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Thursday, 14 June 2018
The annual pilgrimage to the Epsom Derby by a number of our vehicles recently allowed some workshop space to be used to set out the new timber top rail for the near-side of 1828. The top rail is the point where the body side ends and the curve of the roof begins, hence top rail (top of the body side). Running the full length of the vehicle and therefore coming in at almost 30 feet in length, the rail has to be spliced together from a number of different pieces. Ash is used due to its flexibility, durability, cost and weight. Needles to say, it's not cheap! Here we see the wood set out in one of the bus bays.
The timber has been carefully measured and is here being cut to length. Next comes the complicated part: setting out the curve of the body shape to exactly fit the vehicle. This has proved extremely time consuming as almost 50% of the original rail is missing, having rotted away after years of abandonment. Imagine too, the tops of the body pillars have to fit precisely in to this rail, as do the hoops which hold up the roof. The next picture was taken to show the extent of the curve built in to this massive piece of wood. Don't forget, the other side will have to be attended to later.
Saturday, 31 March 2018
In January we showed you work which had taken place inside the vehicle, with particular emphasis on the new floor. This task has since been completed, including the onerous work around the wheel arches. The final result is particularly pleasing.
Meanwhile, the rear end of the vehicle is coming together nicely; the boot doors look particularly fine.
Finally, the panels fitted to the off-side of the vehicle have been stripped as a prelude to the windows being removed over the coming months. The glass will be cleaned, window frames refurbished and new rubbers made.
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
One job which has been ongoing for some considerable time, but is now happily moving forward nicely, is the refurbishment of the drive mechanism for the 'sunshine roof' - a part of the roof which can be slid open via a chain driven mechanism and electric motor.
Just about everything that you can see in this picture was falling or had fallen to bits. The drive shaft coming in from above, rotates on a small bearing through a 90 degree knuckle. The bearing had collapsed and an enormous amount of time was spent identifying and replacing it. The drive chain going off to the left was barely recognisable. However, enough remained to inform us that it was effectively obsolete. After much searching, one of our team discovered a gentleman with some old stock which he was willing to let us purchase. The whole contraption was reassembled and the result most gratifying.
Recently, the replacement plywood floor has been filled and machine sanded and new sheets of green 'Treadamaster' (a rubberised composite flooring) laid. These two shots were taken during this process.
Next steps include fitting of the repaired saloon heating ducts.
Saturday, 6 January 2018
Winter has reminded us of how chilly the days can be and although we do not run at this time of year, the buses need to have working heaters for those odd occasions during the summer months when the days are cool and damp. The heaters in 972 are generally in reasonable shape, although one was missing altogether! We've raided our spares and started the process of stripping down the heater boxes - there are four, two in each saloon. The photographs here show some of the various parts being taken back to bare metal.
Meanwhile, we've set about servicing a set of CAV wiper motors ready for eventual fitting. They are left and right handed and are identified by coloured tape (white or green) as Southdown used to do. This pair have just been put back together and await a coat of paint before receiving their colour coding.
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
The winter is upon us and the buses have been put away until the spring. Now the engineering fun starts! First in the queue is our 1964 Leyland PD3 number 406 which has come in for some well-deserved TLC. The cylinder heads which were previously fitted to car 350's old engine, (the one which was removed last winter after a refurbished one was installed), have been sent away and completely stripped down. The surfaces of each head were skimmed to make them true and replacement valve guides and brand new valves (sourced from eBay!) fitted. They were recently delivered back to us and are seen here nicely wrapped.
The plan is to remove the existing heads from 406's engine and replace them with the refurbished ones. This project was driven by the existing head gaskets showing signs of stress and suspected valve wear. The engine itself is the original one fitted to the bus when we bought it from Southdown in 1988 and generally performs well. The thinking is, that refurbished cylinder heads should prolong the engine life for many years to come. Here we see the inside of 406's engine bay with the old cylinder heads during and after removal.
A thorough inspection and clean ensued prior to the new heads being fitted (seen here).
We have been lucky enough to source some army surplus CAV type injectors to replace the existing Leyland ones: the latter being obsolete and no longer sensibly repairable due to lack of parts. However, spares for the CAV type can still be sourced. Two of the refurbished set of six are seen here.
Whilst the engine job has been coming to its conclusion, another team has removed the anti-roll bar attached to the rear axle. One of the large rubber bushes was showing early signs of wear and so a replacement has been fitted. This photograph shows the unit way from the bus.
The next job on 406 is to adjust the front springs and also replace the remaining rubber bushes within the engine support brackets.