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French Style track HELP!?!? Request


42rocker
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Well, Rusty our Weasel has French style tracks that are rusted out and breaking apart. So starting to take them apart in hopes that sometime after I finish replacing metal and welding and painting etc etc, I can use the grousers on a new style track system.

BUT right now my question is ---- other than the grouser plate is there anything else that should be saved?? I could save the nuts that I don't have to cut off but anything else. The lock washer could be used again but only as flat washers.

The rubber is in pieces but anything that it could be used for. 

I'm going to recycle the motor cycle link pieces as rusty steel but anything else??

Open to ideas.. Any ideas??

Stay Safe

Later 42rocker

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M29  --  I thought that you could re-band the French grousers. Please tell me that you can. 

Due to rubber drying and cracks happening water got in and rusted out the motor cycle links any bending of the track causes it to break into sections.

Patrick  --  I'm looking forward to seeing what you do.  

Right now I'm trying to take everything apart and throwing a lot of rubber pieces away and putting a lot of rusted broken pieces of cycle links into a bucket to recycle.

Stay Safe Everyone.

Later 42rocker

 

Edited by 42rocker
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The issue with the french track for what your planning is the grousers are narrow in width and are designed for the thicker heavier french track rubber with embedded roller chain between them. This allows for a smooth surface for the bogie wheels to roll on.  I think the french track is a very strong track and is easier to get on and off the weasel. It  is less prone to jumping off during turning. The downside to the french track is the weight and they slow the weasel down. I had a set once on a weasel and could never get the weasel to run much over 12mph where with  the original track the weasel would go 25+. These are the conclusions I came to from owning a good set of both types and actually using them. As a matter of fact the french track weasel is still in operation today. So basically if you can rebuild the french track like it was originally you would have a good long lasting track. Today much of the rubber from that era is cracked and water has gotten into the roller chain and rusted it out so unless you have several tracks to swap  rubber  from which it sounds like patrick does you are  facing the same problems that all original weasel tracks suffer from.

Dan

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Dan  -- M29

ALL of my French style track rubber is cracked and the chain is rusted to the max. If the links bend then they break apart. Out of the 56 links on the one side I would say that only 56 will break apart if bent enough to go around the power sprocket. Same for the other side. 

So re-banding French style tracks does not work?? Due to the grousers being to narrow. Wow, this might be a major set back. From what I've seen a set of new tracks cost around $15,000.. Now I understand several folks talking about making do it yourself re-banding kits trying to get the cost down in my case I would need to find 112 new / old grousers to add to that cost. 

Now I guess I need to think about what I'm going to do with my Weasel named "Rusty".

Other ideas or thoughts or plans????

Patrick  --  Can't wait to see what you are doing with those French Tracks.

Stay Safe Everyone.

Later 42rocker

 

 

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I did not say re-banding would not work. I just never gave it any serious thought as it does not appear economical to do so and have a good result. If it were me and I wanted french tracks I would get a set that is good enough to use as is. Just take it easy with them and they may be just fine. Maybe Patrick will sell you a set. I have used conveyor belt on several weasels over the years using the original track. Other than the time consuming job of busting out the old rivets it is a reasonably straight forward proposition. I don't know what the cost would be for a set of old original tracks with somewhat decent pads so that is a factor. Anyway the weasel hobby is expensive these days and it is getting more so. Maybe you could look for a donor weasel like some do and make one good one out of two? Don't get discouraged just become informed and make your best decision based on what you learn.

Dan

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There is no problem with rebanding French tracks.  They are very similar to the LAR tracks that you can buy new for $14k.  There is no reason to try and replicate the bands that the French made...using the motorcycle chain - modern conveyor belting will work great.  The only "issue" is what to do, if anything, for road pads.  The French pads were integral to the bands and go between two grousers.  That is an approach, but one could also bolt road pads where the belting is attached to the grousers.  I am about ready to order a set of bands....will share what I come up with. 

In the meantime, here are my two sets + of French tracks and some extra original style.  The French tracks are heavy buggers.635049416_FrenchTracks.thumb.jpg.2f5bdb6c68ea71c628c5260f96f5b405.jpg

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Thank You Dan -- M29 and Patrick for your input.

1st ----- I JUMPED right in with both feet on what I "thought" was an interesting Weasel deal. Well, I'm in it. Sometimes guessing that the other name for Weasel is boat. Boat in our area is a hole in the water that you throw money into.... If the seller states it's raining outside, before I get rain gear I'm going outside to check first.... Simple fixup my????

2nd I'm in the Tampa Bay, Fla area.... Don't really have a lot of Weasels or Weasel parts in this area. So finding Tracks or info is limited. Thank You for this forum Patrick.

3rd Getting a 2nd Weasel, Thank You Again Patrick. It has running tracks from what I was told. Just waiting for the shipping company to pick it up and ship it here.

4th Patrick your pile of French tracks at least seem to be in less than the total number of piles that mine ended up being. They broke apart at every turn. Many many piles of pieces.

Well, after I finish setting up and doing the gun-show this weekend I'll get back to taking apart the tracks.

Going to throw the motorcycle link pieces in the recycle bucket to cash in towards Weasel parts. The big rubber pieces will go in the trash. The metal grousers will be saved and maybe reused. Unless I can find another track or two or a new track system or think about putting tires on it....

We shall see.

Stay Safe Everyone

Later 42rocker

 

Edited by 42rocker
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  • 4 weeks later...

I must jump in here...

The LAR track are NOTHING like the French track, they are night and day different.  Apples to oranges.   LAR track probably weighs a couple hundred pounds less too!

You are best off walking away from those French track...don't waste your time, they are so heavy even if you rebuild, you will never get out of second gear.

Total waste of time, you will wish you never put in the effort.  You are better off making your own track, just copy the LAR design, press brake the grousers, make some centerguides, and use 5/8 x 6" belting and have some road pads poured out of urethane. (or you can buy a complete set of pads from me)

42 Rocker, I remember you from the 42 board...you have the skills, but don't waste your time and effort patching up the "french" track.

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Glad to see you on this thread @Rob W

To clarify, I see that I misspoke comparing LAR tracks to the French tracks that we are discussing with @42rocker I am a little confused as to the origins of the "ambillary" style tracks - I see them referenced as French and also as Consolidated style - assuming refers to Consolidated Industries.  Since you were intimately involved with the design of the LAR tracks - perhaps you can shed some light on the origins of the Consolidated style - or is the design more properly attributed to the French?

These other "french" style - made with the "T" - are certainly robust and also very heavy.  I am in the process of rebanding a set - will report back soon as to whether or not the weight is so significant that it slows the machine down.  I think, with the replacement of the original style "bands" with conveyor belt style plus the removal of the road pads will result in a significant weight reduction and should make them run better.  I guess I will see shortly.

Interestingly, the original WW2 grousers weigh in slightly heavier than the "French T" style - in both cases with track guides - 5 lbs original vs around 4.25 lbs for the French.  There is no question that the French tracks feel heavier and are much harder to move around - guessing that is the weight of that chain and all the rubber on the road pads and that it all adds up to something significantly heavier than the original style tracks.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Patrick

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Hi Patrick,

Not trying to rain on your parade, really I wish you luck on reworking the French track, but I truly think there's not much to work with if you want a viable track system.  They may end up being lighter if you shed the chains and roadpads, but I still think the grouser is so lacking it has little value.  Lack of a roadpad was one of the problems with the ambillary grouser, otherwise it was pretty genius.  There really isn't much OEM info on the Ambillary, I think John covered about all that is really know.  When we started the LAR project we were really just trying to remake the OEM weasel track, however, after learning how complicated (read expensive) they would be to manufacture, we started looking at alternatives. I saw photos of the Ambillary used on weasels both in the Arctic(Greenland) with the US Army and in the Antarctic. It was a proven track system in extreme conditions. The only negative feedback I heard from previous owners was that it was really noisy on hard surfaces (no road pad)

  After looking at that track system in detail and seeing what could be made today easier, the LAR track was born. We acquired some Ambillary track, replaced a few grousers with our own and ran them side by side on a machine that had OEM track on the other side.  The Ambillary track ran great (and our example was OLD)...    I broke a track that day at 25MPH (be careful out there) However, it wasn't the old Ambillary track we were using that broke, it was the OEM weasel track on the other side!

We made changes (modularity) so that worn parts could be removed and also to make assembly easier...and added a replaceable road pad.

As I was suggesting to 42 rocker, the Ambillary track is about the easiest design to manufacture....so easy in fact that besides the centerguide, you really don't need anything special. (just laser cut and press brake the grouser)  There's more that one way to make a centerguide too....  the ones on the T15 are "folded" steel and welded....sure, they are too short in design, but folded would probably work fine.   Weight is pretty important if you can keep that on par with OEM, and things roll well, you can probably get to 3rd gear.   

Good luck with the rebanding... I'm sure you'll get it going, you have persistence!

 

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Meanwhile back at the ranch, wait, backyard, I'm still taking nuts and washers off "French" style plates. Hard work but getting some done everyday. I'm guessing that I have about 1/2 of the plates stripped. Remember 12 nuts per plate 56 plates per side so total of 1,344 nuts and washers to remove. Throwing lots and lots of rubber scrap away. Going to recycle the double chain after it's all stripped/ripped off. The washers might be reused as flat washers on other projects as they are shot. Going to throw the nuts into the brass cleaner, if I reuse them.  Such fun. 

Rob W  --  Still dropping on and off the MG42.us board. Just got another TIG welder and thinking that welding up a MG42 might be a good starting project. While of course thinking on rewelding my Weasels. Also THANKS for the info sharing.

Stay Safe Everyone

Later 42rocker

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Update

56 x 2 = 112 plates with 12 nuts per plate ==>> so far I've stripped off 72 plates and only have 40 more to strip off. Onward.... I think....

Can't wait to finish taking the track apart and get back to working on Rusty the Weasel. 

Stay Safe everyone.

Later 42rocker

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  • 2 weeks later...

You might also want to take a look at these pix, they might be on here somewhere as well.  Jake G. made these LAR/Ambillary copies from scratch... not sure where he got the centerguides, you could reuse them from something else?  In that case you would only need the grouser (laser cut and press brake) , drive lug,  roadpads, belt and hardware.  He sure did a nice job, they look pretty much identical.  

jg1.jpg

jg2.jpg

jg3.jpg

jg4.jpg

jg5.jpg

jg6.jpg

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Rob W

THANKS for sharing those pics with us. Very Interesting. 

My update is that everything is all apart. Saved 1 track pad for show and tell. Have 6 more buckets of rubber to throw away and about 5 - 1/2 buckets of steel links to recycle and a large pile of plates for another day. Of course, they need sand blasting and the reparking if I go to reuse them. They are on back burner as I'm getting things cleaned out for another Weasel that starts to travel South next week. 

French Track links - I'm thinking that maybe I should have taken the Weasel home and left the French track links..... LOL too late for that.

Stay Safe

Later 42rocker

Edited by 42rocker
spellllling or something like thaaat
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