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restoration of a valentine MK5 tank started


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Thanks David, there is currently 2 of us working on the project at the moment. My Trade qualified Mechanic with 30 years experience and myself with 30 years in Heavy Structural Engineering / Construction. We also have a specialist Electrical Engineer that will join us for a hand. We do have a specialist team working on the engine at the moment and the Team leader in that subassembly has 40 years experience and all the gear for engine rebuilding. Currently we are waiting on the new pistons and liners to be flown in from the States. The injectors have all been serviced with new nozzles and tips also. It does help that I have built a 1200m2 workshop , with blasting facilities at hand, and we also have a 40 tonne lifting capacity if we need. Day to day lifting capacity is done with 2 x 5 tonne overhead cranes also which does make life easier. It will be great to see another Scorp down here as our own NZ ones were flogged off to Helston Gunsmiths in Cornwall back in 1998 for $435K for 21 plus container loads of parts that included 50 sets of war reserve track that had never been issued. Cheers Andrew.

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With the correct paperwork through, the Valentine is ready for transport. Final water blasting and checking we loaded onto the flat rack. I had to extend the side of the rack , as they only come in at

unloading the valentine   valentine mk4 unload.mp4

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The following pictures show the Final drive hubs being assembled. The inner hub takes a big double ball roller bearing that gets pressed in first, followed by an oil seal , then a spacer, then a parallel roller bearing that has grease and then another seal. This bearing is the outer one closest the brakes and the seals and this greased bearing become the barrier to stop the final drive oil leaking into the brake drum housing area. The planetary hub is lowered into place and then the other inner part of the housing is temporary bolted together. The reason for this is so the brake drum flange shaft can be inserted and the brakes can be setup on the outside of this hub, there is also an internal gear that had to be lined up when inserting this shaft, so it had to be done in this order. Once this is done the inner housing will be unbolted and re- lifted a bit , so it can be sealed with sealant. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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Edited by Andrew Rowe
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Once the Main hubs are assembled, the brake components can be fitted to the outside of the hub. Picture shows Drums and Shoes back from getting machined out to run true. They are cast steel, of which I would suspect a fairly high grade. Flange shaft inserted, then brake actuator unit, then shoes and then drum. The shoes are held in by a single pin. When taking the pin out , screw in a 3/8 BSF bolt into it , that is attached to a slide hammer. Rotate the pin 1/2 a turn when this bolt bottoms out in the hole. Using the slide hammer, a few blows and it will extract itself. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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A couple of pics to show brake rod inserted. A spring about 3" long goes down the hole in the middle of the hub unit then followed by this shaft which is marked up as a certain way around that it goes in. On this inner hub will be a steel flange bolted, with another oil seal for there is another inner ball roller bearing in this housing. Second pic shows the drive flange that slides on the splined shaft from the final drive, seal surfaces excellent. Third pic shows a sectional view of the drum casting to give you an idea of the cross section for cooling. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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This last weeks exercise has gone through the stages of pulling all remaining suspension units off and tapping holes out and cleaning threads up. We have been waiting on some parts to come through the blasting and painting stages to finish the final drive assemblies, which hopefully will conclude this week, after we get a nice wee "pickin" trip out of the way! First pic up shows final drive wire guards and the bolts that hold the final drive housings' together, about 30 bolts for each side. 2nd pic we have the middle support roller castings, that have the track return rollers on, these being all blasted and cleaned.3rd pic shows the hub components for the return rollers, 6 sets required per Tank. Next there are all the suspension units pulled off awaiting their turn for processing. Pic 6 are of the end access caps that come off the suspension housing "wings" that are attached to the side of the hull and their bolt group. The last two pic's show the hand tapping out the 5/8" BSF threads that hold the wings on the side, as you can see we are really getting down to the kitset stage, but soon the rebirth will start, and the fun part of bolting the subassemblies onto the hull will commence . Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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Edited by Andrew Rowe
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I once helped rebuild the final drives and the controlled differential on an M5a1 Stuart. You could strip and rebuild all of those parts on a Stuart in half a day. The complexity of equivalent Valentine parts is incredible. Very good work guys, its all look quite good.

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Thanks guys for the comments,

Back on the Valentine this week, the Final Drives are completed and ready for the final paint job, and installation. The second pic shows the tools we have had to make using the water jet cutter, for making the cut outs so they can fit over the special nuts that are inside the final drives and gearbox. Otherwise too much damage is done to these parts if not undone properly. Next pic shows the bevel box supports, which are mounted to the rear of the hull, and shimmed accordingly, something which is a common occurrence on the Valentine, a very British thing!. Next is the front engine support mount, that has been cleaned up as well. Work continues on the interior of the hull , to get ready for the blasting and painting stage of this. The last broken studs have been removed from the hull as well and none have beaten me!, one way or the other they have all come out. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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Edited by Andrew Rowe
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Over complexity must have been (and still is) a European thing. It is often said that the German armour was too complex and thus slow and expensive to manufacture, not to mention resulting in more maintenance and more items to go wrong. The restoration just goes to show that early war British designs were similar to the Germans.

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Started on the "Business" end of the Valentine the other day. The 3 tonne Turret. Normally this job ends up being later on in the restoration, but......... it was just sitting on it's stand just begging for some work to be done on it. First the 2pdr gets stripped out by removing the pivot pins each side, and a few bolts inside that would stop the withdrawal of the gun and mount back out through the turret. Once it goes back you just lower it to the ground. It comes out complete with nose cone mantle and 60mm thick face shield all bolted together in one piece. Next, stripped off the turret ring by removing all the bolts around its base, the 3/4" impact drive comes in handy here. 1/2 dozen bangs from the sledge hammer and the ring just falls off! This ring is not being used in this restoration, have pulled a far better one from the store for disassembly.

Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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With the ring off the Turret, the rest of the fittings have been stripped out and removed for refurbishing later. This included the commander's cupola, roof vent , and port windows for exciting of spent shell cases during battle, and periscope roof port. Pictures show core unit ready for blasting and primer applied. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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The Turret internal painting continues as I like to use the 24 -48 hour "window of opportunity " when painting so that each coat of 2k "keys" into the next. The interior of the Tank is to be white. There will be 3-4 coats to get the micron build up, (DFT). The turret ring for the restoration has been dismantled and inspected. The ball race is in excellent condition and all 108 x 1 &1/8" round balls have cleaned up very well, as well. These balls are held in location by the brass separator rings, which consists of four per turret ring unit. The turret ring separate's into 3 major rings , that all form part of the ball race , and when it comes together they make the whole ball race. There is the main ring part that bolts to the underside of the turret, then there is the ring with the teeth, and then there is a smaller "lock ring" .These are held all together by a quantity of 3/8" BSF bolts. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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This week we have been catching up on a few of the little component's for the engine. The fuel pump has been stripped and a new kit with new gears are being installed. The 2pdr is now stripped down to just the recoil housing at this stage, with the nose cone and face plate, all blasted and painted and waiting for final top coating of colour. Next I have made up a test bed for the generators and Turret electrical hand controller and the motor that eventually bolts to the Turret Traverse gear. The means of rotating the Turret can be achieved by manually winding the handle or by electrically, when the engine is running.

On the engine side, liners have arrived from the States, grade D, which I believe means pretty much a virgin block, as the fit into the cast engine block is critical, and you can get various width liners to match the hole. The assembly of this should commence this week also.The flywheel is also back from getting faced, just to make sure things run true. We have also started into stripping all suspension down, so this will be updated this coming week. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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The intentions are to set up the WS19 inside the Turret.

Well this week , stripping out the suspension houses has created piles of bearings, cap plates ,shafts etc. Lots of bits go into a fully working suspension unit!. There are 4 main units on the Tank, 2 x handed for the left side and 2 x for the right hand side. I once saw a war time film where the guys in the factory just craned the whole complete unit, including wheels onto the Tank in one go , did up a few bolts and there it was. We are going to work on the same theory, but may leave the wheels off, for ease of fitting. I will look into this when we get closer to the reassembly line. First pic shows the 4 stations with there secondary motion unit there as well. There is also the double bogie unit casting as well. The Tank has 2 of these per side, so 4 in total. Next are the pile of hubs we can sort through and discard any that look unfit for service. Then there are the piles of inner wheel hub dust/mud excluder shields that take an oil seal, need 12 of the standard size and 2 different ones for the front track adjuster wheel , as well as about 4 different types of bearings that are used. There are also some bushes that superseded 2 different types of needle rollers that were used. I still have to machine these up but have all the material at hand. There are also a bunch of rubber seals that act to stop water entering the hubs that have been water jet cut, so will show the complete layout prior to reassembly when the main units have been through the blasting and painting process. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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This weeks exercise, we are looking at the Turret ring. After the disassembly and the 3 main pieces have been blasted and painted, the assembly begins. The main ring part that bolts to the Turret is set up , upside down so the 1&1/8" steel balls can be fitted ( 116 in total ). The 2nd piece of the ring , the bit that bolts to the Tank is held just above this main ring part. The four bronze separator spacers are installed and then the balls are fitted into the holes, and then lowered to it's final resting place. Once all balls are fitted the 3rd part, the lock ring is installed and bolted down with 50 x 3/8" BSF bolts. At this stage the four sets of angles that hold the Turret basket can be positioned as well, because out of the 50 bolts that hold the ring down 20 of these go through the angles, and are about an 1/8" of an inch longer in length. Then the Ring can be be turned back up the right way for mating to the Turret . Last picture shows the Turret positioned back over the ring for fitting. Cheers from The Tank Factory.

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Edited by Andrew Rowe
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There are also some bushes that superseded 2 different types of needle rollers that were used. I still have to machine these up but have all the material at hand.
Phosphor Bronze, oil filled bronze, or something more mundane?
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