Weasel Track History
Part 3
Submitted by - Stephen Grammont
Revised Date 6/13/01

 

Besides the five Weasel tracks mentioned above, there were at least three non-US military manufactured tracks developed for use on Weasels. There is not much known about these, other than the fact that they exist.

 

 

 

20" French Tracks these are sometimes called "British Tracks", but it is a misnomer since the British did not use Weasels in large numbers during or after the war. However, the French used quite a number of M29c models during their last attempts at colonial rule in what was then called French Indochina. These tracks are MUCH heavier than the originals, but are also far more robust and easy to repair. See the article specifically dedicated to the documenting the French Tracks

The track consists of a simple piece of molded iron (perhaps steel), much like simple T angle iron, with a track guide riveted to it. Each iron piece is bolted onto the next by two large blocks of rubber, one on each of the outer sides of the track. Two rubber road pads are also bolted into place, on either side of the guide, in order to give the tracks some give when making contact with hard surfaces.

These tracks are apparently not uncommon and have been found on all models of post T-15/M-28 Weasels.

 

 

Ambilary 20" Tracks there is little known about these tracks and there appears to have been few made. From what is known, a company in New Jersey and/or Maryland named "Ambilary" received an order to produce about 1000 sets of these tracks for a utility company or other large user of surplus Weasels.

Many Weasels were still in use by various municipal and private organizations long after the track parts supply dried up. Some years ago fire, police, utility companies, surveyors, etc. would have been a large enough market for someone to create a replacement set of tracks. Why more weren't made is anybody's guess. It could have been just a small run done for a single large "fleet" owned by a single company and when the number ordered was filled, the manufacturer went on to do something else.

The Ambilary Tracks consist of a simple stamped piece of sheet metal with two hard edges on the top and bottom edges. There is a track guide affixed to the center and perhaps lugs as well. It is possible that the guides and lugs could have been original pieces taken from surplus or removed from older, damaged grouser plates. Each plate is attached to its neighbor by two wide rubber conveyor type belts. There are some faint markings on the ones pictured above which read "Rayasbestos rubber division New Jersey".

If anybody has more information about these tracks, please let us know!

Thanks to Glenn Tremblay for providing the pictures of his tracks. Weasel owner Chris also has this set of tracks on his vehicle.

 

 

 

Bofors 20" Tracks (Swedish) initially little was known about these tracks on this side of the Big Pond. However, thanks to a long time Swedish Weaseler, we are now fully in the loop. Thank you Lars

As far as Lars knows a forest products company, Kramfors Skogsaktiebolag, had the track designed and manufactured for it in the late 40s (1949?). The track design was obviously intended to give the Weasel the kind of durability in use with logging that the original tracks were incapable of providing. It is believed they were manufactured by the large Swedish firm of Bofors (hence the name "Boforstracks").

The grousers are single piece, cast steel with two hard edges and six "bumps" to give it traction. The track guide is part of the grouser. The tracks are super heavy duty and likely will outlive the Weasel it is mounted on. However, the lack of rubber pads makes this a rather rough ride on hard surfaces. The weight of the tracks does not appear to present long term use problems (i.e. with suspension parts). Lars has been using his heavily for 15 years!

As can be seen from the pictures above, each grouser has four "female" connectors. A separate "male" pieces sit inside of each one, and then a rod is inserted through in order to hold them together. There are two rods per grouser to allow roughly the same pitch as the original belted tracks.

The greatly reduced surface area, due to the rounded rectangular openings, and extra weight probably reduced snow performance quite a bit. However, they apparently provided enough flotation for winter work. Lars states that much of the early use of the Weasel in Sweden was in the winter to make "roads" for horsedrawn sledges hauling logs. The Weasel would first pack down by driving over it (probably many times) and then going back over it with a water sprayer. The addition of water would cause the newly packed trail to ice up enough to form a hard roadbed of sorts. This practice is still in use in some northern climates for logging or transportation needs during the winter season.

Thanks again to Lars for providing this valuable information!

 

Click Here for Part 1

Click Here for Part 2