Byron’s TM1990 Rubber Track Manual for Weasel M29 & M29C
This manual explains how To fit the rubber track kit ready to accept the rubber tracks.
The Rubber tracks are a modern substitute to replace the original tracks. The original tracks weakness are the bands that hold them together. The steel bands are encased in a rubber mould which over time crack and allows water to corrode the steel bands, eventually causing them to break.
To use The rubber tracks, You need to fit the rubber track kit. When the kit is fitted you can continue to follow TM9-772 to fit the tracks in the same way as the originals tracks. I can confirm the track tensioning tools do still work in the same way with no problems.
If you aren’t going through a full restoration, whilst fitting the kit, this is the best time to change any worn bearings or damaged seals.
Refer to the parts manual for the bearing numbers and seal numbers. Most of these part numbers can be crossed reference to modern seals and bearings. “Good Luck”.
In the rubber track kit you have:-
4 Large round spacers:-
The spacers go each side of the hubs at the front return rollers so the front roller wheels space apart to accept the wider track centre guides. See figure 1 & 2. You will need to remove the hub from the axel to enable you to remove inner wheel to then slip one spacer onto the hub before putting the inner wheel back on. You can now refit the hub to the axel.
NOTE - You will need to purchase 16x 5,1/2” x 3/8 UNF bolts as the originals are not long enough to bolt it all together. These are not supplied in the kit.
NOTE - Make sure you Grease the front hubs thoroughly before finally fixing everything together as one of the spacers completely covers the hub grease nipples (This is a slight design fault) See figure 3.
NOTE - Because the idler wheel closest to the hull has been spaced apart with the spacer, this becomes very close to the front carrier arm stub axle nuts, these nuts will catch the wheel if they are not locked off in a good position. These nuts can only be fitted when the wheel is loose on the hub to give you more nut turning space. See figure 4 and 5.
32 Smaller spacers and 16 longer shafts:-
These smaller spacers go either side of the track suspension bogey hubs to space the small idler bogies further apart. See figure 6. The long shafts replace the original shorter ones to allow the extra length for the spacers. These spacers are to allow the wider track guides to run through the wheels. See Figure 7 & 8 NOTE - You will need to keep your original castle nuts and wooruff keys for your new shafts.
NOTE - The oil seal each side in the support assembly now runs on the new spacers so keep these shiny and paint free to seal correctly. Originally these seals run on the smooth face inside of the wheels. See figure 7
8 x Cone shaped washers :-
See figure 9 & 10. These are the hardest part of the kit to fit and require the track guid wheels to be removed from the shaft. You will need to remove all bearings and grease. The wheels will then need to be cut and re welded. The wheel part with the rubber needs to be cut away from the bearing hub part. These cones are then welded to the inside of the wheel part and to the outside face of the bearing hub part to widen the gap for the track centre guides to run through.
See figure 11, 12 & 13. This can only be done on a lathe to ensure they run true again. These welds need to be neat and precise. I did not do these myself, I got a machinist to do this for me.
Once these have been modified you can now refit bearings, pack with grease and fix back onto the shafts.
NOTE - These modified rollers are available as reproduction parts rather than cutting the originals. This may be the most sensible option rather than cutting ww2 parts. I believe these come with one of the different kits as I have seen them on another weasel. I had no choice as our kit did not come with these, we were just supplied the cone washers for DIY.
2 rear drive sprocket :-
To fit these you will need to remove the rear dive hub form the axel, then remove the drive sprockets wheels from the hub. Then re fit the bare hubs back onto the axel. See figure 14. When the bare hubs are fitted back onto the axel just simply bolt the new drive sprockets supplied in the kit to the out side face of the rear hubs. See figure 15.
NOTE - You will need to buy 16x 2,1/4” long 3/8 UNF bolts as the originals are too short.
Extra notes and reminders:-
The rubber tracks are run considerably tighter than the originals, particularly because of how they are made and particularly to ensure the shorter track centre guides don’t let you run a track off unlike the original taller centre track guides. Because of this, It is worth considering fitting a solid 1,3/8” bar inside the front idler stub axels to help prevent these bending.
See figure 16. By pushing a solid bar through as a tolerance fit will also confirm that you do not have a bent stub axel as the bar will simply not go though. If you have a bent stub axel, the weasel will continuously steer to one side. The inside of the tube may need a slight hone to clean ready to accept the solid bar. Like wise the bar may need a slight skim on a lathe to give you the correct tolerance fit.
Remember to grease the front hub well before you put the spacers over the grease nipples
Remember to tighten the nuts for the carrier arms before tightening the wheels to the hubs.
I have now personally driven 50 miles with the rubber track kit and I have not had any concerns. We have previously owned another weasel, which come with rubber tracks fitted when we bought it and we had no issues with these. I have been in communication with a few guys that have run these tracks for years and I have mostly received positive reviews and it has kept their weasels running.
WARNING - Some Weasel owners do not like the look of these tracks as they do not look original, which we can not deny. Expect to take some friendly banter but be confident your tracks will outlast the originals.
PLEASE NOTE - I have tried to make this manual helpful for future people like myself who only has pictures and friends help fit these tracks. If you believe I have made an error with a description or are not happy with how I have described something please PM me so I can correct rather than fill the comments box with my mistakes.