Sunday, 14 July 2013

RTW335 on the move!

Today was a great day after a few frustrating weeks with RTW335's air valve which has prevented the bus getting gears. After sending the valve to two normally reliable suppliers for either overhaul or replacement (who did not come up trumps) we eventually had to wave the white flag and send the valve back to Ensignbus who managed to locate a new unit. This was returned to us and quickly refitted. With anticipation we tried to fire up RTW335 but it refused to start - fuel in tank but not fuel at engine where required. Anyway, many man hours later we located a decaying twig blocking the fuel line and finally today (after a few hours overtime!) we got RTW335 mobile with gears again, and it sounds wonderful! It is also (apart from a few minor jobs) ready for painting.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

RTW goes mobile!

Another breakthrough this week with RTW335 - it is now fully mobile again! Excuse the poor quality mobile phone picture, but this week has seen the bus on our Hywemas in our servicing workshop. Although we got the engine running a few weeks ago, the fuel lines got blocked and so now the tanks have been completely drained removing some very dirty liquid. At the same time, the compressor belts have been changed and various air valves removed, stripped down & refitted to solve the lack of gears problem. The engine oil, that seemed to be 50% water, has also been completely drained and replaced and finally new filters fitted. Finally, RTW335 was dropped down off the Hywemas, started up and engaged gears - it is now mobile once again!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Let there be lights!

Rewiring of RTW335 is nearing completion and the view below shows the small & headlights glowing, as well as all interior and destination lights. Also this week, the first fibreglass mould for the opening window units was returned and trial fitted - and now further examples can be produced.
RTW335 ablaze with light following the completion of rewiring.
Meanwhile, the upper deck flooring is now almost complete and looks superb!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A window pan - at last!

After several false starts, not to mention the mileage travelled by some of the corroded RTW window pans around potential suppliers, I think we now have a template for RTW335. The window pans, which differ from standard RT pans because of the Leyland bodywork on RTWs, have proved to be a stumbling block in the restoration project. All the originals were fabricated in steel and were severely corroded. Several suppliers of replacement steel window pans have been attempted, but either the finished result has not been accurate enough or the small production run has meant that costs would be prohibitive.
As an alternative, my good friend Nigel Powton who is now managing the RTW restoration project, arranged for all the original RTW pans to be returned to Blackpool and from the assorted originals, a local fibreglass company has fabricated a standard non-opening window pan in fibreglass. This will be used to check the critical tolerances between glazing, rubber and the interior window cappings. If it fits - then we can go into production at last!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

As sweet as a nut!

Saturday 3rd November represented a milestone in the restoration of RTW335. After completing the rewiring of the main 24v battery cables and link to the starter and ignition circuit, batteries were refitted. A replacement starter motor has been fitted and the fuel system was primed allowing Nigel (in the cab) to get the vehicle's engine running - for the first time since it came to the Busworks for restoration. The result - it sounds as sweet as a nut! No gears at the moment - that is the next stage...

RTW on the move

RTW335 being shunted into the operating depot on 19 October after vacating the original Busworks' site for the new facility. Apart from the window pans the exterior is essentially nearing completion - see text below for update on window pan fabrication.
We have recently vacated the Busworks' site at South Shore Business Park for an adjacent unit that forms part of our "Classic Bus North West" operating depot. RTW335 has been relocated here until the new workshop is ready to be commissioned during w/c 5 November and the view below shows it being shunted into the operating depot.
Meanwhile, work has continued on completing the upper deck interior restoration. Within the next week or so, the seat frames will be refitted, once the final batch of cork sheeting arrives and is laid down and varnished.
Varnished hardwood slats and cork sheeting in typical RT style - the cork sheet awaits a coat of varnish whilst the platformm will have rexine applied when the upper deck is complete the avoid any damage.
The rotten destination box has now been rebuilt and the front area is now ready for the application of brown rexine, to the same style as that already applied to the sides.
After several false starts in commissioning replacemment steel window pans to the unique RTW style (they are different to standard RT pans), we have local firm Surface Design in Bispham making up a copy non-opening window pan in fibreglass. The first example should be delivered mid-week and once we are happy with this, and the critical relationship between window pan lip and interior window capping for the glazing rubber, we can then get Surface Design to use the original mould to fabricate the pans for the opening window units, and all the bespoke pans for the upper deck front and rears, under canopy and rear platform.

Friday, 13 July 2012

RTW335 update

The exterior bodywork on RTW335 is almost complete, apart from the steel window pans whilst both decks are progressing down the floor level with ceiling panels, cove panels, window cappings & lining panels all fitted. The window cappings and lining panels have been dry fitted - the cappings may need adjusting when the new window pans arrive, whilst the lining panels have allowed the seat frames to be test fitted.
On the upper deck, the centre timber boards are now fitted, dark stained as original and this deck requires only the cork flooring and some further leathercloth work to complete.
The original exterior window pans for RTW335 are now all at Bonville Panel Craft near Rochford for fabrication of replacements.