1955 Allis-Chalmers WD-45 Diesel

Allis-Chalmers followed the trend to diesel power in October of 1954 when they introduced the WD-45 diesel tractor. The WD line started in 1948 and, with significant upgrades, morphed into the WD-45 range late in 1953. It started with gasoline-, distillate-, and LPG-fueled engines late in 1953 and, about a year later, the diesels followed.

Allis-Chalmers acquired the Buda Engine Company in November of 1953. Buda had many diesel engines in production at the time, and Allis-Chalmers chose the Buda-Lanova 6BD-230 for the WD-45. This engine was part of a family that originated toward the end of World War II. The first ag versions debuted in 1946 Cockshutt tractors. They had a wet-sleeved 3.44-inch bore and a 4.12-inch, seven main-bearing stroke. Buda had licensed the Lanova combustion system in 1934 after having used a MAN system. The 6BD-230 was considerably downsized compared to the earlier 6DT-278 it replaced.


Nothing too different from other tractors from the era. The controls were well-sited, with the hydraulic control up by the steering wheel.
A full complement of gauges, with an ammeter located near the battery box.

The WD-45 diesel began production in October of 1954 with a starting serial number of 181341. By then, the WD-45 platform was well proven. The diesel variant proved one of the more powerful diesels in its size range. Its first Nebraska test on October 11, 1955, rated it at 45.42 hp on the belt and 40.42 hp on the drawbar. At a ballasted weight of 8,305 pounds, it delivered 5,908 pounds of pull, which was in the top tier of its weight range.

The WD-45 diesel could be configured as a wide-front tractor with an adjustable wheel track front and rear, a dual narrow-front or and single-front wheel, plus a high-clearance model was an option. A-C’s snap coupling system was highly regarded by users for the ease of coupling matching A-C implements. The A-C draft control was equally well regarded. The WD-45 could also use a conventional three-point system. Power steering became an option in 1956.

A total of 90,352 WD-45s were built from 1953 to 1957. Of those, 6,509 were diesels. Generally speaking, the WD-45 is considered one of A-C’s best and most-successful tractors. Today, it’s highly regarded as a great antique pulling tractor or as a collectible. It has just the right balance and combination of features to do well in its pulling class. When A-C did a complete makeover of the tractor line for 1957, the WD-45’s place was taken by the equally popular and successful D-17.

The WD-45 diesel came standard with a swinging drawbar. A-C’s snap hitch was an option. It was not a three-point system, but the end result was pretty much the same. The snap hitch fit only A-C implements, allowed for very easy hookups, and worked well. A traction booster system was included that worked as a draft control. Because not everyone had or wanted to buy A-C implements, a standard three-point system was available. The power-adjusted rear wheels were also standard on the diesel, and the Peltons have a pair of the optional 142-pound rear wheel weights installed.


The 6BD-230 displaced 230 ci and made 55 flywheel horsepower and 166 lbs-ft of torque. It was one of the first tractors to offer a spin-on oil filter (in this case dual spin-ons). They were different than the type we see today and they have a very wide male-threaded base. These are reproduced A-C cans. The crankshaft was supported by seven main bearing and the engine was wet sleeved. Like many diesels of this era, it used a Lanova power cell combustion chamber, which offered a quiet, efficient, low-pressure combustion event. It reduced the impact on the engine so that structure could be downsized. It also limited power potential, so as technology allowed direct injected engines to match smaller dimensions, the Lanova system passed into history. The power-steering system used a pump driven off the generator, with a spool valve and servo on the steering column. According to our sources, PS was not available until ’56, so either that is an error or it was added to this ’55 later.

1955 Allis  Chalmers WD-45 Diesel

Engine: 6-cylinder, Buda-Lanova BD-230
Displacement: 230 ci
Bore & Stroke: 3.44 x 4.12-inches
*Rated Belt Power: 45.42 hp @ 1625 rpm
*Rated Drawbar Power: 40.42 hp @ 1629 rpm
Flywheel Power: 55 hp @ 1625 rpm
Flywheel Torque: 166 lbs-ft @ 1250 rpm
Compression Ratio: 15.5:1
Transmission: 4-speed
Weight: 4,730 lbs.
Wheelbase: 88.12-inches
Fuel Capacity: 15 gallon
Tires: 5.5×16 front, 12×28 rear
*Fuel Consumption: 3.1 GPH @ full power
*Drawbar Pull: 5,909 lbs.
*Top Speed:12 mph

* As Rated by Nebraska Tractor Test  #563



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