Doug's 'HEAVY METAL' GALLERY

 

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Typical Ferret find

My Ferret "as aquired" after spending years in a farmers field, the pine needles which were right through it were at no extra charge. Basically it was quite respectable but had suffered rust in all the panniers due to being left outside. It had suffered badly from being driven incorrectly as the gear change pedal on the pre-selective gear box just cannot be used like a clutch. However, if you don't have a manual and nobody tells you then it appears quite natural to drive the vehicle like a conventional manual. This serves to wreck the gearbox: I was lucky in that the wear could be adjusted for in mine - just.

BUYER BEWARE - applies to Ferret, Saracen and Saladin and anything else with a Wilson pre-selective gearbox.



Ferret pic
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After Lots of Work

My Ferret after I spent about 2 years of weekend and night work on it, the pine needles are still coming to light. I am now in the process of stripping the crew compartment and repainting it. On the left is Allan Clare who assisted in recovering the vehicle and myself on the right. When we had got the vehicle to the transport yard we were faced with the problem that we had nowhere to put the spare wheel (the escape hatch/carrier for it was missing). It was too large to fit in my car boot and I was concerned that it would disappear once the vehicle was out of my sight. Allan solved the problem with his boy scout skills. He got some high tensile cable, threaded it through the wheel and the footman loops on the engine deck and then "knocked" the cable ends into loops. If anyone wanted that wheel they would have had to spend quite a bit of time and effort to get it - they didn't bother.



Ferret pic
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Time to paint inside.

Here it is with the turret and both escape hatches removed; it is amazing how much easier it is to work in the vehicle when you don't have to keep ducking in and out through the turret.
The Australian Ferrets were painted in "Vietnam era" green, straight over the factory Bronze Green. Although my vehicle was rebuilt in 1970 it appears the hull was not sandblasted as the Bronze Green is still there. The turret has been and the base coat is that high lead content "red lead", bright orange in appearance; you are in no doubt when you have chipped any paint off.



10119 pic
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Turret off.

The turret comes off a Ferret extremely easily. It is a matter of unbolting the adaptor plate and lifting the whole assembly off. This is where it gets tricky; as there are only 3 lifting points and unless you have a 3 point sling (I don't) you soon discover it wants to roll over on you. After much hassle I eventually slid it down some planks whilst still attached to the chain block. Not fun.
In the photo you can clearly see (courtesy of the rust) where the adaptor plate mates up to the hull mounting flange.



10120 pic
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Hull opening.

This is a view straight down into the hull opening looking at the transmission. The bottom of the photo is the front of the vehicle.
The strange "race track" shaped mount at the left is one of the 2 battery box mounting bases.
On the lower inspection cover of the transmission (actually the forward/reverse box) you can see a typical British "modification record plate".



10121 pic
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Modification Record Plate.

As these seem to be a peculiarly British idea, I have included a close up photo of the set of plates that is found next to the vehicle I.d. plate (above the RHS escape hatch).
Quite why the American Military hasn't copied this idea is a bit of a mystery; but Australia has used these plates in our M113A1's as in the Ferrets, both in the Ferret and 113 they are attached with Araldite glue rather than "drift pins" as originally intended.
If, (and I have yet to meet anyone who has acquired a copy) you have the modification schedule, you instantly know everything that has been updated on the vehicle since it was made. Unfortunately the Australian Military hasn't made this info available that I know of.
Look closely at the photo and you can see where quite a few numbers have been scratched with an "X" denoting that particular mod. having been done to the vehicle. It is not unusual to find numbers not crossed out in numerical sequence as some mods eg Command Vehicle radio mods, would not apply to the majority of vehicles.
These mod plates occur on all major assemblies but are always internally mounted. I have yet to see an externally mounted mod plate on any type of vehicle.



10122 pic
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