NSU Kettenkrad HomepageKettenkrad

ManufacturerNSU Motorenwerke AG, Neckarsulm, Germany
TypeHK 101
Military typeSd.Kfz 2
Measures and weights:
Length3 metres (9 ' 10")
Width1 metre (3' 3")
Height1.20 metres (3' 11")
Unladen weight1235 kg (2726 lbs)
Payload325 kg (717 lbs), including driver
Combat weight1560 kg (3444 lbs), including crew of 3. Only 95 kg (210 lbs) of this weight is carried by the front wheel, the rest is on the tracks.

It is a small vehicle

Driving performance:
Top speedDriver's manual says 70 km/h (44 mph), other sources say
80 km/h (50 mph), postwar title says 61 km/h (38 mph)

It is fast...

Engine (Motor):
ManufacturerOPEL (German daughter company of GM)
TypeFour cylinder in line watercooled OHV engine
Capacity1478 ccm
Bore80 mm
Stroke74 mm
Compression ratio1 : 6
Performance36 bhp (26 kW) at 3400 rpm
CarburetterSOLEX downdraught off-road carburetter 32 FJ-II
(The first 500 Kettenkrads and all postwar Kettenkrads had a standard OPEL (System Carter) carburetter)
Electrical system: (Thanks god, it's BOSCH!)
Voltage6 Volts, negative ground
Generator6 Volts, 75 W
Battery6 Volts, 75 Ah
Spark plugsBOSCH W145T1, gap 0.65 mm
Modern plugs: BOSCH W8AC or BERU 14-8AU or NGK B5HS or Champion L90C
Firing order1 - 3 - 4 - 2 (Cylinder 1 = At the rear, water pump side)
Contakt breakerpoint gap 0,4 - 0,45 mm
Ignition timing point30° before t.d.c. (full advanced)
Front wheel3.50-19 (Air pressure: 1,7 atü = 25 psi)
TracksZpw 51/170/120, 40 links per track
Track padsW02
WheelsRoad wheels 450 mm diameter, idler wheel 410 mm diameter. (Very early Kettenkrads have bigger idler wheels)

The engine comes from the well known OPEL OLYMPIA car. NSU was a motorcycle factory and produced only one cylinder engines with up to 600 ccm, which were not powerful enough for the Kettenkrad. To save the work and the time for the developing of an own engine, NSU took the reliable OPEL engine from the stock. The OPEL OLYMPIA car was in Wehrmacht use, too, so the mechanics in the field knew the engine.


Gearbox with 3 forward gears and 1 reverse gear, plus transfer box for "Gelände" (Off-road) und "Straße" (Road). So in total there are 6 forward and 2 reverse gears.

Fuel consumption:

On the road: 16 litres/100 km (18 mpg (imperial))
Off road: 22 litres/100 km (13 mpg (imperial)) and more, depending on the terrain.

The fuel tank capacity is 2 x 21 litres. So each of the two fuel tanks can take a full jerrycan. The fuel tanks are located to the right and to the left of the driver.

Petrol/Gasoline:2 x 21 l = 42 l regular, leaded or unleaded, min. 74 octane
Engine/Motor:3.2 l Einheitsöl der Wehrmacht. Today: Engine oil SAE 15W-40
Gearbox:1.2 l Einheits-Getriebeöl der Wehrmacht / CASTROL Manual EP 80W API GL4
Steering gear1.0 l Einheits-Getriebeöl der Wehrmacht / CASTROL Manual EP 80W API GL4
Radiator fan 0.075 l (75 cm³) Einheits-Getriebeöl der Wehrmacht / CASTROL Manual EP 80W API GL4
Seitengetriebe0.450 l (450 cm³) Fliessfett. Mixture from 1 part gearbox oil and 1 part grease. Known as Ambroleum. Today: SHELL RETINAX G
Cooling system14 l water with anti freeze
Front fork (hydraulic)0.115 l (115 cm³) Brake fluid DOT 3 oder DOT 4

© Andreas Mehlhorn 2002-2009