ⓘ Tatra 815


ⓘ Tatra 815

The Tatra T815 is a truck family, produced by Czech company Tatra. It uses the traditional tatra concept of rigid backbone tube and swinging half-axles giving independent suspension. The vehicles are available in 4x4, 6x6, 8x8, 10x8, 10x10, 12x8 and 12x12 variants. There are both air-cooled and liquid-cooled engines available with power ranging from 230–440 kilowatts. As a successor to Tatra T813 it was originally designed for extreme off-road conditions, while nowadays there are also variants designated for mixed use.

The T815 and its descendant models took the Czech truck racer Karel Loprais to victory six times in the Dakar Rally.


1. History

Designed to eventually replace T148 the prototype T157 was introduced in 1970 and several more prototypes were designed between 1970 and 1974 period but no production resulted. Due to protests from another Czech manufacturer LIAZ which was assigned by the government central planning committee to manufacture trucks of similar class Tatra dropped the T157 and instead started to concentrate on a heavier class as the replacement for T813 and T148 which was introduced in 1983 as T815 series. In 1989 Tatra modernized T815 series and introduced new T815-2 which received further upgrade in 1994 and just 3 years later in 1997 the new cabin TerrN°1 is introduced. Another facelift followed in 2000 where changes included among others new instrument panel and cab attachment and for the first time there is an option for fitment of liquid-cooled engines. The latest facelift of cabin came in July 2010. Due to emission requirements changes in 2003 Tatra developed all new V8 engine T3C to comply with Euro III where it followed the tradition once again with its air cooling design. The further developed T3D engine was introduced in 2006 with its SCR and Euro IV compliance.


2. Design

While most other manufacturers derive their trucks from road applications, Tatra T815 was purposely designed for extreme off-road conditions, and its road versions are derived from the off-road original concept. The principle consists in a central load-carrying tube with independently suspended swinging half-axles bolted as one whole. This gives Tatra vehicles outstanding driving qualities in the most difficult terrains. The concept allows higher off-road speed compared to classical rigid axle design.


2.1. Design Central load-carrying tube

The primary structural feature of Tatra trucks is the central load carrying tube, also called a backbone frame. All other parts of the truck are mounted to this rigid assembly. The inherently high torsional and flexural rigidity of this layout protects superstructures from the motions and forces on the axles. Torque distribution to the axles is also carried within the backbone.


2.2. Design Differential

Tatra differentials are a unique design that uses two opposing spiral bevel gears instead of the usual single set. The differential gears are part of the input drive shaft rather than between the output axles as in a conventional differential. All versions of the Tatra differential have locking pins that can force the differential gears to rotate together, "locking" the differential. This arrangement had two distinct advantages. The first is that the dual output bevel gears allow the axles to swing around the drive axle without the need for universal couplings. The second is that the input drive shaft goes essentially straight through the differential housing, allowing simple coupling to a second set of swing axles. This modular design enables configurations of 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6 axles with all axles driven. The whole assembly is part of the backbone frame.


2.3. Design Front

  • Air-bellows, with a load capacity of 9 tons per axle and a possibility of a ground clearance regulation.
  • Mechanical suspension of load capacity up to 8 tons per axle by torsion bars – for versions with one steered front axle 4x4 and 6x6 or by leaf springs – for versions with two steered axles.

2.4. Design Rear

  • Tatra King Frame suspension system - combination of an air-bellow with a coil spring placed inside, with a load capacity of up to 11.5 tons per axle or combination of air-bellows with leaf springs, with a load capacity of 13, 15 and 16.5 tons per axle.
  • Mechanical – by leaf springs, with a load capacity of up to 11.5 tons per axle
  • Air-bellows with a load capacity of 10 tons per axle and a possibility of a ground clearance regulation

All suspension types are equipped with telescopic shock absorbers; some versions also have stabilizer torsion bars.


2.5. Design Engine

The Tatra engine is an air-cooled, OHV, currently 12.7 litre 90° V8 120 x 140 mm diesel engine with direct fuel injection. It is turbocharged by one Holset WasteGate turbocharger, and equipped with an intercooler placed directly over the engine. The engine is equipped with a mechanically controlled in-line Bosch injection pump. Its roller crankshaft bolted together from individual segments belongs among unique technical solutions. The engine is available in emission specifications Euro 2 - Euro 5 with power output ranging from 230 to 325 kilowatts 308 to 436 hp and 1.400–2.100 N⋅m 1.000–1.500 lbf⋅ft torque. At its launch, the T815 could alternatively be delivered with a larger powertrain. Available options, all of which were from Tatras own range of engines, included the air-cooled V10 15.8 litre and V12 19 litre, both without turbo and intercooler, and a V12 bi-turbo. When the Euro 1 emission limits came into effect, the larger engine alternatives became unavailable.

Tatra T815 can also be fitted with water-cooled engines made by other manufacturers - notably Cummins and Deutz with power ranging from 260 to 440 kilowatts 350 to 590 hp with 1.550–2.750 N⋅m 1.140–2.030 lbf⋅ft torque.

The most powerful MTU engine that was used in a T815 prototype tank prime mover, had an output of 610 kilowatts 820 hp displacing 21.930 cc.


2.6. Design Transmission

  • An electronically controlled gear shifting Tatra - a driver using a joystick just pre-sets a speed gear, and after the clutch is engaged, the speed shifting is carried out. The driver is informed about the shifted speed gear by means of a dashboard display.
  • Allison six or seven-gear automatic transmission with a compact construction in one case, with a torque converter, which are mounted directly on the engine
  • Twin Disc which is a six-gear auto transmission of 1189 or 1177 type
  • Manually controlled mechanical Tatra transmission which is mounted directly on the auxiliary transmission case, and which, therefore, is an integrated part of the chassis with 10 or 14 gears with two auxiliary gears.

2.7. Design Cab

Tatra T815 is equipped with own Tatra-produced COE cab. There is basic version, extended version with room behind seats used for a berth and especially for fire-fighting applications a long four-door cab enabling transportation of up to six persons.

There is also special low cab version used mostly for cranes and other special applications. The cab is situated in front of the front axle.


2.8. Design Equipment

  • Special protective surface finish
  • Trucks equipped with air-bellows suspension have possibility of a ground clearance regulation.
  • Multi-fuel engines for military version on demand
  • Central tyre inflation system enabling deflation/inflation of tyres during the drive in boggy terrain standard for military versions, on demand for civilian
  • Possibility of additional cab ballistic protection through a supplied and subsequently installed additional armouring set intended also for windows for military version
  • Vehicle radio-shielding as per NATO standards for military version

3. Variants

  • Tatra T815
  • Civilian
  • Tatra T815-2 TERRN°1 most demanded and sold, core of the current T815 range
  • Tatra T815-7
  • Tatra T815-6 Force ultra-heavy fire-fighting offroad truck
  • Tatra T815 low cab for cranes and installation of other special superstructures
  • Tatra T815-2 outdated, but still manufactured on demand
  • There is wide variety of superstructures built on Tatra T815 ranging from tipper S1 and S3 trucks, flatbed truck, tanker, drilling platform used notably in Australia and Russia, autocrane, excavator, concrete mixer, semitrailer tractor and many other.
  • Tatra 815 Armax
  • Tatra 815-7 Force
  • Tatra 815-6 Force the category of the heaviest military trucks with outstanding mobility in the most difficult terrain conditions
  • The military versions vary from 4x4 troop or cargo carrier to 12x12 BrahMos supersonic cruise missile carrier used by India. Still produced.
  • Military
  • Truck trial where T813 gained reputation of invincible off-road truck, of which T815 is a worthy successor
  • Racing
  • Rally raid - Tatra trucks are very successful in rally raids, notably in Dakar where Karel Loprais achieved 6 times victory with T815. There were both 4x4 and 6x6 used in rally raids, and T815 8x8 "Totalka" is the heaviest car ever used in rally.


4. T815 Users


In Australia T815 is used notably by mining companies i.e. as heavy drill 10x10 carrier


There is assembly line of Tatra vehicles in India.

T815 is available also in some African and Asian countries


4.1. T815 Users Europe

All versions for all applications are sold in countries of Central and Eastern Europe as well as in Germany and France. In Central Europe the trucks are used mostly by construction companies, logging companies and mining companies. They are notably popular as fire-fighting engines. In far eastern Russia the Tatra Trucks are used by oil and gas companies in the most difficult terrains, where the air-cooled engine has advantages over water-cooled ones during harsh winter time.


4.2. T815 Users America

T815 is exported to the United States and Brazil. It used to be marketed under mark "American Truck Company" in the United States, where T815 and T815-6 Force is used as heavy fire-fighting engine.


4.3. T815 Users Australia

In Australia T815 is used notably by mining companies i.e. as heavy drill 10x10 carrier


4.4. T815 Users Military

All Variety Types of Tatra Trucks and Chassis like T815 & T810 vehicles are widely used by military in the following countries Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Qatar, UAE, India, Indonesia, Italy, France, and United States with many other countries.


5. Derivatives

  • Rosenbauer Tigon
  • Tatrapan
  • Astros - chassis for multiple rocket launcher produced in Brazil
  • Nexter Caesar
  • mobile surgical unit by German company Drehtainer

6. Specifications

Tatra vehicle coding

The full name of a given vehicle explains most essential information about it. Take as example T 815 - 231S25 28 325 6 x 6. 2 R / 34 1:

  • 1 = vehicle variant - Euro 5 left hand drive with ABS
  • 2 = cab type and axle configuration - short cab, 6x6 or 4x4
  • 5 = Rear axles and suspension - Combined suspension, load capacity 11 tons, no reductions, axle ratio 3.385
  • 231S25
  • 2 = truck family - T 815-2 Cab over engine TerrNo1 or Armax
  • 3 = engine type - T3D-928.30 air-cooled
  • T815 = truck family
  • S = vehicle type - tipper S klapec
  • 2 = tire fitting - dual
  • R = hub reduction
  • 325 = engine power kW
  • 34 = wheelbase mm - number x 100
  • 1 = variant - serial vehicle
  • 28 = gross vehicle weight tones
  • 6x6 = wheel drive
  • The Tatra 815 - 7 is a heavy army logistics vehicle made by the Czech company Tatra produced since 2008, with axle variations of 4 4, 6 6, 8 8 and 10 10
  • Tatra 24 Tatra 25 Tatra 26 Tatra 27 Tatra 28 Tatra 29 Tatra 43 Tatra 49 Tatra 52 Tatra 72 Tatra 74 Tatra 79 Tatra 81 Tatra 82 Tatra 85 Tatra 92 Tatra
  • The Tatra T816 is a truck family, produced by Czech company Tatra It uses the traditional tatra concept of rigid backbone tube and swinging half - axles
  • 1980s both conventional Tatra T 148 and COE Tatra T 813s were succeeded by the single line of COE Tatra T 815 s. However Tatra aimed to develop a conventional
  • the design thus became the modular chassis of the Tatra 813. In 1983, it was succeeded by the Tatra T 815 A tubular backbone construction was chosen for
  • The Tatra 158 Phoenix is a heavy truck made by the Czech company Tatra produced since 2011, with axle variations of 4 4, 6 6, 8 8 and 10 10. The truck
  • was won by Edi Orioli, the truck category was won by Karel Loprais on a Tatra 815 The event was marred by the death of six people, three participants
  • won his fourth motorcycle title. Karel Loprais won the truck title in a Tatra 815 History of Dakar - RETROSPECTIVE 1979 - 2007 PDF Dakar. Archived from
  • won his third motorcycle title. Karel Loprais won the truck title in a Tatra 815 History of Dakar - RETROSPECTIVE 1979 - 2007 PDF Dakar. Archived from
  • manufactured by Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau - Fabriks - Gesellschaft A.G. NW, now known as Tatra in 1897. It was the first actually drivable factory made petrol - engined
  • This same big box Tatra was also done as a large ambulance. One Tatra website also displayed an equally startling 815 a Tatra car carrier handsomely