DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

T A N K SC A R R I E R SG U N SA R M O U R E D   C A R S

 

RUNNING CENTURIONS #2.
   (Ver 1)

 

Here's a story of the first major breakdown. The job was easy, the recovery a bit harder.

With the Centurion now running pretty well, we became a bit more adventurous with the old girl and began exploring the large mounds of dirt and hills that were around. Whilst climbing one, the old girl suddenly lost traction. Bill was driving and I was crewing. Bill reversed back although we had no steering and Bill said that he only got drive by pulling on one steering lever. Ok we have a problem. Not only that, we had 2 problems!! Concrete reinforcing had been buried under the ground and the Cent soon found it and mangled it amoung the tracks. Without steering there was no way to avoid it nor could we see it until it was too late. First thing was to clear this debris. She was left to sit where she was for a while and clearing commence with bolt cutters, hacksaw and my Land Rover and snatchum strap to help clear the reo out of the racks and away from the tank. The company later removed the rest of it for us.

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2 days later she was again fired up and we tried to work her out of the predicament and I diagnosed that the left track final drive had decided to spit the dumby. All she did was pivot and try and dig herself in deeper. We thought that we might have a way around this.

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Look carfully and you can see the concrete reinforcing rods sticking up in front of the tank.


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The wood frame had been used as a shelter frame for working on the vehicle in the rain and stringing a tarp over it to the turret.


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Bill digging the trench.


This is the reason I have a recovery mech working with me. Bill went and got a large RSJ or "I" beam that was slightly larger than the width of the tank. We dug a trench and laid the beam in the trench and chained it to both tracks in the hope that it would stay and add some assistance to the left track in essence joining the 2 together and the beam would stay in situ and thus the tank would back over it. She was fired up and placed in reverse. Certainly both tracks turned and dragged the beam to the front of the vehicle. The ground was hard to dig but too soft to hold. We would try again in the morning.

On arrival the next day, as luck would have it an excavator had turned up on the site to build roads and drainage. A quick help us do this and we'll give you a slab. The excavator with no power in the tracks, used its hydraulic arm on the rear left corner of the Cent, damaged side. With the right track driving she extracated and on hard standing. The question is how do you turn when to get it on the concrete you can only drive straight and we need to back up all the way with the left track free wheeling? Easy, back up, then drive forward and hit the brake pedal. The working track stops but the free one doesn't and the momentumn and weight spin her around a little to the right so that the next time you back up she has turned left a little in the direction you want to go. Repeat the process being sure that you don't go into the soft ground. Once on the concrete we were able to change the final drive. A replacement unit was ordered as agreed by the company.

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  I had dismantled the final drive and got quotes on rebuilding. One bearing cost in excess of $5,000.00, a rebuilt final drive at the time cost half that so the new one was ordered. It was fitted and the vehicle was back on the track.

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Notice the now bent "I" beam off to the left.


My thanks to Alex.

 

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