The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted that in the first post showing photos of the M3A1 Scout being collected there were two different types of wheels on the truck. On one side there are the standard late style split rim wheels seen on most M3A1 Scout Cars and on the other side are the early banded rims. I knew sourcing two more of either rim was going to be a challenge but luckily the “Facebook Appreciation Group for M3A1 Scout Cars” came through! A great Italian guy, called Antonio, posted having a pair of early rims for sale which had previously been fitted to a Halftrack. A deal was struck and we agreed to meet in Belgium, at the Ciney Military Fair, which was a great opportunity for me to continue the search for even more parts!
The past few weekends have been spent sandblasting parts of the M3A1 Scout Car. As to be expected, there is a fair amount of corrosion on all of the parts, which can’t be properly cleaned back with just an angle grinder and a cup brush. I mention sandblasting, but it’s actually a crushed glass media which we are using. It cuts quick but makes a mega mess, as to be expected, and covers you from head to toe in dust! Once blasted, the parts come up good as new and after a quick prime, to stop any flash rusting, they are ready to be further stripped down or repaired if required. Cheers to Noz for the use of his blasting kit!
One of the tricky parts of any restoration can be tracking down spare or missing parts. My Scout car was previously used as donor for another restoration, so many of the rare and hard to find parts were missing. Over the past year I have spent hours looking through eBay listings, searching through old forum posts and scrolling through specialist military vehicle websites to try and locate the missing parts. Sometimes you will get lucky and find a rare NOS (new old stock) item which is almost too nice to fit to the truck! I have managed to collect some nice pieces which are shown in the photos, including a very rare voltmeter, NOS early carb, NOS fan assembly, original key ignition switch and lots more!
With most of the body work and and driveline removed, there were still a few smaller items that needed to be taken off the chassis. These included the shock absorbers, which apart from a lot of external corrosion appear to be in a serviceable condition. The shock absorber rods will most likely require re-bushing as the the rubber has perished over time. The brake lines and fuel lines also needed to be removed carefully, to save as a template for making some new ones during the restoration. The brake and clutch pedals were also removed, these again showing little signs of wear.
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.