Richie's Little Tank

Post Reply
User avatar
Richie
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:12 pm

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Richie » Tue Dec 10, 2013 4:26 pm

So having decided I was going to take the plunge I began my search, I quickly learned that the military vehicle fraternity are a very cloak and dagger type, locations of potential vehicles or parts are kept very secretive, even if that person does not need the vehicle or the bits, the info is seldom shared. I made a generic email giving my reasons for the project and sent it to every single military museum I could find in the UK, Europe , US, and Canada ! The process took me a year of research. I was finally guided to a chap who lives in Fergus Ontario, who told me he had the "remains of a carrier", having previously been disappointed with massive prices for a metal scrap box, i was somewhat reserved ! I asked for some pictures and the chap sent these.
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

I took a deep breath in and asked the price, I was hugely suprised at the quote which was ten times less than I expected. The seller was aware of my story and had bought the carrier as scrap to cut up, it had no material value to him, which was good news for me. The deal was done and three to four months later I had a carrier !
Image

When I got the carrier home I began the long process of breaking it down, the upper armour had been cut just above the rivet line with a gas axe. At the time I was unsure of how to remove the rivets, because they had been heated and hammered into shape whilst cooling, they were very hard, and would not drill ! I elected to slice off both heads with a slitting disc and a grinder, then using a wide blade chisel or crow bar split the armour from the frame rail. The process was slow and fraught with danger ! The amount of stored energy from the rivets was amazing, each one let go with a massive BANG, it also took quite a load to brake them free, and I ended up knocked out cold when my pal was working on one side of the carrier prising some armour off with a crow bar, dispite me telling him to keep tight hold he managed to let slip and ultimately the crow bar flew over towards me just as I looked up from in the carrier hull......I got it right in the face !

I have since learned that the best method is to slit the head, heat until cherry then use a rivet gun and moyle ? Point chisel to drift them out..... Far far easier !

Image

That pretty much left me with a clear view of what needed replaced. I was told I should rip out the entire centre bulkhead (behind driver) and start new, however I elected to cut the original fabric out from behind the driver, use that material to graft in the missing lower sections, then add a new top half.
Image
(Messy worker as you can see)

I then grafted in the missing segments to the lower part of the bulkhead, then welded the new to the old which got me to this stage
Image

The remains of the original fabric from the bulkhead was used to make a graft on the glacis plate (front sloped sheet that covers the drivers legs
Image
You can see I am not a welder ! This was the first time I had used a mig, and I was self taught, my father taught me how to oxy weld which I am OK at.... Note the two welded plugs which were previously holes to mount the drivers seat backrest. By bluebird standards this was probably sacrilege but I had to plan within my means, and I justified my actions as being any material chopped out was re introduced to the carrier.... All be it in a different location

Pressed on and dressed off my shocking welds, I flashed over with red oxide to see if I had hidden it well enough which I was quite happy with..... Paint was still wet here... I later filled the notch at the top edge.

Image

Well my fingers are tired now so that will do until tomorrow :mrgreen:
Last edited by Richie on Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Clarence come out ov zat tank at vonz !

User avatar
Richie
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:12 pm

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Richie » Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:52 pm

Having fettled the centre bulkhead I now set about making the armour. This consisted of ringing people all over the globe along with numerous trips down south to measure each plate, and also plot all the holes. I ended up getting a wide band roll of backing paper which I taped onto the armour then plotted every rivet and hole, I then labelled up what each point was.. Once that was done I made a full set of armour out of ply wood which I bolted back to the carrier. Once happy that everything seemed to be correct I placed a rather hefty order for some 10mm thick steel plate for the front armour, and 8mm plate for the rear and sides.
As all of the upright frame rails had been cut out, I had to weld in new ones, or graft in missing segments of the lower rail, which took some time as most of the size stock used back in the day is no longer available so it was time consuming and costly to replicate the original material.


When the plate work finally arrived I had to lift the plates into the carrier and clamp them in situ so I could get the holes plotted for the lower rivets

Image

It was then a case of removing the plate then drilling the holes... This was where I realised that the cost of the project should not just be meaured in time and materials, but also tooling ! I knew I had a large number of holes to drill (10mm holes mainly) and getting them true and level would be a task, the best tool for the job being a mag drill.. It took me six months to save up for the £400 drill ! Which packed up recently and needs an overhaul.

Image

Once drilled I then had to go around with a cobalt countersink tool and countersink every hole in preparation for the rivets to be set. I was still plucking up the courage to do the rivets, but took the plunge in the end. The snaps were made here at bbhq by Bill, the snap is the tool used to form the correct shape head on the rivet when setting. Unlike aircraft rivets which have the finished head on the outside and the tail compressed on the inside, on a carrier the finished dome head is on the inside, and the head to be peened/formed is on the outside. Then using the snap and the rivet hammer you squeeze the hot rivet into the countersink, it then cools and contracts squeezing the plate onto the frame rail. You have to be spot on with the heat, and setting allowances are crucial !

The rivets are all 3/8 shank or 5/16 for the smaller ones, so we needed three snaps for the different shaped heads. I give bill three examples of the finished rivets and off he went on the lathe. The steel used was a high grade high carbon EN24T steel. Each snap takes nigh on a day to machine, at which point it was then taken back to my workshop and placed into the farriers forge for hardening . Then returned to bill for polishing.....

Image
Image

Normally riveting of this type is a three person job, one to manage the forge and place the rivet, one to hammer, one to block. Due to staffing issues I only had myself and a willing...ish victim so I opted for oxy propane torch then the block man placed the rivet, set himself on the backside of it with the block tool, and I hammered the tail to shape. I burnt a number of my first rivets, but have the knack down now.

First rivets going in
Image

http://youtu.be/NKBXa9PaSZM

Once done they were flashed over in red oxide primer
Image
And then flashed over in a layer of base coat
Image

Here is an original carrier (Mk2)
Image

The carrier is 99% riveted now! just a few 5/16th for the ducts and the odd 3/8 here and there, but from where I started at this point the carrier had come quite a long way.
Clarence come out ov zat tank at vonz !

User avatar
rob565uk
Posts: 824
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:02 pm
Location: St Helens, Merseyside

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by rob565uk » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:19 pm

It's looking really good so far Richie - well worth the effort and care. Hot riveting - I K Brunel would be proud!

Is the engine running, or is that the next stage after the bodywork?

1 in 10 people understands binary. The other one doesn't

User avatar
Richie
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:12 pm

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Richie » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:24 pm

The engine was seized from standing, I sent it to Lincoln to get rebuilt but ended up being ripped off and bits of my engine stolen. The engine is in bits needing a rebuild. The mains on the crank are shot so it will need a re grind and new bearings.

That will be job one in the new year ! Bodywork wise I need to rebuild the air intake ducts and the armoured radio battery box which sits on the rear armour.

Not to mention a plethora of tins and bin boxes which are fitted inside the thing.
Last edited by Richie on Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Clarence come out ov zat tank at vonz !

User avatar
Renegadenemo
Posts: 4922
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:29 pm
Location: N E England
Contact:

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Renegadenemo » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:36 am

That will be job one in the new year ! Bodywork wise I need to rebuild the air intake ducts and the armoured radio battery box which sits on the rear armour.
Rich, if you open the red door in the BBP shop there's a steel fab-shop on the other side you can use anytime you like. Just in case you'd not thought of it. :D
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

'Sometimes you gotta be an S.O.B if you wanna make a dream reality' Mark Knopfler

User avatar
mtskull
Posts: 635
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 10:32 pm
Location: West Yorkshire

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by mtskull » Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:41 am

I am enjoying this thread very much.
Thank you. :)
Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.

User avatar
Mike Bull
Posts: 4692
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 1:57 pm

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Mike Bull » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:43 pm

mtskull wrote:I am enjoying this thread very much.
Thank you. :)
Agreed! Richie is a great lad, one of our newer regulars (he's already clocked up a couple of solid years of K7 service though!) but it's like he's been here forever, he fits in so well. A great asset to the Bluebird Project, absolutely barking mental and with an interesting little tank on the side to boot- result! :D

(Now I've been nice, I'll have to call him a ****er tomorrow to make up for it! :lol: )

User avatar
Richie
Posts: 1280
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:12 pm

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Richie » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:20 pm

Amidst sorting the armour out I was also in the process of dismantling any seized items (that would strip down without damaging them) cleaning and rebuilding them, some items had been rebuilt and placed into storage until I was ready for them.

I turned my attentions to the drive axle which the drivers side brake drum was utterly seized ! As a result of this the seller had pulled the tracks off to move the carrier, I tried all manner of pullers which were too feeble for the job as I was reluctant to put any serious heat into the cast drum, and I felt the amount of gas it would have taken to heat soak the thing sufficiently would cost me a small fortune ! I decided I would start with some very gentle heat and the use of a wooden mallet and tap the outside of the drum until I had been right around the thing, I then elected a good sized slide hammer of which I made a boss to fit into the brake hub and slowly drifted the hub off. The cause of the seizure was due to an asbestos seal where the back plate meets the drum which had a metal band contained within it, this band had rotted and had swollen up causing the drum to stick. The bearings were inspected and found to be in mint condition as were the brake pads !!!!!!

Here is the hub before I started

Image
Image

Once I got it off I cleaned the rear hub back plate and red oxide primed it. I then pulled the expander off, the brake system on a carrier is 100% mechanical rather than hydraulic the expander consists of a push/pull rod which has a cone and two tumblers, as the tumblers are forced out wards they hit two plungers on each end of the expander, which in turn pushes the brake shoes out.

Here is the expander getting a quick rinse
Image

Followed by a cleanup with wet and dry and a flash over of paint
Image
Image


Then returned to the axle
Image
Before the hub went back on.
Image

The only worry I have about this part of the rebuild is not pulling the diff to bits, the thought of having to try and pre load the thing made me think twice. I justified my cowardice by using one of the endoscopes from work to check inside for broken teeth or swarf and rust, also the whole unit spun as it should and was nice and smooth.

So when something goes pop at that end, I will eat my words.
Clarence come out ov zat tank at vonz !

User avatar
rob565uk
Posts: 824
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2009 2:02 pm
Location: St Helens, Merseyside

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by rob565uk » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:04 pm

The finished job looks A1 Richie. I am sure your carrier will be better than new when complete.

The expander "getting a quick rinse" in what seems to be the kitchen sink reminded me of a set of instructions in the Norton Owners' Club magazine for refurbishing a cylinder head. A list of suggested tools and aids included, for the purpose of initial de-greasing:

Dishwasher (Wife definitely out) ;)

Keep it coming, it's fascinating stuff.

1 in 10 people understands binary. The other one doesn't

User avatar
Renegadenemo
Posts: 4922
Joined: Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:29 pm
Location: N E England
Contact:

Re: Richie's Little Tank

Post by Renegadenemo » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:56 pm

Dishwasher (Wife definitely out)
I've done loads of cylinder heads and pistons in the dishwasher but be careful - some dishwasher salts turn the ally black and it's a real bitch to get it shiny again. Wife definitely out is good advice though.

My ex used to go crackers about it and one day after she'd shouted at me for putting all my 'crap' in her dishwasher I told her in no uncertain terms it was going nowhere until she could at least describe what she wanted shifting using the proper terminology.
Score one for the Interweb when she reappeared half an hour later and told me to get the crankshaft, con-rods and pistons out of her machine before they ended in the wheely bin.
I'm only a plumber from Cannock...

"As to reward, my profession is its own reward;" Sherlock Holmes.

'Sometimes you gotta be an S.O.B if you wanna make a dream reality' Mark Knopfler

Post Reply