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.
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.
This year continues to fly by so quickly. As stated in Picture Of The Month, Nuw attended Deal Motor Show on 25th May, the full report can be seen here. We really enjoyed this show and I took some lovely pictures of Nuw heading to the event stuck in traffic. Paul and myself have also started stripping out 7681's rear end in readiness to get to the leaking oil seal in the prop shaft. Along with 1178 that's our two big projects started now. The parts for 1178's metal work are being all sorted out by Paul and will hopefully be fitted by us when we get time. I'm hoping this month to put 5137 up for test again now that the brakes have been sorted out (back in March). The delay in sending her back for test was trying to find a local test centre to avoid the 100 mile round trip to Maidstone which although the guys there do an excellent job and are really friendly, the cost of 50 litres of full pushed up the price somewhat... Anyhow, I think we've solved the problem but I'm not saying anything else for now. Apologies in advance if the website goes a tad quiet over the next few months, Claire and me are moving home so things may end up a little bit all over the place but we'll do our best to keep you informed of things as and when they happen, and don't forget that both The Bamford & Sea;y Bus Collection and Southern Counties are on Facebook where you'll find additional news and additional pictures.
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.
As of late, we've been busy organising our store bus 5807. Due to a change of management at the former East Kent Heritage garage at Sandwich, all of our spare parts have now got to be moved - and that's quite a lot of spares! Paul Tripptree and myself removed the last few bits of exhibition units downstairs to create more room.
Last year I was speculating that maybe some additional cooling grills in 5807's rear panel may help her out and stop her getting so hot and flustered. A chance conversation with a fitter friend of mine revealed that his firm had an Olympian with the same issue and it was the fuel pump. Apparently the Oly would get hot then slow down and grind to a halt too and, coupled to the fact that when I picked her up from Canterbury it was a cold January day and she drove back with no issues. The MOT was on a cool day in May but even then she would not restart at the test centre. Both days 5807 lost all power were hot summer days so maybe the cooling grills and / or even an additional electric cooling fan may not be a silly idea for now.
Anyone heading to central France in the next few months please keep an eye open for ex M&D KKE736N. Last spotted last month in a recovery yard at Cosne sur Loire some current pictures or status would be handy please. Many thanks. KKE is of course the last surviving highbridge series 2 VR left in the world - unless you know different.
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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