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

Buying a Ferret

ver 25.


Here is what myself and several others have put together about Ferret's over the last couple of years, it is really a collection of many different email discussions which have occured due to a potential Ferret owner querying one or all of us.
I think it will answer most of your questions.
If you have any Ferret questions feel free to ask. If I can't help I will do my best to "bounce" them to someone who can.  


WARNING - All contents are anecdotal and nothing herein is anything other than the opinions of several people. Use your own discretion and intelligence before evaluating and/or relying on these contents. The responsibility is yours.  



The ferret is a small fully armoured scout car, it is a very convenient size. They are nice to drive once you have learnt there idiosyncrasies and are probably the most practical armoured vehicle available on the market today.
They are an English automotive industry product, seemingly designed by academics who have never even seen the finished product let alone had the misfortune to work on one of their designs.
Are they that different? I suppose it comes back to what you are used to working on. It may be the era of there design but the AFV's of the 40's, 50's and 60's are complicated.
Think of it this way: an aeroplane pilot is expected to be able to locate most of the controls, buttons, switches etc by feel and to know the systems of the aeroplane and whether his actions will do damage or worse. In a way, AFV's require a similar degree of familiarity. They are not a car so just don't get in and drive one. The military spends a lot of time training AFV drivers and although much of this training is battle related there is also quite a bit that is system related. This is so that they operate the vehicle correctly instead of breaking it.
If anything, you will need to have a much better understanding of the vehicle than an Army driver, as you will need to know not only the layout and operation of the vehicle, and it's maintenance but also its repair. Being familiar enough with the parts you will need (by sight) helps a lot, as very few people are any good at remembering part numbers.
In a Ferret, you really need to KNOW the vehicle. As you read further you will see why all of the above comments were made.

A quick Ferret recognition course -

First though, a word about the pictures that follow and copyright.
The diagrams below are from Pat Wares' excellent book

FERRET The FV700 Series in British Army Service
Pat Ware
5 Rathbone Square, Tanfield Road, Croydon, CR0 1BT, United Kingdom.
Tel UK 0181 681 3031, Fax UK 0181 686 2362 (drop the first "0" if outside the UK)
ISBN 0-9525563-4-0
© Copyright 1997 by Warehouse Publications.

The diagrams are drawn by Mick Bell.

Both Pat and Mick have kindly given me permission to reproduce these drawings in this article.
These drawings are NOT public domain and may not be copied or used without permission of the above copyright holder.
Pat's book is in my opinion, by far, the best available history reference on the Ferret family. I would like to thank both him and Mick for letting me use their work here.

Ferret Mk 1

10192 pic

10191 pic

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

Ferret Mk 1/2 (pronounced "mark one two")

10194 pic

10193 pic

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

Ferret Mk 2

10196 pic

10195 pic

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

Ferret Mk 4 (The "Big Wheel Ferret")

10192 pic

10197 pic

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

The versions:

Mk 1 Original open top vehicle.
Mk1/1 Thicker side and rear hull plates.
Mk1/2 Light Recon vehicle. Fixed turret - really a hull extension collar.
Mk1/3 As Mk 1/1 with floatation screen added.
Mk2 Original turreted vehicle with 2 door turret.
Mk2/1 is a Mk 1with 2 door turret added.
Mk2/2 is a Mk 1 with extension collar and 3 door turret added, also known as "The Malaysian Ferret".
Mk 2/3 is aMk2 fitted with thicker side & rear hull plates during manufacture.
Mk 2/4 is a Mk 2 fitted with weld-on plates on sides of hull and turret.
Mk 2/5 Mk 1 fitted with plates as Mk 2/4.
Mk2/6 Vigilant- Mk 2/3 converted to missile launcher.
Mk2/7 As Mk 2/6 less missile launching equipment.
Mk 2/8 As Mk2/3 fitted with later 7.62mm GPMG - main difference is turret internal MG mounting.
Mk 3 - prototypes only, but did become the, basis for MK 4 and 5. "Big Wheeled"
Mk4 Recon vehicle with 2 door turret or Mk 2/3 rebuilt to new spec.
Mk 5 is a Mk 3 hull with turret for missile launcher and GPMG.

If you are going to buy/operate a Ferret:
If you can't locate one then try:

Withams Specialist Vehicles Ltd
Honeypot Lane
Nr Grantham
Lincs NG33 5LY

Fax (01476) 86 1441

If you want/need to buy parts in another country then it is preferable that you work through a contact in that country who can either visit them or talk to them on the phone and then mail order the parts for you and verify that they are correct before they leave There are parts that are not interchangable that initially appear the same, so far, we have found this to be the case with the thermostat elbow and bevel box gears, doubtless there are others. These differences may be documented, but it would seem that the parts books in general circulation don't have the updated information.

> have stumbled across a web page that is selling Ferrets for $10,000
> U.S., Saracens $15,000 U.S., and Foxes for $20,000 U.S.

Prices seem about right for what people will pay for operating vehicles.

> Now I have to start out by saying I am not very
> mechanically inclined, so I know if I get
>a vehicle, it will have to be in very good condition.

Most of what is on offer in the US and England by all accounts is straight out of war reserve storage and is quite good. That is NOT to say you won't have to work on it!
Go do a tech course (hmmm, US equivalent = Night School?) on basic automotive maintenance, then do an advanced course. Either that or you MUST have a friend who is knowledgable about mechanics, because even he will find the English way of doing things daunting.

> How easy is the maintenance on your Ferret?

How does 2 hours work for 2 men, familiar with the vehicle, in order to disassemble it to the stage that you are ready to install the new fan belts sound? Then you have to put the whole thing back together!

Get my drift?

They are "B" size belts, so luckily this is not an every day event.

> How much do they weigh?

4 Imperial ton.

> What type of fuel do they use and type of mileage per gallon?

Normal super petrol, now let's see, in the US, that would be "leaded gas"
somewhere in the 90 to 98 octane region.
Off road 6 mpg, on road 9mpg, both figures are in Imperial gallons, which by memory;

1 US gallon = 4 litres and

1 Imperial gallon = 4.5 litres.

> How do you find spare parts?

Available, especially in the US, not cheap, but okay; if you think "truck" when you think "armour" you get the general idea.

> How many people can you seat in one?

Mk1 = (No turret) = 2 (3 people comfortably, 4 cuddly)

Mk2 = (Turret) = 2

Later models (such as the Mk 1/2) have a cupola on top of the hull (often referred to as a "fixed turret", there is also the Malaysian Mk 2/2 variant which has an extension collar between the hull and turret.
They also have the advantage of a power boosted brake system and a single speed generator or alternator.

> What type of protection do they offer?

Environmentaly? There is a windscreen, with wiper available for the drivers position, they are quite hard to get in Australia. The problem is they stop you ducking your head outside to check for traffic at intersections. For the Gunner, nothing, he is in the breeze.

Balisticaly? armour rated to .30 calibre.

Crash? Zero - like all armoured vehicles.

NBC? Zero

What to look for, so you don't get bitten!

When checking out the PARTICULAR vehicle you are going to buy (DON'T buy one without sighting it in the flesh!!!!!) copy and paste the following guide to your "word processor" and print it out, look for the following:

1) Jack up first one whole side of the vehicle after chocking the wheels on the other side (with the forward/reverse lever midway between its 2 positions - disconnects the driveline) grab a wheel and turn, the other one on the same side should also turn, if not then you have got a blown bevel box/ gear reduction hub or driveshaft. Do the same on the other side - box or hub very expensive and time consuming to replace.

2) Get the motor started. To do this:

(a) If you have the earlier version with the "B" series motor which has an oil fed generator (same as Saracen & Saladin etc) you MUST prime the generator gearbox with 1/2 cup of oil if the motor has not run for more than a week. (If you don't and the generator gearbox fails expect to part with lots of money for another one.)

Locate the filler plug (immediately near the pulley, looking towards front of vehicle), donít loose the plug and add the oil, an oil can will be the easiest way!

(b) select each gear with the gear selector lever, pumping the gear change pedal (it is NOT a clutch) 5 times in each gear vigourously. Failure to do this will result in the box not being able to auto-adjust and the premature (VERY) failure of your gearbox.

Select neutral, push the gear change pedal in and it should lock
down against the floor.

(c) Put the handbrake on and LEAVE IT ON.

(d) turn key on, you may have to do this twice as the thumb lever which rotates around the key boss anti-clockwise sometimes drags the key back to the off position.

(e) push the thumb lever to about the 1 oíclock position, it will
hit a stop. You should see a yellow and red light come on.

(f) pull the Starter Carburettor Control out 1 or 2 notches, turning it
each time so that the staggered notches in it will disengage.
In the normal world this would be a choke, in a Ferret it is not!

DO NOT TOUCH the accelerator until the engine is running happily without any starting control at all. You need to push in the Starter Carburettor Control in stages and wait each time till the engine is running smoothly before pushing it in the next stage (if the engine sounds like it is flooding or faultering then it is time to push the control in another notch as this is the equivalent of too much choke. The control is located immediately under the LHS hatch hole.

(g) Twist the starting lever clockwise, on some Ferrets, this and the light switch look almost identical! Crank the motor, only a reasonable amount of time, they are prone to the carburettors going dry in hot conditions, it may take a few attempts. Now once the engine is running happily with no Starter Carburettor Control you can rev it through 1500rpm up to 2000rpm (with gearbox in neutral) and listen for a distinct noise pitch change. Believe it or not but the generator has its very own inbuilt gearbox and you can hear it change gear.
If this doesn't happen the generator gearbox may have seized. Expensive in Australia, $2000 for a new one.
There are some Ferrets with conventional generators or alternators, how you tell the difference I don't know, but to begin with there should be no evidence of a filler plug or oil pipes (big) going to it, look carefully to see if someone has disconnected and plugged off the oil pipes (bad news!).

(h) Select first gear, smoothly push in then let out the gear change pedal.
From top of travel to bottom of travel (and vice versa) of the pedal should take no more than 1 second. There should be a slight jerk from the transmission just as the pedal reaches fully up.
That's right, THE HANDBRAKE IS STILL ON and you have let out what you keep thinking of as the clutch pedal - like I said before IT IS NOT A CLUTCH!!!
Release the handbrake LAST and you are off.

(i) Normally you would start off in 2nd gear as 1st is for bad going or hill starts. But I want you to try all the gears to feel for irregularities, such as a noticable slippage in any gear.

(j) The engine should need no more than 1500rpm to make the vehicle move off, but preferably 1000 rpm. If it feels sluggish, try the brake pedal, if it has very little movement and is "hard" then the brakes are dragging, in which case try pumping the pedal using quite a bit of force. The brakes should free up more with each pump. (Ferret torque convertors are prone to fail if the brakes are dragging, so this needs to be fixed.) If that doesn't work then either the torque convertor is low on fluid (which can also cause it to fail) or the gearbox is in need of adjustment due either to high milage, or more commonaly, bad operation which can have done damage to the gearbox.

(k) when you park the handbrake is the first thing that happens THEN you select neutral AND ONLY THEN do you "pump" the Gear Change Pedal which will then lock into the down position! I will say it again - THAT IS NOT A CLUTCH, so don't try and use it like one!

(l) when you have finished with the vehicle, leave the gearbox in a gear, NOT neutral, that is, the pedal must be out, not locked down!


(m) Finally, if you have doubts about the torque convertor, then do a "stall check", see the Ferret Newsletter article here:
Ferret Newsletter #5
scroll down to the part titled "Fluid Flywheel Fixes".
BE WARNED that doing the above in the presence of the vehicle owner will probably get a less than pleased response. But, "Caveat Emptor" applies and if you are the buyer then you have every right to know what your money is getting you into.

3) The gearbox is a pre-select type and is rather unique, they can be damaged by incorrect use. If you can take the vehicle for a drive you will find it needs 1000 to 1200rpm to get it to move on a flat surface as a general rule. Any more than that and I would start having doubts (see above specifics). Once under way it drives much as any vehicle of its weight/engine power does.

If in doubt drop me an e-mail and us ferret types can treat you to a round robin assessment of what you have found out about the particular vehicle. (or via mil-veh list)


In general

Ferrets can be a pain in the you know where if they are not given the tender loving care they require. Having said this if looked after they are nice to drive, reasonably quick (for an armoured vehicle) and the ideal "poor man's tank".

If you are over 5'10' then forget trying to get in and out through the drivers hatch it is just too tight a squeeze; go through the turret!

I am VERY interested to know if your final drives leak oil once the vehicle has been standing for more than a week? Make sure you check the oil level of ALL angle (bevel) boxes and wheel hubs in case there is no oil left in them! (Doug's question)

By the way you have yet to learn the joys of checking these levels and topping them off, its a bloody lot of work. So I converted my vehicle by fitting sight glasses to each box and hub and also by making up and fitting extended filling points to these locations to make life easier (and quicker)!

I only ever have to take oil OUT of my hubs. I think it has Richard truly stumped how my hubs can fill up all by themselves as it is supposedly not possible. He should know better!

Oil Types and Cross References

This info is a bit space consuming to put in here so I have had to resort to a link.
Click here for Oil info.


In the US you will probably come up against the same problems I have for sourcing parts outside of your own country - namely - the suppliers don't want to know you. Unfortunately both America and England are about equal in this regard.

I can give you several well stocked suppliers names in England but despite repeated faxes they ignore me.

> set of 4 episcopes (ferret mk 2/1 recce two door turret)

Beware that you donít confuse things here. Typically episcopes are the glass splash screens you mention that cover the vision slits.

> technically you are correct, they are a form
> of periscope. few of us ( army armoured crews) ever call them periscopes
> (slimy navy term) most of us refer to optical systems as either a sight
> (if it has any form of retical pattern, ie the commanders episcope for
> the ferret is in fact a sight) or just an episcope. the side piece would
> be a vision block. right or wrong that's the army speak. excuse an old
> soldier.

Hmm, I take your point, far be it for a civilian to tell active military the terms to use with regard to their vehicles,
BUT: the problem is that you will be dealing with civilian dealers for your parts and they tend to follow the partsí book descriptions and nomenclature, as they probably wouldn't know a periscope from an episcope if either landed on their foot. You must get the terminology right or suddenly find you have paid for a whole heap of gear that was not what you wanted. Don't rely on my terminology as it may be specifically Australian. Get a parts book and use the part number and descriptions you read in it.

- Another must is checking the fluid level in the flywheel (on a Ferret this is done through a little cover in the bell housing) make yourself some sort of tool that you can tie to the vehicle (use say a long bolt) that screws into the thread in the centre of the filler plug because if you drop the plug down inside the bell housing the motor cannot be started without wrecking the bell housing, you will then probably have to pull the engine out to recover it.

See the following message for someone elseís opinion


> I am looking for a rebuilt, or new old stock, transmission for a Ferret
> Mark 1 (no turret) scout car. I am located in Toronto, Canada and
> would prefer to have one located here in North America, if possible.
> Please let me know if anyone can help locate one which is
> reasonably priced.
> The transmission will not go into 5th gear even after the shift
> linkages have been adjusted.
Sorry to hear you have a problem with your Ferret transmission.

You probably already know, but in case you are unaware of the operating techniques of a 'Wilson pre-selector box', here are a few pointers.

The Wilson box is self-adjusting for wear. Very few operators understand the correct use of a vehicle fitted with this kind of transmission. From cold, and before attempting to start the engine. The gearbox should be adjusted for wear. This is done by engaging each of the five gears in turn, and depressing the foot change-gear pedal five times vigorously through each one. This will set the adjusters up evenly to the correct position to compensate for band wear. Unfortunately if this is not regularly accomplished the wear reaches a level where it can no longer auto adjust.

Another point of interest regarding the 'Ferret', often not understood. Is the correct driving technique. It is common to find that Ferret's in private hands who have not had proper driving tuition, regularly overheat the gearbox and in turn through heat transmission the fluid- flywheel, causing the subsequent breakdown of the oil seal in the flywheel. This further compounds gearbox and transmission wear due to lack of proper drive. The gear changing and engine idle speeds of the Ferret are very different to the average car. A general rule of thumb guide is that ......when the rev's feel about right for either idle or gear-change take them about another 25% further. The minimum idle engine speed of a Ferret is 800 to 900 rpm. And at least 4000 to 4200 should be reached before attempting to change gear. The Ferret has a forced-air, with multi-blade fan cooling system. As well as creating a considerable drag load, it requires a critical minimum rpm to keep engine and transmission at proper temperature levels.

The gearbox/transmission is identical for all marks of Ferret.

P.S A dragging brake, as well as trying to use the change-gear pedal like a clutch pedal, are also major contributors to excessive gearbox band wear.



My vehicle had had a base overhaul in 1970 and only 500 miles on the clock when I got it (it now has 1700) so in reality it is not even run in! (Doug's comment)

> I know a little about the
> Wilson, but is it fixable when the bands go? Do you merely replace or
> start again. I have been offered a new Wilson for U.K. L750, but that
> seems a fair bit of money.

Do you mean UK £750 (you can get the "£" symbol to appear by holding down the ALT key and typing in 0163, make sure that "System" is in the font box on "character map" - this is a sub program in the Windows directory).

Expensive, yes and no. Depends if you need one or not to make your vehicle move.
It is fixable but you need the correct NOS bits and you also need the correct manual with all the settings. I can almost guarantee you that without the correct settings for the band adjustments you would NEVER get the box right. Failure to pre-adjust the bands by doing the "5 pumps on the gear change pedal in each gear" before driving it is what nearly always kills a Ferret box. Either that or using the gear change pedal as a clutch! Worst of all is towing anything with a Ferret!

Not checking the fluid level in the torque convertor and having it burn the seal out is a very quick way to immobilize a Ferret. You have to do an engine pull to replace it.

My vehicle had a leaking lower radiator pipe when I got it. It had not corroded out, but cavitation eroded at the bend! I was not able to buy a replacement and had to cut and patch the bend.

The other thing I am always suspicious of is that stupid looking steel water pipe that goes from near the fan all the way to near the fuel tank on the motor. It is underneath the intake manifold and as good as impossible to get to in-situ. If you have the motor out or access on that side replace the damn thing with a stainless pipe or something non corrosive.

>(I first noticed that it slipped a great deal in 1st. However, after going
>through and pumping the pedal 20 or 30 times in all gears and followng the
>regular start up procedure from then on, no gear slips now.)

Anecdotes: learn the easy way Ė from our mistakes!

> If you have any good Ferret stories, please do tell.

Like, when my friend parked it on a very slight slope, left it in gear, without the handbrake on and it started rolling away. It was another friends wife who said to me 'Doug, the Ferret is heading out the gate'. Where upon the driver got yelled at and I then repeated the details of how a Wilson box is not a manual and how a gear is NOT selected until the pedal has been pumped!

Another friend's wife (Linda) was driving my Ferret cross-country, the only trouble being her 8 stone body is not enough to counter the steering forces of pot holes and wash outs. She had to give up when she found that she was being turned by the wheel instead of her turning the wheel.

One day I was working in my Ferret and Linda asked me how the LHS Driver's hatch worked. I said "Oh, you just pull the handle and it unlocks and comes down" and did. Now I have fairly short fingers, but the handle to hatch edge distance is not great on a Ferret and the rotten thing caught my middle finger on its way down. It hurt like crazy!
Immediately my finger nail bed filled with blood and my finger hurt so much all I wanted to do was hold it. The next thing I know is that someone is shaking me like crazy and I feel like I am being choked. Linda's husband Joe and another friend Alan had realised something was wrong when I started making gurgling sounds. They looked inside the Ferret and there I was all crumpled up in a ball in one corner.
Deciding they had better get me out of there before I choked they first yelled at me whilst Alan lent down through the turret and grabed me by the collar and straightened me up. Joe then proceeded to shake me until he got a response (moan). They wanted me out and all I wanted to do was feel miserable and stay right where I was sitting (but only after persuading Alan to stop choking me).
Predictably my nail was wrecked, came off and another grew; but it was about 12 months before that finger was no longer sensitive.
About 2 years later I had to see a specialist about a lump on my wrist and he took an X-ray. The next day when I saw him he said 'The lump is fine, but I am a bit concerned about the damage to one of your fingers, that has shown up on the X-ray'. Let me guess? This one?
The hatch had shattered the end of my finger bone into 3 seperated pieces and the damage although healed was still easily seen.
I have since welded handles on the outside of the turret hatch and the main drivers hatch which also serves to protect the drivers periscope. The 4 little hatches and the commander's lower turret hatch I treat with great respect.

Another time we went with the local Vintage Car Club to a Sheep Station 30 miles away, I took my car as back up. On the way out of the station I thought "the Ferret sounds funny " but the driver (Beaker) was under strict instructions to keep an eye on the instruments and to pull over if anything seemed wrong, he didn't. When we got back to town and I stood next to the Ferret I could hear that something wasn't right. A bit of tinkering soon showed that Beaker had brought the vehicle all the way home on 5 spark plugs as one had suffered a centre electrode failure, where the electrode had somehow broken the insulator neck and welded itself to one of the the base electrodes - how, I do not know.

I have been pulled over by a cop who objected to my passenger riding on the seat on the lower hatch of the turret. Fair enough I suppose. So now I enforce the rule that the "commander" has to sit on the hull seat with it in the extended position.

Now all I have to do is learn to remember what gear it was in when I pull up at an intersection and have to give way to a car, whilst trying to toe and heal the brake and accelerator to stop the engine from stalling and...... oh, heck, did I actually engage 1st? Or am I still in 2nd and have only pre-selected 1st? Or am I still in 3rd?

Kenís first adventure!
>We started out in convoy at about 4:30 a.m. M38 Jeep in front,
>41 chevy, Ferret and M38 in rear. Down the Interstate we went.
>About 25 miles into the trip, rear jeep radioed that I had something
>leaking. We pulled off Interstate and parked near a roadside park.
>When I stopped a *huge* oil puddle formed under the engine.
>Then I notice oil running down in front of my feet. Oh Great :(.
>Checked oil level in engine, fluid coupling, gear box, transmission.
>All full and well. ??????
>Started back up and still couldn't find leak. Oil light never came on,
>coolant temp fine. So we got back on the Interstate and drove
>another two miles or so. Stopped and checked all fluids. Everything read
>We continued on, stopping every half hour. Everything read full. When we
>stopped the oil leak kept getting smaller. I took off all the access plates
>and just let the oil leak out.
>The event consisted of military displays and a re-enactment of a World War
>II battle. Everyone was intrigued by the Ferret
>Then the right rear hub began a small leak. Nothing alarming, just slinging
>a little fluid. Later in the afternoon, a guy came by that was familiar with
>military Land Rovers. He said, "there are two kinds of hubs, those that
>leak and those with no oil."
>I checked it several times on the way back and the amount that leaked out
>was really small.

>The oil leak hasn't stopped but is very small and I am going to steam clean
>everything and see if I can find where the leak is.

>Do you supposed that a clogged engine vent blew out that oil?

>The trip back was uneventful, unloaded all the kit. It has a leak about 3 inches
>round under it this morning.

>I tell you, I am still "high" over my first outing. Had a great time and
>driving it was really fun. You're right, though, Some idiot cut into the
>convoy and turned off the road in front of me---eeeeeeeeee!--felt like Fred
>Astair for a few moments with the footwork. Let's see, which gear was I in?
>Engaged the same gear on several occasions also. If she'll be patient, I'll
>get it figured out.

>Oh, BTW, I moved the idle up to 600rpm and the engine runs much better.

>Have a great day,

Kenís second adventure
>Well, it finally happened.
>I am famous locally for driving on fumes. (Hey, rock the car a little and
>I can go another two miles). I drove the Ferret to work. I have a staff of
>six females who really liked the vehicle. "It's cute" was the most common and
>most depressing comment--fighting vehicles are not cute.
>Anyway, I took each for a ride for a mile or two. While taking the second
>person, right in front of the building, it lost power and died. PANIC! What
>happened? Fuel Filter? Fuel Pump? Lines? Then it hit me. The fuel gauge
>read 1/4 tank. I took the top off and banged on the tank. Hollow as a drum.

>While Mary and Amber came out and directed traffic while I went for gas.
>Put about five gallons in, sprayed a little carb cleaner in the breather and
>after a few sputters, she leaped to life. Left work and went to fill up with

>Picked up daughter, went home and parked--smooth as silk. Went in and had a
>nice cold beer.

>Moral of the story: if you are out to impress your friends with your new
>toy, fill it with gas first.

>Have a great day,
>Ken Snicker, snicker!

Welcome to the Ferret club. I am a member also. I was driving my vehicle around my shed when I first got it and the same thing happened to me. After towing it back into a position where it lined up with the shed doors a friend helped me drag it back into the shed using a 1 tonne chain block (ever tried using one of those things horizontally?). It is not easy or fun.

The batteries had gone flat whilst trying to re-start it.

It is also very annoying to have to keep swapping steel cables etc because everything is done in 6' pulls. So after probably 8 seperate pulls, with re-letting the chain out fully each time ready for the next pull we finally had it in the shed.
So, afterwards I undid the petrol tank cap and looked in there with a torch and a mirror, guess what?

The tank was empty on one side and not the other!

Yep, it is a saddle type tank just like a motor bike: have you guessed what is coming next? Just like a motor bike it has a normal/reserve tap so that you can switch between the two.

Had I (and you) sat and studied the petrol tank from the drivers position we would have noticed the "saddle" design where it goes over the transmission and bell housing.
If you are in the drivers position looking towards the back of the vehicle the tap is about mid-height to the right of the petrol tank, if it is like mine then the markings are missing (a lame excuse).

As I said before, snicker, snicker, - been there, done that, felt like a twit too.

Welcome to the wonderful world of English motoring. I reckon between your long distance trip and running out of petrol you are now a fully fledged member of the "Victims of English automotive design club".

Intercom again

You WILL need an intercom of some sort. It adds to the safety, when the commander can also keep a look out and talk to the driver. Besides, the headphones help to prevent the driver going deaf. I intend to install an American AN/VIC-1 (AM-1780) intercom in mine so that the commander can have a helmet. This will be in place of the aeroplane intercom and headsets I am currently using which do not allow the driver to turn off his microphone (reduces background noise on the intercom considerably).


> Okay Ferret experts! What is "wind up" and how serious is
> non-alignment of the wheel hubs?

It's a bit like how long is a piece of string? As a rule try to drive off road every 30 miles or less. I have been told to 'skip' the wheels over a kerb is an alternative. When I can figure out a way to do this without getting my teeth rattled loose, or worse, I will let you know.

Alternatively, jack the front or rear of the vehicle up so that the wheels at that end are off the ground, I have yet to do this and not see the "spring" come out of a wheel, they never turn much, perhaps 3" to 4" inches at the face of the tyre.

Of one thing I am assured, is that, the Ferret has virtually a solid connection between its front and back wheels on each side and that wind-up WILL happen on hard surfaces and sealed roads.

If you blow a bevel box or wheel hub expect to pay through the nose for a replacement.

> wheel hubs. Or I could disconnect the front prop shafts to eliminate
> the problem.

You can do this, but then you won't have a 4wd any longer, up to you.

Update from Ken, July 98: he has broken a rear bevel box gear after removing the front 2 driveshafts. Ken feels this occured due to the extra strain imposed on the driveline whilst turning into his uphill drive way. It is notable that when Ken had his vehicle pulled down the bevel gear had failed through a weld that does not appear to be originally part of the design.

> This...... was tried by the army in Northern Ireland in the middle 70's
> [where they run predominantly on roads] and abandoned due to the increased
> number of shaft fractures.
> Wind-up isn't a problem as long as you rotate your tyres occasionally
> - dont ask me why this is so as I can't remember the science of it
> but after 8 years in a Recce Troop with Ferrets I cannot recall a
> single wind-up related incidence some spectacular accidents but no wind-up!
> Courtesy of Jim Webster.
> Simonides - For All Military Archaeology and History Enthusiasts

Idle speed, the 2 foot shuffle and short halts.

From Andy in the USA

> I find myself occasionally holding the gear pedal down


> on tight turns,(mostly when trying to
> shift into reverse) I believe you are supposed to just apply the brake
> ,push pedal in as you shift to reverse themn release quickly.

Correct until you said "release quickly", by the time the pedal hits the bow plate, you have either gotten it into reverse in one smooth action, or there is a horrible grinding noise coming from the transfer box. Releasing the pedal at this point achieves nothing.

> I dont
> tend to use the pedal as a clutch but I do occasionally find myself
> pushing it to the floor due to the engine coming very close to
> stalling when the brake is applied.

Drive it like an auto. Use the brake to stop, then apply the handbrake THEN select neutral THEN pedal. see later on in this email for specifics.

> In short, do I need to adjust the
> carb so I can utilize the brake with out the engine stalling or should

Perhaps, see later on for explanation.

> I just put the vehicle in neutral at stop lights.

If you do it, then pre-select 2nd, so that you can pedal it out of neutral and let the handbrake off smartly.

> Also , does pushing
> in the gear change pedal hurt the gearbox?

Not that I know of. It is making sure that the vehicle is "pinned" with either the handbrake or service brakes so that when the gear is engaged the slippage is in the torque convertor not the gearbox.

Of course, you are not supposed to stand still with the gearbox in gear for any longer than absolutely necessary. In that case, do select neutral.

> try not to but it is hard
> at stop lights.( again I dont use the pedal as I use the shifter, only
> after I pre-select a gear)

Okay. First, locate the engine hand throttle, it should be underneath the starter panel. It has probably fozen from lack of use. Free it up. Then note what your idle rpm is cold, then after a nice drive what it is hot. You may be able to up the revs to no more than 750 hot. But if this can't happen, then you may have to adjust the idle to 600 cold at the carby, then use the hand throttle to get 750 hot.

How I get over the problem is good old fashioned "heel and toe". Heel on the brake pedal and toe on the accelerator. A bit awkward at first but you soon get the hang of it. So, I pull up on the brake pedal normally, then slide my foot up a bit and toe the accel to lift the revs a tad and stop the thing stalling.
HOWEVER, there is no valid reason why you shouldn't use your left foot on the brake and your right on the accel (other than having to curve your left leg around the handbrake lever). Providing of course, that the gearbox got pedalled to 2nd, ready to move off, before you stopped. YOU DO NOT NEED NEUTRAL ONCE THE ENGINE IS RUNNING. Unless you want to go into reverse.
I use whichever technique seems best for the given situation.

Any prolonged time in gear standing still runs the risk of overheating that notorious torque convertor seal and having to do an engine pull to replace it. Not fun!

You really do need to use judgement for what is required at each stop.

Selecting reverse is an art form. Only practice will make it possible!

It would have been so much simpler with an auto!  


I think the attraction of the Ferret for collectors is it's small size and availability. You CAN park one in a standard garage, whereas most AFV's won't fit comfortably.

>My wife has one thing to add to that: it's cute too!

My thanks to:
Richard (England),
Pat Ware and Mick Bell (England),
Stuart (U.S.A.),
Colin (New Zealand),
Jim (England),
Andy (U.S.A.)
and especially Ken (U.S.A.),
for their input.

Ver 27 Updated 26th August 2013

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