Friday, 30 September 2016

HCD350E - September 2016

In January and November 2015, we reported on work to completely rebuild an exchange engine for our 1967, Northern Counties 'Panoramic' bodied Leyland PD3/4: the present engine has been showing its age over the past few years. Much of the work was carried out by a local engineer to our specification and we are pleased to say that the rebuilt engine has now been returned to us.

Completed tasks included: regrinding the crank shaft, fitting of new liners and pistons, skimming the block face and cylinder heads and fitting new bearings, shells, seals and valves. We will 'dress' the engine with brackets for the fuel pump, alternator and starter motor as the engine is fitted to the bus - expected to be during the coming winter. Here are a selection of photographs taken during the rebuild process.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Workshop matters - August 2016

One of the less successful design elements of the Leyland vertical O.600 engines, (which power all our double deck buses), is the adjustable fan belt pulley mechanism which also doubles as the alternator drive shaft unit. The problem stems from the fact the adjuster, which takes up the fan belt slack, is a screwed turnbuckle affair which will happily seize with no encouragement whatsoever. This results in the weakening of the surrounding cast steel housing, leading to cracks or breaks and eventual loss of adjustment to the fan belts, with inevitable risk of the engine overheating and the alternator not charging the batteries.

These units are less common than they once were and we have introduced a rolling programme of reconditioning. The photograph shows one of the pulleys undergoing heating by gas torch. The extreme temperature goes some way to breaking the rust seal within the adjuster joints and makes it less likely the casting will break on disassembly.

After the unit has cooled down, it will be suspended in diesel to penetrate and lubricate the joints. Once in bits, any repairs will be carried out before final reassembly. The unit will then be swapped for another, and so on.

2722CD - August 2016

Here are a couple of views of the new seats, freshly arrived from our trimmer, in the process of being fitted to the reconditioned seat frames in Leopard coach 1722. Green moquette to the original 1961 pattern is finished with brown leather panels and cream leather piping. Not only do they look fantastic, they smell rather wonderful too!

Sunday, 24 July 2016

HCD350E - July 2016

All of our buses and coaches are fitted with traditional mechanical hand brake levers; in the case of the Leyland PD3 double deck buses, these protrude through the cab floor and have rubber or leather gaiters to cut down draughts. Recently, the rubber gaiter assembly in the cab of bus 350 was renewed: the old ones having split. Firstly the existing was removed.

The new assembly is seen set out ready for fitting.

And the new gaiter in place.

972CUF - July 2016

The entrance steps are being replaced on this vehicle. Firstly, the entrance doors were removed and will be subject to separate restoration. Then, mouldings and fixtures around the entrance were removed and inspected; some items are in good condition and will see further service, whilst other parts will be replaced. The steps could then be taken out leaving the bare frames.

These have been cleaned up and primed. The new step boards are currently being made and fitted. The opportunity has also been taken to clean and polish areas of aluminium such as around the front bulkhead. More updates will follow.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

2722CD - July 2016

Much has happened since the last update in March: the vehicle is being reseated to its original configuration of 28 reclining, luxury Chapman seats to a 2+1 layout. The last report told of the installation of the new floor being mostly complete and ancillary objects such as heaters being fitted. A successful trial fitting of a seat frame meant that painting of the many parts which make up each seat could go ahead. Combined, there were nearly 300 individual items to paint. This was a long process and items were batched so as to create enough space for drying. Parts are seen awaiting brown top coat, whilst those already coated are hanging up to dry.

Each part was then inspected for quality control prior to the painstaking task of assembly. The first of the double seat frames can be seen here during assembly.

Once assembled, each frame was fitted in its final position inside the vehicle. These views show some of the single frames in position awaiting their backs and bases, now due for delivery this month.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Workshop matters - July 2016

Keeping a small fleet of vintage vehicles in tip-top condition requires good maintenance facilities and equipment. The latest 'additions to the fleet' as it were, are two brand new state of the art 15 tonne Tangye jacks. Standing at about 10 inches, these replace the last of the vintage 'bottle' jacks which have given many years sterling service, but sadly are now past their useful life: the cost of servicing and repair being prohibitive. 

Tangye is an English firm which started business in 1856. In 1858, they produced the hydraulic rams which launched the SS Great Eastern. Tangye said of the project: We launched the Great Eastern and she launched us. Hydraulic equipment is still being produced today in Accrington and these new jacks join our 20 tonne equipment made by the same firm. New and previous generation jacks are seen here together.