Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car U.S Ordnance number 7373

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Big D
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Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car U.S Ordnance number 7373

Post by Big D » Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:55 pm

Hi all,

I thought I would post some details of my latest restoration project, an M8 armoured car, serial number 7373.

I’m hoping that I can get assistance on this forum from time to time with this as I’m sure I will need help. I imagine the first few months will be spent on taking stock of what I have and working out what I have got myself into!

I’ve been told I must be brave (or a little mad) in attempting this project but I figure, as the saying goes though, they’re not making these anymore!

This M8 came out of Europe and arrived in New Zealand in September 2015. I have two fine gentlemen to thank for their assistance in sourcing and supplying the project. Both have extensive knowledge of military vehicles and both were great to deal with.

Willy Rouhalde in France is well known to this forum and has restored many M8’s. I am a newcomer to M8’s, and Willy put me at ease throughout the deal. He went out of his way to gather up parts for me for the project and continues to offer plenty of advice and tips for the restoration.

I’ll also put in an endorsement for Jaap Rietveld in Belgium. Jaap arranged the export of the vehicle and was good enough to locate and pick up other parts that I needed for the M8, even going out of his way to collect from around Europe and the UK. He provided excellent communication throughout.

I highly recommend both gentlemen as traders.

Back to the M8 project. As you can see, the M8’s hull is cut in two. Little is known about its history apart from the fact that it is ex- Italian Army and that it was cut as part of their demilitarising process. I understand the turret is not original to this M8.

The serial number on the hull below the glacis on the driver’s side is 7373. I can’t see any signs of any other letters or other numerals after that number.

From what I’ve seen on this forum that would make its manufacture date early-mid 1944(?), and its U.S. Registration Number 6040276-S, if I have the formula right??

Perhaps Joe or one of the other experts on here could confirm the serial number and approximate manufacture date for me please?

The project came with the two hull pieces, turret and ring gear, turret rotation gear, 37mm gun tube and mantlet, gun mount, elevation and recoil system parts, 37mm ammo racks, 3 x engines in various states of repair, axles, wheels and tires, transmission, transfer case, engine covers, shocks, hatches, brakes, springs, guards, storage boxes, prop shafts, torque rods, instrument panels, steering boxes and steering wheel, starter motor, generator, radiator, fuel tank, fans, clutch assembly, hydrovac, muffler, carburettors, co-driver seat, distributor, water pump,handbrake and gearbox levers, BC-603 radios and FT-237, BC606 interphone boxes, etc, etc.

The size of the project was such that it wouldn’t fit into a 20 foot container and I had to get a 40 foot container to bring it all home.

From the start I knew there wasn’t a heck of a lot of the bigger parts that I still needed. Most of the big stuff was there and while I was preparing the vehicle for shipping I managed to find a few things that I knew I did need including the turret seating frame, electric choke, master switch, primer pump, foot pedal assembly, grenade boxes, brake line covers, compass mount, BC-604 radio, and 37mm spare parts case.


It will be a while before I start the restoration with any real speed as I am still finishing off a White Scout Car. However, my initial plan is to try and get the hull welded reasonably quickly, then get the vehicle on it’s wheels so that it can at least be moved around if needed to be. After that, we will look to fabricate the floor.

I knew the welding of the hull was something that was going to be beyond my very limited welding skills. Fortunately, I have been storing the vehicle in a friend’s engineering workshop, Action Engineering in Dunedin, and he has a number of specialist welders who are going to do that part of the restoration.

From what I’ve read, the recommended approach to welding the hull is to clean up the cuts in the hull with a stainless steel wire wheel and then weld with stainless steel rods. I’d be interested in anyone’s experience with welding such a hull though and I’ll pass on any tips to the welders who will do the job.

In our initial look at the hull one side appears to have been cut ‘cleaner’ than the other side and I’d almost say there will need to be a decent amount of shimming on the driver’s side to get the placement right. I’ll report on that later on.

At this stage I am looking for the following parts if anyone has anything available:

• Driver seat and co-driver seat
• Aircleaner
• Regulator
• Throttle fluid reservoir and mounting bracket
• Ignition coil
• Fire extinguisher bracket and water can bracket
• Protectoscopes
• Exhaust elbow – engine to muffler

I’ll post some more pictures of the progress as I go.

Wish me luck!
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Last edited by Big D on Thu Nov 19, 2015 9:56 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Darryl Lennane
NZ

1943 Willys MB
1941 LP2A MG Carrier
1943 White M3A1 AOP
1942 Willys MBT
1944 Ford M8 Armoured Car

Fabrizio
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Re: Restoration of M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by Fabrizio » Fri Oct 02, 2015 2:48 pm

Very nice project!

Are these bullet impacts in the inside of the turret ?

I can't help you in any way for parts or technical advice, but here is my contribution:
I had a very nice ride in a M8 in Chartres, France, for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the town, there was a lot of nice MVs (Sherman, Stuart, Hellcat, Half-tracks, M8s, M20s..).
Image
Image
Image
Thats the cathedral in the background:
Image
Image
Image
GPW #3606 “LIBBY”
"Jeep is America's only real sports car." - Enzo Ferrari

Big D
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Re: Restoration of M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by Big D » Fri Oct 02, 2015 4:16 pm

Hi Fabrizio

Thanks for that. Great photos. There are some lovely vehicles there. Those M8's are something to aspire to!

Yes, there appears to be a fair bit of bullet damage in the turret which has gone clean through. I may leave some of it there.

Here are a few more photos of some of the parts included. I am still working my way through things.
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Darryl Lennane
NZ

1943 Willys MB
1941 LP2A MG Carrier
1943 White M3A1 AOP
1942 Willys MBT
1944 Ford M8 Armoured Car

sly22
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by sly22 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:41 am

I just read your post . it is a beautiful project.

I would do my best to help you.

I did redo parts, jerry can holders, bottle holder in the engine compartment . and I will make other : pipes protections plates around the copilot.

yours has an original floor blinder I think , right?

sly22
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by sly22 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:43 am

I think you already know, but for the resolder , it will align with the strapping turret . for it to turn next.

be brave.


sly22
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by sly22 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:46 am

the M8 in Chartres is that of karl ... I was at this event with Wilfried

sly

Big D
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by Big D » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:35 am

Hi Sly

Thanks for the reply. I have just been talking to Willy. Karl's M8 looks lovely and it sounds like it was a great event.

I'd be interested in seeing some close-up photos of your repro parts.

Do you mean that my one has the original floor?
Darryl Lennane
NZ

1943 Willys MB
1941 LP2A MG Carrier
1943 White M3A1 AOP
1942 Willys MBT
1944 Ford M8 Armoured Car

sly22
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by sly22 » Sat Oct 03, 2015 11:33 am

I would make pictures tomorrow.

for the floor I must seek .. I think the M8 had armored floors but I 'm not sure

Fabrizio
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by Fabrizio » Sat Oct 03, 2015 2:51 pm

sly22 wrote:the M8 in Chartres is that of karl ... I was at this event with Wilfried

sly
I was there the two days, even slept in the tent with the Harleys.
If I remember correctly, the M8 I was on was Dours's one (without fenders).

Were you also ar Chateaudun last month?

Cheers, and sorry for the hijack
GPW #3606 “LIBBY”
"Jeep is America's only real sports car." - Enzo Ferrari

dgrev
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by dgrev » Sat Oct 03, 2015 4:02 pm

Darryl

Welding technology has moved on in 70 years!

You may find that stainless filler is not now the best solution. Besides the expense.

My experience has been that the traditional forms of crack control (which is the big
problem with welding armour) such as peening, stitching, heat minimisation and
short runs don't work. The only thing that worked for me was considerable pre-heating.

I am told that at a minimum, the technology that is required (for stick welding of large
pieces of armour) is low hydrogen rods.
However, given the variations in armour, both in terms of country
of origin and era of production, that may not apply to your vehicle.

Believe me, it is endlessly frustrating to have done everything per the book in the
way of preparation only to hear a bang and see a crack open up seconds after
breaking the arc!

There is also the issue of what material you are going to use as a filler where you
(especially) have the large gap on one side. My experience is that you actually have to put in excess
as the shrinkage that occurs as the weld contracts is significant but critically it
is surprisingly powerful: thus clamping parts at the correct measurements does not
work.

Then there is the issue of warpage. Were this a Bren Gun Carrier, you would be in
for a world of grief, however, US armour does seem to be homogenous so traditional
welding techniques by a knowledgeable tradesman should be fine.

I suspect your turret has probably come off a range.

As to armoured floors, to the best of my knowledge, the Italian Greyhounds only had
armour back as far as the step level with the gear stick. I think it was the south
American countries who did a full armoured floor. So from that point rearwards you
would need the sheet metal with the pressed in ribs. Personally, I would stick with
the sheet metal flooring done to original pattern throughout as the amour flooring does make
it harder for accessiblity and comfort (of the co-driver).

Yes, I still say you are mad!!!!

Enjoy your restoration.

Regards
Doug

Big D
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by Big D » Sat Oct 03, 2015 10:19 pm

Hi Fabrizio,

No worries. It is M8 stuff so it is all good!

Hi Doug,

Thanks for the comments on the welding. That is all good advice which I will pass onto the welding guys.

My knowledge in this area is very limited so I will be guided on what the engineering workshop tells me along with the ideas from this forum! I spoke to them today and they are looking at putting the hull pieces up onto jacks and blocks in the next couple of weeks, positioning it and just seeing what will be required in terms of packing/shimming etc. By the looks of things some 'cleaning up' of the inner channel pieces will be required first before they can actually get the two pieces to sit right anyway, but we will see.

As I say, I hope to provide an update on this in the next couple of weeks but if you or anyone else has anymore tips in the meantime, I'd be very keen to hear them.
Darryl Lennane
NZ

1943 Willys MB
1941 LP2A MG Carrier
1943 White M3A1 AOP
1942 Willys MBT
1944 Ford M8 Armoured Car

dgrev
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by dgrev » Sun Oct 04, 2015 1:48 am

Darryl

BIG TIP = where the brake lines exit the fighting compartment and enter the engine
compartment next to the petrol tank, they take a 90° turn and head straight down.
That is a notorious air pocket trap. Install bleeder nipples there in all angle connectors.
You will need them!
IIRC that includes clutch and throttle lines too. But I could be mistaken about that,
been a long time.

All of us with original Greyhounds will be envious.

BIG TIP 2 = Get all master and slave and hydrovac cylinders stainless steel lined.
You don't want to know about the unfun that is to be had with the Greyhound
hydraulics. Anything you can do to improve the low down stuff where moisture
collects will save you untold grief.
If you can't get the hydrovac rebuilt in NZ get back to me as the brake place I
use in Adelaide is familiar with them.

Once you have the brake system up to scratch, you will be impressed with the
braking ability of the Greyhound, for its era, the brakes were excellent. It is just
overly complicated and designed by someone who was not and never would be
a brake engineer - so my brake expert says!

Likewise, once sorted, the hydraulic clutch and throttle system will give years
of trouble free service. I haven't had to touch my hydraulic throttle for several
decades now.

BIG TIP 3 = Install a double lip seal in the throttle master (the shaft seal that
the throttle pedal attaches to). It makes all the difference.

BIG TIP 4 = Buy yourself the fittings and a garden weed sprayer and make yourself
a power bleeder. Doing the pedal pumping bleeding thing is nigh on impossible with a
Greyhound, mostly because you can't see how much fluid is in the reservoir and
it takes roughly 4 litres to properly bleed a full system.

Regards
Doug

sly22
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by sly22 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:03 am

yes , fabrizio , is actually that of Mr Doors.

compared to previous messages:

Image

BIG TIP :
Image

Image

BIG TIP 3
Image

dgrev
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by dgrev » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:08 am

Sly22

Well done with the photos!

Regards
Doug

sly22
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car serial number 7373

Post by sly22 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:15 am

dgrev wrote:Darryl

BIG TIP = where the brake lines exit the fighting compartment and enter the engine
compartment next to the petrol tank, they take a 90° turn and head straight down.
That is a notorious air pocket trap. Install bleeder nipples there in all angle connectors.
You will need them!
IIRC that includes clutch and throttle lines too. But I could be mistaken about that,
been a long time.

on photos one with bleeder nipples and one without ...

I had trouble with one that did not.

if I have a new problem I would put a

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