August 20, 2009
We finally started working on the tracks. We started off on the driver's side. We had sprayed all of the nuts with Kroil the week before hand. The first thing we did was loosen the the rear idler nut. This was a real pain, the nut is a 2 1/8 inch fine thread nut and it was like doing push ups while on your back. My arm hurt for a couple of days afterward. Once the nut was loosened we attached a chain and chain tightener to the drive and rear idler sprockets. We pulled the rear idler forward and put slack in the track. At this point we removed the outer half of the rear idler. The next step was to jack up the halftrack, but you have to attach the clamps to the bogie arms. Then we pulled the track off, we needed to use pry bars to get the track over the top bogie wheels. At this point we had enough clearance to get the track off of the drive sprocket and the track was essentially free.
Taking off the bogie wheels and arms was a real learning experience. Most of the nuts we had to take a torch to free them up. The bar going through the bogies goes out towards the inside of the vehicle only. The pin on which the bogies pivots on the bogie arms is tapered and can only be removed once the arm has been removed. To remove the bogie arm you have to remove the top bogie wheels and install the volute spring rods and compress the springs. This removes the pressure on the bogie arms. It still took some effort to get the bogie arms off, but we eventually got them off.
We also removed the drive sprocket and drum. This wasn't really difficult, but we had to improvise because I didn't have the correct axel socket. Once we got the drum off we could tell how much oil had leaked out because the outside and inside was black with oil.
August 27, 2009
Today we didn't get much done on the tracks. I had to order new rear brake cylinders because the ones I thought were correct, were to small. I did power wash the bogie wheels, arm pieces, sprockets, hub and track armor. We did remove the angle iron connecting the side armor to the track armor. While on the outside the original armor bolts looked good, the only thing holding in place was the rust which fused them to the angle iron. The only good bolts were post war hex bolts. Ken ended up cutting them all off with a torch.