June was such a busy month for Southern Counties with various shows. We visited Dover Transport Museum in the middle of the month and at then at the end was Preston Steam Rally. Both buses on the road this season have been Maidstone motors, 5137 and 5215. As for July, so far the focus has been on my buses, with work this weekend on MFN41R. Paul and myself have been stripping out the police bus conversion from the lower deck. This has revealed a few damp areas but now the vehicle can 'breath' a lot better and the internal air flow is greatly improved so this should soon dry out.
Firstly, apologies to anyone arriving at the East Kent Bus Festival looking forward to a ride on Nick's open top Leyland National, this was a little one off for 1st April... NPD145L is still in one piece and as far as I know hasn't become the Shanklin's Pony replacement bus!
Well with various shows and days down HQ, I have had quite a busy month. Sometimes I can't help think it would be easier to have the shows in the winter and spend the whole summer months working on the motors... well, the weather is better for starters. On 5th April we attended South East bus Festival and on 20th April we were out again at The Gears Of Change Classic Car Show at Sandwich. Both these were attended with Bernard's WKO137S and a full report and pictures will be available on The Southern Counties website.
Work has started on another Maidstone & District bus, 5807 (PKE807M). Paul and myself spend an afternoon at HQ opening up the slats on the radiator. As stated previously on this site, they help keep the water temperature up during the depths of winter, but in summertime have to be fully opened to allow the radiator to work. 5807's had been painted shut and this could be the reason why she gets slower before stopping. Anyway, the damn things are open now and Paul has removed the spring which closes them so they can't shut by themselves and 5807 should enjoy a nice airflow through her grill. The next step is to wait for a very hot day and try her out... fingers crossed everyone. If it works, she will be sent up for MOT and be back on the road this year. It would be nice to have one of "Jake's Buses" back out there.
This May, I will be getting Bernard's Bristol LH coach AFJ692T ready for MOT and don't forget that on Sunday 25th May, we're holding the 2014 Thanet Road Run. If you like to see local vehicles running along old routes, you will love this. No matter what the weather, it's a good day out with various photo stops and a lunch stop, it's a leisurely drive around the coast of the Isle of Thanet. Again, more details are available at the SCOC website.
As part of the website upgrades, I will eventually be adding a "Jake's Taxis" page as I have both an FX4 Fairway and a Metrocab taxi. Although not buses (obviously!) when restored, they will attend various shows and events on behalf of SCOC.
And finally (and cunningly placed at the bottom of the news spot!) , a new vehicle has joined the collection. Owned by myself but very much a Southern Counties vehicle there will be more on this later this month.
As noted on the HOME PAGE, Paul's DMS550 (MLK550L) has seen the light for the first time since 2011 when she was rescued from certain death in a nearby yard where she'd laid for many years. The story of 550 is a happy one in as much as she has now found a good home with Paul who is very enthusiastic about her and keen to get her going PLUS isn't afraid to get stuck in and get his hands dirty. Maybe this time next year I will be writing this saying that MLK has passed her MOT and will be at this years shows...?
TOL the Metrocab is still off the road after fitting a new exhaust and brake work she shall be dispatched for a test soon which will ease the transport situation somewhat. TOL will hopefully be at this years Preston Steam Rally if all goes to plan.
Work this month has seen the fuel system on 5137 (WKO137S) connected up and ready to go and the clearing out of debris from 7656 (XJJ656V).
You may have notice that his months Picture of the Month feature was a tad late, this will also be the case for next month's too as on the 5th April we will be attending the Southeast Bus Festival at Detling Showground near Maidstone and we hope to have a cracking picture of the month for you from there!
Following on from 5137's fuel problems back in September, her fuel tank and some of the lines have all been cleaned and are now being put back together again. The cleaning was a rather fiddly job as I was rather reluctant to drop the fuel tank without a pit or vehicle lifts. Hopefully in the next few weeks she will be out locally for a road test to see if the issue has improved her performance.
Anyone wishing to maybe enter the world of bus preservation now has a good chance. Dealer Carl Ireland of Hull has former East Kent 7669 (XJJ669V) for sale. She is of course a ECW bodied Bristol VR and apparently has very good mechanics even if her bodywork is a little tatty. Only contact Carl if you are GENUINELY interested in buying this little piece of rolling history.
Also a reminder that Bristol LH / Plaxton AFJ692T is ALSO still up for sale with Bernard. The asking price of this little beauty is £2000 ono. She comes with no MOT or tax. Again, no TIME WASTERS or tyre kickers please.
Just a quick thank you to you all for the huge amount of hits we're now recieving on this site. Even now after having a website since 2008 it still suprises me that we can get excess 300 hits A DAY! Totally amazing and thank you to you all for this.
7656 the Skip Buster from Manston should arrive later this week if all goes to plan. A full report will appear on this site in due course.
Our sister site at Southern Counties Omnibus Collection has been updated with news and pictures of the recent work on Leyland National 1178. At the same time I decided to get our crew room on 5807 operational giving us somewhere to sit in the dry and have a hot drink or hot food. This now done but still needs completing. It's one of those jobs that isn't connect to keeping the buses on the road but still needs to be done.
One thing we did notice last month when we tested 5137 was her reluctance to go into 3rd and 4th gears. They engaged but slipped really badly- to the point where no forward motion could be made. As with anything to do with VR gearboxes, this was a little alarming and after checking the levels I decided it must be a fault with the EP box. The EP (Electro Pneumatic) box controls the gears. Basically the electric signals from the gear selector at the front enter this little box of tricks and opens a corresponding air valve allowing the gear to operate - that's a very basic description! Taking the top off of 5137's EP box we discovered that both 3rd and 4th gear were operating together at the same time. Somewhere inside there must've been a short circuit or crossed wire. The easiest thing was to replace the troublesome box so it could be looked at and get the bus driving well again. On Monday 4th March, Paul and myself started work on 5137. Whilst Paul attended to the hazard lights and a sticky solenoid at the front, I removed 5137's EP box and replaced it with the one from 7681. Unfortunately we have had to cannibalize 7681 quite a bit as of late but she will be put back together once her leaky bottom has been sorted out. Paul and myself managed to limp 5137 back into her parking spot. The next day we returned and Paul completed the work on the EP box by rewiring the boxes loom from the unit under the back seat. Normally this isn't necessary but 5137's electrics weren't the best we'd seen. Paul has also started working on the rear lights, the wiring for which is also a bit beyond it's best.
With all the cold wet weather, it hasn't really been the weather for working on the buses in bleak windswept yard. However, with a bit of a respite from the nastiness a few weekends ago, Claire and myself decided to give some of the girls a run up. Nuw was fired up and turned around as she has a rather leaky window over the stairs that was getting the worst of the weather. When it warms up, the mastick will be out to fix the gap in the rubber I hadn't spotted until now. As noted earlier, all of Nuw's seats have been lifted up and stored on the seat backs to prevent water damage rotting the side of the cushions. This does seem to be problem in Titans, not helped by the way the seat material covers the whole seat where as with our ECW Bristol VRs, they have leatherette trim at the side of the cushion which helps protect them somewhat from the damp. I had hoped to start working on Nuw's rear driver bulkhead but on checking our glass stocks, we don't have the part to replace the board behind the cab seat so this will have to wait.
7041 (MFN41R) was also given a run up and moved around the yard. Alas, she couldn't be driven all the way around due to it being a tad too muddy and I didn't fancy her sliding into a caravan or getting stuck! The usual leaky ECW windscreen has made the soft trim on the dash area a bit green. I removed this and the trim on the cab door to reveal the original 'MIND THE STEP' sign! It needs a clean up still but is very tidy underneath that trim. When the weather warms up I will attempt to sort out 7041's ball joint too, making her another step forward to an MOT.
Click here for the archive news pages dating back to 2008.
Owner of 5807, 5809, 5137, 7656, 7681, 7041 & 40301
All pictures and information contained within this website are the copyright of J Bamford, R Addison, P Tripptree, B Sealy & R Harrison 2008-2019. Any images or information supplied by individuals will be credited to that individual and will be copyright of that person/persons/website.
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