³ of material – by comparison: the Munich Alianz Arena has a volume of 2.93 million m³. The fact that this did not leave traces on it is clear to everyone. For MEILLER as a manufacturer and with the aspiration of a full restoration, it quickly became obvious that the tipper body should be produced new according to the original documents.

This was easier said than done. Of course MEILLER has the documents, but their structure from that time was not so detailed. Nowadays every smallest part is precisely defined, drawn and numbered. It was different at the time of the KAELBLE dumper. There were component drawings, and the key single parts and connection dimensions were defined. Everything else, such as gusset plates, angle brackets, supports, struts, etc. were only shown as sketches in the work plans.

The workers themselves produced these parts as required during production in those times. Such work plans haven't existed for a long time now. Only the old drawings of components and a few sketches of single parts as well as, of course, the old tipper body served as our basis. Over many lunch breaks the colleagues at our steel plant in Slaný therefore created a new tipper body – first in CAD, and then in steel.

Oil tank with distribution block during cleaning
Oil tank with distribution block during cleaning
Removed tipper ram
Removed tipper ram
The tipper pump on the test bench
The tipper pump on the test bench
All tipper pump parts disassembled
The tipper pump with all parts disassembled
Freshly primer-coated
Freshly primer-coated
Oil tank with distribution block wait for the hydraulic oil.
Oil tank with distribution block wait for the hydraulic oil.
View of the tipper kinematics in operation.
View of the tipper kinematics in operation.

The key component of each and every tipper is the hydraulic system. Even 60 years ago the control valve and tipper ram were solid and indestructible without any great wear and fully functional. Merely the bearing bushes of the tipper pump were slightly worn and were replaced. The control valve and ram were in top condition and judging from their numbers they were original parts.

The oil tank was cleaned, as well as the filter. The tipper ram and control valve were put on the test bench and passed all tests at the first go. We were particularly proud of the nearly new condition of the hydraulic system. Not even the operating pressure had to be readjusted.
The special feature of the tipper ram: it automatically switches to unpressurised circulation when it has reached the end position. Of course, all of the parts were given a new coat of paint.

The naked frame
The naked frame
Shortly before transport into the sandblasting plant
Shortly before transport into the sandblasting plant
The swing axle frame during blasting
The swing axle frame during blasting
Clearly visible: The heat points during frame straightening.
Clearly visible: The heat points during frame straightening.
The old swing axle is drilled out
The old swing axle is drilled out
The new swing axle is turned
The new swing axle is turned
The prime-coating is applied
The prime-coating is applied
Installing the swing axle
Installing the swing axle
Various attachment parts return to their original position
Various attachment parts return to their original position
The mighty spring assemblies are reinstalled.
The mighty spring assemblies are reinstalled

Such a truck frame is actually a massive thing, steel and iron had also not been saved at KAELBLE. Nevertheless, the many hundred working hours in the Swabian quarry had left their mark. So the vehicle had to be tipped to the side, then during disassembly and inspection we noticed that in addition to the fully worn swing axle unit of the rear axle being bent as the result of continuous overloading, the main frame was also bent in the area of the engine mount.

The frame was therefore sandblasted and then aligned. The old swing axle was drilled out, a new shaft was produced and installed. The spring assemblies received new mounting brackets and the swing axle a new mounting.

Deformed components can – within limits – be brought back into good shape by flame straightening. Heat points or heat wedges are placed on the component which is then quickly cooled down. The goal is to prevent creation of small localised component contractions. Tensions are created in the component this way that distort the overall structure as much as possible in the correct direction and by the correct dimension. Unfortunately, not every distorted component can be saved with this method.
Flame straightening is complex and requires much experience and patience. It therefore took many weeks until we were sure when and where the torch had to be positioned on the chassis frame.

The disassembled axles.
The disassembled axles.
The transfer case.
The transfer case.
Just removed and ready for overhauling.
Just removed and ready for overhauling.
The stub axles.
The stub axles.
The front axle planetary sets and wheel centres with brake drums.
The front axle planetary sets and wheel centres with brake drums.
Beyond remedy: Bevel gear and crown gear on the second rear axle are completely destroyed.
Beyond remedy: Bevel gear and crown gear on the second rear axle are completely destroyed.
The cracked gearbox housing.
The cracked gearbox housing.
We also need new bearings here
We also need new bearings here
Whole again
Whole again
Freshly painted: The overhauled axles and gearbox. The new tipper body in the background.
Freshly painted: The overhauled axles and gearbox. The new tipper body in the background.

The drive train, consisting of the main gearbox and transfer case and axles, was completely disassembled and overhauled. Nearly every component gave us new surprises as we did this. During disassembly we had already identified that the bevel gear and crown gear had fully broking off from one of the two rear axles. The main gearbox initially gave a good impression, all gears could be shifted.

It was ultimately due mostly to the curiosity of some apprentices that the damage to the gearbox was made visible. They disassembled it without further ado and discovered a few new surprises. In addition to faulty bearings and a broken gear shift rod, a cracked gearbox housing also came to light. Apparently this was due to the transfer case as the old PTO for the tipper pump was broken here. Presumably the lubrication pump had failed at some time. New bearings were fitted in the main gearbox and the crack in the housing was repaired. The transfer case was also given new bearings and a new PTO shaft.

The front axle was completely refurbished and sealed. But it was in a good condition overall. The first rear axle was still relatively good - the problem child was the second. Because, as mentioned above, the bevel gear and crown gear were broken off. A real problem. We were finally able to find a "cannibal vehicle" from which we could remove the parts we needed.

Of course, the braking system was also refurbished an all axles, the brake drums rectified and the linings replaced. We could replace another faulty brake drum from our part supplier vehicle.

The engine was still fitted here
The engine was still fitted here
A displacement of 19 litres needs massive pillars.
A displacement of 19 litres needs massive pillars.
The engine is heated for flushing to loosen scale.
The engine is heated for flushing to loosen scale.
After a few hours it can breathe freely again.
After a few hours it can breathe freely again.
Well embedded in to the cylinder Mecca: the injection pump.
Well embedded in to the cylinder Mecca: the injection pump.
The removed cylinder heads
The removed cylinder heads
The valve seats are repositioned on the ground cylinder heads.
The valve seats are repositioned on the ground cylinder heads.
The spurn pinion in the engine
The spurn pinion in the engine
The two engine oil pumps
The two engine oil pumps
Last preparations before the ultimate test run.
Last preparations before the ultimate test run.
First signs of life after the overhaul
First signs of life after the overhaul
The mighty fan can still be seen here before the radiator is installed.
The mighty fan can still be seen here before the radiator is installed.
The engine waits for its new tasks.
The engine waits for its new tasks.

We knew of course that the engine ran, but its running did not particularly impress us. The compression was mediocre, scale in the cooling pipes and the combustion was worrisome during the test run. So we had to do something here. On the removed engine the cooling pipes were sealed off and flushed with a cleaning fluid. Then disassembly was next.

The injection pump including the nozzles were overhauled and the cylinder heads also needed some attention. They were all ground and were given new valves that we found in Spain. The oil pumps were cleaned and checked for correct operation, also the water pumps. Finished off with new head gaskets, the first test run of the mighty V8 engine took place in September 2015.

Our apprentices during dismantling of the cabin.
Our apprentices during dismantling of the cabin.
The old front fairing was aligned with many patient hammer blows.
The old front fairing was aligned with many patient hammer blows.
The front fairing during tin coating
The front fairing during tin coating
Hard to believe: Rust!
Hard to believe: Rust!
The replacement for the dilapidated corner
The replacement for the dilapidated corner
Cabin attached
Cabin attached
The restored cabin skeleton shortly before sandblasting and primer-coating.
The restored cabin skeleton shortly before sandblasting and primer-coating.
The cabin positioned as a test.
The cabin positioned as a test.
Not only sheet metal, but wood is also installed in the KAELBLE.
Not only sheet metal, but wood is also installed in the KAELBLE.
The new tailgate in its original form
The new tailgate in its original form
The engine covers with original cover straps pattern
The engine covers with original cover straps pattern
Old German oak was installed
Old German oak was installed
Tools made in house for producing the radiator grille
Tools made in house for producing the radiator grille
The front fairing when trying on
The front fairing when trying on
Radiator grille comparison with radiator emblem: On the left new / on the right old
Radiator grille comparison with radiator emblem: On the left new / on the right old
The old driver's seat newly upholstered
The old driver's seat newly upholstered
The pre-mounted instrument panel
The pre-mounted instrument panel
The interior trim. Looks good, don't you think?
The interior trim. Looks good, don't you think?
Cabin with doors and rain channels
Cabin with doors and rain channels
Painted and with fire protection wall, removal begins
Painted and with fire protection wall, removal begins

The cabin made much work for us. The substance was still there, but everything was somehow dilapidated. After all of the parts had been removed they were firstly blasted. Afterwards it became clear that practically every sheet metal part was damaged in some way.

The metal skin was removed and the faulty places on the roof and front spoilers were restored. The basic structure of the cabin was built up piece-by-piece with specially made frame sections where it was rusted through. New hinges were created and the doors were restored.

The original front fairing was given a reconditioned rod grille. The wood structure of the roof panelling was also created in cartwright work. After the tin coating everything was primer-coated and painted. The interior construction followed. The seats were upholstered, the instrument panel overhauled, old trims were refurbished or replaced by new ones. This also happened with the tipper body floors in the cabin.

Not to forget: the complete electrical system was renewed according to the original wiring diagrams. Additionally, we received an original tachometer. Also the engine cover and mudguards that could no longer be saved were newly recreated by hardworking hands.

Assembly

The rear axles come below the painted frame
The rear axles come below the painted frame.
New bearings in the trailing arms with new rubber seals and bolts.
New bearings in the trailing arms with new rubber seals and bolts.
The front axle is now in. Only the rear axle still needs a little work.
The front axle is now in. Only the rear axle still needs a little work.
The first wheels are fitted.
The first wheels are fitted.
The frame has waited two years for this moment: The supports disappear
The frame has waited two years for this moment: The supports disappear.
Freshly fitted Trilex wheel rim
Freshly fitted Trilex wheel rim
A sublime moment: It's on new wheels
A sublime moment: It's on new wheels.
The new rod grille
The new rod grille
The pre-mounted cabin
The pre-mounted cabin
The bolts are also ready
The bolts are also ready.
New brake chambers
New brake chambers
New headlights and indicator lights in the bumper
New headlights and indicator lights in the bumper
The engine cover waits to be installed
The engine cover waits to be installed.
A view of the new electrical system
A view of the new electrical system.
The
The "marriage" is imminent.
Wed at last
Wed at last.

After completion of the various components the assembly commenced. To ensure that nothing went wrong, many parts were fitted onto the frame or chassis before painting. This saved us much rework on painted parts.

The new braking system could also be installed with the freshly mounted axles. The lighting system then came. The engine and gearbox as well as the radiator together with the fairing followed. The cabin was largely finished on stands and was then put in position. After the tipper body had been placed in position the KAELBLE was now nearly complete.