King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal
Summer season 2014
Restoration of the turret drive
The most important project of this summer was the disassembly, restoration and assembly of the turret drive, which Bernd was taking care of.
The turret drive is located centrally under the turret, between the two propeller shafts from the engine to the transmission. Its vertical splined shaft inserts into the hydraulic turret traverse. The gunner operates direction of rotation with a foot pedal.
The turret drive consists of a central cam which is mounted with two ball bearings in the housing. The central cam permanently rotates with the rev of the engine. Two crown wheels direct the rotation vertically to the splined axle to drive the hydraulic turret traverse. The gunner directs turret rotation with a rocker pedal.
The turret drive housing is filled with oil and sealed with two shaft seal rings.
It has been taken apart already in 2008 and its components stored in bags.
Unfortunately, the electrical transmission unit, which insures electrical power supply of the turret during rotation, has been severely damaged during disassembly. Its repair or substitution will be a major challenge since such parts are not available at the Henschel parts desk or on ebay.
Please see the respective chapter in the picture gallery.
The interior parts were astonishingly well preserved. Presumably the oil filling drained pretty long ago.
The central cam had some corrosion which we grinded away. The so generated imbalance of the cam is negligible with respect to the low revs and limited operation time to come.
One of the main ball bearings had a one-piece housing while the other housing had two halfs. A constructive reason is not perceptible. Possibly this was what has been in stock by the time of its construction??!
The crown wheel in the splined axle unit was considerably corroded, presumably by condensed water. Since it still retained all teeth we decided to reuse it.
In driving direction in front the propeller shaft flange has two pulleys. They operated the pump for blasting away ignition vapours in the barrel after shots. The pump misses on our Tiger.
With one new main bearing and two shaft seals the assembly began. We discovered with astonishment that we needed more thin distance sheets than before to adjust the play between the crown wheels.
The correct setting of the toothed wheels was ultimately checked with a coloured paste.
There is one detail to the turret drive housing which we are unable to figure out:
In driving direction in front on the right the housing has a lid. Contemporary photographs of other king tigers show a mechanical unit with a cable leading away in place of this lid. The purpose or details of this unit cannot be identified. Any hints are welcome.
(Latest hints point at a pump to remove incoming water from fording which was naturally not necessary for our Tiger)
Beside the turret drive more metal parts were refurbished or remanufactured. Among those are the cover of the pump to blast the barrel, the support for the upper filling tank, one box for storage of radio and other electrical parts, the gas filter, fixation shields for the exhaust pipes and brackets for the driver’s optics.