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M16 Halftrack restoration/build. A long long road.


Chris Hall

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Just looked at the REME Museum site and promised myself a visit as soon as covid allows. We tried to find some photos of the M9 to no avail, but found some others which are interesting for another thread, so thanks for the nudge. I think the tracks last about 1,000 miles on hard surfaces but cross-country is more interesting. Have fun.

I’m enjoying your project and the detail in the pics, well done.

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I’m thinking I will be purchasing a crate engine from BAIV. The engine that came installed needs a lot of work. At best it needs a rebore due to the cylinders being corroded, 2 very badly. The generator needs new bearings, the carb is rusted solid and the distributor is also solid with only the shell being salvageable. For the cost of having it rebuilt (or the parts for) I would likely save money by buying one of BAIVs surplus rebuilt stock.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I don't think that that is a crane but a tower that erects itself. It does not seem to have any pulleys at the top (which is the free end nearest the ground) so I guess there was a cage or platform that climbed the tower under its own power. All the mechanism visible seems to be purely for raising and unfolding the two sections of the tower.

David

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Hi Chris,

 

I'm a newbie here so just started reading your fascinating thread. Do you still need a steel supplier or did you source your armour plate? I have a client runs AJ Steels in Coventry - I can ask him - what plate sizes do you need?

Edited by timbo33
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I’ve managed to get some thanks, a local place called laserfab. It was only £240 for the rear panel (huge) 2 side panels (1/2 as huge), 2 doors and a panel to fit under the rear. I was getting quotes for £1000 just for the rear panel!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Not updated much recently due to the weather and kids. 
 

I used my 2 original panels to get the dimensions for the screw holes on my 2 new panels and found something was wrong.

Im about a 1/4” out in length but I don’t think it’s my repro plates. 
 

I’ve stripped the right side track armour out with the intention of cleaning the joins of rust and crud in the hope of re-gaining that 1/4” at the rear. 
 

What I found was that the track armour attaches to the Maxson bed at the bottom only; and without the rigidity of the side armour, it allowed the track armour to sag. Then with the track armour sagging, it let muck accumulate between the bed and the armour plate. This in turn trapped water and the steel had swollen quite a bit. 
 

So I’ve been spending most of my time removing every part and blasting each ready for reassembly. This will be a dry fit so I’m leaving in primer for fitting up of the armour.

My new plan is to assemble everything into a complete track before disassembling again for painting fully.

 

The photos show the gap between the track armour and back plate, the removed right side track armour (corrosion and crap on the vertical plate), the external gap in the rear left corner and then how it should be.

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Great photo, can you make out the number on the original?

It looks like it may have been stuck nose down in a ditch and then used the winch to pull out. The damage to the bumper suggests the only way to get out was to put the cable over the bumper.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve been wire wheeling and painting when I can this last week, it’s only a temporary measure to test fit the rear armour before I strip and shot blast.

I also re-fitted the repaired Delco Remy trailer socket cover and some other repaired parts.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Things have been slow over the last few months, I’ve been working 12 to 14 hour shifts so by the time I get to the weekend I’m goosed.

 

But, I’ve now got a couple of new original 8.25 x 20” Goodyear tyres which are in really nice condition with no cracking etc.

 

I’ve been blasting and painting some parts such as the front light, they took a weekend to take apart. A real pig!

 

I then spent a whole weekend taking a frozen crab apart. It was torture and destroyed numerous drill bits, drifts, 2 x 4lb mallets and this 44 year old bloke. But it gave up in the end.

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On 5/14/2021 at 8:17 AM, OzH said:

Love it Chris, keep it coming..!

Thanks, but progress is slow (slower than I wish).

 

Got the second crab apart today. The pins in the guide blocks came out easily in comparison to the other. Getting the axle out was tough though, I borrowed a 7lb sledge from work which helped. There wasn’t even that much corrosion so I’ve no idea why it was such a bitch.

 

Ive also drilled a hole in the centre of the spring seat and tapped it for a 1/4” UNF Grease nipple/zerk. Hopefully that will help to stop it seizing up in the future.

 

So I need some nice weather to put some green paint down now. 

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Slow progress is still progress, it was never going to be a weekender, keep chipping away, it will be worth it in the end.

 

Whats the spares availability like for one of these?

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Availability is very good, tracks are scarce and therefor expensive but tracks de Beule make a reproduction set. Some of the instruments are hard to find such as the temp gauge but not impossible. 
 

The good thing is that these vehicles aren’t likely to do many miles so things like a worn crab axle don’t matter to much. 

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I’ve been busy accomplishing very little over the weekend. I managed to remove all 8 crab ware plates and the corresponding bogie arm ware plates. 2 screws per plate, 32 screws in total and only one would undo with a screwdriver! From those 31, 6 needed drilling out and the threads chasing, and 25 needed chiselling or mole grips. The ware plates are toast, worn through the hard surface in to the soft core. Luckily I’ve got some NOS plates to collect and they don’t cost a great deal.

Ill post some photos of the plates so people can see how bad they can get.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last week was another slow week. Had a week off work and had big plans. Got as far as Tuesday and then got a steel splinter in my left eye from grinding. I didn’t realise until Wednesday and had it removed on Thursday and Friday, so lost Wednesday onwards as I couldn’t see much. I think I need a new set of goggles as I remember a spark coming under the seal of my goggles but didn’t think much of it.

I did manage to purchase and collect a canoneer platform for the Maxon mount which is something I thought I’d never find.

So the last major part to find is a Tulsa 18G winch if anyone has a lead on one, I’d appreciate the heads up!

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2 hours ago, Chris Hall said:

Last week was another slow week. Had a week off work and had big plans. Got as far as Tuesday and then got a steel splinter in my left eye from grinding. I didn’t realise until Wednesday and had it removed on Thursday and Friday, so lost Wednesday onwards as I couldn’t see much. I think I need a new set of goggles as I remember a spark coming under the seal of my goggles but didn’t think much of it.

 

Chris,

A similar thing happened to me once and the experience getting it dealt with is something I never wished to repeat. At the time I was wearing goggles, but using the angle grinder low down and something went under the googles. I now wear safety glasses and a visor and always ensure the sparks, etc are going away from me.

A lesson for others! If I see someone using a grinder or wire wheel without face protection, I give them some wise words.

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Picked up some more parts from a dealer yesterday. NOS track idler posts and shackles, in the Chilwell marked original boxes from 1943. Also a Tombstone mag table, 4 rebuilt bogie clusters and all the crab ware plates.

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Fitted the Maxson Tombstone drum rack and the radio table today. Perfect fit as expected but I’ll leave them fitted for the time being.

Ive also attached a photo of the canoneer step for the Maxson Quad that I picked up last week, and some of the parts collected yesterday.

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