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Reproducing Track Bands


Jeff Jensen
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Hi all,

I'm interested in getting a group of us together who want to reproduce original and affordable Weasel tracks instead of the custom jobs you see (using cables, chains, conveyor belting, etc.). Those of us that own half-tracks went through a similar problem and eventually solved it - half-track tracks are now reasonably priced and available, and I hope to start something like that for the Weasel.

I bought my M29C more than 20 years ago and was gun-ho about getting it going, but when thinking about tracks doused that fire. I have the belting to go that way, but I want the tracks to look original and I assume I'm not alone in this.

Jeff Jensen

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Hi Jeff. I am almost finished rebuilding one of my 20 inch tracks. This will be my 5th. track that I have rebuilt. I am not too concerned about NOT having original bands because in my opinion, whomever decides to make O.E.M. style track bands will make a run that will fill the need here in the U.S. which I think will not be very big. Then when that need is filled, they will never be made again. Plus they will wind up being just as expensive as one of the most recent redesigned tracks. I certainly am not trying to put them down, they are just way out of my reach financially. My goal is to put a kit together that anyone who can operate a drill motor, drift punch and hammer can rebuild their track in their own shop or garage. And it will be far less expensive. 

No offense to anyone reading this with interest, I am not ready to say anything more or show any photos at this time. 

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I too am in search of an original looking track/band solution for my T24. 

Dave, you may be right about how big the demand will be, but I am hoping we can find a band solution/technology that could be built at home with a little bit of home grown tooling.

My design thinking is as follows:

1.  Original appearance and function.

2.  Modern materials (belting, nylon inner bands, stainless, silicone, etc.)  For me, anything goes here as long as final result looks correct and has decent wear properties.

3. Target price under $2500 for a complete set of bands.

4.  We stand a better chance of success if we can adapt the technology to produce bands for all of the various Weasel tracks. It means three or four times the headaches, but a much bigger market.

To that end, does anyone have blueprints of any of the tracks?  As I understand it, there were quite a few track changes, even beyond the versions that are generally discussed.  These changes in spacing etc. had a big impact on wear patterns and keeping the tracks on.  I am planning a trip out to Indiana at some point in the near future to hopefully learn more about the tracks, but in the meantime, I am guessing there are folks out there who already know a good deal about these issues.

If there is enough interest, we can create a subgroup - The Track Project - and try to divide, share and conquer.

Patrick

 

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I would also like to see a set of OEM looking bands designed. I have a few sets of good tracks but run with my LAR tracks because I have more confidence in them. 

I do have the Norwegian prints/procedure sheets that lots of us have seen over the years. I can try to gather them up again and share if anyone is interested. The circular band jig seems like the complicated part. I believe it would be easy to make a jig that is straight so the cables would have connections on the ends. The resulting track with those bands would be installed like a tank track. Savacable.com was a company I was talking with years ago. 

Just some thoughts,

Patrick

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I´m interested in a set of O.E.M looking track bands. Most of the running Weasels here in Sweden have some custom made tracks. Conveyor belts, BV 202 tracks and so on. I really like the orginal look of the tracks and don´t care if it´s better with rubber tracks.

Your not alone in this, Jeff Jensen.

Best regards Jonas Ryrfeldt.

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Hello All

I like the style of bands that tom did. The problem with the original bands is if you ever jump a sprocket and that band goes over the teeth it will rip it to shreds. The conveyor belt bands are so much stronger and also the track can be split for ease of removal/ install. I say this from years of operating a weasel in Alaska. The Chech guys  some time ago developed a replica of the original bands plus remade the pads. http://www.weaselclubprague.com/index.php?page=5&id=9. They made a youtube video running the tracks on the beach of Normandy. The bands were molded with silicone. The website is still up but they have never done anymore with the tracks. I did get a price from them at one time to make a set of the tracks and they were not a cheap solution. I do like the look of the original bands though and fully understand the desire to reproduce a replica. I think using a one piece conveyor belt band  both inner and outer is a great solution and would be the most economical that a DIY person could handle. 

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Thanks Dan, I really like that Bogey Wheel with the spokes. I also like the outer band fix, it looks like it will hold together for some time to come. I have 1 more outer band to install on my 20" track and it will be back together. I have worked out ALL the math and other details to rebuild a pair of track with new conveyor belt rubber and will be putting a kit together for sale soon. I can post a picture of the track in a few days

Dave.. 

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There was an ad on a Dutch advertisement site with reproduction track bands.
According G503 forum they were selling for >$6000 for a set.
I don't have the contact details, but maybe somebody has, as it already has been done before...

(Ad is removed, so I think they are out of stock)

Track band - generaaltjes 03.PNG

Track band - generaaltjes 01.PNG

Track band - generaaltjes 02.PNG

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Yes those bands are really nice that were made in Europe. I wrote the guy at one time actually several times to get a set but never could get a delivery set up. He would not ship to the US. For some reason it was going to require  me getting a shipper plus sending funds to an unknown individual in I believe was in Czechoslovakia. The whole thing sounded like an epic hassle. There is no reason though that these bands could not be made here in the USA. A mold could be made from wood at least a prototype since the bands are cold molded with silicone. The pads could be made in pieces such as the basic pad and the reinforcement bar a separate part etc, anything to reduce labor costs. A DIY person could then do the welding an assembly.  John Wilson had some time ago developed a nice road pad as he was going to remake an original track. John would share his drawing of the pad with us. Tom at snake river developed a set of bands but stopped making the kit because of labor costs. He did not offer a road pad though which is a must on an original track pad . Bad road pads will cause stress on the hardened pad and cause breakage. I have an original style track with the later band on my Norwegian weasel and numerous pads look like they were replaced with some sort of adhesive. by the Norwegians. I will take some pictures and post them. I have a stud welder in the shop that will weld studs on the track pads any size up to 1/2" which would eliminate the long slow process of welding by tig or mig the studs for the road pads.  I look forward to more input and thoughts on this . 14,000 for a new set of LAR  tracks is beyond it for many. Even 6000.00 for a set of silicone bands is a lot of money and your still not done.

Dan

 

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This is Tom @ Snake River 4x4

Due to my wife's and my health, I have retired.

I was involved in the potato industry where we used a lot of belting and had the local suppliers and expertise.

It was easy to do the Type 2 outer bands as they were set on 1 1/4" - 32 mm setting, which we could do on a machine.

The Type 3 outer belts had to be done all my hand.   We did try a water jet, but ended up blowing the plies of the belting apart.

Very labor intensive, and costs kept going up.    The cross plates on the Type 3 outer bands I had manufactured locally.

I will gladly share my limited knowledge to further the project.  

I have a M29-C and two T-15's that need tracks.

 

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Hi Tom:

Thanks for jumping in here. Sorry to hear about the health issues - this aging game is not for the faint of heart.

There is a growing crew of T15 owners looking for a track solution as well as the usual suspects for the 15"/20" tracks for T24/M29 varieties.  Besides the LAR track - which is an excellent and highly functional choice, there are a number of folks on this forum with band replacement options in various stages of completion.  Hopefully we will get some results back soon and have some additional choices for folks interested in staying with "original" tracks.

Patrick

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15 minutes ago, Jeff Jensen said:

One problem I see here is WHERES THE SNOW !!!

Jeff

Right?  We usually receive between 50 and 100 inches in our corner of the world.  I think we have gotten maybe 25 inches this year.  That being said, I am not really complaining because my modest shop heating system has been keeping it warm enough to work on the T24....

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The absence of snow is a sign from the weasel gods telling you to work on your machines, boys. Oh by the way, there is PLENTY of snow just less than an hour away from me here in the Pac. Nor. West., BUT without an operable weasel I am out in the cold. No pun intended. LOL.

Here you go Dan. I used the original outer anchors to pinch the belt to the grouser. It is rated at 600 lbs. tear resistance. The inner belt is rated at 2100 lbs. tear resistance. Total tear resistance is just about 5400 pounds. I have had to turn this  track over and around several times and can say from hands on experience, It is not going to come apart. I will to say that I would like a set of O.E.M. bands but if the price turns out to be too much, I'll have to stay on this path with the belts.

23766274_WeaselTrackRebuild(13).thumb.JPG.66116c5538b53dc3e5594a8f05bc3632.JPG267310852_WeaselTrackRebuild(8).thumb.JPG.753323cd5bcee333958eb0160401eba8.JPG

 

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Thanks Jeff, that's pretty funny. To be honest, over the course of 660 nuts, bolts and washers, only about three or four times. It really only happened while my right index finger was pushing the head of the bolt on the ground side of the grouser. When it happened it wasn't too bad. 

As far as the "splice joints", I experimented with that and what would be the best way to join the open ends of the belt. The procedure that I found seemed to work the best and though I tried to destroy the joint with all my strength, I could not.

Dan, are you the guy who has the bogey wheels for me? Please let me know. 

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