New heart for an old faithful

Mechanical team stands in front of refurbished red Hagglunds
Mechanical Workshop team stands in front of refurbished Hagglunds

21st January 2011

Three revamped Hagglunds vehicles, up to at least 40% more fuel efficient than many of their counterparts in the Antarctic fleet, will be in Antarctica within a few weeks.

Two of these over-snow vehicles are about to head south to Davis. Another has already arrived at Casey. These modified, repowered Cummins engines vehicles are fitted with a common rail electronic fuel injection system and electronic Allison transmissions,. They are at least 40% more fuel efficient than their Mercedes engine counterparts in the Antarctic fleet of 14.

Easier to maintain mechanically, these modified vehicles are also much quieter and warmer to travel in. Each one has been fitted with improved heating at floor level.

Hagglunds are used in a range of Antarctic field activities, and are the prime people movers of choice for most field trips involving over-snow travel.

A prototype vehicle was despatched to Davis last season where it was trialled and later brought back to the Kingston workshop where its modifications were fine tuned before being shipped back to Davis on Voyage 3 in February. Two more Hagglunds have been re-fitted in the same way and both are now bound for Antarctica on the next voyage in February.

These new variants are more suited for use in cold conditions. The Swedish vehicle was originally equipped with a large cooling system as it was designed for -20 degree to +50 degree conditions, ideal for travel in hot, dry deserts. The cooling system was too efficient for use in the Antarctic cold so in these modified vehicles, the radiator and cooling systems have been rebuilt appropriately.

A great deal of thought from the AAD Mechanical Workshop staff has gone into streamlining mechanical maintenance of the Hagglunds. Access to the motor is now possible through a small hatch inside the cab. In their older counterparts, mechanical  maintenance involves pulling the entire engine out of the vehicle for certain procedures.

Hatch in the front of the driver seat in the Hagglunds
Hatch in the front of the cab makes it easy to access the engine
Photo: A. Rushton
Filters near rear seat
Filters are easily accessible from within the cab
Photo: A. Rushton
Paula and Chad, beside a Hagglunds, take water samples at Crooked Lake
Hagglunds are commonly used in field trips
Photo: M. Foster

The filtering system is laid out in the rear of the engine and so is much easier to access and maintain.

Unlike the original, unmodified Cummins engines fitted in Hagglunds in Sweden, all re-power components and accessories, such as the Hagglunds pump and radiator, used in the modifications are available off the shelf in Australia. In the past, all spare parts had to be ordered from Sweden. This means the vehicles will be cheaper to keep serviceable and mechanical maintenance training will be simplified.

Until now, the Australian Antarctic Hagglunds fleet has included various engine models so keeping up with the correct spare parts and components has been a challenge. Once rolled out through the entire fleet over the next 6 years, this new ‘edition’ should last us for the next 20 years!

This page was last modified on 21 January 2011.