The front axle on the M3A1 Scout Car shares a lot of similarities too a GMC CCKW front split axle, which makes sourcing parts for the overhaul a lot easier than the rear axle.
I started by draining the oil from the axle which came out looking as good as it went in 30-40 years ago! With the M3A1 Scout Car you have to remove the half shafts / CV joints to allow you to remove the brake drums. Once the drum is removed you can then unbolt the brake backing plate with everything attached. The steering knuckle can then be split apart, after removing the king pin bearing caps. It was clear that the front axle had been rebuilt by the French army at some point as all of the bearings had been changed to a French variant. Everything appears to be in very good order and after a ton of degreaser everything cleaned up well. I will need to order some seals and brake parts to complete the rebuild.
One of the parts I knew I would struggle to find were the windscreen wiper motors for the M3A1 Scout Car. I have seen the odd pair come up for sale, although prices seem to start around $1000 which is just madness!
Gery, from Belgium, came forward with a set of NOS wiper motors at a much more sensible price and a deal was done. I know I could have used some easier to source wiper motors from various WW2 vehicles although the vacuum pipe connection is always on the wrong side and being right in front of you when driving it’s those details that always catch your eye.
When I orginially purchased the project, the cylinder head had already been removed from the engine which allowed rain water to fill up the bores and cause the pistons to seize inside. Once the sump was off I could remove the crank bearing caps along with con rod caps. The crank could then be removed after the flywheel and bell housing had been taken off, which allowed me to knock the pistons out using a block off wood and a rather large hammer! The engine looks to have been overhauled in the mid 70’s and apart from some pitting in the bores, still looks in surprising good condition.
Once the engine was removed we had to pull the the bulkhead/ cab off. This was able to be done in one lump which made life easy. Underneath the cab floor sits the two fuel tanks which actually look in great shape! The transfer box could then be dropped out, along with the rear prop shaft. Then it was on to the rear floor which is made of a steel grip plate. At some point the original self tapper fasteners had been replaced by small nuts and bolts which had corroded so badly the only way to remove them was by drilling them out. Apart from that everything came out or off quite smoothly.
First thing to do was start the strip down. The M3A1 Scout Car had obviously sat outside for a long time, with nasty corrosion everywhere. One of the nice things about an armored vehicle is that the body work will rarely rust away with 1/4″ thick armor plate. It was certainly the first time I had had to use an engine crane to lift off the bonnet! With the bonnet out of the way it was time to pull the motor, a 5.2 Hercules JXD.