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FV-721 Fox light Armoured Car.
   (Ver 3)

 

The following discussion took place over the internet when Chris in England decided to look at a Fox after finishing his Ferret restoration.





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A Fox belonging to Tommy a US owner


From Doug in answer to Chris:

> We're thinking about getting a fox to restore. All the ones for sale > come minus the engine.

I think there is a message there Chris, which is going to come down to one of 2 things:

1) The engines are no good or have been badly treated.

Or

2) the engines are in demand for something else and thus will be expensive.

> Does anyone have any experience of rebuilding a fox?

I know Carl Brown (R & R Military Services, just outside of Oxford) did a ground up restoration for Stuart R. (USA) in 1999/2000.

Richard F. (also runs a restoration/repair services fro ex-military vehicles) may be worth a try as he would have worked on them whilst in the Army.

> Is there anything I really should know about them?

Other than the fact that they fall over if not driven with a lot of care?

Also, they are really snug. The driver's position is more suited to a midget with double joints than a normal male.

The turret is not much better. My major concern with this is a roll-over, there is just nowhere to go to "bail-in". It is not like a Saladin, Saracen or Ferret where you can just drop inside and ride out the crash. You have to thread your way into the seating position of both commander and gunner. To then get your head and shoulders under cover requires more gymnastics - likewise the Scorpion turret. There may be ways of over coming this without many problems - I haven't had the chance to examine the seat mounts etc to know if they can be adjusted or easily modified.

I am not insinuating you are a bad driver. You do have to take into account what will happen if you get hit by another vehicle.

Make sure you try one on for size first. Richard Notton could not get into ANY crew positions on a Scorpion due to his height and back problem. The Fox seems much tighter to me.

> I guess for a restoration project having the engine missing is quite
> handy as you can get in there to clean and paint everything first!

Always look on the bright side huh?

Chris,

We had Fox in the squadrons in the 80's, I can only support everything that Doug has written.

Fox looks good, very often sounds good, but when we wanted to have fun, it was a Ferret every time.

Fox is hard work, and no fun to crew.

During the late 80's we had Trident to pay for, as a result all budgets were slashed. 'A' vehiches were put on a maintenance programme described as 'Mission Servicing'.

In other words you did the bare minimum necesary to complete the immediate task, and NO MORE.

Could explain why a lot of engines are missing. Or they could heve been put in store for future CVRT replacments.

Regards
David

Chris (and Doug),
I see Doug has mentioned my name, so had better make a comment on the Fox. My experience of them is long, from when they entered service in the mid 70's to end of service early '90's. At the Workshops we would have large numbers in at a time and they always had more than their fair share of problems. From the very start there were about two dozen mods to undertake, not a good sign as some of these things should have been sorted on trials.
You mentioned engines being missing, there were a batch of Fox's that were to be disposed of to another country and have diesels fitted. I think the situation changed and these vehicles were sold off, without engines. Also at one time, J60 engine parts, such as blocks and heads, were in sort supply for the CVR(T) and they may have been removed from the Foxes prior to disposal.
The engines had a hard time in these vehicles and I have removed many with smashed blocks where a rod has come through the side. The blocks also cracked between the cylinders. If you are interested in an engineless one, you will need to check that all the ancilliaries are there, such as fan drive, generator, radiators, etc. A CVR(T) engine is basically the same, but you will need the fluid flywheel and housing, power steering pump, etc. Parts were never good in their heyday, vehicles being off the road for weeks sometimes. As there was never a build up of parts as with the Ferrets and Alvis FV600, there is little surplus around. The hull is not good news either, as cracks occured and special welding is required, tapped holes were often striped and there is a limit to how many times a helicoil can be used in the same hole.
The comment on them rolling over, it was not that common to happen, although not good when it did as no escape hatches. I am 6'2" with long legs and it was a work of art to get in the drivers hatch. Once in it was fine and the vehicle drove well, especially if the power steering was ok. Better drive than a Ferret. The turret positions are suited to pygmies or those with no legs as when the turret is traversed, your legs are in the way, good job they were not powered. I do not mean to put you off, but I advise to find one that is complete.

Richard F.

Further pictures of Tommy's Fox:

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Looking in through the driver's hatch.


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Note the lack of a turret basket and no foot rests. You have to be wary of your feet when traversing the turret. The large light blue box centre left of the picture (with green headsets on top of it) is the traditional English AFV Kettle (both a boiler and food heater). No English AFV is correct without one. The huge duct is for spent cases.


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Looking over the duct forward. Note the Ferret derived steering box.


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Driver's LHS instrument panel - not much to look at!


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Quite a contrast is the RHS, much more interesting! Note the massive "lift and swing" hatch mechanism.


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Back outside and on the turret. One thing about the late Cold-War English AFVs is the turret periscope fit out - well done - in this case the Commander's station.


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Now the Gunner's station, less periscopes, but more powerfull. Note the night and day sights down inside.


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Inside view of Gunner's station. Lower sight is the night sight, upper one the day sight.


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A Fox belonging to Tommy a US owner


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Gunner's area.


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Looking form Gunner towards Commander. Looks like Tommy has yet to get his radios.


Tommy a US Fox owner mentions a few points below:
Owning a Fox is not all that much different than a Ferret. The wheel stations, suspension, wheels, etc are larger but basically the same design. I had to pull my engine recently due to a burnt exhaust valve and fortunately I have a friend who works at a local heavy equiptment facility,(crawlers, track-hoes,etc), and we were able to do the job there. I also have a friend who is a Jaguar mechanic and he repaired the engine. It took over three hours to pull the engine with armour removal and what not, similiar to a Ferret removal. Access to the engine is limited to the oil dipstick and plugs the same as a Ferret. Maintaining the gearbox and transmission is also similiar to a ferret, you remove several floor plates in the turret to access the fill plug(one plug for both units) and the drain plates-plugs are also basically the same. Driving the Fox is a bit easier as it has power steering. The driving controls are the same and the dash has a lot more instruments and light controls. The Fox is a bit top heavy and you must be careful driving it off-road if you are on slopes, etc. The Fox also has a lot more get up and go compared to a Ferret. Having owned and driven both vehicles, I much prefer the Fox. I am thinking of possibly getting a Scorpion or an FV-432 mk 2 but will think long and hard about getting into tracked stuff. I hope this has answered some of your questions. Mail me back with anything else and I will be happy to reply. Tom

My thanks to Chris M., Richard F. and David (all UK), James M., Ryan G., Tommy H. (all USA).

 

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