(Ver 1)


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



Having had a passion for Armour since my father showed me a user hand book on Bren Gun carriers, I must have been all of 4 or 5 at the time, Dad showed me a picture and said, "I used to drive one of these when I was in the Army." Naturally my reply was "No you didn't" But from then on the seed was planted.

In December 2002 I aquired a Mk 1 Ferret. I went and inspected the vehicle and a deal was struck. I had advertised but I wanted one that was already on the road. I conceded with this vehicle and gave it a close inspection. I had not heard the vehicle running although being an ex army mechanic armoured corps, I did have some idea of what I was looking at. I was informed that the vehicle didn't run properly. It's history was told to me by the owner at the time who said that it had been purchased by a farmer in the high country from DOD disposals auction. That brought back a memory as Dad had taken me to the auctions one day in 1975 where we saw the Ferrets being auctioned off and going for about $800.00. Naturally I begged Dad to buy one but he wouldn't be in it. He considered them too hard to work on. Looking back he was sensible enough to realise that he did not know enough about them and their complexities so left well alone. Back to the vehicles history, the farmer drove it on his property until it developed an electrical fault. Ok, there may be a problem, should not be anything too serious. The farmer had removed all of the interior bins to give him more room inside. Fortunately, he had placed them all in the side bins on the outside. Other than that, the vehicle was untouched, in its original paintwork and still had all of the rear tac signs in place. (I didn't even re paint these during restoration).


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

  The auction number could still be seen hurriedly brush painted on although this had faded. A big advantage was knowing what the green stencilled sign on the front glasics plate meant, B/MAINT 9/74. Take this into account, it had a full rebuild in September 1974, I probably saw it Auctioned in early 1975. On to the farm, 1,500 miles on the odometer. It hasn't done that much work.

I struck a deal with the owner, he was to do up the brakes as all hydraulics were shot, and the tyres were not roadworthy. He had purchased the vehicle from the farmers wife after he died. It had been in a shed for all it's life since leaving the service. The owner I aquired from had not driven the vehicle and occasionally run it. He put other tyres on from another Ferret that belonged to his son. He had problems with the master cylinder so I drove to his location and did the wheel cylinders myself. At least they would be right because I was more educated being a tradesman. I figured I was better off doing it myself and knowing they are right than having them half done to have to do them again later. So the deal was finalised, I repaired the brakes, the owner paid for the parts. A fair deal. With the brakes done and myself now being the new owner, the engine was started. I had the electric fuel pump that was temporarily fitted removed.

The engine was started and I revved it up a bit after it had warmed, mass flat spot. Really it would only idle. Switched off and I reset the slow running mixture screws. The one closest to the hull side had been screwed all the way in until it had stopped. I adjusted to the base setting of 2 to 2 and a 1/2 turns out. Started the engine again and did some fine tuning. The engine problem was now fixed and it purred beautifully and picked up revs very quickly.

At some stage someone had backed into something damaging the elbow to the muffler. A totally rusted out muffler was supplied as well as many other spares. The rusted muffler had a good elbow. Great I could cut and shut really easily. Whilst working on the vehicle fixing the brakes, I knocked the aerial tube. It rattled. We tried to undo the end caps and as usual were frozen solid. More tools were required so I took them with me the following next few days. Once undone out came 3 full sets of aerials, obviously the ones that were originally issued to the vehicle whilst in service. This vehicle was so original and not modified, other than the electric fuel pump. Hardly worth a mention.

It had also been mentioned that the vehicle lurched when it was driven. No guesses as to what that was. A fluid coupling requires fluid. I fully expected to have to do a fluid coupling seal because of the time it had been sitting idle. I carefully drove it out of the shed and waited for the truck to pick it up for transport to my home.


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



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

  Once home, the vehicle was carefully driven down the drive which was very very steep, 2 wheel drives could not get traction even though the drive was concrete. Hence the urgent requirement for working brakes. I raced down and purchased fluid for the fluid coupling and topped up. 4 and a half litres were put in. There was only about 1 litre in it. A very very short drive around the very small block indicated that 3rd would not engage correctly and engaged neutral instead. Great going up hill!! I now knew most of the problems. All oils were changed that could be, even the existing oils looked like new, without discolouration. Either it had been changed or had done next to no work since rebuild.


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



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



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

As usual the driver's brow pad has disintegrated.


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

If you look below the instrument panel and above the brake master cylinder you can see an Aussie mod. The small inserted panel has the light switch and below it the blinker switch and indicator light. Quite a different set up to British Ferrets.

With the vehicle in the working area, restoration commenced. The gear change pedal was adjusted to the correct free play as it had too much, and the gear selector lever did not sit correctly in the gear quadrant so that was also corrected. Still no signs of leak from the fluid coupling!! What a surprise. Time would tell. The top was taken off the gearbox to ensure that 3rd gear aduster nut was not siezed. 30 pumps on the gearchange pedal and the fault was corrected. At this point the suspected electrical problem had not shown it's self. The muffler was removed and repaired as mentioned earlier and the vehicle was inspected for CH permit and roadworthiness. All O.K. I ordered the paint through a mate Colin who's father owned a paint shop and figured it would be matched really well as they had done in the past. Due to the originality of the vehicle, it was only high pressure washed and given another coat of paint. The inside was brush painted after cleaning and then all bins went back in. The radio's were set up although Inter Com posed a problem as my new C42 had never been used so the solenoids were sticky. A bit of use with a J1 hooked in direct helped. All appeared well.

A test drive was in order and we drove to our Club President's to see if he could help with the IC problems. My right leg was covered in oil and there was a puddle of OEP220 under my feet. Finger went under the drive shaft tunnel, bingo, just the front right bevel box input seal. An easy fix. Apart in 2 Hours and down to bearing wholesalers and a new seal was puchased. Fitted in 3 hours and that's it.

The vehicles exterior was masked including carefully masking the original tac signs on the back, the front ones had been removed. Luckily my Dad had kept a 3 DIV tac sign sticker from his Army days and that was used on the front, the other one painted on directly. Unfortunately I painted the exterior all in one go. Let it dry. ARRRRGH it was more like German grey that the panzers were painted in. Some very hurried phone calls and me going absolutely off my tree. 3 days later the correct match arrived and the process was repeated, needless to say much to my disgust. A logical explanation as to why and how this happened did come later. The match was not as good as expected but was better than German Grey and I figured that it had basically devalued the vehicle with the wrong colour underneath. The joy had gone.

The vehicle was cleaned out with the hose and some mild detergent in the engine bay. Knowing everything was near to new mechanically, I had earlier decided that the engine and transmission did not have to come out. I expected problems to occur. Fuel pump, water pump, thermostat and the first thing checked when in for the start was the overflow pipe which naturally was blocked with rusty crap. Had the vehicle been driven like this the engine would have been overheated and damaged beyond repair as the radiator would have split a seam though excessive pressure. The pressure relief valve was tested for correct operation. The cooling system would require many flushes.

With the vehicle painted it was now time for it's first public display. The 4 Wheel Drive Show at Wandin. Travelling in convoy with the club was in order as it was a maiden voyage. At the meeting point in Lilydale, the electrical problem came to the forefront. No power. The generator indicator globe had blown. Damn!! I removed the fording caps from the generator panel. The vehicle was tow started and drove to Wandin but occasionally miss fired because of lack of power. On arrival I slid the lids off the battery boxes and found one loose terminal. Tightened and the problem was not fixed.

As luck had it, I was approached by a tyre dealer, local to my house, who said he had 5 brand new tyres for it and I could have them at cost. Monday morning I had a new set of tyres as they were left overs from a bigger order and he wanted them off his floor. Two happy chappies.

First thing was first, new batteries as the ones fitted were too small so I went and saw Russ McDonald, a local and well trusted Auto Electrician. The batteries 60 AH were purchased. Still problems, but where? The charge globe kept blowing and I eventually found the cause of the problem. One of the generator leads to the generator panel had been burnt out and a spring was fitted between the two to give contact and electrical taped together. OOOH!!


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

Note the red insulation tape hiding the connection.

The fording caps were removed again and the vehicle taken straight to Russ with all the appropriate EMEI's and manuals. If anyone could sort this out it was Russell. He met me at the gate on arrival and the vehicle was put in his workshop. Is it normal for the parkers at the front to come on when you brake he says. No!! I'll fix that says Russell. The next day I had all my electrical spares there. Generator panels, junction boxes, the lot. Russell was initially worried bout getting a connector the right size, fortunately I had spares. Because of the poor connection, naturally as warned about in EMEI's the generator had reverse poled, hence blowing the indicator globe. He eventually managed to rectify the problem. As well as having the light problems repaired. What saved the generator and circuits from irrepairable damage was the fact that I removed the fording caps to isolate the generator from the circuits.

An ad came up later for 3 Ferret wheels, no doubt I purchased them as I already had 2 new ones. Rather than attempt to take the tyres off the old rims, fit wheels without tyres to new tyres. Ok so now I'm not running run flats but the wheels and tyres are now 1/3rd the weight of the run flats. Much easier to handle. And I have a set of good run flats. I fitted the new tyres because they are more supple than the originals.

The temperature guage began to play up. I tracked it down to the guage. A second hand unit was fitted. Next went the water pump and that was replaced as a unit along with all hoses being replaced by silicon turbo charger hose. More expensive but also far longer lasting. Belts were also changed. I can do a water pump in 8 hours including removal of the back armour. The EMEI's state that you can replace the pump without removing the rear armour although with the age I decided that I would do it once and the whole cooling system got the once over. The fan assembly was also serviced and the bearings were found to be new. The water pump was a rebuild and had a hairline crack and leaked so another was sent to replace it. Fitted again no problems.

Next to go was the fuel pump. Not entirely unexpected. I purchased a kit and made my wn diaphragms from raw material as even rebuilt or new pumps diaphragms deteriorate in the boxes. Upon dis mantling the pump the diaphragms were US and the inner one had just a pin hole but enough to allow fuel into the engine oil. Fitting this I found that the radio suppression conduit was broken. I rewired the whole temperature guage circuit and found that the break had worn through R2 temp wire so as it vibrated it earthed causing the guage to go to full over heat. With this I decided to fit a brand new instrument cluster and also found that the sender had gone. I am now waiting for a new one to arrive.

With checking the fluid coupling on a regular basis, in six months and much driving, I have had to put about 400ml maximum in the fluid coupling to top it up. This could be due to the fact that I am running an compatible transmission fluid which doe expand more due to it's additives, and therefore repuires more room to expand as it warms. This would cause some seepage past the seal although not necessarily damage the seal.

Most of the other time in the restoration has been collecting the appropriate equipment and CES relating to the vehicle including specialised tools. Uniquely this is the first restoration that I have gone the whole hog on extra equipment that went with the vehicle.

From the Tac signs it is believed that the vehicle may have served with either first Armoured Regiment or RNSWL. One modification that I did make was a seat back that bolts to the escape hatch and a 3 point harness for my 3 year old daughter to comply with regulations regarding child restraints. Further I am trying to obtain 1 escape hatch seat and a full set of escape hatch seat mounting brackets. Also one thermos is required as I have imported 1 thus far.


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

Here's a view you don't see very often.


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



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



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



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


My thanks to Alex.


  sig - logo