Drive Train Team

The Drive Train Team


   track closeup


The Machine

These machines were the first of their kind to use a “caterpillar” track drive system, which set the standard for future heavy machinery and earth movers for agricultural and military use.  Our Lombard (c. 1910) is thought to be #38 of 83 ever built by Alvin O. Lombard of Waterville, ME.  It was removed from the woods near Little Allagash Lake in T9-R15 by Jerry Packard and his father Burt Packard in winter of 1968.  There it lay tipped over and sunk far into the frozen ground. It was damaged in the removal process but lay on display at Sebec Lake.  The Maine Forest and Logging Museum in 1984 where they expected to restore it “within 2 years”.  However, it remained a slow work in progress until our 2014 MET capstone class stepped in on the project armed with 40 students.  It is currently stored at Leonard’s Mills in Bradley, ME next to The Crooker Family’s Lombard. A very rare sight to see two working Lombards parked next to each other and we are grateful to have this template to help with our own restoration.


lombard extracted

 This shows the machine after it was first pulled out of the woods in 1967


        The Lombard runs well on steam for the first time 4/29/14



Our Task

The drive train team is in charge of three main parts of restoring this Lombard including the differential, the tracks, and the drive chain as well.  Most of our work includes buttoning up all of the loose ends such as the cover for the differential, adjusting the chain and track, and acquiring all of the missing bolts.  In addition to this we must make sure everything is properly lubed as the drive train experiences the brunt of all the force the Lombard is capable of exerting.  As you may know, the Lombard was one of the first machines of its kind to use a differential like this.  And so, there are many underlying issues to solve.  This includes but is not limited to discovering: the correct thread lube screws and other various bolts, discovering how the axle bearing cover is lubed, and modifying the previously-made differential cover to fit properly with the correct clearances.



Pictures and Video progress uploaded regularly to Picasa

Adjusting the Drive Chains (video)

The Lombard in Motion on Steam!




  •  Brandon Woodman (Manager of the Old Town Fastenal branch) kindly approved the sizeable donation of 1-3/8″-3′ threaded rod and nuts
  • Advance Auto Parts kindly donated PB blaster and EP2 hard lithium grease


Our Progress Blog

Final Update as of 4/30/14: It was been a hectic month all together tying up all of the loose ends to reach our goal of running the Lombard on steam. A list of goals reached this month include: Lube chamber covers and zerk cap covers finished (machined, welded, painted, springs bent, and installed), and track system lubricated.  The biggest feat of this semester was adjusting the driver side chain, which was very loose.  It was evident in previous (short) drives that the loose chain could cause serious problems if not adjusted.  The issue was, the chain was too tight to remove a link, and so the track had to be adjusted forward so we could do so.  On a 20 ton machine this would prove to be quite a task for students who have never dealt with machinery of such scale before.  We went ahead with the theory that we could jack up the left side of the axle with a 20 ton bottle jack, which allow us to pry the track forward with a large prybar.  Surprisingly the track was not seized and move with four team members on the end of the bar.  Even with this adjustment all the way forward, it was still a struggle to get the chain together once we removed a link.  However, all went well and the chain was perfectly adjusted after 4 hours.  We are thankful we were able to adjust the chain because the next day we did our first full steam test on the machine and it ran excitingly well.  However, at one point the machine was going full throttle and somehow slipped into reverse, putting tremendous force on the entire drive train as the 20 ton Lombard came to a quick stop.  We can be certain to say if this didn’t break anything, then nothing will!

4/8/14: Today Carson, and Mike went to Leonard’s Mills to paint the differential cover. Mark and Randy attended to begin fitting the roller chain shoe supports, which were cut to size and painted the night before.

4/3/14: Today Bryan, Austin, Mike, and Andrew attended the work day.  Bryan double checked measurements on the lube chamber covers before finalizing them. Andrew installed his zerk cap covers which were finished and painted the previous week.  These were worth the trouble to machine because it looks completely authentic. Andrew, Mike, and Bryan helped to prep and paint the rust spots on the boiler before the Wheels team installed insulation. This came out very well despite the cold temperatures.  Austin continued work on the bearing shims.

3/25/14: Today the drivetrain team attended the work day to help tidy up the barn to stay organized and professional with our work ethic.  We brought one of the kerosene heaters that hadn’t been working along with some fuel line and a junction.  Luckily it got working with ease and now there were at least 4 working heaters to assist the Steam team’s upcoming overnighter to keep the water from freezing before the boiler inspection.  Randy spent 5 hours that night assisting the steam team with keeping several kerosene heaters going to keep the water tank from freezing for the very important hydro test the following day.

3/19/14: Andrew went to night lab to begin machining the square heads on top of the zerk caps using a dividing block on the vertical mill.  Three out of eight were finished.

3/18/14: Carson Mike and Austin attended this past work day the Leonard’s Mills. Today they worked together to shim the continually stubborn crank bearings.  They are now better than before, however it took a lot of fine adjustment with shimming and how much the pillow block was torqued.  Also, Bryan and Andrew spent tonight’s night lab continuing machining of the zerk caps and lube chamber covers.

2/23/14: As of recent we are making progress with the crank bearing issue. We went back and forth with two solutions involving either machining of the brass bearings (previously retrofitted by Bill), and shimming. However at this point we believe the shimming method is in our best interest. We will be purchasing and using engine assembly grease to aid in the running the bearings more freely as we adjust the shims Carson, Austin, and Mike have been working together on this.  Andrew has been making great progress with machining the 8 zerk fitting caps and is almost done.  Bryan has also been machining the lube chamber covers and should have them done in the coming week. There should be one ready for test fitting in the upcoming work day.  Randy and Mark have been working on an approach for the track adjustment.

As of 1/28/14 we have our final semester objectives in sight. One of the biggest tasks we have to complete is a CAD representation of the drivetrain and track system, at least as much as we can without taking it apart, which is an incredibly time consuming and difficult task.  Mainly this semester will be used for buttoning up the small details. This includes  finalizing zerk cap designs to keep these clean and looking authentic, painting the differential cover, finalizing lube chamber cover designs (to include a spring hinge and gasket), researching oil wicking material for lube chamber, and also dimensioning any other components we can to put into CAD drawings.  Lastly, one of the more tedious and questionable tasks is to find a way to shave down the brass bearings used in the bearing covers, which seem to have been a design improvement set in place by Bill.  When we got the Lombard to run in November we noticed these bearings were actually too tight.  There is a place called Applied Bearings in Bangor, which may have the machinery to help us.

12/13/13: Our whole team helped to clean up the MTL project room for we were completely finished with all of the painting and woodworking.

12/10/13: Austin, Mark, Randy, Bryan, Andrew, Carson, and Mike showed. This was an unexpected work day as there was already snow on the ground.  However, the barn was so close to finished that we couldn’t let it stay the way it was before feeling good about leaving the Lombard for the winter.  We helped transport the battens, which we painted the night before, and began to finish the front side of the barn doors. Bryan brought his drill, which without it we would not have finished the barn. We worked hard to modify and install the battens and cover up the remaining cracks and imperfections in the barn walls.  This took a solid 5 hour work day to finish, but it was worth it.  We can now say we are completely done with the barn and the Lombard will be safe for the winter.  We are planning to spend the next semester (winter months) designing and machining the lube caps and covers and also fabricating the studs for the roller track guide.

12/9/13: The whole team helped to physically walk the remaining battens from the AEWC to the MTL project room for painting.  Andrew, Bryan, and Mike worked this evening to paint and route the remaining battens to be installed the next day.  It was imperative to get these installed the next day to make sure the Lombard would be protected for the winter.

11/26/13: Austin, Mark, Bryan, Randy, Carson, Mike, and Mark showed. With the winter weather quickly closing in, this was supposedly our last chance as a whole to get the Lombard running. We showed up early to torque down the remaining bolts and make sure the drivetrain was in order to run once the engines were going.  Once the compressor showed up it took a couple hours to get the engines running well enough to where we thought it would move the machine.  We then hooked the drive chains up and successfully got the machine moving!  It was a valiant effort on everyone’s part, but we all worked together and did what we had to do to get it running.

11/19/13: Austin, Mark, Randy, Bryan, Andrew, Mike, and Carson showed.  Mark, Austin and Randy assisted the whole team in general with the differential cover installation (final torquing).  Randy (now works at Fastenal) conveniently brought the zerk fittings to the work site for Bryan and Andrew to install.  After installation they greased the track and confirmed the retrofitted zerk fittings were indeed the best option. It was a visible success when they saw grease oozing out of the ends of the axles.  They also re-dimensioned the rear drive axle lube boxes to help brainstorm more accurate cover ideas with the help of Professor Anderson. They also had the help of Professor Anderson to brainstorm better, and more authentic caps on the zerk fittings.  Carson and Mike helped with the final installation and clearance confirmations of the differential cover to confirm this not interfering with the top shaft .  It was a group effort to cut shims and re-torque the bearing covers until we could finally spin the large differential “with ease”.  This extra effort ensured our team’s responsibilities on the Lombard would not hinder it from running as soon as possible.

11/18/13: Austin went to NH Bragg & Sons in Bangor to obtain .025″ Shim steel to shim the bearing covers for tomorrow’s work day.

11/12/13: Austin, Mike, Carson, Bryan, Andrew, Randy and Mark showed.  Austin assisted the team in general but noticed a major issue with the top drive shaft where it did not turn freely after torquing the bearing covers.  This was near the end of the work day so it was planned to work on this first thing the next work day.  Andrew and Bryan went to the Advanced Manufacturing Center on Campus to rent a 7/8-14 (tapered) tap, which was a last resort to fix the original lube hole threads in the track.  They were unable to tap the holes with what was thought to be the correct thread.  However they remembered that the 1/2″ NPT (pipe thread) with zerk fittings (test fitted last week) fit perfectly.  It was decided with the help of Professor Anderson that this was our only practical option, but would improve ease of lubrication in the track system.  Later they both helped load the remaining battens into a truck and unloaded into the MTL on Campus to be able to stain (due to the cold outside temperatures).  Mike, Carson, and Austin also made a trip to Fastenal to retrieve the bolts to mount the differential cover brackets to the frame.  After they arrived at the Lombard they realized that the T-slots were still not big enough.  From here Carson had to leave for work, and Mike and Austin went back to Campus to fix this and return to the Lombard to finish installation.

11/6/13: Carson and Mike worked in the MTL to finish machining the T-slots in the brackets.  This time they used a cutting speed of 600 rpm, 60 sfm, and used a cutting depth of .300″ at a time.  Both brackets were finished and ready to install for the work day the next week.

11/5/13: Carson, Andrew, Bryan, Mike, Mark, Randy, and Austin showed up at Leonard’s Mills.  Carson started the day to show Joel the progress with the differential cover brackets to help identify the material after it had been machined.  Joel confirmed that the material was steel but made to look authentic as if it was cast.  This means Carson and Mike can machine the brackets at a much quicker pace than they realized.  Bryan and Andrew went to Fastenal first thing to purchase one zerk fitting to test fit it onto the drive train.  It threaded in perfectly as expected.  Ideas were brainstormed about the different options, in an attempt to maintain the original threads by re-tapping with a variety of tap types.  They also brainstormed ideas to machine a cover to disguise the zerk fitting to maintain authenticity.  Finally they took measurements on the four rear bearing cover lube “boxes” to make covers at a later date.  The whole team helped to finish cutting and fitting battens to the left front corner of the barn and also with backing the barn with leaf bags. Randy and Mark worked most of the time to complete test fitting the drive chains to make sure they could be adjusted properly.  This involved removing links and measuring the slack, but also keeping in mind that each track was not currently adjusted evenly on each side.  Austin assisted the team as a whole in general.

11/4/13: Carson and Mike worked from 7:00PM to 9:00PM to mill T-slots into the differential cover brackets to compensate for the misaligned mounting holes.  They worked with Professor Anderson to figure how they were to machine these brackets.  This is because the bracket material is unknown, and if cast iron is machined incorrectly it can be destroyed.  To avoid any confusion they treated both brackets as cast iron to be safe and milled with a 5/8″ carbide end mill at 325 rpm and 60 SFM.  No cutting oil was used.  The milling was not completed due to the extremely low cutting speeds and shallow passes.

10/29/13: Austin, Mark, Andrew, Bryan, Randy, Mike, and Carson attended at different times.  Our goal for today was to have the entire bearing system assembled and lubricated and to have the differential cover assembled and filled with oil. In general we worked to get the drive train system as close to done as possible to ensure we were not going to hold the whole group of teams back from getting the Lombard running on compressed air as soon as possible.  Mike and Carson once again reinstalled the differential cover to realize that the original brackets did not have enough wiggle room to install properly.  From here they could luckily keep the cover installed but would have to machine T slots in the brackets to allow this wiggle room.  Since we had all decided to wait to run on compressed air, this allowed us time for this modification.  Some of the other teams also needed more time, so this worked out well.  Austin worked to lubricate as much of the system as possible and fully torque/assemble bearing covers. He also installed the new lube screws and nuts, which Andrew and Bryan machined the night before.  He also found that some of the lube screws would need pipe dope to help them seal. Mark and Randy could finally assemble the drive chains to investigate its adjustment.  They found that taking one of the links out would perfectly tighten the chain, allowing enough small adjustment to be made within the tracks themselves.  Andrew and Bryan worked to tap the smaller 7/8″ (8ea) lube screws.  Only 2 of the 8 were successfully tapped due to damaged threads.  However, they found that a 1″ NPT would fit perfectly as the tapered thread was able to bypass the damaged threads.  We determined with the help of Joel Anderson that we may be able to use a pipe thread with zerk fitting instead.  This idea was proposed earlier but frowned upon because it was not authentic.  However, we brainstormed an idea to use this fitting, which makes lubrication cleaner and easier, but also disguise it to keep it looking authentic.  We plan to keep this idea in mind for our work day next week and to help each other work as we enter the final stages towards running on compressed air.


10/28/13: Offsite Work (2PM-5:30PM). Andrew used the 1-3/8″-8 threaded rod to machine the remaining lube screws.  He was able to machine the 1″ x 1″ square head on the vertical mill to retain the authentic look of the originals.  This was done use a special tool called a “dividing head” on the vertical mill. Bryan machined the nuts for these lube screws.  Although he did not originally intend to do so, he machine the nuts in half from 1.31″ to .655″. This was to also retain the authentic look.  He also secured the nuts and screws Andrew had made into the lathe to machine smooth surfaces on the end for a professional look.  Mike also joined work in the Machine Shop (3PM-8PM) with the help of Carson in the final welding of the 3/8″ plates into the differential covers.  They tested the durability of the welds before determining they were sufficient.  They also drilled and tapped the holes in the cover through these newly welded reinforcement plates.
10/22/13: Mark, Andrew, Randy, Mike, Carson, Bryan, and Austin attended at different times. So far we have been working on the Lombard for  6 weeks.  Total team hours amounts to about 130.  We are now at the point where we are finishing up the install of the drive chains and working to discover how to adjust them if need be.  As of our last work day on 10/22 we were almost finished installing our bottom end bearing cover lube screws when we discovered one of the 1-1/2″ threads was stripped.  This involved supporting the entire lower crank assembly by the main gear with a jack and wood so we could remove the cover and re-tap the hole. Mark, Randy, and Bryan worked to test fit the drive chains.  This was a very labor intensive process considering how the chains weigh 250 lbs on each side and are also quite stiff.  It took a lot of coaxing using come-alongs and 2 x 4 boards to slide the chains over the gears just on one side.  We were not able to fully connect the chains due to the fact that Austin realized we had to drop the axle to remove the bearing cover to re-tap a stripped lube hole.  Andrew broght the 1-3/8″-8 threaded rod donated by Fastenal to make the PC-210 lube screws and PC-211 nuts to verify the fitment.  There was a noticeable amount of slop between the threads.  After consulting Joel Anderson, we determined it would be sufficient because: it does not affect safety, satisfies the intended purpose, and the original lube screws appear to have a similar amount of slop.  Andrew also further investigated retrofitting a zerk fitting for the smaller (8) lube screws in the inner track.  This would allow easier, quicker, and cleaner lubrication of the track. Mike and Carson worked to assemble the stubborn differential cover, which has been installed and removed multiple times due to complications with hole locations and assembly clearances.  They now determined the size bolts needed for the brackets (5/8″-18 UNF) and that clearances were sufficient since the inside plate had been tack welded in place.  They also decided to use fine thread to have more grab in the cover wall.


10/21/13: Offsite Work. Mike and Carson: 2 hours.  Prepared 3/8″ plate steel for mounting inside differential cover.  Temporarily mounted to check clearances. Spoke with Hoel to acquire some plates of 3/8″ steel stock from the Machine Tool Lab.  Joel gave permission for us to look through scraps before cutting stock.  We found one 2″ x 6″ x 3/8″ plate that had to be cut to 5-3/4″ to fit in the corner.  Also machined one 1/2″ plate from scrap to 3/8″ to conserve materials and recycle old stock. This plate was also cute to 2″ x 5-3/4″ to fit in the cover.


10/8/13: Andrew, Mark, Bryan, Randy, Carson, and Mike arrived at 8:30 AM. The objective was to locate all remaining parts needed for the entire traction system. Andrew and Bryan found two of the original missing lube screws (PC-210 and PC-211) in the old shed. We confirmed the thread of the 8 missing 3/4″ lube screws in the center of the track. After leaving Leonard’s Mills we went to Fastenal to pickup 1-3/8″-8 threaded rod and 1-3/8″ nuts (4) to make the remaining (2)  PC-210 and 211 lube screws.  We also put together an invoice for future purchase  to make the 3/4″ lube screws: (8) 1/2″ x 1/4″ hex bushings, (8) 1/4″ x 1/8″ hex bushings, and 1/8″ NPT zerk fittings. The retrofitting of these zerk fittings would allow quicker, easier, and overall cleaner lubrication of the inner track.  Mark and Randy found that the track was missing part 71, which is a shoe for the roller track inside the track.  However, the long bolts that hold the shoe in place were missing so they went to Fastenal to put together an order for these 9″ long x 1/2″ bolts and nuts.  They also compared the tension of our track vs the Crooker, and also to pictures and schematics in the manual.  From this we concluded that the track may not need much adjusting. Mike and Carson took measurements for mounting differential cover using original brackets. Clearances were checked the plate inside the cover to fabricate the mounting system.  Mike also worked on the CAD drawings of the cover.  Austin assisted and coordinated the team altogether.  He also worked on patent research since we found that the two upper bearing covers were from two different cast versions.  We also worked on thank you letters for the kindly donated parts  by Fastenal.


10/1/13: Austin, Mark, and Randy arrived at 7:00A AM. Those that attended torqued all bolts on drivetrain to 150 ft-lbs so that we were safe to move the log hauler. Austin re-installed top bearing covers on log hauler.  Mark, Austin, and Randy lubed the drivetrain again to be sure it was safe to move into the new building.  Bryan and Andrew went to Fastenal in Old Town, ME to buy: 1/4″x3″ cotter pin for track, M8-1.25 fasteners (screws, nuts, washers) for differential cover, 1-3/8-8 UN threaded rod (3 ft) to make lube screws, and according nuts.  The threaded rod and nuts were kindly donated by Fastenal.


9/24/13: Arrived at 8:15 AM. Bryan, Andrew, Austin, Carson, and Mike attended. Today we continued searching for missing screws and parts as there were many miscellaneous places around the barn that they could have been.  We also worked to discover the exact size and thread that was needed.  Austin and Bryan worked to extract the broken screw from the bearing cover in the MTL.  To do this we had to bring the other bearing cover to compare the angles of the screw and then carefully secure the cover into the vice of the Vectrax CNC mill.  We found the angle was an even 30 degrees.  Upon drilling out the “screw” we realized it was in fact lead filler.  We perceive that this was a repair done back in the Lombard’s working days to fill in a stripped hole.  We also believe that this screw really doesn’t do much in the aid of lubrication since there is another screw that does the same thing.  So then, we continued to drill out as much as we could and then heated the rest with a torch and chiseled out the plug. Also, we discovered that the two bearing covers are different and one of them must be from a later machine.


9/17/13: Arrived at 8:35 AM.  Bryan, Andrew, Austin, Randy, Mark attended. Bryan and Andrew discovered there were missing covers for the lubrication of the main rear track axle.  Mark and Randy unrolled drive chains and lubricated/unsiezed some of the links.  The 100lb chains were moved with a wheel barrow into the new building.  Austin noticed the bearing cover had what appeared to be a broken bolt inside and took back to the campus machine shop for extraction.  Mark and Bryan discovered the differential cover had an issue with the main brackets that suspend it as the originals weren’t a perfect fit for this newly made cover, and there were newer brackets made which were poorly sized and/or welded together.  Also, as a team we discovered the differential cover need some metal plate welded to the inside to add thickness to the 1/’4 thick metal where we decided we would need to tap some holes to ease bolting the cover together.


9/10/13: Arriving at 7:35 AM. Bryan, Randy, Austin, Mark attended. This was our first work day on the Lombard site.  Today we worked to familiarize ourself with this new machine’s drivetrain, which we are responsible for.  We decided to tally up all of the missing parts, which mainly included a variety of screws and bolts that were used for the lubrication system. The tracks and chains had fortunately been refurbished since the last team worked on the Lombard.  We found there were 8 missing lube screws of approximately 7/8-14″ in size.  As well as 4 of 6 1″-3/8 screws for the main bearing covers.  There was one cotter pin missing from the main passenger side track.  There were missing bolts from the drivetrain cover, which was also not assembled.  And most importantly the whole machine had been neglected of any sort of lube.