King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal
Winter season 2015 / 2016
Disassembly and re-assembly of a final drive, mounting of tracks and skirts, the front hull cover and work on the firewall
Also in this season we focussed on the suspension.
As previously mentioned there are two general opinions towards removing the final drive or not. The pros claim that the final drive as the most sensitive part of the drivetrain needs to be disassembled and checked before the first drive. The cons say that the tank apparently didn’t see much action and the the drivetrain parts will most probably show no wear. A major number of the crown nuts of the large holding bolts were rounded by corrosion. Moreover oil of the final drives contained no metal parts and a monitoring with an endoscope showed no sign of corrosion.
By the time when the right side sprocket was already mounted again and the track was as good as closed, the discussion inflamed again, this time in favour of a removal.
After removing the sprocket again Willy and Harald attacked the 15 bolts with their 24 mm thread splined crown nuts. With the help of fire and long levers it worked out easier than expected (by the pessimists).
There is no gasket between the final drive body and the hull. It is centered to the hull by a collar around the toothed shaft towards the transmission and pressed by the bolts.
The components of the final drive are as well not jointed by a gasket. There are some traces of a type of putty which is solid nowadays.
The interior of the final drive pleases the eye: Nearly no corrosion and no trace of a mechanical damage. Only some black oil mud and traces of oil which looks as clean and shiny as it it would have been filled in only yesterday.
The thing was quickly re-assembled and attached with some new bolts and some more new crown nuts. After mounting of the sprocket the track was closed. This meant the finalization of the work on the suspension.
In the meanwhile Uwe dealt with the track skirts. The skirts of our tank were missing and have been reproduced from originals several years ago. The points for the attachment holes yet to be drilled were measured on the millimeter.
How were those holes supposed to look like? Pictures of Tigers in museums and contemporary photos show two types of holes: single ones and long ones with differing diameter. We don’t know which ones were standard or when they changed.
We chose the long holes.
Working with such dimensions and tolerances always bears the risk of mismatch of holes and supports. By the time Uwe tried to attach the first skirt ….. it fitted perfectly. Congrats!
But not everything went smooth.
The hinged front parts didn’t align with the side skirts and had a clearance of some cm: Too much to overlook it. We will leave it to itself over the summer and check how things look like with other Tigers.
Parallel to the work on the suspension Johnny worked on the front hull cover for the driver and radio operator. After disassembly the parts were sand blasted and primed. Only some parts were rectified in order to achieve an easier operation. No parts needed to be redone except a handle which broke of somewhen in the past.
In continuation of previous seasons Bernd was occupied with details of the hull interior and the firewall.
The first transmission links for carburetor operation and newly made round metal plates with rubber interplay to lead wires and tubes through were mounted on the firewall. Numerous little metal blocks with thread holes were made new and welded on the hull structure. They will later hold the clamps which fix cable ducts and the like.
The conduit for the operation of the flap which switches to the coolant pre-heating by an external flame heater was renewed. It is operated by a hand lever left to the driver and a worm shaft through a steel tube on a support under the left main reservoir. The tube was made new and the original shaft cleaned greased and used again. On the engine side of the firewall this shaft connects to a counter shaft along the lower engine which ends at the flap at the oil cooler and is fixed to the other end coming from the driver by a special connecting sleeve.
The long tube on the bottom of the armor hull which leads the wires from the back of the control panel consists of several straight and curved pieces most of which were also made new.
Also renewed are the tube segments for the aerial cable from the right rear end of the hull. It runs from rear to front in the upper right corner of the sloped sidewall.
In the recent weeks Harald and Willy assembled one of the fan units.
It consists of a housing with a fan which is driven by a universal shaft from the engine. The housing is attached to two radiators which are connected at the bottom by three water pipes. The components have been made new and have been sitting at the museum for several years already.
Of course the bolts at the fan housing didn’t match with the openings of the radiators and needed to be adjusted.
On this occasion we noticed that the fan housings are not identical resp. interchangeable with regards to the bolt holes. We are unable to say it that was factory standard or mistakenly done during reproduction. Possibly only one type of housing came from the factory and needed to be individually attached to bolts on every car. This may have led to non-interchangeability.
We decided to reproduce all water pipes in stainless steel.
After finishing the first unit we found that the flanges for the drive shafts are now pointing to the rear instead to the front. What was wrong? Do we now have to install the engine the other way round?
Luckily we found that the drives of the fans in their housing could be turned which solved the problem.