|There's been a little pause in the restoration of RT3316, so that I could take a short holiday. We all deserve a break every now and again, so a few days in the Canary Islands was called for. What with everything else that needed doing, work on the bus was not as intensive as it has been.|
Having said that, I consulted further with various sources of information including Dave Simmons at Tilsworth with regards to the bowing of the nearside pillars and received advice on how the pillar was not actually one piece but was separate upper and lower deck pillars connected by two brackets. One bracket extends from the lower pillar across (above) the lower saloon ceiling. This ceiling is attached to the lower edge of this bracket. The other bracket is bolted to the lower one and sits above it, extending from the upper deck pillar inwards, providing a curved support for the upper saloon foot well panels to connect to. These smaller brackets have corroded. There is also a separate mild steel curved panel that sweeps downwards and is intended to act as an additional seal against water ingress. It didn't work as it is corroded along the whole length. Having discussed its usefulness (it's not structural), I've decided not to replace that piece.[edited: I've had further discussion with regards to this - known as the inter roof can't rail plate - and have been told that it is very important and that it supports the upper saloon floor and without it, the floor will sag. I am still unconvinced, partly due to the diagrams (it connects on the outer edge to a piece of wood, which can't possibly be keeping the upper saloon floor in place), partly due to all the other more significant pieces that support the floor and also because I don't have any can't rail plates now and upstairs is definitely still there. You use your own judgement and like everything else that I write, don't take what I say as gospel. I do make mistakes.]
I was able to secure what is possibly the last rear window pan for an RT still in existence (that is not fitted to a bus). It is not new and needs some repair, but it is just minor corrosion around the edges. The actual pan is in really good condition. That's really good news as what was on the bus was a mish mash of odd pieces that was previously bonded together with filler, putty and God knows what. It was a mess and was purely cosmetic external surfaces, that were not very good. It would have been impossible to create a watertight surround from what I had. I now have all the components to construct a proper rear window on the platform. I also measured this one up and have prepared a drawing so that it can be possible for further rear window pans to be made up, as needed by other RT owners in the future.
The seat frames from downstairs have now moved upstairs for storage whilst the lower saloon is tackled. To gain access to the pillars and their brackets, a panel has been removed above the can't rail. This panel is the length of two bays, so it is quite a big one. Although it was intended to stick to one bay at a time, we're having to remove additional panels to get visibility and access to neighbouring areas. It has to be done.
Some of the removed parts will be put back soon. Ken and Barry have constructed a superb bracket arrangement for the waist rails. These are not original brackets but are specially constructed to brace and provide support for the eroded pillars, whilst being stronger than the original waist rail brackets, they will be bolted to the pillars and to the waist rails, but will only be marginally heavier than the parts which they replace. In order to achieve this, a tool was made to press the new brackets to fit the replacement waist rails (allowing the securing bolts to be recessed as per the original design). I've seen the new parts in pre-assembly mode. Photos will be added in the future when they are assembled.
However, before they go in, we need to take up the floor in the lower saloon (probably most of it). The channel along the nearside edge has rusted away and there is nothing left of it at the rearmost part. Thus, the floor on the nearside (ahead of the rear wheel arch), is not supported. It simply stretches across the central floor support channels. At the edges of the floor boards, the wood is rotten (dry and flaky). From below the floor doesn't look bad, but some of the edges of the floor boards have water in down the outside of the bus, get in around the can't rail and window pans, subsequently running down the hidden side of the interior skin and ending up on the edges of the floor boards.