Brakes, brakes, brakes, brakes - Oh how I hate brakes.. I don't think I have ever enjoyed fixing brakes ever..
The brakes cylinders were ok, but I remanufactured the brake pipes as the old ones were steel and badly rusted. This was quite easy using new pipework and a flaring tool. The challenge was to find some replacement flexible pipes for rear and front wheels. I tried having rubber replacements sourced but these were only designed for hydraulic oil and they came with a health warning about the rubber eventually perishing because of the attack by the brake fluid.
Eventually after weeks of hunting I found a company only 10 minutes from me in Bristol who made the brake pipes to order in flexible braided stainless for the price of a weeks shopping! Not bad really and a fantastic finishing touch..
I filled the system with brake fluid and pumped the master cylinder to pressurize the system - and POP.. the master cylinder broke - internally and externally - you couldn't have as many things go wrong with one brake part even if you sat down and wrote out a list..
I sent around the picture from the parts manual (a manual that cost over 100 euros!! and turned out to be a photo copy!) to about 40 dealers across france - not one of them could help. The UK dealers couldn't help either..someone even had the cheek to suggest I fit a landrover one instead! (now why would I want to make things easy for my self??)
Eventually I found a garage on the outskirts of my town that was stuck in a 60's time warp. The chap sat in the middle of tons of old obsolete parts and wrecked 50's motors. He eventaully agreed to take on the task of fixing and rebuilding the unit - I'll let you know how it goes...
While this was going on I then started on stripping and rebuilding the carb. The cab on the panhard was used on the Panhard saloon car and early Porsche's - so lots of web info available. I had it stripped down and cleaned in a jiffy. If you look at the pictures you can see the cr*p in the carb throats - looked like a bird had been using it as dumping ground for its guanu..
Once the cab was cleaned and re assembled I lifted my spirits by fitting a AA52 replica into the turret- not a necessary job right now, but wanted a 'fun' task.. as you can see it works quite well - the barrel is held in place by three opposing bolts. This must have heated up a great deal when the weapon was fired.. next was design, build and fit the main armament - the 60mm mortar,, more about that next time!
Lastly I started on the tricky task of rewiring the dash and refitting all the correct (working) switches.
Dashboards in tanks (especially ones left around on ranges and where the public can access them) dont last two minutes.. the original had obviously been stolen and the previous owner had tried to replace the dials and switches from a ww2 jeep. Unfortunately none of them were 24v or worked!
I managed to extract the dash from the donor vehicle. It was at this time I noticed a Panhard AML 90 come up for sale in France (picture to right). The owner wanted over 25 K for it and mentioned in the ad has had some spares!! A quick chat later and I had a dash and wiring harness on its way to me for the price of a small flat in Croatia.... With this and the donor electrics I now have enough to complete the controls. I will fit them next,,,