18 September 2016

Offside front bulkhead repair

Most followers of this blog like to see pictures of the RT's sleek curves and iconic design, but there are none of those to post at the moment. Restoring 3316 is a time-consuming process, even with the right tools and pieces available. There are many significant tasks, including the repair of the lower section of the offside of the front bulkhead. This was so badly corroded behind the front offside wheel, that the whole section in bay 1 on the right hand side was hanging loose and could easily have collapsed, dropping anyone sitting there to fall through the bottom of the bus. Well, perhaps that is a bit extreme as even a rusty old bus is held together quite well by the sum of all the parts.

The lower section behind the driver had to be cut out. That's the skin on both sides and the main inverted U channel across the bottom. It was beyond repair and so I cut back to the good metal. A new beefier rectangular box section was prepared with the bottom edge cut away near the outer edge of the bus to permit access to the reverse side (enabling connecting the new floor channel bracket for bay one). This was welded to the front bulkhead and given the 'hit the darn thing with the biggest hammer I have' test, which it passed (but hurt my hand). A section of steel was cut for the front skin and welded to the front edge of the bulkhead. All the surface and minor rust on the rest of the bulkhead section was treated with rust treatment. That had to be left for a day to do its thing. After which the section inside the bulkhead area was painted with black bitumen paint. It may never be seen again, but I don't want it to rust from the inside. The picture below shows this stage.

This needed another day to dry, but I gave it two days to be sure.

Then today the rearmost face (already treated) was welded on. Some seam welding and some spot welding (as appropriate) and also prepared a lower section step to reproduce the original profile. Once welded on and cleaned up, the whole section was painted with black bitumen paint. The final outcome is pictured below.

I can move on to the next bit now.

12 September 2016

Stand back from the platform edge ...

I've been multi-tasking lately, with a new mini-project that I took on alongside everything else. I was able to get my hands on an electric wheelchair that my mother really needs right now. It needed a complete strip down and refurbishment; brackets were missing and it needed new batteries, various bolts replacing, rust treatment and general sprucing. However, in the space of a week I've managed to deliver a fully working, tidy second hand lifeline. Alongside that, I've spent many hours at the bus too. But not all of that time has been productive on the bus. I added stabilizing supports to my cherry picker and in doing so uncovered a problem with the jockey wheels being nearly flat. The trouble is that the valve on one of the twin wheels had disappeared inside the rim. I digress; it needed fixing and was time consuming. Last, but not least, the bus.

The platform edge is now complete. Ken completed the brackets from the stanchion and the outer shaped wood on the platform edge. Supported by a 3 x 1 rectangular steel bar with outward facing support brackets, the perfectly shaped treated ash far exceeds the strength of any other RT platform without compromising on size or shape. It's almost a work of art in its own right.

Today that piece of art was fitted. It was such a tight fit that bolts on adjacent parts had to be loosened to permit everything to slot into place. The outer shaped piece is connected by bolts that have a screw profile at one end that is driven into the ash. The platform itself is still yet to be made (using marine grade plywood) alone with a supporting piece at the foot of the stairs that connects to the battery riser, but here is an indication of what it will look like with the rubber matting.

That's a little bit more achieved 👍