Iron Fireman 1944 T-36 Snow Tractor

 

    2012 UPDATE

 

 

Well, from having the only surviving T-36 I knew of at the start of 2011, I now have one of four known survivors. If they keep appearing at this rate all 36 will be accounted for in about a dozen years or so.

I can only list two by serial number, USA 9155598 with Steve Comer in Jamestown, North Dakota, and USA 9155624 with Gil Mangels at the Miracle of America Museum, Polson, Montana. One of the others is mine, here in Scotland, and the fourth belongs to a collector, name unknown, near Delevan Wisconsin, but I have a couple of small images of that one thanks to Paul T. I've added images of both the new findings towards the end of this page.

It seems like most are incomplete, but different parts seem to be missing from each, so with a bit of luck and some communication over the next year or two all the owners should have the information, sizes, and illustrations they need to get their vehicles back in shape long term. In particular Gil's machine seems to have a good set of serial plates, and Steve's has an additional plate plus the original arctic heater configuration plate.

Always looking for more information, images, and contacts for T-36 stuff. I've discovered that some late Dodge T214 parts were issued with G-231 codes on the boxes, so may start collecting those.

 

My Iron Fireman T-36 Snow Tractor as it rolled off the transporter from Yreka, California, where it had lived for many years with Brian Williams.

Iron Fireman T-36 prototype Snow Cruiser at Camp Hale, Colorado, note the two-man cab offset a lot further to the rear on this unit.

There seem to be about three Allis Chalmers T-26 E4 / M7 Snow Tractors in the foreground, plus a couple of M29 or M29C Weasels.

 

Date and origin of image unknown, but most likely 1943. Any earlier and the M7's wouldn't be there, any later and the Iron Fireman would be the production unit.

Dodge T214 engine, same as any 3/4 ton Dodge WC.

A check of the serial number places the engine and cylinder head June / July 1944, though the transmission is dated 1943.

Engine accessories are standard, apart from a later carburettor and electrical sender for oil pressure. Oil pressure sender and gauge are standard Sherman tank items.

The Parts List revealed that it should have the Carter carb found on the ordinary Dodge T214 truck.

The offical shot from the ORD-8 Parts List, TM 9-761

Visible are the manual and electric wipers, rear view mirror, and fire extinguisher mount.

The hex nuts visible front and midpoint on the lower cab are the caps covering the ends of the crosstubes that mount the cab.

The big bolt visible just in front of the rear drive sprocket is the main cross tube about which the track frames pivot.

Track frame articulation is limited, but there are a pair of sliding stops and a transverse leaf spring mounted directly between the fuel tanks.

Roof panel showing crazing where the original white paint has been covered with red paint, but with the( later? ) panel rivetted in using factory-style rivetting.

 

2012 update, in the images of the Delevan machine that Paul T sent ( see lowere down ) this roof panel is visible internally, and is either a completely different colour or it is missing.

Suspension travel, visible while moving mine to a storage position.

One walking beam is pivotted fully down to the sliding stop, the other is fully up, you can just see the transverse leaf spring below the radiator which is the sum total of the main suspension.

There are also two coil springs mounted horizontally for each front roller, the inner one on each side is just visible. These would absorb some direct frontal impact ( but not much )

A shot of the rear at the same time shows beam offsets the other way, but noticeably less as the pivot point is about 2/3rds of the way back on the vehicle.

The slots in the front rollers and gaps in the return rollers are for the drive lugs. The round holes in the front rollers lighten it, and presumably allow trapped snow to be forced out before it can build up.

The next few images are of the second machine.

 

Interior of second T-36, discovered by Clell Ballard and family, and now at the Miracle of America Museum, Polson, Montana, with Gil Mangels

Lever on floor is clutch pedal, hinged lever top right of drivers area is up / down winch control. Gear knob is odd, but is identical to the one on my T-36

Top right - Weasel wiper motor.

Top centre - switch panel with lighting and accessory switches mounted vertically.

Radio tray to left of driver on internal sponson.

Mount for same sort of spotlight as found on DUKW and Weasel

Back of cab, showing original USA number below window

 

The roof sheeting on this cab appears to be aluminium, and is significantly less corroded than the galvanised sheet steel on my cab, though the method of contruction is almost identical.

Gil's Data plate, note that the serial number matches the one painted on the back of the cab.
Gil's Shipping plate

Gil's Winch plate.

 

Winch 'lever' operation is unusual in that the handle is moved up and down rather than forward and back.

Headlight mount bracket - missing from mine.

See Steve's image lower to see a headlight in place.

Gil's front towing point, showing Holland Hitch hook and swing-down support for the front of the starting handle.

In normal operation that would be swung back on top of the tow frame, and presumably retained there to stop it bouncing back over the front.

 

Also visible, loose rollers. You can see that the main roller and inner roller are mounted in one assembly, but the outer rollers run outside the track frame although they are the same width.

Images by Paul T of the third machine in Delevan, Wisconsin.

 

Note the full dash is still in position, and in the bottom left image you can just see the centre roof section is a different colour. Paul did send another shot of this which doesn't give much more detail but does show that the centre roof panel is different or missing

Right track frame from Steve Comer's machine

 

Although largely intact this machine has been split into the component sections which makes it a lot lighter to handle, but of course it is much easier to damage the cab.

Steve's driving compartment, showing the knobs, dials, and switches along the bottom of the dash, and along the panel by the driver's right knee location you can just see the outline of the data plates.

Note too the standard trailer plug lying on top of this panel, then look at the right hand side edge of the dash, where you can just see a small piece of orange metal sticking out. this is the grip part of the trailer socket dust cover, as a trailer socket is built into the right side of the dash.

I'm assuming that this is a main power feed in / out which will allow these machines to be slaved together for starting, or fed power from another source to keep engine heaters running and cabs warm while the engine is off.

Steve's dash.

Some of the instruments are standard Dodge, but the oil pressure gauge and speedo are G-104 Sherman tank, and the big knob lower right on the panel is the standard Weasel hand primer, sometimes also found on DUKW and other vehicles when kitted for extreme cold weather use. The circular plate and switch are the controls / instructions for the arctic heater as found on the T26E4 M7.

Weasel wiper motor also visible top left, fire extinguisher holder on left edge of dash, and again a serial plate is visible extreme bottom right. Right edge of dash just shows the slave power / trailer socket position.

 

I think the mileometer on Steve's machine shows something like 147 miles from new.

Arctic heater instructons. I have one of these heaters and the matching flue - really should check if this plate and switch are in there.

This unit was a standard fitment on the T26E4 / M7, and also came in a kit with mounting brackets for the Dodge and jeep engines ( Dodge mountings would fit the T-36 as it has a T214 engine )

Steve's cab and centre section, with the Dodge headlights still in place. rear of cab still shows USA number but stencil typeface is different from Gil's

April 2012 Update

More parts arriving, I now have the cab serial and instruction plates plus the majority of the gauges and an original carburettor to replace the Power Wagon carb that is presently fitted. Still looking for a Weasel wiper motor and hand primer, or maybe I can find the ones that I have at the minute - I know I have them somewhere.

Used a large socket as in impact puller to remove both the cross tubes and free up the cab to come off the frame and drivers area

Cab duly removed and stood on its tail end. I've made no progress with getting sheet steel and Aluminium cut for the repairs and replacements, but at least almost everything that has to be cut out has gone.

The plywood panels under the doors are quite poor and will probably be replaced too. You can see one of the two cab lower corners I have already replaced.

 

I expect it to be a lot easier to replace the missing sections now that I have serious access to the cab, particularly the bits that require power riveting as the quality of that work is heavily dependent on access.

Going to have to think through the order in which I fill that hole in the back too. The tool rack needs to be inside that rear panel before I rivet it on, and I wont have access for riveting if I replace the rear parcel shelf first, so I think the order will have to be;

rivet on the rear panel,

replace the toolrack inside it,

then replace the parcel shelf.

The basic frame and drivers position, with everything a lot more accessible now the cab is off.

You can see the engine, bellhousing, transmission, and connection right into the Cletrac transaxle.

The Braden MU winch sits directly under the drivers seat, and that winch is mounted directly above the pivot point for both the walking beam track frames. The winch is driven from the right side PTO by a combination of gear, spur, chain, and shaft drive, and the winch control handle is just visible behind the shiny gear knob

 

The plan at the minute is to keep the centre section together and just fix everything where it sits. Not sure if the track frames are coming off yet for blast and prime or not, but there's a lot of acreage to sand or needle gun if I don't. The whole vehicle had been overpainted a couple of shades of orange over the years, but all the mechanical components down the centre section look to be the same Dodge grey / silver as the engine.

Close up of the tail of the main centre section.

Note that the walking beam pivot is actually behind the transaxle drive line by about nine inches.

 

Linkage visible out the left side of the drivers cab is the clutch control rod, thought it is well bent and will need to be pulled and straightend

 

 

Every single Iron Fireman part is stamped with a STxxxx part number, but as yet I still haven't found the simple three number chassis code that will identify where in the USA number sequence my vehicle fits.

This is the side of the Cletrac differential, ST1503, and the special extension out to the sprocket drive, ST1537

 

 

October 2013

after much thought I decided to remove all the original roof sheeting and replace it