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M16 Halftrack restoration/build. A long long road.


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Today I received a photo of the M45 I shall be receiving. It’s on an M20 trailer which will be surplus and I don’t think there’s much of a market for them so it will likely sit propped up under some t

Yeah I’ve had no luck with 1/4” plate, everyone says they have it until you ask if it’s really 1/4” or just 6mm. im in the states next year so may buy some big sheets and bring it back in our ISO

Christmas has indeed come early. Here’s Santa unloading the Maxson, or was it the Half a track?   Yep, it was 5pm and pitch black! Had to make a right meal of the slings to get it off.....bu

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Christmas has indeed come early. Here’s Santa unloading the Maxson, or was it the Half a track?

 

Yep, it was 5pm and pitch black! Had to make a right meal of the slings to get it off.....but we got it off, and in one piece!!

 

while I was waiting for the truck, I started to prep the engine to come out of the other track. It’s seized which is no surprise, but what did surprise me was that the inlet ports in the engine block were chocka with a black sand like substance like an ash. It’s the same stuff that I found around the back of the frame. I now wonder if the engine gave up the ghost because it was clogged.

My next problem is a slightly rounded head bolt. There’s about 24 of them and all but one came out relatively easily which astounded me. I think I’ll cut the head off this one and lift the head off. I don’t think I’ll like what I find.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Chris Hall said:

while I was waiting for the truck, I started to prep the engine to come out of the other track. It’s seized which is no surprise, but what did surprise me was that the inlet ports in the engine block were chocka with a black sand like substance like an ash. It’s the same stuff that I found around the back of the frame.

 

 

 

 

You don't think it might have been this, do you?  "Scientists find black sand-like dust and gas from distant asteroid Ryugu inside sample capsule from Japanese space probe Hayabusa-2" Courtesy The Mail Online.

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I’ve been busy doing little bits here and there. The new Halftrack was missing the right leaf spring but I got one with it courtesy of Ivo Snr at BAIV.  The 2 links were bent badly and there was no way it was going to fit so I put flame to steel and got them red hot before bending back into place. It took a few tweaks to get the bores to run true to each other and the opposite ends but it’s all sorted now and the leaf spring is now fitted with some nice new bolts.

 

while I was on with straightening the links I thought I’d have a go with the bent radiator bracket. I didn’t hold much hope as the bracket is 1/4” thick steel and I didn’t think I’d get enough heat into it. I was wrong and it was easily straightened in the vice.

 

I need to get the first Halftrack stripped down so I can get number 2 moved in. But I also needed the front axle from number one to fit to number 2 so I could push it into place. Unfortunately due to the storage area I can’t just lift it in because there are caravans in the way.

 

So, out came the engine (sounds so easy) followed by the front axle. The axle is now under No. 2 Halftrack waiting for me to sandblast the U shackles, nuts and the spring saddle (just to make it easier to assemble and disassemble later). 
 

I’ll be fitting the wheels to the track drive axle on No. 1 so that I can wheel the frame out before removing the wheels to fit to No. 2 and then remove the track axle from No. 1

And talking of wheels, I knew that one tyre was a 11 x 20 Michelin solid tyre and the other a correctly sized 8.25 x 20 Michelin pneumatic but I didn’t realise the size difference until I put them next to each other! The 8.25 is correct for Halftracks and I could just about remove that on my own. The 11 was just far to heavy and needed the engine crane.

 

 

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It was pretty darn cold today but I managed to get a bit done.

Wheels are now on the track drive axle (backwards because of the offset) so I can move it around but it’s still very front heavy. I think I may strap a concrete counter balance to the back end to help.

The only items left bolted to the frame are the front bumper, radiator support arms and a armour bracket (bolt is metric I think, so will be cut off).

 

 

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Got the bumper off the Diamond T today and fitted it to the M16. That will give me something to pull on when I pull it into it’s space. 
 

Also got the axel fitted to the M16 so just need to push the Diamond T frame out of the way, take the wheels off, fit them to the M16 and then I’m ready for the move. Then I start again stripping this one down.

With the bumper and other bits removed from the frame, the balance is much better and I think I can push it by hand.

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Thanks for posting this thread and pics Chris, it has been very helpful for my Kegresse rebuild. And inspirational because I’ve been freezing my bits off in the garage working out problems. Olyslager’s Half-tracks book explains how the US Army acquired a Citroen Kegresse P17 in 1931 and by the end of 1932 Cunningham’s had delivered a continuous rubber band tracked vehicle which was developed into the M2 by 1939. I’m sure everyone knows all that, but seeing inside your vehicle shows how much it is like my P10 but on steroids and sort of streamlined.

A great thread.

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Thanks Tony B, what I love about these US military vehicles is how easy they are to work on, even at this size.

 

I’m finding that most of the running gear, brakes and ancillary parts such as door handles are commercial parts of the late 30s. This era of civvy trucks is popular in the USA so parts are quite common as original or repro. I was worried about the gas pedal as mine has rotted to pretty much just the rubber pad remains. I then found it’s a Ford truck part from the 30s and exact repros are made and can be found for $10. That’ll do nicely.

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I got the wheels fitted on Monday so Today’s task was pretty simple. Move the M16 from A to B. Easy.

And it was to a certain degree. I don’t have any fancy lifting tackle or heavy vehicles for pushing so I had to improvise.

The space it was going into has 2 vertical I beams either side supporting a big farm building so I used those as anchors. To those I wrapped a 2 ton strop around each and then between them I shackled a 6 meter long 5 ton strop to form a triangle. From there I had another shackle and 2 ratchet straps to the M16 front bumper. I used 2 ratchet straps so that one could take the load while I slackened off the other to adjust for the next pull. This worked a treat and with my son steering it was soon in its spot. I did overshoot a little so had to pull it back using the Range Rover and then straighten up to get it in nice and square.

 

 

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On 1/7/2021 at 7:08 PM, Chris Hall said:

....... what I love about these US military vehicles is how easy they are to work on, even at this size.

 

So right Chris. When it comes down it, most of these vehicles are extremely fit for purpose which made them life savers under fire.

I drove and worked on an M9 (I think) with a sheerlegs crane fitted to the front for RR Services years ago. REME, I think. I have a small military Turfa winch from those days which is useful for pulling heavy things into place and warms you up on a winter’s day.

Good luck with a great vehicle,

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Hi Chris been watching this thread with interest. Would love a halftrack but think restoration with my knowledge about them would take longer than the years I have left lol. Makes my jeep restoration a doddle. Can't wait to see her finished, bet you can't either. 

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Exactly like that Chris. Late reply because I got in touch with a friend to check on my memory. It concentrated the mind to drive it with that jib up Battersea High Street to Clapham. I thought that high back was kitted out with a wonderful REME workshop (lathe, pillar drill, etc) but my friend said that was an ex-REME Hippo from the same time. Happy days.

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My knowledge of Halftracks is being learnt as I go! It’s actually not to dissimilar in its basic form to a jeep, just 3 times bigger.

 

Parts prices aren’t to bad either, it’s just that tracks cost a fair wack compared to a pair of tyres 😆. The best thing is the quantity of NOS parts that are out there. I’ve had loads of issues with sub standard parts for the jeep, sometimes you buy something and end up throwing it away because it’s junk. 

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2 hours ago, TonyB said:

Exactly like that Chris. Late reply because I got in touch with a friend to check on my memory. It concentrated the mind to drive it with that jib up Battersea High Street to Clapham. I thought that high back was kitted out with a wonderful REME workshop (lathe, pillar drill, etc) but my friend said that was an ex-REME Hippo from the same time. Happy days.

I would have loved an international but they are much less common than a G102 and the engines are quite difficult to find. 
 

The photo shown is from the REME museum and is accompanied by an article by a conservator. He talks through painstakingly using a hoover and cotton buds to clean the dust away as even a brush can cause scratches in the paint. Get a grip man, it will have been rebuilt and repainted a dozen times and it’s a military work horse not a one off Ferrari.

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Today I removed the rear axle off the old frame. I now need to slot it into a small gap for storage.

I fitted a piece of rear armour on the M16 and got some measurements so I can order some steel.

I then went on to remove some damage parts to see what I could do.

The rear right light bracket and surround were quite mangled and I was nearly committed to buying repro from the US. So with nothing to lose I decided to have a crack at it.

Typically my gas ran out just as I was trying to finish up. I can’t complain though as I’ve had the bottle for about 12 years!

 

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