The Panhard AML HE60 rebuild- Part 1
Rebuild blogs are useful I find for people (like myself) who take on restorations. They are great reference points and have helpful tips and excellent findings. Unfortunately I know of only one other potential rebuild of an AML - its in Spain and the chap isn't on the net!
Therefore to try and help anyone out there who may try and tackle an AML - and for those of you generally interested in military vehicles I have started this restoration blog.
I anticipate the blog to last for about six months - so therefore I am setting myself a completion target date of April/ May 2011.
The Panhard was rolled into a barn on the outskirts of my home town. Around it were deposited the innards of the car ready for sorting and correct storage. In picture 1 to he right you can see the car with a canvas over the roof and the large white object leaning on the rear is the fuel tank - a wopping 150 litre sized one!
It soon became apparent the floor of the barn wasn't conducinve to working on - so the first job was installing lights and concreting the floor to take the 4.5 tonne vehicle..
I then sent off the tank for blasting and relining as it had years of rainwater and rust in the tank!
The inside had been stripped and a rudimentary interior put in its place. This was an excellent blank canvas, but not having taken the interior out (more precisely the wiring loom) it means I am at a disadvantage to know what goes where. You can see in the picture the fast release steering wheel so it can be removed to allow exit through the front hatch - (chance would be a fine thing!) Also the drive shafts run on the inside of the hull - quite a health and safety issue me thinks!! (fortunately I have since found the covers!)
This is the left hand side of the vehicle looking back. The tyres are looking a little sorry - but are still holding their pressure. The rear stowage bins are missing and the previous owner had decided to prime part of the hull in white. You can clearly see the rear coil suspension here and the exit for the exhaust pipe (just to the left of the wheel) Attached to this port is a right angle flexible pipe that vents the fumes upwards into a silencer that lays across the top of the engine deck. All this pipework fortunately came with the vehicle!
Here we have the top of the front right wing. Two front wings came with the vehicle - but they were in a very sorry state and fully rusted through in areas. The amount of corrosion has lead me to believe the vehicle had spent some considerable time outside - maybe even at a Spanish port as a gate guardian??
The interior turret basket - in peices. To remove the basket successfully - the previous owner had cut it into bits and removed through the top turret opening. This has left me with a good deal of turret furniture I will have to sort out - another day!! You can see the racking for the mortar rounds clearly..
Picture 6 and 7
Here we have two shots of the aircooled 4 cylinder engine. The first picture is looking into the engine bay through the rear hatches. Its quite difficult to work on like this and meant that I had to remove the rear armoured section to gain better access. Fortunately this was only 20 bolts a lot of elbow grease and an engine crane to lift off the panel (it is extremely heavy!)
In the second picture you can see the gearbox still in place. This is a weird design with an electronic clutch operated by the ball on the top of the gear stick. You push the gear knob down and the clutch is engaged! The yellow pipe work are the inlet and exhaust pipe work.
The first job was to try to get the engine running, but this was difficult as there was no wiring loom and in the first picture you can see how the fuel pump was simply cut off - I now needed a source of parts!
Another shot of the interior. You can see clearly the two pedals in the driving area. The larger one is the brake and the other thinner one is the accelerator. The brake master cylinder is between your legs (there is a cover for it!) and with some coaxing it started to move, but the innards seem to be broken as there is no pumping action.. I will be investigating soon! It was at this point the front hatch became a problem as it (I didn,t know) was missing the lifting spring to open up and move the hatch away. It was very heavy and difficult to move. - It was at this point I realised I would need a reference vehicle and perhaps a doner of spare parts. I couldnt push and pull the drivers hatch everytime I needed access - I would need a torso like 'Arnie'.
It was at this point I happened across the BE Boys retirement sale of Brian Boys military collection. I was able to buy a rather 'worse for wear' AML 60 that had been robbed of its engine and gearbox to donate to an AML90 Brian had rstored many years before. The AML 60 had been left outside for a few years and was in a sorry state - but... It still was in one peice and gave me an excellent reference vehicle and even a doner for some hard to find peices. This AML was purchased and slid into the barn next to the restoration one. No more trawling the net for pictures of Panhard mechanics and lectrical wiring harnesses - I had my own wikipedia of Panhard within 3 feet of my workspace! The first thing I took out was the front hatch lifting spring - and with some oil and patience - voila! A fully self opening and locking drivers hatch..
This shows the interior of the second Panhard - especially the master fuse board and charging system. This was missing form mine making me believe the Panhard had definately been left to the mercy of souvenir hunters over the years! I managed to source a brand new steel box and will transferr the electrics over and place them in the restored Panhard soon. If you look closely you can see the first Panhard coming on leaps and bounds behind in the picture (framed by the open door)
Here we are in the current state of repair. I have sanded down the hull, resprayed in primer and then applied three coats of the final french green. The colour is eggshell and initially I worried it seemed to reflective - but close reviewing of period colour pictures and the fact the paint flattened back means I am happy with the finish.You can see the rear engine cover is now off as are the wheels as I tackle the braking system. The respray was an intricate job - as there were many nooks and crannies to clean out and graffitee to remove. It seems a whole school of children had carved their names in the original paint!
I found very few markings except on the doors where they had MARIN TERRITORIE DU NORD (?) stencilled with a coat of arms in yellow. This was very fortunate as they were the spanish Naval markings for the Marines, and allowed be to actually find a picture of this AML in service!! Picture to be shared next month!
The french number was extremely faint on the front panel and seemed to be 234 0237 with a french tricolour. There were rear bins that came with the vehicle and they furnished me with a very faint confirmation of number. It seemed this vehicle had not been rebuilt and therefore have the nomenclature starting with a '6'. Further works hint at a very early car as all components are the earlier 'old' type (e.g. cloth braded electrical conduite - earlier specification engine ancilleries and a date of 1959 on the name plate at the rear!!)
Apart from that there was a turret number in large yellow stencil and all the switches were written in french - I feel it hadn,t been fully adopted by the Spanish and may have gone to the gate guardian duties very early on. The engine seemed to confirm this as it had only done 3823 revolutions (or was that hours?) maybe only a few thousand miles of use??
In all a great deal of work to undertake and I haven't even had it running properly or in gear yet - let alone driving. First thing is first - the brakes. The flexible pipes seem in a bad way - so lets get those replaced!!