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"Vehicle Specifics - What you need to know if you are a potential owner."
So you think you might want to buy a ......? In this section is a collection of my and other collectors' comments regarding different vehicles that someone might find for sale. Should anyone reading what is here wish to supply comment or ammend comments about a particular military vehicle then please send me an email.
CVR(T) family and Scorpion Light Tank series.
Doug taking a Scorpion for a drive in England
This is a light weight vehicle designed as a rapid deployment way of getting a tank like vehicle onto a battle field, or as a means of providing something substantial where a "real" tank would be over reacting.
FV101 Scorpion - Light Tank
FV102 Striker - Anti-tank guided missile carrier.
FV103 Spartan - Armoured personnel carrier.
FV104 Samaritan - Combat ambulance.
FV015 Sultan - Command and Control vehicle.
FV106 Samson - Armoured recovery vehicle.
FV107 Scimitar - Light tank.
Sabre - Light tank.
Shielder - Minelayer.
Streaker - High mobility carrier.
Salamander - Sabre Light tank with visual modifications at the Suffield training area in Canada.
The Scorpion is the glamour vehicle of the family series. It is a light tank. The Spartan is one of the APC variants built on the same "chassis" and mechanically the same but very much roomier inside. Scorpions are a VERY small vehicle and VERY VERY tight. Also read both of my Beltring articles on my website and take particular note of the comments regarding physical size and vehicles.
For instance, I am 5'10" and reasonably supple, but I cannot get into the drivers seat of a Scorpion if it is in the up position, for starters there is a ruddy great periscope in the way. I have to put the seat down to get in and then put the seat back up. My friend in England just cannot fit into a Scorpion at all, not even the turret! He is tall, not fat. The one I drove in England, due to having a broken seat, did not have the periscope fitted, this allowed the seat to be left in the up position.
The Scorpion has a crew of 3 and built of aluminium armour. I have been told never to "touch" one that shows any evidence of fire as the hull warps.
The engine is a Jaguar 4.2 litre car engine that has been "militarised" (read down-rated).
Scorpion and thus all the CVRT family have an achillies heal in that the engine/centrifugal clutch/gearbox is prone to failure if the vehicle is abused. Unless you fitted new ones you would want to keep that in mind. However, that statement can apply to just about anything automotive in one way or another. Think of it this way, the Scorpion has a centrugal clutch along the lines of those on "step through" motor bikes, you put it in gear and there it sits, you increase the revs and off it goes. BUT it does not have an auto gearchange - you heel and toe the gearchange pedal much as you do a motor bike. Weird huh?
Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...
Above pic - driver's position in a Sabre (top armour removed for access) showing steering tillers, and L to R = gear change peddle, brake peddle and throttle peddle, hand brake (orange handle), and the black knob just to the left of the bottom of the orange handle is the forward / reverse selector. The 2 fluid reservoirs are for the steering tillers.
The vehicle was designed for the open plains of Europe and to be driven fairly quickly. Using it in tight and hilly conditions kills gearboxes - the New Zealanders proved this.
Add to this the fact that your average British tank soldier doesn't give a hoot about starting off in first gear, then changing up at 2 mph into 2nd gear etc. He just sticks it in 3rd and flattens the accelerator. This stresses out everything. You now have a Jaguar 6 cylinder car engine which has been down rated - so it would be underpowered in your average 2 tonne Jaguar sedan - trying to get 10 tonnes of tank moving in a hurry. The end result can be any of the following:
- Thrown conrod (usually No6 cylinder) which takes the side of the engine block out with it allowing an unobstructed view of the engine internals.
- Burnt out centrifugal clutch.
- Burnt out 3rd and 4th gearbox clutch band.
- Also remembering that abusive driving with a "live gearchange" (remember, no clutch!) can also do nasty things to other parts of the gearbox.
Another factor is the steering system which is totally unlike an American vehicle, basically, the radius of any turn is determined by the gear selected NOT by how hard you pull on the stick. The English military have had a number of head on collisions in England where the driver has been going around an uphill corner and started to run out of steam and kicked the gearbox down a gear, which automatically tightened the turn - straight into the oncoming traffic. If you KNOW the vehicle this should not happen because you would select the correct gear at the bottom of the hill or change it on a straight stretch. This is part of the design and just like anything that is not a normal car, you have to be familiar with the vehicle and know its handling.
Lastly, the tracks do not have replaceable rubber pads, so even though the track may be mechanically okay, it will be unroadworthy if the pads are worn down to the metal. Of recent, there is a company in England offering a kit which converts the Scorpion to continuous rubber track (like on a US Half-Track), the kit comes with the necessary sprockets etc. I do not know the cost, but as this stuff is new production and being marketed to existing CVRT operators (read GOVERNMENTS) it would not be cheap. The makers claim this track has double the life of conventional CVRT track.
So far, it has been trialled but not put into service, which would indicate it has either not lived up to expectations or is considered too expensive.
Jaguar motors are known for a tendancy to "drop" cylinder liners. Jag in its wisedom decided to install liners with no retainer lip, ie. they were just a smooth sided piece of tube. Thus, given hot conditions and any cooling issues the liners could come loose: they couldn't go up due to the cylinder head, so they went down. This let water into the cylinder, which at worst could cause a hydraulic lock and destroy the piston/con rod and could even cause the rod to smash its way out the side of the crankcase. It happened to my Dad's Jag, but luckily a Jag enthusiast spotted what was for him a tell tale spray of water coming out the exhaust pipe which prevented any greater problem than having to install a new liner. Not a small job, but not a disaster either, luckily. I do know that this issue was still occuring in Jags built in the mid-1980s and was one of the reasons they were so unpopular.
There are 2 versions of the J60, the 100 and the 101. The 101 being the later non-linered block.
Samaritan has a slightly different engine to the rest, because it runs an air conditioning system. Samson simply has a prop shaft bolted on to the crank damper pulley.
All engines will fit in all variants, you just have to have the correct bits for your particular variant.
On the upside, CVRTs are small, light and cute and can be road legal because of their size.
As at November 2000 I am told that the asking price is around $39,000 US for a Scorpion. I wouldn't pay that much for one, but I already own tracked armour and don't need any more. If however I didn't have a tracked vehicle then I would take a good look at a CVRT, but a Spartan or Sultan as the Scorpions have now become over priced.
Spare parts would be my greatest concern for those of us who live outside of the UK.
Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...
One guess what this is?
Being that the British are the ones who invented the "tank", it is not surprising that they have led with development ideas and designs, some have stood the test of time, some were failures and then there are some that other countries have decided not to adopt. One that seems to fall into the latter category is the seat that doubles as a toilet. The Scorpion has this feature in the Commander's seat in the turret. Pictured above is a dual use seat as fitted to a Samaritan ambulance vehicle - I believe this is the only variant with this feature still fitted!.
The immediate thought that comes to mind is that someone opening the door from the outside could get quite a surprise when the occupant was deposited at his (or these days "her") feet. I am told you need to be incredibly desperate to use the facility as you are instantly unpopular with all the other occupants of the vehicle. In reality, I can't envisage anyone doing so other than in a prolonged "closed down" situation in battle, but if it occured, much preferable to having to use your helmet.......
Conversation with a New Zealand Scorpion crewman:
I was told by David Fletcher of the Bovington Tank Museum that the Scorpion family has weird handling characteristics. Does the following sound correct to you?
'That if the transmission is kicked down a gear when cornering, especially in an uphill corner, due to the design of the drive line the transmission also causes a difference in proportioning of output to the tracks. This all serving to effectively "tighten" the turn without the driver having done anything?' He claimed it had caused accidents in England because the vehicle had veered to the wrong side of the road. He says that the turning "ratio" is different for each gear. Doesn't sound right to me, but he should know?
>Your explanation of the operation of the Scorpion transmission is
>almost spot on with one exception. The whole process is controlled by
>the driver ie., it is NOT an automatic transmission. The driver changes
>gear with the left pedal which pivots in the middle, toe down changes
>down, heal down changes up (like a motorbike). Each of the 7 gears has
>a different steering ratio. It's not dangerous unless the driver has just
>jumped out of a M113 ie., he pulls the stick harder to increase the turn.
>You can pull a Scorpion stick as hard as you like and it won't/can't
>increase the turn any more than the ratio allows. On some tight corners
>you must change down 3-4 gears BEFORE the corner. If you misjudge it
>and decide to change down in the corner with the stick already pulled
>back I must admit it can get messy. Did he also mention the centrifugal
>clutch. A real winner on some of our hills in the Waiouru training area.
>The gearbox and transmission is the one weak point of the Scorpion
>design that is of course is you don't mind going to war sitting in a
>vehicle that only has a rubber bag for a fuel tank and petrol at that!
Okay, so it is the same old story about people not learning to drive a vehicle correctly and is no different from climbing out of a normal car and into one with power steering.
>Ref: - Centrifugal clutch. Scorpion does not have a clutch pedal. It is
>described as a 'hot shift'. Where the Ferret has a fluid flywheel the
>Scorpion had a centrifugal clutch. It is put into gear by the driver
>however the clutch does not engage until revs are applied. Springs hold
>the clutch plates out until revs (sorry can't remember exact figure,
>about 800 rpm) overcome the springs and the clutch plates move out and
>engage. As you go up a steep hill the engine revs naturally die as the
>load increases. If you do not change down quick enough and the revs
>drop below 800 rpm? the clutch simply disengages and you go from slow
>forward to back down the hill getting ever quicker unless you can catch
>it quick enough with the brake. You will appreciate hill starts
>require some training and luck. The simple answer is select the lowest
>gear at the bottom or change down early. In 1st gear the Scorpion will
>climb any gradient provided the tracks can get traction.
>Please don't get me wrong the Scorpion is perfectly safe and a very
>capable AFV cross country it just requires some training before you >drive.
Many of our problems result from where we use it. It was
>designed as a reconnaissance vehicle for Central Europe where the
>majority of the driving is on roads and gently rolling farms. I'm sure
>you noticed the steep and rough terrain around Waiouru.
Not good for one's heart rate I imagine. Sounds a bit like the story of the Centurion driver who missed the gear change near the top of Mount Puckapunyal. As the vehicle started to gather speed backwards the turret crew bailed out; he couldn't.
Result was he hit a big tree going backwards at a great rate of knots and the tree won. Supposedly it split the hull seams and he was pulled, dead, from out of a radiator at the back of the fighting compartment.
(I have not been able to confirm this story.)
>A Scorpion should be a reliable vehicle provided it was
>only run on roads. We get about 2000km out of a set of tracks. At that
>point they must be changed due to wear resulting in stretching.
>Unfortunately often prior to this the rubber pads wear down and we must
>discard the track if the vehicle is to run on the road. Our current
>inventory price for a set of Scorpion track is $33,000. This is mainly
>due to the NZ$ to British pound exchange rate. Road wheels cost 3 times that of a M113!
>Scorpion pads are not replaceable. They are molded in the same as M113
>inner rubber pads (not the road pad).
>There are several reasons for withdrawing our Scorpions, and your MRVs
>1. Cost of parts both hull and turret.
>2. Occupational Health and Safety. The toxicity issues were
>significant. That is also why Britain withdrew the Scorpion. When
>firing the machine gun the fume levels are over 8 times the safe
>limits in the drivers compartment.
I believe this was the reason Australia withdrew the MRV's.
>3. 76mm ammo will no longer penetrate similar size modern
>reconnaissance vehicles and 76mm ammo will no longer be produced.
>4. I believe an additional problem for Australia was that your
>stocks of 76mm were nearly 'time expired' hence no longer considered
>suitable of operational use and that is another reason why the MRV's were withdrawn from use.
(For those who aren't familiar with Australian AFV's, the MRV is an M113A1 with a Scorpion turret fitted instead of the Cadillac one man turret).
Question 1. Are Scorpion easy to steer/drive (I have heard horror stories about English AFV's)?
>Scorpions can be steered with finger tips and braking is standard
Question 2. Reliability?
>Used in suitable conditions they are reliable, used in
>conditions like Waiouru they are fragile (gearbox and transmission
>only). The engine is a standard 4.2 litre Jaguar petrol car motor.
Question 3. Easy to maintain?
>They are difficult to work on only because they are so
>small inside. The engine compartment is OK as the complete top armour
>unbolts and lifts off however all but the most simple automotive tasks
>it is easier and quicker to lift the component out of the hull.
My thanks to Paul (New Zealand)
Whilst at Beltring 99 I had the chance to have a short drive of a Scorpion. Here are my impressions.
The first thing that you notice is how small the drivers hatch opening is, the driver's position is cramped and if sitting in the "head out" or "unbuttoned" position you cannot see any of the instruments. The driver's seat has an "up" and "down" position with a bungee assist for the seat to be returned to the "up" position, the bungee's had broken on this example and it was not worth the fuss to drop the seat and experience the "closed down" set up.
Note that if the driver's periscope is in place, you will need to have a very strange physique to be able to get into that position without lowering the seat first!
Like most front engined AFV's there is quite a bit of engine, cooling fan and exhaust noise once the vehicle is underway. I really don't recall any track noise. I am told that the tracks as used on the CVR(T) family of vehicles were quite something in their day and that they had a service life of up to 3000 miles; as well as being capable of 65 mph!
Driving the Scorpion is quite different to a conventional brake steer American vehicle. It feels quite weird to pull the steering lever and need very little effort to move the lever all the way to its limit. I had to discipline myself to first select an appropriate gear for the radius of turn I wanted, as I found myself trying to pull the lever further back than it would go in order to tighten the turn - it doesn't work like that!
The power to weight ratio was reasonable (for an AFV) but I probably did not exceed 25 mph as I was not comfortable with the vehicle in the time I had.
The gearchange is really weird! As the clutch is a centrifugal type and the driver has no control over it, moving off is accomplished by "heeling" the pedal into 1st gear and increasing the revs till the vehicle moves; sort of like some motor scooters.
It just goes against your instincts to use the gearchange pedal without any form of clutch. The resulting thump/clunk whether changing up or down made me cringe every time, the thump and noises had me watching the engine decking in case anything expensive came flying out! But, this system has proved reliable enough in military use (except the New Zealand experience mentioned earlier, where the vehicles, particularly gearboxes, could not tolerate the mountain conditions).
Should you decide to consider a Scorpion/Scimitar/Striker/ Samaritan etc, by all means do, but ask some questions while you are doing it, like:
1) How much is a replacement gearbox?
2) A set of tracks?
3) Has this vehicle every had an engine bay fire? (Take a very close look as they, (the whole vehicle); may have warped.)
4) I want a drive, at least 15 minutes to 1/2 hour worth. Then wait for all the excusses why it can't happen today or tomorrow or next week..... At least that long a drive to see if the steering stops behaving itself, the engine overheats, the tracks fall off, etc.
5) How much wear/stretch does the vehicles' current set of tracks have?
6) Try it on for size, all 3 crew positions, if you are a Yank, you're probably too big for it! :-) (Read my article on Beltring on my website, it is part of the England/Europe article. (engl992.html)
7) Now that the Form 6 thing has upset imports into the USA, what happens if the xxx (say a final drive or some other gizmo) breaks and I need one? HOW MUCH and get that in writing and guaranteed?
8) How do I know that the engine hasn't dropped a liner? (Is the engine a 100 series with liners or a 101 series without liners?)
9) How do you get all the missing bits to complete your vehicle if your country never operated this type?
From Eric in England (former Scorpion crewman) comes the following:
I never saw a scorpion catch fire but I dont know why because the rubber fuel bags which were designed to self seal where fitted inside the fuel tank with press studs , but the bags used to come undone and the bottom of the vehicle filled with petrol. You had to pump it out with the hand operated bilge pump and then take the front plate on the inside of the turret from the front of the fuel tank, get your head inside and get the remains of the petrol out with cotton waste. we used two blokes on that, one on top of the turret in watching the other guy in case he collapsed from the fumes.
From New Zealand (former Scorpion crewman):
> I've just been reading your article on the Scorpion CVR(T)'s formally
> operated by NZ (Queen Alexandra's Mounted Rifles'). As a former crewman of
> scorpion, both gunner & driver, I can honestly say that the information you
> carried on it is accurate to a tee. Of all the mechanical breakdowns
> suffered by scorpion almost all were exclusively transmission related. In
> saying that, when operated for what it was designed for, reconnaissance, it
> was a pleasure to drive and certainly gave some of the slower motorists on
> State Highway 1 a run for their money as well as a cheap thrill.
> It was my unfortunate luck to be witness to a scorpion accident involving
>fire. Of the people that viewed the vehicle damage later they all mention
>considerable buckling of the hull. Also the vehicle is not fitted with any
>internal fire suppressant system so you may wish to advise your web visitors
>to bear this in mind when considering a CVRT purchase.
> Lastly, if my memory serves me right the technical name for the scorpions
> fuel cell is Nylon Re-inforced Synthetic Plastic Bag holding 423 litres. And
> my instructors said I never paid any attention.
Answers to your questions-
1) Did the Kiwis have any crashes due to the gear ratio/steering design, such as the Poms did with CVRTs crossing the centre line unexpectedly due to down change when steering a corner up a hill?
No - During driverr training a great deal of emphasis is placed on the fact that the lower the gear the tighter the turning radius. Pulling on the stick doesn't help the vehicle turn any tighter: to select the right gear at the bottom of the hill before ascent. I have heard of a pommy officer bailing from the turret of a scorp while on an exchange programme here in NZ as the vehicle was taken to the top of a very high knife edge called BP2 in the Waiouru training area on his way out he was apparently screaming "you kiwis are F....n crazy!".
Fyi the driver training course is split into two, 2 week phases. The first being vehicle maintenance and familiarisation with the vehicle the second is straight two weeks in the field driving 1 week on roads 1 week off road. Our scorpions suffered 3 major accidents all resulting in a fatality. I won't go into causes for each as understandably each was the subject of a Military Court of Inquiry and the information is sensitive. But none were driver related.
2) We have had contradictory information over here as to the fate of the Kiwi Scorpions. Some say they were bought up by some Poms (dealers) and went straight to the USA. Others say same story but went back to the UK. Still another story is that the disposal was cancelled and they are still in storage. There is a further story that 2 Aussie dealers bought them to order for the UK dealers?
Been outta the loop a while now but one thing I can say is they have NOT left the country. All are currently in storage in Wellington's Trentham Camp. Some have been sold to a UK company (allegedly for NZD$100 000 each) but as I say, they are still in Wellington.
Subsequent information is that they eventually went back to the UK.
3) When you fire the main gun, the little Scorpion must really rock?
There is quite a bit of platform rock with the suspension taking up most of the re-coil. The recoil system is pneumatic. Air pressure must be kept at 200psi and the gauge must be checked before firing each round. I heard of one incident where a vehicle with a faulty pressure indicator fired off a round which subsequently resulted in the gun smashing into the radio tray and almost tearing out the back of the turret!
4) Did you ever have to do the Pommie 24 hr NBC closedown drill? I am told it was all but torture?
Not me presonally. When the vehicles were first purchased the practice was frequent as at that stage all the seals were intact. It was about then NZ started reducing its defence spending and so luxuries like NBC training went out the window. The vehicle closed down is not too bad for the gunner & driver as both have ample room to stretch the legs. The crew commander however has a driver in front of him so unfortunately (some would say otherwise) must stay in the seated position. One perk of being a tanky in Waiouru is that when winter hits you can close the lid and turn on the heater, and during summer you can stay up and enjoy the view while at the same time looking impressive to passer by's.
I hope this is of use to you.
From Chris in England (who has just purchased a Spartan CVRT as at July 2004) comes the following update:
Just read your article again.. Got a few updates. The CVRTs over here are now fitted with a fire supression system in the engine bay, with warning boxes, fixed fire extinguishers etc. The major problem with the J60s are
1) rods going through the block and
2) sticking valves.
I have seen 100's of engines with holes in the side. This is why there are so many vehicles (our Fox and Spartan) without engines. They are now fitted with a Diesel.
The CVRT and CVRW are very good at breaking engines, fortunately there are now loads around. I am negotiating a complete take out engine for the Spartan, which should drop right back in without any work. The Fox has a good recon in it and there are 2 spares in the garage incase something goes wrong.
There has been a recent reduction in armour in the British Army.. 120 (I believe) CVRT have been disposed of. 60 were Sabres, a lot of these going to XXXX. Of the others, Spartan, Sultan, Samaritan, Samson, half went to Withams and the rest out on the ranges as hard targets. About 90% had the engines missing. Our Spartan was disposed of on 03/06/04 - very recently! Withams have also had a few Saxons, some Alvis Mambas and at least 100 FV432 Mk2's. I am told there will be no more armour disposals for at least 15 years.
The Kiwi CVRTs were sold to ZZZZZZZ. When I was there I saw some out the back, totally stripped. The hulls were bare aluminium. Nothing was left on, same with the turrets. (Doug - these sound like the vehicles the Kiwis canibalised in order to keep their last 4 Scorpions running). They were being broken up and sold to governments for spares.
A discussion with Tony, a former CVRT crewman and mechanic - September 2007.
> I am considering buying something in the CVRT family. But
> being in Australia I am concerned about the reliability,
> spares having to come from the UK etc.
> (I asked a whole heap of questions, but as Tony's answers are
> self-explanatory I have left them out.)
Hi Doug - this is going to be a long answer.
I suppose it's' like buying anything ie. if you get one that's in good condition to begin with, as you know any vehicle will end up costing 3 times it's own cost in spares over it's lifetime so lets suppose you have a good one to begin with,
Lets start with tracks when you put on a new track it's going to stretch a bit after the first ten mile or so (then you can take two links out) this will usually give you enough spare to replace worn bushes walking pins ect during the tracks lifetime ie 4 links should be enough note I said should!
We only used to replace the tracks if it wasn't damaged when the rubber was down to the grouser and that was only because we'd start digging up the road and the council would start to complain! usually about every two years if in normal use realistically I've easy got that out of my wagon and if it wasn't for doing neutral turns and having stupid officers make me rag it I'd have got more. The other problem you can get is one of the rubber track pads flying of as there bonded on, you obviously get no warning that's going to happen and it's no fun having a lump of flying rubber going towards you at twice the speed the tank was driving, however it's not a common event but you need to be aware of it.
Note old track pin with the threads cut off is the tool you need to swap the generator, and the tightening TBolts that hold a back door shut on a spartan sultan etc., disconnect the drives when you take the top hats of the final drives (Top Hint).
My belief with the worn sprockets is due to it being a slack track as the track has a bit of a tendency to slap and bounce especialy if a bit slack it only makes sence that this is going to put wear on the sprockets and idlers long term . It doesent happen with other British track vehicles as much course thev'e all got return rollers.
You could legally in the UK drive the vehicle with up to a third of the rubber missing mind when one starts to come apart they can shed more than a third within a couple of hundred miles. Best try and get spares from the outset same with sprockets and I suppose track if you need to change a track the sprockets will be down to the datum marks guaranteed.
Doug's comment - I have almost never heard of the road wheel rubber disintegrating on M113s. It seems to be a British issue. I note that with CVRT it says to be suspicious of the torsion bar of any road wheel that the rubber doesn't bulge where it rest on the track. M113 rubber does not bulge. My guess is that CVRT rubber is too soft and thus gets heat build up due to excess flexing and then lets go?
You can't see the bulge on the tyre when a torsion bar has had it but I'd think that you'd see the lean as much from the front as well, if I dredge up a vague memory. Can't comment further on the rubber bulge I just dont know if that's the cause, either way snapped torsion bars weren't a common problem as best I can recall (that could be do with it being a fairly light vehicle).
Again one in good nick will last a while, it will usually only do something spectacular (I've seen a piston come right through the top) if you rag the crap out of it. (stupid officer on a jolly) The main problem I've seen is a timing chain snap which was at speed pretty fatal as far as the engine was concerned this is because the twin cam is fed by a duplex drive, being basically a jaguar XJS car engine. Here's another piece of info you may find very usefull the designation for the engine is Jaguar xk 4.2 twin overhead cam gasoline military version J60 Mk100 B. Fox and vixen had the 100 A the only difference being a toothed flywheel for Samson,s PTO as far as I am aware, you could in theory swap them if you had to so I'm told.
The heat exchanger can go down quite often as well but I've been told it's exactly the same as a Jaguar XJS car. Being a fully tropicalised system heat shouldn't be a problem check for the second expansion tank mod though. Usually one of the hundred of so thin copper pipes inside would crack and oil usually from the gearbox compartment of the heat exchanger would start to force it's way into the coolent, tell tale sign oil in the header tank at a first halt or last check of the vehicle, danger signs overheating.
Also with the Sabre when we fitted that chain gun mod we had to run the engine above 800 rpm so it wouldn't flatten the batteries while it was firing a lot of the lads ran the hand throttle even higher which meant the engines were screaming for long periods while stationary on the range now how much damage did that do to the packs in the long term? 800 rpm was tickover as best I recall, to charge other electrical services the alternator/generator needed to be running at 3200 rpm, to push out sufficent amp hours some lads had the engine up to 4000 for up to 8 hours a day while on the ranges.
The Tn15x cross drive hot shift type is a brillant design there have been stories for years that the designer was found crying under his desk after having a complete breakdown time he finished it, it will grind when you pull the transfer lever (you cant get away from it) and it gives the vehicle excellent speed and performance watch your gear changes though or it'll buck the commander if you hit the wrong gear. (Iignore the indicator they stick.) Best advice if your gonna change down to fourth reduce to a crawl first.
If one goes wrong though god help you they are a rotten job to get out I spent a day and a night once changing one in the rain and had major sense of humour failure when the new one had bolts missing and leaked oil like a collander ( me with a large adjustable, the original designer, a locked room,you get the picture!) It wasn't long after that I left armour and became a mechanic.
The main wear is on the springs as far as the centrifugal clutch is concerned but I cant remember it being that common a problem.
Snapped Generator belts are however, make sure you get one with modified decks for first parade/last parade inspections
As for torsion bars that's a bit tricky needless to say before you buy it lift them with a crow bar there not as far as I'm aware a major failure the trouble is were dealing with a vehicle that was first trialed back in 1969 the year I was born, guess you need to take your chances.
FV 432's however snap all the time!
The fuel tank can also leak through the gauge in the crew compartment on any Sabre, Scimitar or Scorpion (Spartan, Sultan, Samaritan and Samson are a different design on the crew floor )the turreted type are a brilliant design in that' it's a bag secured by press studs that collapses on itself in event of a fire and I've been told it does work.
Steering brake pads tend to wear faster than brake pads but that's not a hard job to fix.
Listen to your engine I suppose and try not to do a racing takeoff changing up. Changing down using your top gears isn't too bad, ease down to around about 15 mph for 5th though it will change higher, 5th to 4th downwards walking speed max., and ease off the gas you'll still get some slight lurch though I suspect it's the gearbox that's the cause not the clutch, I saw someone on the TV do it at speed not so long ago just awful he really bucked it, it made me cringe.
By the way what I often would find is that I'd forget which gear I was in 5th or 6th or 7th when this happens and it does! Change up to top and work backwards don't chance it. 6th to 5th at speed is a bit uncomfortable, 5th to 4th at speed results in a fat lip for your commander if you're lucky. If unlucky you will do him serious damage and broken teeth are not funny!
As I said don't trust the gear change indicator.
I have also seen a Spartan rise up and bounce along on it's front sponson while doing an emergeny stop at speed on a driving test. I've never seen it happen since to be fair the ground was too smooth I think which didn't help. It's fair to say the candidate didn't pass and the examiner was froze to the spot with fear, however looking back it was extremely funny.
What you will find is that most of your spanner/socket sizes are either half inch or three quarters and that most general maintenance for a CVRT tank is not to hard as most stuff is easy to get at as well. The design of the oil bath air cleaner is excellent. Also Alvis have exported the machine to more countries than any Armoured Vehicle I think, even Singapore has some fitted with a 105 in a limited traverse turret so getting parts may not be as bad as you think.
If you make sure you get a good one (without a mine plate on unless you want to drive really slowly) and look after it, I can honestly say there is no more fun vehicle to drive especially a Sabre (converted Scorpion) with the even lighter Fox turret fitted it makes the handling amazing I've had 50 out of one just ( I even now have a picture of me next to mine at the computer desk, best car I've ever had).
Like any classic car it can be a pain in the arse but it can move, especially in the hands of a good driver who know exactly when to change the gear's. They weren't referred to as racing cars for nothing. A Scimitar, I think from the 17/21st Lancers now (QRL), even now as far as I know holds the tank speed record at Hockienheim. (The only other thing is you have to take your hand of the left tiller to operate the indicator on the instrument panel not safe! there is a mod though, well worth you making enquires see if you can somehow get the kit that means you can operate indicators from the tillers). The wires go from tillers to instrument panel on two coiled wires so it is easy enough to do.
See my articles:
a) On Beltring 99 for a photo and additional info on the Scorpion.
D-day 99 to Beltring 99 - a military/tourism holiday
b) CVRT family of vehicles.
The CVR(T) Series - A Spotter's Guide
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