King Tiger in the SMM Full-Reuenthal
Winter season 2007 until summer 2012
Start of restoration and dismantling
The taking apart of the King Tiger started in the winter season 2007.
From a retrospective point we can now say that the project was started enthusiastically, but enthusiasm declined equally quickly when the team realized that the project was much bigger than expected.
But let us proceed step by step.
First the turret was lifted and placed on a movable stand, then the cover plates for the ventilation units and the big engine cover was removed.
What we saw was sobering: Engine, radiators and the visible gas tanks were severely corroded, thin metal sheets decayed to the largest extend, carburetors were missing. After some weeks of preparational work it was, nonetheless, possible to remove the engine, which was immediately handed over to a specialist for restoration.
The removal of the transmission, the fan units and the 7 gas tanks was fairly easy but the entire ventilation units and the reservoirs were unsalvageably lost to corrosion. The remainders were given away for reproduction immediately after taking out. Overall all parts which were installed inside the hull could be removed fairly quickly.
The removal of the tracks, the torsion bars and the road wheel suspension arms was much more difficult. The track link pins had to be moved out with a massive hammer cm by cm and the majority of the road wheel support arms didn’t move until we treated them with a 20 to hydraulic press.
The state of the restoration by mid 2009 is visible on the subsequent photographs:
By 2009 the largest part of the disassembly was finished except the idler arms and the suspension arms with attached shocks. The hull was standing until 2012, waiting for things to proceed.
The next steps would be the working of the torn bolts and damaged threads, the most complicated of them being certainly the threaded lubrication line fittings on each road wheel bearing, which were facing downward slightly above the hull bottom, very hard to reach.
In December 2008 we received the new radiators and nearly one year later to the day, the new reservoirs.
January 2011 saw the new torsion bars arriving, manufactured by the company Luhn & Pulvermacher, Dittmann und Neuhaus GmbH to considerably generous conditions. We are more than grateful to them.
But how and when should the work carry on?