21 April 2019

Spring has sprung

Just in time for Easter, the bitter cold wind has finally been forced away, to be replaced by weather that is more like the height of summer. So it’s back to the restoration work, although my motivation has been a bit dampened by the cold snap interlude. Plus the fact that the tasks at the top of my list do not thrill me. First up - revisiting one of the opening windows. This is one of the new ones that I had noticed had an issue. The issue is that with each turn of the handle, it slipped on both ends. That is unusual for a new window, as if it was not put together properly, I would still only expect it to slip on one end. But perhaps I was having a bad day when I put this one together - time to find out. The window was removed from the bus and examined on the bench. It looked as though it was properly fitted and properly tightened. The only thing to do is to remove it and check the cogs and ladders.

I hate it when that happens. Just as the lower pane was being released from the frame, it shattered. Totally unrelated to the issue, but now the problem just got a whole lot worse. With the window now completely out (and a whole bunch of tidying up done), I was able to determine that the original cause of the slipping wasn’t anything to do with the new pan, cogs, ladders or the fitting together of everything. It was actually the handle cog, which is nigh impossible to remove without the right equipment (which I don't have). The handle has a cog behind it which turns against another cog connected to a rod. Those two cogs were where the problem was. Probably a worn tooth on one or the other or both.
The answer was to opt for a backup window mechanism and the last piece of glass that I have. Both were in a terrible state and they were not adjoined. The glass was attached to a faulty mechanism and needed carefully separating from it, significant cleaning and attaching to the other mechanism. All very time consuming, delicate and not exactly easy. The whole process took more than a day, but finally I was able to achieve my goal of a fully functional opening window, which was ,then refitted to the bus. So much pain, but at least there was gain.

Next on the list - the emergency exit. I have two. The one that came on the bus is in a terrible state, so I picked up another, which is better, but still not great. I reluctantly began to assess and partially dismantle it. Who was I kidding? It was clearly going to have to be stripped down to all of its individual components. ‘Not great’ was an understatement. One bottom corner was so badly rusted that most of it had crumbled away and only the bit you could see from the outside survived. There were holes in plenty of other places around the frame and quite a lot of rust. The timber that ran across the top of the window was flaking away in my hands and the whole piece was as light as a feather - a very bad sign. A lot of these emergency exits are actually screwed shut to hide their condition - it is a part that suffers from the elements. It is also a tricky one to repair, as the next three days would confirm for me.

The problem with welding these window pans is that the existing steel has corroded such that even in the good spots, it is thinner than it originally was. Consequently, a lot of holes get blown in them, even on the lowest setting. The only bit to survive in the rotten corner was the curved outer edge. This had to be welded to sone donor steel to complete the outer surface, which can’t afford to have any surface weld. So it’s weld, grind, sand - quite a few times. The recess for the window rubber had to be cut from an old window pan (a regular one) and welded into position, welding up any gaps and ensuring that 1. The depth of the channel remained constant and right for the rubber 2. That the lip to the outer face remained correct, so that the rubber does not sit proud. All of this and I also had to ensure that the pan remained flat and in the right position so that the window would still fit and that the whole thing does not change in size.

The near side edge was completely corroded away and the brass edge trim had been hiding the void. A new piece of steel was added, but the gap will be have filler added as trying to complete this edge by welding will blow away too much of the existing steel. After lots of welds were added and finished off, the whole lot had rust inhibitor applied, which also contains a primer. It was applied liberally in a warm temperature, so that the chemical reaction was assured along with the all important future protection.

A new piece of wood was prepared for the top of the window. This timber has a beautiful aroma, especially when cutting or sanding it. Working outdoors is such a pleasure on warm, dry, sunny days.

The emergency exit window pan was finished off with some filler to cover the imperfections and then treated to some etch primer. The parts then had a nice bake in the sun to cure the paint. I did a bit more on the front dome and fitted the off side panel that wraps around the front corner. The cant piece above the front cab window was etch primed and allowed to cure.

Having taken a look at what I previously posted, I haven’t included that I did some rewiring. The fog light that had stopped working is now working again and it involved rewiring the headlights too and fitting the correct bulbs. The fuse box and starter switch covers were rubbed down whilst I was at it, as they had only been half done.

FaceBook page stats are becoming completely meaningless!

Work continues.

Happy Easter 2019!

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