MAZ-501: photo and specifications

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MAZ-501: photo and specifications
MAZ-501: photo and specifications

In the early 50s of the last century, the automobile plant in Minsk was actively developing the all-wheel drive flatbed truck MAZ-501. Initially, the car was planned for use in the army. The modification was equipped with a transfer case, a front drive axle, a 200G onboard platform, rear dual wheels with a traditional tire size. The prototypes did not impress military customers, as well as representatives of the automotive industry. The only department that paid attention to the car was the Ministry of Forestry, which is in dire need of powerful timber trucks.

Auto MAZ-501
Auto MAZ-501

History of Creation

In the manufacture of the MAZ-501, designers were asked to consider the option of creating a specialized timber carrier with a tow hitch and a bunk. The main purpose of the updated equipment is the transportation of timber up to 35 meters long in different assortments using a dissolution trailer. The total load capacity parameter was planned in the region of 15 tons. Prior to this, the material was taken out on ordinary flatbed vehicles, the platforms of which were transformed into special horses already during operation.

For a short timetime, together with TsNIIME, the designers made appropriate adjustments. In the fall of 1953, the first prototypes came out. Comprehensive testing took about a year and a half.

Chassis design

Belarusian MAZ-501 is the first domestic truck with a permanent all-wheel drive, which made it possible to move off-road. Minsk automakers have supplemented the design of the car with a five-mode gearbox from the 200th model, as well as a “transfer case” with a pair of reduction gears.

The front bridge is also made in the original design. This assembly is a steel beam in the form of an I-beam, the front of which is equipped with a special compact gearbox (two bevel gears with spiral teeth, aggregated with an interwheel differential). The last element is somewhat offset relative to the longitudinal axis of the truck, which allowed it to be compactly placed between the engine crankcase and the frame spars.

Scheme of a car MAZ-501
Scheme of a car MAZ-501

From the gearbox, the axle shafts in protective tubes were transferred to final drives. They are behind the spring blocks. This design feature is due to the limited height of the machine, since the installation of a front drive axle with a paired gearbox required additional space. Growth in this direction was kept within 17-20 centimeters. It is worth noting that the increase in the distance between the wheels and the fenders facilitated access to the steering assembly, shock absorbers and rods.

Other features

The gear ratio of the timber truck MAZ-501 was 9, 81. Frontthe wheels turned due to the interaction of reliable hinges of the "twin cardan" configuration with pins on tapered roller bearings. The rear analogue remained practically unchanged (from the 200th version).

The torque was transmitted using an asymmetrical differential in the proportions of 2/3 (to the rear axle) and 1/3 (to the front assembly). This feature compensates for the spread of effort during maneuvers. For movement on slippery areas, a full mechanical blocking mode is provided in two ways (self-shutdown or mechanical impact).

The MAZ 260 5 S-501 engine was borrowed from the 200th version with almost no changes, along with the gearbox assembly and clutch unit. The frame had to be strengthened because it was raised by 17 centimeters. As a result, the rear spring brackets have been changed. The front suspension consists of 11 sheets per side and hydraulic double-sided shock absorbers.

Photo truck MAZ-501
Photo truck MAZ-501

Standard equipment

The steering on the truck in question is also taken from the MAZ-200. Only rolling bearings were added to the design, which facilitate the operation of the assembly. The wheels are stamped, equipped with five holes on the discs, like Yaroslavl trucks. Most often, a “straight tree” pattern was used as a protector, the nominal pressure in the chambers was 4.5 atmospheres. A pair of spares was fixed behind the cab on steel holders. The wheels of these elements were lowered using devices with cables.

The fuel tank also came from the 200th line. Tank installed onthe right half of the frame, its bottom part is protected by a metal grate, and the top is protected by a decking of the cargo area. To gain access to the neck during refueling, the deck window had to be opened first.

The electrical equipment of the MAZ-501 vehicle was supplemented with a standard light element for lighting the loading platform located on the left side of the cab rib. It was mounted on a galvanized rack with the ability to lift 0.5 meters and rotate 360 degrees with the use of tilt if necessary. The taillight and number plate were attached there.

Timber truck MAZ-501
Timber truck MAZ-501

Additional accessories

In the back of the MAZ-501 car, the photo of which is presented below, a traction beam was installed with special holes that serve to fix the proposed cross coupling of dissolution. Load bunk features:

  • dimensions - 2.4×1.15 m;
  • presence of folding racks;
  • element moved 250mm forward of rear axle to improve weight distribution;
  • fixing the part in the non-working state was carried out by means of a special fastening, in an oblique position (to reduce the dimensions in width);
  • The lattice fence was mounted on a frame, made of angled iron.
  • Truck MAZ-501
    Truck MAZ-501

Serial production

The first samples of MAZ-501 were tested in the timber industry (Chervensk). The car showed a confident overcoming of all types of roads, off-road and snow, up to 0.5 meters high. Based on the test results, a special commission decided that tractioncharacteristics, carrying capacity and cross-country ability meet the requirements. In addition, in terms of economy, the truck was noticeably superior to analogues that existed at that time. The first serial copy rolled off the assembly line of the Minsk plant in December 1955. Mass production of timber trucks has been going on for ten years.


After the start of serial production, the designers did not stop improving and updating the truck in question. Already after the 96th copy, a backup fuel supply system was installed on the timber carrier. From the 1043rd sample, steel pipelines were introduced into the design instead of copper analogues. A little later, the MAZ-501 starter appeared on the machines with an electric torch lamp heater. The muffler was moved to the left frame spar.

At first, the truck was equipped with a two-stroke diesel engine of the YaAZ-204A type. Its power parameter is 110 horsepower, volume is 4.65 liters. Other "engines" mounted on the MAZ-501:

  • YAZ-M204A (120 hp);
  • YAZ-206A six-cylinder power unit (165 hp).

In order to install the latest version, I had to build up the front of the frame, pushing the hood forward. In addition, the car was equipped with an additional massive bumper. As practice has shown, such an innovation was worth such changes, since the capacity of the timber truck increased significantly.

Modification of the car MAZ-501
Modification of the car MAZ-501

Last copies

On the latest MAZ-501 models, several improvements were made to the brake assembly and the electrical system. The lighting element was moved to the middle of the ceiling from the rear of the cab. The battery was taken out under the seat. Direction indicators (instead of sidelights) and more sealed optics (partially collapsible) appeared in the package.