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Wow ! Almost speechless Adrian ! What a mamoth task , just to get the engine running again is very very impressive ! Are there many Shermans with this type of engine in preservation ? I cant tell you how impressed I am !!!!!!!!

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Wow ! Almost speechless Adrian ! What a mamoth task , just to get the engine running again is very very impressive ! Are there many Shermans with this type of engine in preservation ? I cant tell you how impressed I am !!!!!!!!

 

There are quite a few M4A4s around with the original engine but only four are currently running to my knowledge anywhere in the world. The Tank Museums Firefly and Crab both are potential runners, IWM has restored the engine from its tank and there are a couple of restoration projects recently started in the UK.

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Amazing. Adrian what was the time span from the first picture of the engine to the last one when it was running? And how many hours do you think you put into the engine rebuild?

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Jack,

 

the picture of the two engines in the shed was May 1999 and it was running on New Years Eve 2000 but I did have most of the summer of 1999 on other things, so about actually about 16 months. Very hard to say in terms of hours, the fan cowl alone took four days work.

 

I estimate the whole project took about 4000 hours but this is just an estimate. Many hours were spent on ranges getting parts which were only any use as patterns only to then have to spend more time making parts from the patterns.

 

I'll start the vehicle restoration itself next.

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As I mentioned, I spent several years getting bits together, the single most expensive was new track and roadwheels. However, the wheels turned out to be less good than I had been led to believe but more on that later.

 

bits.jpg

 

I also spent some time getting the vehicles identity. M4A4s have the vehicle serial number stamped on each towing lug, this gave me 5271, identifying when it was built. There is a correlation between the serial number and the USA reg. number. Mine worked out as 3057081 and some carefull paint removal revealed this.

 

usano.jpg

 

The British number was allocated in blocks with no record or way of working it out so I was pleased to find this.

 

Tno.jpg

 

The first job was removal of the turret to allow the stripping of the interior. The turret is held to the ring with 40 1/2" bolts so easy to remove though a bit of a lump at 4 1/2 tons.

 

turretoff.jpg

 

The gun looks short as the breech ring was missing and the tube had slid back. As can be seen, it is the early M34 mount with the narrow mantlet and no tube protector ears.

Removing the turret allows a good view into the fighting compartment, not a pretty site!

 

inside2.jpg

inside1.jpg

 

Next to come out is the turret basket. That was even worse!

 

basketout.jpg

 

It was all there, just in very poor condition.

 

lhrear.jpg

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Further parts removal left the inside empty. In this overhead view, you can see the two areas of damage. Top left is a penetration through the sponson floor and bottom right is the crack due to the distortion in the lower side.

 

damage.jpg

 

A closer view of the damage.

 

hole.jpg

 

crack.jpg

 

The hole just required a new section of sponson floor and a repair to the bulkhead.

 

holerepaired.jpg

 

The other damage was much more extensive. A 3 feet section of lower side had to be removed, together with half of the engine bulkhead and 9 feet of sponson floor. I left the transmission assembly in for all of this to retain some hull integrity at the front.

 

sideout.jpg

 

This is after the repair. I had to buy in a piece of 1 1/2" plate for the lower side and machine the top edge to match the existing plate. I was very pleased with the result, it is not possible to see the join in the side now.

 

sidein.jpg

 

With the repairs completed, I removed the transmission assembly, another 4 1/2 ton lump and carried out all the small repairs to bracketry, stowage and fittings. I tried to reuse as much original material as possible.

 

frontout.jpg

 

It was now September 2001 and ready for sandblasting.

 

blasting1.jpg

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I take it your business invloves engineering of some form or another Adrian? You must have a fairly serious welder as well. All very impressive.

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Wow ! Almost speechless Adrian ! What a mamoth task , just to get the engine running again is very very impressive ! Are there many Shermans with this type of engine in preservation ? I cant tell you how impressed I am !!!!!!!!

 

Same goes for me! the completed engine on it's own looks fabulous would draw a good crowd on it's own.

 

I think Carl Brown rebuilt one of these engines a few years ago but i can't remember what it was fitted into, not being too up on tanks. I remember him grinning a lot when he told me it finally ran!

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I do like the look of those functional, yet 'Conran' styled steel supports for the hull, I take it these are a home-grown product Adrian? 6mm or thicker?

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I do like the look of those functional, yet 'Conran' styled steel supports for the hull, I take it these are a home-grown product Adrian? 6mm or thicker?

 

Is it a trick of the light or is that far one tilted over slightly?

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I've got to agree with Gritineye and Andy Fowler.

Really impressed with the engine restoration. Not just the complexity but the finish is stunning.

Bet you ran it every week after that just to hear it and make sure it didn't seize up again of course! :-)

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A great job indeed. There was me being impressed with my 2.25 Diesel and couple of old Triumph engines rebuilds! I don't know what Adrian thinks but I find engine rebuilds good for the soul. Especially when you're driving the finished vehicle and you know everything that is going on in that noisy block of Iron (or Aluminium :-).

Adrian: I would buy the book, use David Hardcastle's Rover V8 book for inspiration!

 

Alastair

 

PS. My wonderful wife is reading what I've written and says I am mad:rofl:

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Thanks guys! Yes, I do have a small engineering business which helps enormously.... On the engine itself, I had to make not just the fan cowl but the top catwalk, the coolant pipes to the pump, a new water pump shaft, all the oil pipes, some sections of exhaust and even a new sump. In fact, we now do quite a bit of this sort of work for others now, not restoration as such but fabrications and repairs.

 

The stands I made for the Sherman but they currently sit under a Ram that we are putting a new floor and bulkheads in. They are 5mm construction as a balance between strength and ease of movement. In the picture, one appears to be on the huh but it is just the light, a view from the other side looks normal.

 

Carl Brown also rebuilt a multibank at the same time as me although he beat me to it, mind you, there was three of them working on it! Carl helped me a great deal with the supply of some parts, it's a bit of a cliche but I probably couldn't have done it without his help, at least not in the same time or budget.

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Really nice to see this! Good thing that you restored the multibank, most will just put in a radial. Great workmanship!

 

I am interested about the condition of your 3-piece transmission. Ours is a one piece transmission and everthing was as good as new, due to all the oil that was still in there. Thought maybe the 3-piece could be more troublesome by sweating oil?

 

We get some new rubber on our wheels. A company in the netherlands makes them cause till today the same wheels are still used in our harbors. What was the main problem with your wheels?

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Naruto,

 

it's not an M4A4 with any other engine!:-D

 

I found no trouble with my transmission, I just replaced the input shaft seal, everything else is like new.

 

I did look at the tyres from Haagsma but so far I have been running on good originals. The new tyres are very good though and I may get some as spares.

 

The problem with my wheels was with the bearings which were supposed to be all new, they weren't! :argh:

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May i ask what you used to help un-seize your pistons? I presume you soaked them in something before "gentle persuasion" commenced. I ask as i am soon to undertake 2 engine re-builds, and they are seized through water ingress.

 

Vince

 

PS your posts inspired me to go and refit the track on our Scorpion project this weekend, so we can drag it out and get on with it. A very muddy endeavour!

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Vince,

 

I used a press! They had been unmoved since about 1950 so there was unlikely to be much of a gap to penetrate. Of course, a couple were free but in general force was need. No damage to bores or rings came about, though there was never any intention to use old rings.

 

I did re-use some of the pistons though, just re-ringed them.

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This is the hull after blasting. It seemed a pity to remove all of the original paint and markings but I did record everything I found with photos and tracings.

 

blasting2.jpg

 

It turned into a long day as the blasters finished about 4.00 pm and I wanted to get it back inside and primed that day. So it was on with four bogies, jack it up and remove the stands, push it inside, jack it up, put it back on stands and remove the bogies.

 

It needed a serious hoovering out and blow down before I could get the primer on, four gallons for the hull...

 

primer.jpg

 

I fairly quickly followed this up with the green and white.

 

painted1.jpg

 

painted2.jpg

 

Another huge gap in my photo record is all the work on the suspension. All the bogies were stripped, some pins needing 400 tons to move! I put all new springs in and sorted out matching arms and castings. I had the four that were left on the tank and some new ones to work with so managed to get a matching set.

 

The wheels I had purchased from a dealer some years before having been assured that all new bearings and seals had been fitted. The wheels had been blasted and painted for another project but the customer decided he wanted spoked wheels so these ones became available. The tyres were poor but I always intended to replace them.

 

As it turned out, the bearings were far from new, only about half of them were usuable. Indeed one, a taper roller outer race (both taper roller and ball races were used) had been sand blasted whilst fitted in the wheel. There was od paint in the rust pits when I took it apart! Still, such are the joys of tank restoration.

 

Here are the bogies fitted. The return rollers and skids were fitted later.

 

susp.jpg

 

Now the hull was moveable and before I put the front back in, I wanted to complete the interior as much as possible.

This required the manufacture of most of it as anything less than four inches from the floor had rusted away.

 

I started with the engine bay, making new stainless steel fuel tanks and new cover plates. I made the left tank as original with the full 58 gallon capacity but the right tank is only 25 gallon. The problem with long fuel tanks is the surface area of the fuel allows a large evaporation and with fuel going off so quickly, a small tank makes better sense. Both tanks are usable and I run off whichever is most appropriate.

 

engbaylh.jpg

 

engbayrh.jpg

 

The wiring is all new as are all the fuel pipes.

 

This view looking forward shows the clutch fork and above it the muffler for the Homelite Auxiliary generator. The exhaust passes through a small pipe set into the radiator and out of the back of the tank.

 

engbayfr.jpg

 

This view looking back shows the fuel filter. It is a bigger version of the one fitted to Dodges. Hardly a surprise as they were both Chrysler products.

 

engbayrear.jpg

 

This is the drivers area and shows some of the wiring to the instrument panel. I managed to save all of the Cannon plugsand flexible conduits, just renewed all of the conductors.

 

drivers.jpg

 

This is the rear left hand corner of the fighting compartment and is where the generator and regulators live. The other regulator is for the aux gen.

 

genregs.jpg

 

auxgen.jpg

 

This is a two stroke unit with it's own fuel tank above.

Edited by Adrian Barrell

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Whats the word ? GOBBSMACKED !! how many people did you have working with you and what was the rough amount of time days weeks? JUST to reinstall the tracks and suspension once you had all the components rebuild and ready to go ?

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I posted the wrong picture earlier. The correct one is this.

 

bogieson.jpg

 

Anyway, having got as much of the interior fitted as I needed, I started on the transmission. Again a lack of pictures but essentially all I did was replace all the hub studs and renewed the shaft seals. I inspected the insides carefully and it was like new. Only half a cup of water came out when I drained all of the oil and the brakes were fine.

 

So just blasting and painting before fitting.

 

trans.jpg

 

transin.jpg

 

The fitting was courtesy of fellow tank owner Andy Blackford who kindly brought his HIAB truck up for the fitting. It's not difficult but you do have to be careful if only of your fingers. The joints as they come together are like a guillotine!

 

After the front is in, there is another raft of parts to fit including the drivers controls.

 

transin2.jpg

 

Now for the engine......

 

I had a little bit of concern at this point because many of the parts I had made such as the water and oil pipes were made from very poor patterns and as there is so little room in the engine bay, there was a good chance something may not fit. Only one way to find out!

 

Here is the engine on it's stand ready to drop in. I have removed all of the distributor caps and tied them back in case they get smashed. They are at the extreme rear of the engine and would not stand 2 1/2 tons pushing against them.

 

engin1.jpg

 

Using another 'favour crane', we dropped the engine in gently only to find the oil pipe was in the way!:argh:

 

So it was out with the engine again while I quickly made another.

 

Success this time!

 

engin2.jpg

 

With the engine in, you can see how little room there is. The pipe connecting all the carbs to the air cleaners was another part I had to make.

 

engtop.jpg

 

A view from behind.

 

engrear.jpg

 

I overhauled the propsaft fitting new bearings throughout and had both engine and transmission oil coolers re-cored. Together with a new oil tank and working extinguishers, I was getting ready for a run.

 

tunnel.jpg

 

However, I couldn't go far yet, I still had all of the rest of the drive train to do. NOS sprocket rings from Belgium, skids, rollers and idlers all went on rapidly.

 

susp.jpg

 

Tracks next!

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