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

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Tapper02
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car U.S Ordnance number 7373

Post by Tapper02 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:15 pm

Interesting that the gear pattern is backwards from the standard...bet that will take a little getting used to when you start driving it.

The teeth on those gears are gnarly...probably good that you're replacing them.

-Tom
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Re: Restoration of Ford M8 armoured car U.S Ordnance number 7373

Post by Big D » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:02 am

Hi all,

I’ve been busy with work and life for the last few weeks and I haven’t posted for a while, so here are a few updates on what I’ve been up to on the M8.

I have stripped and reconditioned the transfer case. Overall it was not in bad shape and I don’t think it has been that long since it has been apart. All the flanges came off easily which I’ve found is a good indicator. The gears had some light corrosion on them from the transfer case sitting around with little oil in it. As per the photos, some of the teeth on a couple of the gears had some pitting resulting from the corrosion from that sitting around. I have cleaned that up and the pitting shouldn’t create any issues.

The bearings looked good and just required cleaning. I cleaned up all the gears and flushed and cleaned the internals. I found some oil seals ‘off the shelf’ from a local supplier which were the correct size for the bearing caps. The same seal is required for the handbrake drum bracket but the fit on this was a whole lot tighter, and it needed some persuasion to get it in there.

I did notice a very fine hairline crack in the front axle declutch housing. Looking back at my pre-disassembly photos, I see the crack was there and just visible under the old paint, so it might have been there for a long time with the paint and dirt holding it together. I have covered it in some epoxy adhesive which should seal it. I made up new gaskets, and cleaned all the shims from each bearing cap and fitted them as they were. All clearances seemed pretty good. I cleaned up the rest of the transfer case and a coat of paint freshened it up nicely. Let’s hope it doesn’t leak!

I fabricated some retainers for the rubber mounting cushions out of a bit of channel with some angled steel which will form the mounting strips on the sides. I will finish the welding and tidy them up over the weekend and then hoist the transfer case up into place on the hull.
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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

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

Post by Big D » Fri Feb 22, 2019 6:08 am

The turret is back and looking quite nice, complete with that old battle/range damage. I had to clean up a couple of lumpy parts on the top of the bearing face, where the hold down roller bearings would run, that I had missed pre blasting and painting. I have fitted the 37mm gun mount and recoil system. The gun mount sits on two heavy pins, one at the top and one at the bottom, each secured by a 3/8” screw. It was a bit of a handful fitting the assembly on my own, but I got there. The barrel has been straightened and I will likely fit this along with the damaged breach while I await the arrival of a replacement 37mm gun which is in better shape.

I picked up some of the other parts which had been painted and fitted the inner front guards. I left a lot of the imperfections in them but the new paint has freshened them up nicely. Just fitting these inner guards changes the appearance of the vehicle again.

I have continued tidying up a whole lot of other little jobs. The data plate that needed to be trimmed to fit has been done and glued into place. I received the 11/16” hydraulic fitting I needed for the throttle slave cylinder (thanks Taylor) so that hydraulic line is in place now. I still need another tapered fitting for the master cylinder which is on the way. The back panel is now fitted in place. I have also fitted the master switch box and battery cable as well as the interphone boxes for the commander and gunner. I will wire up the interphone boxes over the weekend and give them a test.

I spoke to the engine reconditioner and unfortunately the bores on the engine block were too pitted for even a bore out to 0.020 pistons. I might have got away with 0.040” oversize but I didn’t have any pistons that size, so I have decided to make use of the 0.060” pistons I have here and we are boring the cylinders out to fit those. Does anyone have any 0.060” rings they want to part with?

I have located the gearbox parts I need and I’ll have those parts on the way to me shortly.

That’s about it for the moment….
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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

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

Post by Big D » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:52 am

Hi all,

Here are a few pictures of the latest progress. I have fitted the recoil system and elevation system. I found the elevation system and sector gear on the recoil system had to be fitted at the same time. I had the elevation gear in first but I couldn’t find a way to fit the sector gear for the recoil system afterwards as there was just not the room to make them mesh unless installing them together.

The 37mm racks, map clips and binocular holder are fitted, but I will need to remove the rear 37mm rack to lift the turret onto the hull. As you’ll see the binocular holder is white. From what I could see these were white on earlier M8’s and then green on later ones. Someone may correct me on that.

The barrel is now straight and the good news is that the damaged part of the tube will be obscured by the sleigh. The breech ring is off and will require some rebuilding.

What is the easiest way to fit the barrel to the gun mount? My thoughts were to fit the sleigh onto the recoil system and then with the recoil system angled downwards, slide the barrel (minus the breech ring) into the sleigh. Is there a better way?

After cleaning up the channels, I test fitted the sleigh onto the recoil system with my fabricated brass channel on the sides. The sleigh will go on, but it will be a snug fit with that new brass.

I finalised the interphone box wiring for the commander and loader. The headphones on these worked straight away but the microphones did not. I worked out that the way I had wired the connector on the FT-237 radio tray (which was as per the TM 11-2702 manual) was actually wrong. I can recall when I did that FT-237 wiring, that it didn’t seem right that the microphone circuits (yellow and brown wires) for the back interphone boxes weren’t on the same line as the interphone boxes for the front. Anyway, I wired them together on the FT-237 and the rear interphone boxes now work fine with headphones and microphones.

I have some of the sheet metal back from the sandblasters, painted and ready to go. Unfortunately, the sandblaster got their wires crossed with the painting. The plan was to blast and paint the tool lockers, as they were ready to fit, but just blast and prime the big sandskirts, because I still needed to apply some fibreglass to them to improve their roughish appearance. The blasters got that the wrong way around and I have a pair of tool lockers which have just been blasted and primed (!), while I have some fully painted sandskirts which still need to be fibreglassed! Oh, well….

I spent a bit of time making the radiator drain plug access flap on the rear lower engine panel. The reproduction panel that I had didn’t have this hole cut in it. Thanks to Willy for his help on the design of this. I received a nice load of parts I needed in the post today (cheers Reg), including the radiator mounts, hydrovac tube and hydrovac repair kits.

The last of the bits and pieces are loaded up and ready to go to the sandblasters for priming and painting.

That is all for today….
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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

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

Post by nirvana » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:20 pm

Mount the sled to a bench, slide the barrel in from the rear. Seat it with a dead blow hammer and use a come along to pull the barrel as needed.
1942 GPW 70219 - Navy Contract - USN 39252
1943 GPW 103565


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

Post by Big D » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:39 am

Thanks Nirvana. I will keep that method in mind.
Darryl Lennane
NZ

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

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

Post by Big D » Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:46 am

Hi all,

Progress continues…

I was about to fit the transfer case to the hull but have just found some original cushion mount retainers (thanks Nick and Charles), so I will wait until they arrive before I fit the transfer case to the hull. I filled the transfer case with oil. The front declutch housing took just under a litre of gear oil and the main housing took just under two litres. I filled to the point where oil was just coming out the filler. I expected the transfer case to take a bit more than that. Can anyone confirm? I don’t appear to have anything in my manuals which shows the quantities. Someone was reproducing lubrication charts for these a while ago and advertising them on G503. Are these still available? I messaged the seller without success.

While I was mucking around with the handbrake assembly, I realised that I didn’t have the bell-crank which is fitted to the hull, as shown in this picture I borrowed off the net. If anyone has one of these lying around in their bunch of spares, I’d be very interested.

I’ve painted the stars onto the turret. The rough surface of the turret didn’t make it easy to apply paint masks which meant that I had a bit of bleeding of paint on the edges, so I’ll need to clean those up. I’ve also added a few more waterslide decals to the hull and turret. The bullet hole in the star looks effective!

I got the handles and two locking levers made up for the engine covers. The handles were spot on but the rod used in the locking levers was not quite the right diameter, and they are a slightly loose fit, so I’ll get the other two made up with the correct diameter.

Now that I have some hydrovac kits (thanks Reg) I have started reconditioning the hydrovac. I don’t think these kits are exactly right for my hydrovac, but we’ll see how we go. The slave cylinder on the hydrovac is pretty rough internally. The main return spring was rusted inside the bore of the slave cylinder and removal twisted it, so I will need to replace that. At this stage, the piston is still stuck in the bore of the slave cylinder so I am soaking it in the hope of getting it out at some point. The bore will need a stainless steel sleeve so once I get it all apart I’ll get it off to the experts for fitting that sleeve. I have rebuilt the main cylinder of the hydrovac with replacement seals and that side of it looks alright at this point. I’ll finish the whole unit off once I get the slave cylinder back.

I am trying to finalise the bleed points for the hydraulics now. I want to fit a bleeder nipple to the end of the short hydraulic lines I’ve made which come from the T junctions, but I am struggling to find a fitting that will allow this. What have the guys who have done this used for such a connection?

I have the tool lockers, front outer guards, and some other parts back from painting now. I’ll pick up the gun tube, sleigh and mantlet next week.
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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

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

Post by Big D » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:46 pm

This week I have been tidying up a few more jobs and working on the transfer case and gun. I sourced some axle 'wedges' that I was after from a US supplier. In the US they are referred to as wedges but they seem to have different names (collets/split cones)in other countries.

I finalised the headlight wiring in the front of the hull and fitted the headlight holders and clips. I had one of each of the headlight holders and clips that were original and fabbed up the others. I am still on the lookout for those elusive T locking pins for the headlight pedestals.

After fitting the gun sleigh to the recoil system, I wasn’t happy with the way the sleigh slid on those two brass strips on the recoil system. I pulled the recoil system out again and rechecked the measurements. I found that the fold was not perfect across the whole length of the folded strips, and in places varied up to 0.2 – 0.3 mm. In the end, I shaved off 0.1-0.2mm off the top and bottom of the using a flap disc on a grinder and that set the gap up nicely. The sleigh moves freely on the recoil system now. I think if I had to do that job again, I would find some brass, or maybe even aluminium, channel the exact size, rather than folding brass sheet.

I looked at pdqf’s method for fitting the gun tube and decided that was a good way to go about it. Although the barrel had been straightened it was not perfect and I had to grind a few high spots that had been caused by the damage, before it would even go into the sleigh. At the time of writing, I am still working on this and not yet been able to get the barrel all the way into the sleigh. It needs to move another 20mm to seat it in the large ring at the end of the sleigh. Big hammers have not worked and I think I will have to make up a tool to give it some mechanical assistance to fully seat the barrel tube in the sleigh. As you can see, the freshly painted barrel and sleigh will need repainting!

I started test fitting some of the gun parts like side plates, .30 cal mount and ammo tray etc, so I could work out what mounting bolts I needed. I also fitted the mantlet but will need to get the two correct 5/8” NF allen head bolts for securing it to the recoil system.

I don’t have the little wedge piece on the bottom of the gun mount finalised as yet. The piece I’m talking about has two notches in it and is bolted onto the bottom of the gun mount. The two bolts sit in bushes on the mount, and have little cams on them, presumably for fine adjustment. The notches align with the release lever on the underside of the elevation system. From what I can see this acts as an elevation release and when you release the handle on the bottom of the elevation gear into the second notch, the elevation gear can rotate a little, releasing itself from the sector gear on the recoil system, and dropping the gun. In what situations was this used? Is it used when the gun is fixed in travel mode, to take the stress of movement of the vehicle off the elevation system?

I found that the two scope mounts I have are not matching for my turret model. As you can see from the photo, the mount nearest the breech sits too far away from the side plate. I am told though that these early scope mounts late had a spacer block between it and the side plate to allow them to sit at the right distance for mounting the scope. Hopefully I have secured a repro of one of these spacers.

Have I got the .30 cal ammo belt feed plate and empty case feeder chute mounted properly? Does the feed plate just swivel on one of the 5/8” rods from the mantlet? What about the empty case feeder chute? I also need a bush of some sort for the trigger lever for the .30 cal.

Now that I have all those bits and pieces in place, I’m hoping that everything can just remain there now awaiting me sliding the barrel and sleigh into place on the recoil system.

That is all....
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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

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

Post by Big D » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:47 pm

More photos...
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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

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

Post by Big D » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:37 am

Hi all,

One of the things I have been working on this week is getting the turret interior completed. As you would have seen on the photos, the breech ring is damaged on the underside but I have fitted this and the damaged tube until the new gun arrives.

I had quite a battle getting the gun tube seated in the sleigh and in the end had to make up a tool to make it happen. I guess there was enough of a kink in the tube to make it a tight squeeze in the sleigh.

The mantlet has two pieces of threaded rod which along with two large 5/8” Allen screws screws underneath, hold the mantlet onto the recoil system. My mantlet had one original piece of 5/8” threaded rod in it on the right side. I had to fit a new piece of threaded rod in the left hand side of the mantlet. I am not sure why but the original right hand rod does seem too long (maybe it’s not so original?). As it is it tends to sit over the ammo belt making the feeding of the ammo belt a bit tight. It does work but I wouldn’t trust it in combat. Ideally, I should take the mantlet off again, cut the rod down, and tap a new thread on it. I may yet do that. Thanks to Jonathan for his advice around the ammo belt feeder and ejected rounds shute. The .30 cal seems to sit in there nicely.

I also had quite a job getting the brass guide block on the side of the breech ring to line up with the right hand side plate. The brass lock was bent and it took a few hours to get it straight enough to align the breech ring and the side plate.

I am not at this stage yet, but how do you guys lift your turret? The access point where the plate bolts on at the back is an obvious lifting point but what about at the front? Do you wrap the strop around the mantlet? Perhaps front and rear, along with a strop that goes from side to side using the tie down ring around the turret?

I have a few other things back from the blasting and painting. The floor pieces came out good. The pintle hook is now fitted.

That's all for now.....
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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

Big D
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Joined: Sun Sep 20, 2009 12:22 am

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

Post by Big D » Sat May 04, 2019 2:02 am

Hi all,

After a week away I started work again on the M8. I’ve painted the US star on the engine covers. That was a bit of a challenge with all the different heights on the covers and it is probably good that the finish is not expected to be perfect. I reckon there was about 4-5 hours work getting the preparation on the stencil right. I had to lay the stencil out, mark its location and then cut it into pieces and stick it on the covers. I think the finished product does look effective though.

I folded another piece of hydraulic line for the throttle reservoir. I wasn’t happy with the first one I made up and I was hoping to get the layout of these tubes as close as possible to the throttle to keep the tubes away from the co-driver’s feet. I think I was only partly successful but it is pretty good. Bending the 3/8” steel tube into that tight a curve without kinking it requires patience and time. Next time it will be copper-nickel tube….

The radiator is back now from being serviced. The guys repaired some of the cores and replaced the filler neck and overflow tube. It passed all pressure tests and I am painting it as we speak. I’ve also made a start on building a stainless steel fuel tank.

I had to make up the rods from the transfer case to the levers on the gear change housing from scratch. My local steel scrap merchant had some nice old yokes with the right thread and it was just a matter of cutting some suitable rod and threading the ends. One of the yokes actually came with a bit of rod which I used. This had an eyelet on the end which I left on there, as it seemed a better option than just bending the end of the rod like the original and in the end, I welding an eyelet onto the other rod. I have temporarily fitted the transfer case protection framework while I work out the nuts and bolts required to mount this.

I spent a bit of time working out where the gun firing cables went. These are in place now.

I needed some space in the workshop so I have temporarily put the ring on the turret and the fuel tank cover on the hull.

That’s it for this week…..
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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

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

Post by DaninNM » Mon May 06, 2019 1:37 am

Darryl: do you recognize this box.....I had it marked with M8 tag but unsure about that????? thanks for looking
Dan in NM
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reenacting and WWII history

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

Post by dgrev » Mon May 06, 2019 2:03 am

Looks like a sub-machine gun magazine holder to me.

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

Post by Big D » Mon May 06, 2019 2:03 am

Hi Dan

It is the flare box that is attached to the rear wall of the hull.
Darryl Lennane
NZ

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

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

Post by DaninNM » Mon May 06, 2019 8:23 am

Thanks Darryl - I never saw a picture of it in any of the M8 detail books I have - I sort of knew that you would know! Is there anything you do not know about the M8....I'd be surprised is the answer was anything but NO!!!!! Your restoration pics are nothing short of magnificent!!!! I refer to them anytime I want to make a correction or repair in mine! :mrgreen:
reenacting and WWII history

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