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Saracen Upgrade Progress

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You are right on the funds... it is costing me about $120 an hour for labor. My wife is going to kill me when she gets the bill. I'm pretty sure she thinks this will cost a thousand or two...lol.

 

 

 

I think the tirck is to look suitably surprised at the final bill, and swear never to use them for that work ever again :)

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The body was cut from the base last night. Took two large bottles of gas and they reported that the welds on the torsion bars were made of some exotic metal that the torch would not cut. I can say they have a newfound respect for British steel.

 

A lift system was devised to raise the body involving large jacks and timbers. The weight was more than expected and the rear timber started breaking. They were able to lower it in time. As with all things of this nature... going a little slower than expected.

 

The lower box and wheel assemblies were removed as one piece... engine, gearbox, transfer case and all wheels intact and slid out from under the shell.

 

They are now preparing the International cab and will move that under the shell today or tomorrow (hopefully). I would have obtained better pictures last night but the timber problem stopped us.

Ketchikan-20111025-00121.jpg

Ketchikan-20111025-00122.jpg

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The body was cut from the base last night. Took two large bottles of gas and they reported that the welds on the torsion bars were made of some exotic metal that the torch would not cut.

 

 

 

As just about everyone else has said, of course it is your cash, you can do what you want but I am a bit mystified why you started with a complete, runnable Saracen and cut it up? Why not just mock up the rather simple body shell and mount that on a truck chassis? Now Saracens are pretty common survivors, worldwide but I guess yours was pretty unique in Alaska so it is a pity it has been, to all intents and purposes, destroyed.

 

I note that

 

"The lower box and wheel assemblies were removed as one piece... engine, gearbox, transfer case and all wheels intact and slid out from under the shell."

 

How about preserving them and then at some later date, perhaps when Saracens are rarer, someone may come along and weld it all back together again? My tank was similarly cut up because someone in 1948 wanted a bulldozer rather than to preserve a piece of history but the cut off parts were (accidentally) kept so I was able to retrieve and repair eventually.

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Guys... I understand the nostalgia.... I share it. Making this bold of a change did tear at my heart, but our goal is to preserve the look of the vehicle, inside and out, and make a more usable machine. As I have said in previous posts, I have spent thousands on maintenance and leak issues for roughly 60 miles of use.

 

I have a truck in my driveway that gets used once every three months to take our garbage to the landfill. For the little it is used it has the most problems of any of my vehicles. Per my mechanic he says its because there is nothing more damaging for a vehicle than to let it sit and not be used.

 

I was to the point where I had to make a change with my vehicle or be content to look at it in the garage every few weeks. Driving it in its former condition was simply too difficult and expensive. Parts form the UK... shipped to Alaska, are expensive to put it mildly. I recently purchased a thermostat from Banisters for 120 pounds, which by the time shipping and taxes were factored in was nearly $200 dollars.

 

Some of the best LAVs in the US have gone through radical modifications to make them better. The Bradley is a prime example. We are just trying to make it better; there are enough original Saracens around for historical reasons.

 

Give us a chance to make these changes and let me know your thoughts when we finish in a few weeks.

 

If anyone is looking for hard to find parts... like accumlators, etc. let me know. thedials@gci.net

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interesting project you have going on here..... I might be interested in the tyres, if we can find a cheap way of getting them to the UK....

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Hi Alaskan, I guess your wife read your thread too!!:cool2: You are very quiet and I hate suspense! Progress update, please!

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Some of the best LAVs in the US have gone through radical modifications to make them better. The Bradley is a prime example.

 

There's a good reason for that one - have you seen "Pentagon Wars"? :-)

 

Andy

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Hello all... It's been a while since I last posted but thought I would give everyone an update on how the Saracen upgrade is progressing. If you recall, we started the process of modernizing the engine and transmission (transfer case) of the my Mark VI Saracen in October.

 

Well, the engineering took longer than I anticipated. That plus my mechanic was down sick for several weeks so it has not gone quite as fast as I anticipated. Regardless, we are making progress and should be finished by the end of January.

 

We now have a nearly completed lower half consisting of a new DT466 diesel engine, Allison transmission, 16R20 run-flats, International frame, and air brakes. The center wheels are retractable (see attached picture) and allow tighter turns. We are a few work days away from mounting the shell to the frame.

 

When completed the vehicle will look nearly identical except that it will stand a little higher and come in at about 9' 6". I will post more pictures when completed. On a plus side, I was able to sell just about every spare part generated to other Saracen Owners. Still have six nice 12R20 run-flats if anyone is interested. thedials@gci.net

 

Rodney

 

 

Ketchikan-20120102-00205.jpg

Ketchikan-20120102-00204.jpg

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How much for those tyres?

 

Think shipping from Alaska will be more than the tyres ;)

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How much for those tyres?

 

Figure out what shipping to your location would be then make me an offer. I would be willing to sell them cheap to another Saracen owner. They are 95% plus tread... only 750 miles of use

 

My zip is 99901. I can get them to Seattle for about $200

 

Rodney

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Good to have you back! Impressive progress! The centre set of wheels are not steerable?

 

Hi Montie... The center wheels are designed to track with the front, however to maximize the turning range we made them retractable. A push of a button in the cab lifts the tires up in about a second. This will actually allow the vehicle to make tighter turns than its origional configuration.

 

We are adding a few other upgrades as well and I hope to post more pictures in about a week. We are taking off about a week, but hope to get started again by the 11th.

 

Rodney

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i am all for preservation and correctness but as you correctly state there are many museum examples about. So go for usability and have full enjoyment of trouble free motoring after all 99.9% of the people who you come across wont know the difference and i doubt any one on here would from looking at a photo with out having read this blog.I for one am enjoying watching its progress and the adaptations you are making to it. The end of day if it gives you satisfaction its worth more to you than a mint restored example to you and would be probably be the same for a lot of other people.

Thought

A lot of purists drool and go weak Kneed at pictures of Swimmenwagans and tiger tanks and start asking how much and when could they have one. Knowing full well they were knocked up in the last few months out of steel less than a year old with parts off second hand vehicles that have no relationship to the originals the whole hobby is about enjoying what you have

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Hi guys... here are the latest pics.

 

The shell and chassis has been joined. Final height was about 9 feet 2 inches. The extra height allowed the larger engine to fit exactly right. The poor pics are from my cell phone, but will post better ones soon. I thought this was a monster before, but it is even more intimidating now... simply massive.

 

Our local shipyard wanted in on the project and is making custom deck plates for the inside.

 

More to follow...

 

Rodney

 

Ketchikan-20120112-00213.jpg

IMG-20120112-00214.jpg

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A few more pics... we are going to repaint everything anyway, so we had a little fun with a can of white paint.... HMS Botany Bay...lol

 

 

IMG-20120112-00224.jpg

IMG-20120112-00217.jpg

IMG-20120112-00218.jpg

IMG-20120112-00222.jpg

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Looking good.

Hope it lives up to expectations and you get plenty of use from it.

 

Mike

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Making progress every day... a few pictures of our steering mods and install of a heater (nice to have for Alaska). Looking rough now, but will look great once we get everything pained and cleaned up.

 

 

 

 

DSC02991.jpg

DSC02992.jpg

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I'm impressed! Looking very good! I was wondering about the cost this far.....

 

Total cost will be between $45 -$47 thousand (uggh)

 

On the plus side it gets me quite a few bells and whistles, like heater, retractable wheels, backup and side camera system, new paint job, etc. A few of the larger costs:

 

  • Dumptruck 8k

  • The 14R20 tires cost me $4200

  • custom gas tank $1300

  • drop axel $500

  • specially designed steering components (to keep steering in the center and match up to the new engine) 1k

  • about 5k in misc parts, including heater, cameras, steel fabrication for new floor, etc.

 

The rest is labor at about $100 an hour.

 

Hope to have the project finished (mostly) sometime next week. Will get detailed photos up when it is all nice and pretty

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The upgrade process is finished (finally) after five months. We did our best to keep most of the origional look of the vehicle. A recap of the mods:

 

 

  • DT466 Diesel engine
  • Allison auto trans
  • Air brakes, no hydraulics
  • Batteries relocated inside the engine bay
  • 6" of additional interior floor space
  • tire size increased from 12R20 to 14R20. Still military runflats, but easier to obtain in the states.
  • Vehicle height increased to 9' 6"
  • 12v power system
  • interior heater
  • front bumper and forward sloped armor added
  • Retractable center wheels to allow tight turns

 

 

We are conducting road testing today. When that is completed it will get a new paint job and then we can start enjoying it.

 

Rodney

backfinished.jpg

steel.jpg

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The upgrade process is finished (finally) after five months. We did our best to keep most of the origional look of the vehicle. A recap of the mods:

 

 

  • DT466 Diesel engine

  • Allison auto trans

  • Air brakes, no hydraulics

  • Batteries relocated inside the engine bay

  • 6" of additional interior floor space

  • tire size increased from 12R20 to 14R20. Still military runflats, but easier to obtain in the states.

  • Vehicle height increased to 9' 6"

  • 12v power system

  • interior heater

  • front bumper and forward sloped armor added

  • Retractable center wheels to allow tight turns

 

 

We are conducting road testing today. When that is completed it will get a new paint job and then we can start enjoying it.

 

Rodney

[ATTACH=CONFIG]58627[/ATTACH]

 

Hi Rodney, it looks really great and it is probably going to perform as well! Have a video taken on your testing spree, please?

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Hi, -despite being a self-confessed Saracen 'nut'/purist, I have been following your post with great interest, well done on the mechanical side of things, all seems to have gone really well for you, and I'll agree it still does resemble a Saracen, albeit on bigger tyres, but things have gone a bit adrift at the front now.... Why did you extend the wheel archs/wings down like that, and the odd sausage-shaped bumper?...The inside looks good where you've modded the steering etc, does it mean you sit even further back?... 'T' Junctions are a nightmare in a standard one because of lack of sideways vision. The engine fit looks VERY tight!, if you needed to get the engine out, I take it the engine can slide forward from beneath the bulkhead?.... On the whole though, very commendable.....eagerly awaiting some good quality video footage of it pounding along the road, and on the rough stuff too....

 

Regards,

 

Matt

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