2009 Blog

Once the weather was warm enough to work, I started by completing the work on the rear springs which I started last year, and the axle was replaced.

I then turned to the control unit in the cab.  Every time I started the bus, I had to short the terminals with a small screwdriver, because the starter button had never worked.  This was not ideal.  I know nothing about electrics (a black art) but had friends who did. I removed the control unit and cleaned up the components on the kitchen table.  At some point I acquired another control unit for spares, but it proved not to have much of value.

After close inspection of the cab-front, it was clear that the steel needed to be replaced.  This was a reasonably straight-forward job using the old steel as a former to cut new.  I also examined the headlamps, which are a focal point in any vehicle restoration.  One was reasonably good, the other was damaged and rusty.  Luckily I found a replacement shell on Ebay, and bought it.  Both would need attention from an engineer to repair the fittings, and they might need rechroming, but I felt that could wait.

Next item was the radiator.  I believed the working part of it was sound, but the cowl and fins were both in fairly bad shape.  Replacement radiators were not to be had.  The cowl had been bent at some point, apparently by someone trying to push the bus back with a JCB.  I turned to Bob the blacksmith (not for the first time) to straighten it out.  I then removed the fin-part and took it to a specialist radiator repair shop in Grantham.

A close inspection of the offside front wing showed that it had more holes than metal, and could not be repaired.  I found a company in Manchester that seemed to have the necessary skills and knowledge, and took the old wing up to them in the boot of my car.  

Having removed the wing, I could see that the cab-floor also needed some new steel, and took the old mangled rusty floor to Milton Keynes Metals who (eventually!) returned a new section, and a new "hoop" to fit over the wing.

Now having access to the area under the cab, I cleaned up all the major components, and tried to remove the brake-drum from the front offside wheel.  It would not shift, and with the help of a friend I removed the hub and drum together (a very heavy combination!) and then separated them by jumping up and down on them!

I also disassembled the driver's seat, repainted the support frame, and built a new plywood frame which I then took to an upholsterer in Godmanchester together with the mangled remains of the old seat.

While cleaning up the under-cab area, I found that an oil seal on the steering drop-arm was faulty, dried-out and deformed.  It would have to be replaced, but of course the drop-arm did not want to come free.  I attached a puller and tightened it a little each day, but to no apparent effect.  Then on Bob's advice I asked James to apply some heat, and within 5 seconds, the drop-arm JUMPED off the spline, and we could remove the seal in its brass holder.

A local friend with a metal-lathe was asked to make a new seal-holder, which he did, and James used his contacts to obtain a new rubber seal which needed a small amount of machining to make it fit in the holder.  A good job done!

In October I collected the new wing from Manchester, and was delighted to see what a good job they had done.  I also collected the cab-floor sections from Milton Keynes and was therefore able to work on rebuilding the entire cab area.  Fitting the new hoop, wing and cab-floor was not an easy job, but eventually things went together well, and the results were pleasing.