542 Cab Forward Restoration

sno-drifter

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Re: Third photo down in post 15. The vertical 1/4 plate is not factory and appears to be "welded" in the center of the square cross member. There should be a zirk fitting for the forward end of the trunion on the cross member. Maybe it is still there out of view in the photo. Trunion needs to be greased in four places.
 

GMoose

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Here are some more photos of the front and rear trunnions / turn tables (not sure of the correct terminology yet). That brace that was "welded" on appears to be covering the grease zirk fitting hole, I will look for it when I remove the plate.

I am sure I will not have this unit restored before McCallin 2019 so I will have to pass on the gas card.
 

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GMoose

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Here is an update since my last post over a month ago. The enigne work is moving ahead slowly, we have located and purchase NOS 0.010 pistons and rings, the block is good (no cracks) and will be bored the 0.010 over, that should clean up the cylinders. If not we may have to go a little over on two cylinders and purchase a couple other NOS pistons I found. The crank is bad, in that it needs ground, however this crank has a hardened surface that is created after grinding, which is very expensive and has to be sent off to have the work done. We found a NOS crank that goes in the same military version of this engine, considered purchasing it. But first I tore the spare engine that came with the cat apart and even though the engine was full of sludge the crank turned out to be in great shape, the machinist said "we hit a home run with this one". The head has been dismantled and cleaned, valve are shot, new ones have been purchased, but still need springs and seals, then work can progress there also. We still have a few challenges ahead with the engine, but I think we have gotten through the worst of them.

Most of the extra junk and repair metal has been removed from the frame and repairs can commence soon. In front of the rear turntable the frame was broken on both sides, then also found that the front bushing the pin goes through for the rear turntable was also broken on the top and bottom. This is where the grease zerk that Sno-Drifter was talking about was, the hole was found on the bottom of the bushing. I saw that someone (I believe Sno-Drifter again) repaired one of these at one time, looks like this is a common failure point. Instead of repairing I may machine a new one and completely replace it (with a new grease zerk of course). I may also reinforce the frame in the three areas so that the failure may not happen again, however this may just push the failure point to the next week spot, we will see.

Seats, looks like they may have come from a CJ5 jeep, this is good because the driver seat is in very bad condition and the passenger seat was gone and replaced with an old kitchen chair that had the legs removed.

On the way to the Oregon coast on vacation this week and stopped at the Tucker factory in Medford. Got to see a few of the vintage cats they are working on, great place, and great people!!

Sorry no photos this time, will get some posted in the near future when the frame repairs start.
 

Nikson

Bronze Member
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Wow, lots of work already done and still ahead! Hope you find all the parts needed, and get it done right. After riding one that Princess owns, I've found to like those models... Big and cool! :)

Cheers!
 

GMoose

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It is time to give an update on the 542CF restoration, sorry for the loooonnnggg delay since the last post. First I lost both my helpers, son 1 got a girlfriend and son 2 decided to join the Marines.

Since the last update most of the engine machining has been completed and major parts have been procured (some are very hard to come by for this engine), but I will save those details for later, since I am currently working on the frame.

I have also procured the 543 frame from the Spokane Washington area so that I can use the rear trunion plate. Mine is on the front and had been damaged at one time and scabbed back together. I haven't taken this one off the unit yet, but it looks like it will work.

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I also purchased the 500 series pontoons from the Tucker factory, leftovers from their most recent vintage restore. Mine has three right side pontoons, the left rear was replaced at one time. So with these pontoons I now have the correct pontoons. Looks like one of them will work, will know more later when I get it torn apart. If not, I have spares.

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GMoose

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So the rear hitch had been cut off, but luckily it had been saved and tossed in the storage box on the back of the cat when I got it.

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Last winter I rebuilt the hitch pin hole, straightened everything, blasted it, and got it ready to reinstall. It is now reattached and looks like it will hold well. A little rusty now, it rained the day after I welded it on. I don't have room in my shop for the frame so it lives outside.

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GMoose

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Next up is repairing the stake pockets and tie down hooks. The stake pockets on the sides have had something welded to them at one time, so I repaired all of them. I also welded on three new tie down hooks I made last winter to replace the ones which had been broken off. Since then I have decided to replace some of the main square tube, some of it is heavily pitted where the wood deck sat. Well if it was worth welding one once it is worth welding on a second time. That will come later.

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GMoose

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Next up, I did a little straightening and weld buildup on the driver seat supports, they were slightly bent and one of the welds was cracked.

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GMoose

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Now for the fun part, the rear frame structure which holds the rear pivot/trunnion was broken badly and had many scabs added. All the scabs were removed. The forward pivot bushing was broken in half. Both bushings were cut out, new ones are being made now as well as the pin being machined for a clean, fresh bearing surface.

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GMoose

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Then the cracks were all excavated and cleaned up for repair. Also had to build up both diagonal top bed supports where the tracks had ground into them slightly.

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GMoose

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Then all the frame breaks were welded and ground down to original size so reinforcements can be added.

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GMoose

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I then added four 1-1/2" wide x 1/4" thick plates to three sides (not the bottom) of each main rail (1-3/4" x 0.120 wall square tube) in the area where the rails had failed. I extended the new plates clear up to the next cross member. Hopefully this will prevent future frame failure, or it may just move the failure points to new locations, use will tell.

Here are the fitted plates piled on top of the frame.

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Here they are welded on. First I welded both sides on then ground any of the crown off that extended up over the top surface. I then welded the top plate on. Also added an angle to the ends of the plates to match the angles the factory put on their reinforcement plates elsewhere on the frame. I used full length welds instead of skip welding because I wanted the added strength. The one drawback to this is if a longitudinal weld crack starts it can propagate down the entire length of the weld. With skip welds the crack will stop at the non-welded region and hopefully not continue on down the rail. Hopefully my full length welds was not a mistake.

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I then built an angle iron cross brace to weld in by the forward most pivot bushing. This bushing gets most of the load when turning so I thought it would be good to give it more strength. The frame I bought last spring has a similar support, that appears factory made.

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Here it is placed where it will go. I put it behind the bushing so it will not interfere with the pivot pin, once installed. I will weld it in after I get the bushings welded in and reinforced.

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Pontoon Princess

Cattitute
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It is time to give an update on the 542CF restoration, sorry for the loooonnnggg delay since the last post. First I lost both my helpers, son 1 got a girlfriend and son 2 decided to join the Marines.

Since the last update most of the engine machining has been completed and major parts have been procured (some are very hard to come by for this engine), but I will save those details for later, since I am currently working on the frame.

I have also procured the 543 frame from the Spokane Washington area so that I can use the rear trunion plate. Mine is on the front and had been damaged at one time and scabbed back together. I haven't taken this one off the unit yet, but it looks like it will work.

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I also purchased the 500 series pontoons from the Tucker factory, leftovers from their most recent vintage restore.

"Mine has three right side pontoons",

the left rear was replaced at one time. So with these pontoons I now have the correct pontoons. Looks like one of them will work, will know more later when I get it torn apart. If not, I have spares.

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thank you Gmoose for sharing, you have done tons and tons of work....

seems like I learn always learn something new on the forums,

thank you Gmoose for pointing out the fact, that there are left and right side pontoons, did not know that, and probably have put together a couple machines with all right side pontoons, if you can, please tell me how to tell the difference between the left and right pontoons...thank you in advance
 

GMoose

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Well this is all my guessing that there are a left and right pontoon. But on my 1966 unit each pontoon has only one travel stop to engage with the trunnion plate. One of my pontoons has the stop on the wrong end of the pontoon to engage with the trunnion.

1966 pontoons from my 542CF:

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Now the 1970 set of pontoons I purchased has stops on both the front and rear inside of the pontoons. Must have been a change they made after 1966.

1970 pontoons, you can see both stops on the far pontoon:

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If I am wrong on this please teach me, I am new to the Tuckers, anything I can learn will only help me rebuild this unit correctly.
 

Pontoon Princess

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ah, left front with only one stop will swap to right rear and right front to left rear, most pontoons have two stops, sometimes they get removed for any number of reasons and sometimes the factory to save money would only put one stop on

from what I know, which is very limited, there is no left or right side pontoons, only condition that applies, if there is one stop and then it is either a left front to right rear set up, or right front to left rear and later pontoons came with 2 stops, though, very early tuckers had stops and then they went away only to come back somewhere in the mid to late sixties..and if it has 2 stops fit any position, so many variables with tucker and there manufacturing standards...then if the pontoon has only one adjustable nose, your guess is as good as mine, good luck
 

GMoose

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Thanks for the clarification on the pontoons! That will help when I start working on them.
 

Pontoon Princess

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Thanks for the clarification on the pontoons! That will help when I start working on them.

fyi, the real issues come from the steel pontoon being a uni-tub construction, with rust being the problem, as no steel pontoon was ever painted inside along with not being completely welded/sealed up, very poor quality construction, thus, they rust badly from the inside out, unless you open them up, you are risking all your work and a long walk out, you absolutely need to open them up and do a full and compete rebuild, there are stresses and forces that are placed upon the pontoon that you just can't image, simply, they are structurally weakened from the RUST.

the best solution is to have fiberglass pontoons, they are a vast improvement over the steelies. even the most destroyed looking fiberglass pontoon are far easier to repair and make right. very much worth buying a fiberglass pontoon tucker just for the pontoons and swap them out.

unless you are lucky enough to have NOS steel pontoons...
 

GMoose

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Thanks for the advice, I will open them up when I get ready to rebuild them. The steel is in fairly poor shape as it is so most likely they will be needing a lot of it replaced.
 

sno-drifter

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Thanks for the advice, I will open them up when I get ready to rebuild them. The steel is in fairly poor shape as it is so most likely they will be needing a lot of it replaced.

A word of caution, There are people who thought it was a good idea to foam the inside of pontoons. Check for this as the foam and flame creates a very bad situation for you.
 
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