DOUG'S 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

T A N K S C A R R I E R S G U N S A R M O U R E D   C A R S

 

Andrews' Adventures - Saladin

Andrew lives in England and judging by the photos he has sent me, lives an "interesting" life. Too interesting for me.
He has 3 vehicles.

A Ferret called "Fezz"
A Saladin called "Sally"
A Saracen, predictably called "Sarry"

Andrew has been very co-operative and even supplied me with sufficient text that I have mostly used his own words for this page.

Saladin Armoured Car - story

With the Saracen almost complete, just a few things to finish off, I now have nothing to do. :-)

The rally season had ended so thereís nowhere to go. :-(
What can I do? I know, how about another vehicle. I suppose Iíll have to sell the Saracen to finance a new project. Er, some how I think not.

Well, look at the practicality.

Ferret. - Small, quick and practical for a piece of armour.

Saracen. - A pain I know only too well. But it IS practical. Nice big doors at the back. No standing on the clean paintwork to get in. useful for going to the pub. And when going to a show, well the space in the back is ideal for all our kit. No, the sale of either is out of the question.

So in December 1995 I start making enquires to various companies that deal in military surplus. The two dealers that were shortlisted were Leavesley International and A F Budge.
From Leavesley I could have a TMM Truck mounted treadway bridge.
Or from Budge a Saladin Armoured car.

The TMM had several disadvantages as far as Iím concerned, not least the price. The Saladin on the other hand was a lot cheaper, but it is a vehicle with an engine and drive layout that I know only to well. Plus of course I can get spares easily. Well, relatively easily .

So it arrived on its low loader, on February 3rd 1996. One Saladin armoured car. We used a solid towbar from the Saracen to the Saladin and towed it into the field and parked it up. Then I got a strange feeling that Iíve never really had before and donít want again. When I went to view the Saladin it was next to two other Saladinís and a load of Saracens and they were all in a very similar condition. The one I bought looked to be about the best. (A piece of scrap besides a piece of scrap can look good) ;-). So it was that when it sat with the Ferret and the Saracen next to it I really thought I Ďd thrown 2 grand down the drain. It took several days to get over. Over the coming weeks we started to remove items like tinware, cables, moss, trees, and various other unidentifiable objects from inside the vehicle. A small tarpaulin was put over to keep out the rain and snow. Basically we could not do much major work until the spring.

[Doug here - sorry mate, but my first reaction on seeing all these photos was 'what a hunk of junk'. It came up nice in the end, but only because you have obviously put a lot of work into it. A lot like my Greyhound when I first got it, come to think about it!]

sally-a pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The manual says that to remove the escape hatches just squeeze the red handles together and pull down top handle and push hatch outwards. Ha. What it neglects to tell you is that you need a hammer and leaver and someone outside to help lift. View looking through said escape hatch into the fighting compartment.

[Funny, sounds just like my Ferret, but the person on the outside is there to catch: as in hatch, heavy, awkward. The one on the LHS with the spare wheel on it became hatch, heavy, awkward, too heavy and my helper jumped out the way - sensible!]
[Looking in LHS hatch facing rear, turret basket in foreground, black box is the generator regulator.]

sally-b pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 


[Looking in RHS hatch facing rear, turret basket in foreground, rear of engine just visible on far left.]

sally-c pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

As spring approached and winter went, I could get on and strip the rest of the Saladin down to bare metal. The bins that sit on top of the wings were removed as well as the ones underneath. The engine bay doors were a problem though because the hinges had rusted closed. A large jack was used to force them open. Once we could look at the engine properly it soon dawned on us that there could be problems with it. The spark plugs were removed and thin oil and paraffin put in each cylinder. Some leads were connected up to the starter and the Ferret and we tried to turn her over. Nothing happened at all. :-( The rear access door was unbolted and the frame work over the radiator was removed together with the radiator and fans. This gave access to the crankshaft pulley, which meant that a spanner could be used with a long lever. At the same time we also tried using the starter. Again, nothing happened. :-( This is bad news. In fact it's serious. The next day the head came off. Even worse, two cylinders had a quantity of water in them. :-(

sally- pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 


sally-e pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

Well, if you're taking something to bits then ya may as well go the hole way. Next step is to reverse the Saracen up and put a girder from that to the engine bay doors and use a winch and get the rest of the engine out. This was relatively easy. The difficult part is uncoupling the petrol tank balance pipe from the engine mounting. (What on earth possessed someone to incorporate the engine mounting in to the fuel line!!)

sally-f pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

Crankshaft and camshaft sitting on the work bench. The condition of these parts were very good, only needing a clean and oiling for storage.

sally-g pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The pistons on the other hand are a different story. One is in bits, while the others are a bit poorly. All the pistons have split skirts. This is done in manufacture, quite why I donít know but it seems to be a bad design. The cylinder bores are not too bad and should be restored with a fine hone.

sally-h pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

[LARGE pieces of broken piston!]

sally-i pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The inside was now clear, bar from the gear and transfer box, so a steam cleaner was borrowed and the inside cleaned out. View is looking from the rear of the vehicle at the bell housing. We had a look inside the gear and transfer box and decided to leave them in. The oil was clean, and it's a pain to get out anyway. On later Saracens the centre bevel boxes disengage from the input shaft and the transfer box can easily (relatively;) be removed. On early Saracens and on all Saladins (as far as I'm aware) you have to remove the centre wheel station and bevel box (a major task). Hence we decided it was happy where it was. The turret floor was roped to the turret roof. What we should have done at this stage was to check and where necessary replace the fuel pips and breathers. We didn't, only to our cost at a later date.. Over the next couple of days I started ringing various dealers for parts. I.E. pistons, rings, valves and gaskets plus other bits and pieces. One dealer had no spares but did have a Saracen engine for sale. As it was about half the cost of the parts, I went for this. Martin and I decided it would be fun to wind-up Carl and tell him we'd rebuilt the engine. Carl was amazed at the progress that Martin and I had made in the one week. To be able to get all the parts needed, delivered and assembled in just five days. That was until he saw things lying around in my workshop, like a camshaft and cylinder head!!

sally-j pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

Remember, we had to use a powerful jack to get to engine hatches open? Now here they are supporting our dodgey crane No1 Mk2.

sally-k pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The new reconn. engine was checked for valve clearances and points timing and that the fluid flywheel had the required level of oil. The preservative oil was drained and the struggle to get the engine into its new home commenced. First mistake was bolting the rear engine mounting in and connecting the fuel balance pipes to it, then trying to get the engine to just drop in. That didn't work so the engine came out again, the fuel pipes disconnected and the rear mounting removed and then bolted to the engine. Attempts number two. The next problem is that with the mounting bolted to the engine, you cannot get the slpines in the flywheel on to the shaft of the gearbox because the studs on the floor of the engine compartment get in the way of the engine mounting which of course is still bolted to the engine. So, yet again the engine had to be taken out and the mounting removed and for the third time we tried again.

sally-l pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

sally-m pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

This time success. After a struggle to get the splines to line up we managed to get the mounting in and the engine bolted down. Just the simple task of putting all the other ancillaries in!!

sally-n pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The one thing that is needed now is a generator as there wasn't one with the vehicle. A check in the parts manual to what was needed and a few phone calls got one for £470.00. A lot of money for a generator I thought until it arrived. It's about twice the size and weight of a Saracen one and is capable of a continuous 75 amps output. Shall definitely test it with the electric kettle:-)

sally-o pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The engine is now in place with the generator fitted and belted up. Also the hydraulic pump has been fitted but I am awaiting the delivery of a drive belt. Another mistake that we made was using standard wire for the rear lights. This caused a lot of problems when we eventually got on the road. Basically the heat melted the insulation and blew the fuse. After replacing fuse after fuse the switch for the brake lights blew, so it was then that we actually did something about it. We got the engine running and were able to drive round the field and generally test the brakes (er, ya, like what brakes) steering and other essential parts. Then it was time to start and do some painting.

sally-p pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

This went very well as you can see. Probably that was why we changed the colour scheme later on. The mantlet was put in position with yet another one of our cranes!!

sally-q pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

sally-r pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

We are now changing colour from green to desert sand. While Martin and Carl do the painting I'm on brake servicing and hub reduction oil change. 4 very substantial axle stands hold the Saladin up. This allows the suspension to rest for greasing and servicing. Also allows inspection of hydraulic pipes and handbrake cable.

sally-s pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

A temporary shelter has been put up so that Carl can spray the topcoat of paint without bees and other bugs landing in it.

sally-t pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

sally-u pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The recoil mechanism after cleaning. All that has to be done is fit it in the mantlet. Easier said than done. ;-) At this stage we were more or less ready to go on the road. All the transmission and brakes were O K, as was the steering. Mirrors were borrowed from the Saracen. Insurance was sorted out and an MOT was booked for 16 May 1997. We got to the MOT station, not quite as fast as we should have. For some reason the engine would rev up to 3500 rpm with no problem but when I changed into 4th gear the engine would almost cut out. Then just when I changed back into 3rd it picked up again. Anyway the MOT went without a problem so it was from there that I then went to the local scrap yard for a "Weigh bridge cert". (Some times I wished I'd left it there). With very little inside, tinware or external bins and no gun barrel it weighed 9690 Kg's.

sally-v pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

The fun started on the way home from the weigh bridge. Going up the hill back into the village we suddenly had almost no power at all to pull up the hill. We got home (just) and opened up the engine covers (mainly so I could swear at the engine) to see that 2 of the ignition leads had been on fire. Just typical! Only a few days before we had put in the fire sensor's and tested it with a lighter to see if it worked: I went out without switching the damn thing on!!

sally-w pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

Just a general photo showing Martin putting the convoy strips on the back plate.

sally-x pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

I've now got my registration number from the DVLA. This means that we can go here, there and everywhere in her (till the novelty of paying for fuel wears off). It also means that we can sort out any problems that we may have while road testing. Problems!!!!!!!! First is the lack of power and the fact that we could not get the engine to rev above 3000 RPM for more that about 10 seconds. Second the steering wanders. Third, we could not get over 20 mph. We spent about 3 weeks on and off trying to sort out the engine. I had a tuning bloke check all the ignition side of the electrics. That was all fine. Next we fitted an electric fuel pump, as we agreed that the mechanical one might not be working properly. No change, it still wouldn't rev fully. Next step was to check the pipe work for restrictions. The outlet from the fuel tap was disconnected and the tap turned on. A slow trickle of petrol flowed out. The inlet was slackened off and it was obvious that the problem was with the tap. The tap was duly removed and taken to bits. The angled holes in the handle part of the tap did not join properly and so reduced the flow of petrol. After drilling out and reassembly we started the engine and had it reving at full revs for about 5 minutes. Great! :-) So we can road test again and should be able to get a bit of speed up. I should mention that we are less than a week away from the Great Dorset steam Fair. Saly's booked in of course so the pressure is on!! Well, back to the road test. Its not good. :-(. Still cannot get above 20 MPH. Not only that but we've had a near fire on the brakes of the front right hand wheel station. This happened about 10 PM. We parked up near the nature reserve and had torches and spot lights out to find out what the problem was. Basically the handbrake mechanism had seized on. Nothing a big hammer can't sort out temporarily. ;-)

sally-y pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

Well, we've sorted out the brake problem. It meant replacing the seals in the two slave cylinders though: as these were badly damaged with the heat. Luckily the pads were OK. Still got problems with lack of power / speed above 20. Its Saturday morning and Carl should be on his way with Martin in the Ferret down to Dorset. It always pays to stand back and take a look at a project. As in this case when I looked down the left side of the Saladin I realised that the rear wheel was about 4" larger than the front and centre wheels. This was confirmed with a measure tape. We still don't know why we didn't put the Saladin next to the Saracen in the field to change the wheels over, instead we removed one wheel at a time from the Saladin and exchanged them with the ones on the Saracen. A distance of 100 yards or so. It ain't funny rolling 1200 x 20 wheels up the garden path, around the green house's and though gravel. It took us 3 hours to change 12 wheels over. Also while we were dealing with wheels we checked the tracking and found that to be a long way out. But, when we took poor Saly out on the road she performed brilliantly. Straight up to 25 MPH up the hill and continued to about 40 on the level. The steering is about right, not pulling to the left as it was doing before. This picture shows her the day before going down to Dorset.

sally-x pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

A final photo: 3/4 view looking from the rear. All the work is done for the moment.

sally-z pic

Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...

 

Many thanks to Andrew for taking the time and effort to provide the photo's and such a comprehensive story.


  sig - logo

 BACK TO INDEX