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  1. #1
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
    Posts
    100

    Big, Expensive, Drinks Fuel, Oft Runs Dry; Really Loud

    I thought, for gits and shiggles, I'd do a thread here for my current project, though it's 'home' is on HMVF. Not so much a rod, more of a big bloody sod.

    Big, Expensive, Drinks Fuel, Oft Runs Dry; Really Loud.

    Back when she first turned up, February 2016. I missed the actual drop-off, but the tyres hadn't even had time to cool from the trip up by the time I got down to the workshop.


    I had to commit a minor act of abuse to get the driver's door to open; with no glass in the door, it's had plenty of time to fill with rainwater and rust, so the latch mechanism had seized up. I took the handle off the outside, thinking it was locked, and that made no difference; then 'shimmed' the thing open with a screwdriver from the inside.
    Then bashed the locking tooth bit thing in with a hammer so I didn't have to pry the door open every time.




    L.W. Vass strikes again! They apparently did a lot of these ex-services trucks...


    In this truck's case, it was fitted with Harvey Frost 5-ton recovery gear, lifting an A-frame with a... hitch-board type thing for want of a better way of putting it; a quick squirt of WD-40 loosened up the crusted grease, and my brother and I cranked it all the way down then back up again. It seems to move pretty smoothly, when unloaded; it remains to be seen how nice it is to work it when it's got 5 tons on it, though.

    Also, check it! Got two spare wheels with it; though they're fitted with 11.00-20s, rather than the 9.00-20s that are on the rest of the truck. 3-piece wheels sketch me out a little bit, though.



    Used hard! 48899 on the clock; though the speedo cable had packed in, and it was only a month or so back that I figured out why. How classy are those gauges, though?

    First step, at this point, was to free the engine up; so, spark-plugs out and start squirting an oil & petrol mix down the bores to break up any gunge and apply some lubrication. In my case, it was iso32 hydraulic oil that I used, but I guess it doesn't really matter.

    Then, in the other thread, up cropped a possible disaster...
    Quote Originally Posted by doug fleet
    I have just looked at my photos and yes this is the same one. it was saved from the scrap man by Patrick Cullum of Colchester who was a big Bedford fan. it was going for scrap because it had dropped a valve . so don't try and start it
    Ooh-er.

  2. #2
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
    Posts
    100
    Well, the next weekend rolled around; and I'd been doing my research, as well as nipping out to her every lunchtime to apply a bit more of the foul-smelling oil & petrol mix.

    (Confession time: I can't stand the smell of petrol, just sends the shudders right through me. Diesel, on the other hand, is a glorious smell... ditto that slight haze of diesel exhaust from the older stuff... and transmission oil... Er. I think I'm broken.)

    Anyway! The next weekend, I took the rocker cover off to have a look for a sign of a dropped valve; and it was a great relief to see nothing out of the ordinary. My brother once again joined forces with me, and we hoiked all the front panels off, and made to take the radiator out. This involved some hacksawing of now-solid radiator hoses, and the draining of fluid (not necessarily in that order!); the fluid thankfully turned out to be antifreeze -- the good old sweet-tasting stuff that makes you blind.

    It's worth bearing in mind, at this point, that we drained quite a lot of coolant out; three-quarters worth of one of those yellow plasterers' buckets, so the radiator clearly held fluid.

    With the radiator out and stowed safely in the bed of the truck, I put my big (24") adjustable on the nut on the end of the crankshaft pulley, and puuuuuuulled...

    ...and it shifted. Not much, but it shifted. More oil glopped into the bores, more pulling, and eventually it was turning fairly easily. After turning it over a few times by hand, making sure there were no horrible noises or sudden stops, I borrowed the battery out of my car and connected it up.

    Moment of truth... I hit the big old starter button, One of those old Lucas ones that switch the whole starter current, and it sizzled a little, let out a bit of smoke, and...

    the starter motor wound the motor over with no problem. A little wiggle of joy was performed; and I decided to proceed with haste!

    So I hurtled out to my (long-suffering) local parts store, who play a large role in this story, and bought a battery; which I very nearly dropped through the floor of the truck when I went to install it, because the battery box was rotten right out...

    (Seriously, local parts places with people behind the counter who know what they're doing, who can look things up by sizes and shapes, who can find stuff that matches even though they don't have a registration or VIN to look up... Support them when you can; because the Internet might be cheaper, but you'll have a hell of a time taking an old oil filter element in to the Internet and asking if they have anything that matches it.)

    By this time, the engine had freed up very nicely, and was cranking like a champion even with the spark-plugs in; but there was no spark. Yet more parts were put on order -- new coil and condensor -- and I started to plot just how much wiring I was going to have to do; because the crumbly old cotton-over-rubber stuff was a nightmare.

    Quote Originally Posted by radiomike7
    My memory of RLs is smashing your elbow on the back of the cab when changing from 1st to 2nd.....

  3. #3
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
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    100
    And, before you knew it, the next episode rolled around; a brand new coil and condensor -- both in green Lucas boxes -- were fitted, and we had spark!

    Unfortunately, it wasn't really happening at the right times; there was plenty of chuffing out of the carby, and an almighty WHUMPH out of the exhaust, which I later found to have burst the muffler.

    So I retired to do some research, and wait for my head to stop spinning from the fumes; then returned to sort out the plug leads... getting the right order was easy enough, it's cast into the intake manifold, but finding out which one was meant to be cylinder 1 was a slightly different matter.

    I initially tried the "wire down the plug-hole" method, but because of the angle that the plugs are at, that didn't work. Anyway, I found TDC on number one, rearranged all the plug leads -- they were in the right order, but rotated by two positions around the dizzy -- and cranked it...

    ...

    And I was so surprised by it firing up and purring away on the carb-cleaner I was squirting down its throat, I nearly fell out of the cab.



    Quote Originally Posted by Tamber
    Quote Originally Posted by Zero-Five-Two
    Quote Originally Posted by Tamber
    Now gently vibrating with excitement.
    Is that the truck or yourself, then?
    Yes!
    Half of an oil-change got done; namely, the "drain it out" bit. It was black as night, and reeked of petrol -- both ancient and new -- but it was still liquid. I half-filled a 20 litre oil drum that I'd chopped a hole in the side of, then managed to drop the filter into it when I got the housing to free off. Because that's just what happens...

  4. #4
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
    Posts
    100
    ---- Direct copy of the original post ----

    Buckled prop-shaft is out... At some point, when I'm closer to having it drivable, I'll drop it off somewhere to see what they say about making it more... er... prop-shaft shaped.



    I got the ancient and crusty radiator hose chiselled off, and the metal pipe bits cleaned up -- painted, too, in the case of the steel one -- with some new bits of radiator hose applied where appropriate. Not entirely all back together yet, though...

    I don't want to put the radiator back in until I've got an alternator fitted, simply because I have plenty of access and light without the radiator in the way; and I'm expecting some fiddling about making/tweaking brackets and such-forth to line up the pulley. Plus, this should prevent me causing damage to the radiator while trying to make everything fit.

    Not yet decided what alternator I'm going to use, but it'll probably be whatever's cheapest that I can get to fit. I can't foresee huge electrical demands, so something in the region of 55A will probably do just fine.

    I'm also still making up my new electrical 'schematic', which I'll share when it's complete if there's any interest; but it's probably a little over-engineered for most, I'd suspect. (Vehicle electrics is something I do a lot of and quite enjoy, for the most part)

    After I get the alternator and electric fuel pump put in, radiator reinserted and plumbed, and enough of the rewiring done to get the important bits working; I'll see if I can get the engine to run on liquid fuel through the carb, and if successful, I will probably make a very slow and careful lap of the industrial estate.

    Then I'll probably attack it with the power washer, and remove a lot of the built up gunge around everything; makes it a lot easier to see where the grease-nipples are, for one...

    Edit: Ooh! And if it moves under its own power, I can run it over the weigh-bridge and actually get a weight ticket for it.

    Further edit: I did manage to finish the oil-change, btw. An equivalent filter element is readily available, via the usual parts stores; I took the old one in -- stamped AC 72 in the top -- and they got a Sogefi FA3448; but there are apparently quite a few different equivalents

    ---- END OF COPY ----

    Then, armed with my cheapie electric fuel pump, new alternator, and a new belt which the parts place matched up with the split remains of the old one... I started throwing parts at the truck.
    The fuel pump was bodge-wired in just so it would run (...I should note, there was a fuse; it was a bodge, not a death-trap!)

    And, of course, it'd be rude not to have a play, wouldn't it?


    At that point, the plan was to adjust the little rear mounting bracket that came off the dynamo and extend it to support the rear of the alternator (which was shorter, but fatter); re-fit the radiator, and refill with coolant; then have a trundle around the industrial estate!

    The next day I got to work on the truck, I tweaked the bracket -- extended 30mm, and the mounting ear made taller by 10mm -- so it supported the alternator; carefully refit the radiator, and started pouring coolant in...

    ...only for it all to start pouring out of the bottom. Disaster!

  5. #5
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Bucks
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    2,994
    Great writing style; good to read. Looking forward to the rest of the story... (end of copy) does give away someone who has done write ups/articles before.

    Thanks for posting

  6. #6
    Site Team
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    Jun 2013
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    United Kingdom Heathrowish.
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    Really interesting!

  7. #7
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
    Posts
    100
    With that unpleasant discovery made, I made a quick hunt for a nearby radiator shop; where I dropped the rad off for them to inspect. I had hope that it wouldn't be too bad, as his preliminary assessment was that it was a cracked end-tank.

    The next day, the phone rang, and it wasn't good news.

    The core was rotten, from the top down.


    I had three options: Find a modern radiator and bodge it to fit; re-core with a modern core; or re-core it with a vintage style core.
    My wallet cried quietly; but I went with the re-core option using a modern core, since I'm not terribly concerned with originality, but finding a matching modern core would have been a whole headache of its own.

    During the few weeks or so that I was sans radiator, I bodged up a total-loss cooling system and made a quick run to the other end of the workshop to run the truck over the weighbridge...

    ----------------------
    13:13:25 25 Mar 16

    Vehicle: 5970kg
    Number of axles: 2

    Axle 1: 2480kg
    Axle 2: 3490kg

    Speed: 0.8km/h
    ----------------------

    The thermostat worked admirably, shown by the huge gushes of steam whenever it opened; but I'd nearly boiled everything out by the time I got her thrown back into the yard.
    It was that day that I discovered just how loud a beastie she'd be, with that Zenith whistling away perched atop the intake manifold, and the very short exhaust...

    A week or two passed by, with nothing more than gentle pottering; until I got a call from the radiator shop.





    Phoenix Radiators, in Chorley, did a wonderful job. And then I dinged the paint fitting it back in; it's kinda heavy and a bit awkward to re-fit by yourself; what with that beam across the front for a tow-bar.

    Leak free, now! Aside from the myriad small leaks from every hose-clamp I loosened, touched, or looked at funny during the process; the usual, really. To make sure, I ran her up to temperature, and decided to turn her around again; which was an interesting -- and exhausting -- task since some silly sod parked a cherry-picker right where I needed go to through, so I had to do a loop around it.

    Have I mentioned that the steering's heavy? Well, it's heavy. Very heavy. (Though it's beginning to free up surprisingly well, now.) And there are no mirrors. (Still no mirrors, though. I tried to fix one of the broken ones by using mirror plastic. It's less than worthless.)

    -----

    Thanks, fad. That is high praise indeed! Don't worry, there's plenty more to come... at this point, I'm up to the beginning of April or so.

  8. #8
    The Human Tripod
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Ashby de la Zouch
    Posts
    220
    Excellent, always liked old recovery trucks so keep the updates coming.

  9. #9
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
    Posts
    100
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony B
    The magic moments. IT RUNS! IT MOVES!
    Now to start work on getting it to stop! As the saying goes, it's a bugger if it don't go, but a catastrophe if it don't stop. (It still don't stop. I've only had a couple of close calls, though.)


    Brake servo, and master cylinder.


    What the manual says the servo and m/c is supposed to look like.

    Hm. Hmm. Hmmmm.

    So I had a fiddle about, and looked for some casting marks or part numbers; but didn't have an amazing amount of luck. So into the Empire of Shite it went, and sat for a bit; while I focussed on pulling the old winch rope off.

    Did I mention there's a winch?

    TRUCK 3-TON GS 4x4 BEDFORD WITH WINCH


    Well. There's a PTO driven winch mounted in the chassis, built in from factory; a 5-ton Turner model. I eventually figured out how to engage the PTO -- it's interlocked in the transfer case levers; can't engage PTO without the transfer case being in neutral -- and cut the end off the winch rope to let off some of the strain of it being pulled so tight against where the end was hooked.

    Maybe I didn't need to cut the end off, in retrospect, but either way, the winch rope was shot.

    Wouldn't like to take that up to 5 tons of pull; that's a recipe for someone getting hurt if it snaps. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but winch rope isn't immensely expensive. (I've got my eye on 30m of appropriately sized replacement wire rope at 12/meter. The truck was originally specified with over twice that amount, according to the manual; 250 feet, in particular. I don't think I'll need that much winch rope. I've been wrong before, though.)

    Damn near killed me dragging that bundle down to the other end of the workshop, though.
    A little more pottering about got the windscreens freed up, so I can open them again.


    Classy or what?

  10. #10
    Metal-Glueing Idiot
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Bolton
    Posts
    100
    At this point, I decided I'd best tackle the brakes again; because it would be nice to stop via a method other than "hoping really really hard".

    Brake servo and master cylinder were separated...


    The rubber boot pulled off the back of the master cylinder, to expose...


    Schmoo! Well, that would explain all the crud built up in the servo linkage chamber. Now, at this point, the linkage that connected to the pedal (by a very long linkage. Bedford's designers liked their big linkages.) was flopping about freely, while the push-rod that shoved on the back of the master cylinder was showing no signs of movement.

    So, smart as I is, I decided to pull off that big black cylinder that sticks out of the front. A word of caution, here: It contains spring-a-mathings. Even though I was expecting it to, and bracing against it, it spring-a-mathung. I did contain all the bits, though.


    Pleased by my success there, I went to take the big daft chamber off the back of it; bracing myself for more spring-a-mathings. There weren't any, but there was a lot of crud.


    The big chamber on the back, which I think is just an air accumulator, is also the back cover of the servo; so taking that off exposed the linkages.


    Doesn't look too complex, does it? Though there were parts of it that were definitely not happy in the slightest; particularly that fixed pin on the right, which appears to have been soaked in gunge for goodness-knows how long.

    Anyway, over my lunch break, I dragged the mechanism-y bit and the Big Daft Chamber over to the pressure washer and gave it a good blasting down; which made it easier to handle. Then I used my 3 pm break to wire-brush the rust off -- 4" grinder and a wire cup brush FTW! Just be really careful that it doesn't snag an edge and kick back, or you lose fingerprints and sizeable chunks of flesh before you can say "Ow" --, and paint, the outside of the pneumatic assist piston's cylinder; looks rather nice, now, in satin black.

    Anyway, then I had to get the mechanism working again. I broke out the hot air-gun and gave it some warmth, and a lot of penetrating oil. After three or four goes around with this routine -- eyes watering heavily in the fumes of vapourising Double TT -- I eventually got it to start moving!

    With this wind in my sails, I broke out the air-gun, and started applying pressure to the assist piston. Whereupon it went to the end of its travel, and stuck there. Damn.
    Cue levering on the mechanism to reset it, and a few more cycles of heat & oil, and behold!



    The port I first applied pressure to, the wrong one, is the outlet of a little valve that's acted upon by the underside of the linkage to feed controlled air pressure to the assist ram. (It's since turned out that valve is actually missing some bits. In particular, uh, the poppet valve itself. What a bugger.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Zero-Five-Two
    I have found that keeping your pinkies away from sharp and pointy things like the noisy end of grinders is important. Blood letting is not too good for morale.
    Also, a quick peek under the lid of the master cylinder...

    Black as anything, and stunk vaguely... fishy.

    At this point, I set the brakes aside for a while; to revisit later, and decided to start on putting some metal back into the cab. Now, when I start talking about the body-work on this truck, you'll have to brace yourself; it's ugly.

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