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Page 11

A new story about 169120


I first found 169120 on the property of Ian Holm in Queensland. There were four Centurions on this property and it was a great find indeed. Ian Holm owned two,

169131 which was a very nice runner

and also

169100 which I feel is only a parts supply now and will most likely never run again This was very sad to see, as she looked quite complete

Also on the property were two more Centurions---these were owned by Glenn Griffen

169075 which was a very nice tank and great to drive. This was the only one of the four that had seen service in Vietnam and

whilst there had the calls sign 2C

Rusty Dyson checks out 169075

She is a nice tank has all the bits. IR light, twin road wheels on the front, in fact a very complete Mk 5/1 Aust Tank

Again I was lucky to be offered a drive-she went well and there was enough room to give it some stick and run in fifth gear

I had a ball

Having room to run a Cent in fifth is becoming harder and harder to find.

The last tank was also Glenn's and was 169120---she also was not a runner I was told by Matt McMahon, that when the last owner had 169120 Matt spent quite some time trying to get her running but decided the motor was U/S. It looked like her future was bleak indeed ---maybe used also as a parts supply, this also was a sad future to contemplate. But events work in funny ways. I was later contacted by Glenn who had decided to sell his collection. He asked me if I knew of any buyers. 

Believed to ne the only Grant ARV in Australia

Its a hull only

But I knew a guy that had all the other bits and only wanted a hull

Glenn had a Grant ARV hull which I was able to find a buyer for quite quickly, and so this was sold to a collector in Victoria--I hope to do a page on this tank when the restoration starts

The Tongala Avenue of Honour

Now there will also be a centurion MBT here as well

 It was at this time that I was also in contact with Michael Thompson from the Tongala Armoured Wall of Honour----featured in an earlier page.

Michael was looking for a Gate Guard Centurion for the Tongala Display. I mentioned to Michael that 169120 was available and that the price was structured for a quick sale. The fact remained that it had to be transported from Queensland Gold Coast to Tongala--an expensive exercise at the best of times. As there was no requirement for any interior fittings we decided that the removal of Motor (not working) and Transmission (Broken mount) and anything else that could be removed would be a benefit. I had a friend in Queensland, Brad Baker who owned 169109, that was looking for an old motor with the view of reconditioning it as a spare. Discussions between the three of us decided that Brad would remove the items with no cost and in turn he could have the motor and the transmission and for that matter any interior fitting he wanted. This worked out well for everyone and Brad removed the Radiator header tank and donated it to the Vietnam Veterans Museum, for their Centurion 169016, which was badly in need of another header tank. The Museum also needed a starter motor as well, but someone removed it after it had been sold, so the vets lost out there. Also stolen were the smoke dischargers from the outside of the turret. As I had assured Michael that the tank was safe left on the property I felt obliged to replace these items and as I had a pair of smoke dischargers in my garage I passed them on to Michael last week while he was at my place.

As Michael was waiting for funds to become available, and so as Glenn would not have to wait for payment, Brad brought 169100. After removing the items he then sold the tank to Michael for what he had paid for it, when Michaels funds became available, an action on Brads behalf which was indeed generous.

Here below are a few shots of the Motor and Aux Gen being removed. What is not shown are the days of work when time permitted, that Brad and Rusty Dyson were able to go down and prepare the items for removal. The photos start after all the nuts and bolts had been removed and all the many hoses and fitted had been disconnected. All that was left were two mounting bolts to be removed and then the removal could proceed

She looks good --the grass is about four ft higher than when I was last there.

169120 really blends into the country side

The troops gather--Alan Hill standing, Rusty Dyson sitting and Brad Baker on rear deck

Alan and Rusty discuss the supervision details

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The mobile crane is in position to remove the Aux Gen

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The Aux Gen about to be removed

Straps are in place

Out she comes

Ready for transport to Alan Hills property

Removing a manifold--not a lot of room

One manifold out --- one to go

A bit like a pretzel--working on second manifold

Clutch undone--ready to lift out-- yes there is a block under it

Slings in place

The clutch is airborne

The clutch is out---Rusty is counting his fingers-all there!

A few minor items to undo before the motor is lifted free

Ready to lift out

Its a case of slowly up and turn, then more up and turn again

At this point of time Rusty executes the gentle two boot technique

She is coming out now

Out at last

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Setting motor on the ground

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Rusty and Brad remove the slings

The RBJ is out and this is destined for 169109 as Brads is not working

Another drop of rain

The empty engine compartment

A 650 HP trailer

The Centurion is fitted with 2 sparkplugs per cylinder -- 24 in all

One set, the top ones, are above the rocker covers and the second set which can be plainly seen here are under the manifolds

The Top plugs are very difficult to remove, the bottom ones cannot even be seen and are a B------. Add to this that the HT wires are enclosed in a flex metal sheath and the ends are screwed onto the plugs with a nut like structure. Hence you have to work by feel to undo the sheath nut and then of course remove the sparkplug. This could take hours --and then you only have 23 to go---a mate and myself did a plug change in 169007--- took us two days. I managed never to do a second one.

Packed and ready to transport to Alan Hills property about 2 hours away

Safe arrival at Alan's property -- Brad now has a smile on his face