Steve Newman keeps you up-to-date on Ensignbus' Vintage Fleet
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
Well its that time of year where next project get down to the real work as problems are found and need to be fixed, whilst the operational fleet gets time to have each bus in and do all the jobs that there is no time in the season to do.
The major project in is the Jersey TD and its cracked blocked is the major engineering job that needs doing. So it was engine out time and then separating top and bottom sections so that the whole top section can be taken away 'as is' and cold stitched off site with a specialist so that we don't have to take a part all the pistons and valves as we know the engine runs smoothly and would refer not to have to reset it all. In short if it isn't broken don't fix it!!
Of course the plus part of stripping things down is that you get to see and solve what could be later issues... In this case the oil sump with what can only be called crystalised and semi-solid oil residue. Its been that long since an oil change that even a change wouldn't now be enough, so now its apart we can properly clean it, so that when it goes back together its as good as we can make it.
The interior continues to take shape. Everything has been stripped out and the cracked and peeling ceilings are being stripped back to bare metal. Its a slow task as the paint is layers thick and in places has some form of coating on it that was used to hide dents from the single skin of damage caused by trees and the like. From some of the pictures we have of when the bus was new it looked like the wooden ribs were in natural wood, or stained dark, but there is absolutely no evidence of this in reality so we have to presume that its just shadow on the photos and they were always painted. Perhaps next month I will post up the 1932 images of it with JMT and the later ones where the numerous differences in livery and finishing can be spotted, perhaps an online poll of which we should go for would be fun!!??
The operational fleet has been getting some TLC as well. Both RM54 and RM1361 had suffered some roof damage that was not pleasing to look at, so both have now been cured. This is 1361 where the first three roof panels had suffered some tree damage. The last bits being taken off in this image before being replaced with freshly painted panels that will make her look as good as new. Next in is RM25 for a general tidy up followed by the RMLs.
RT1431 was another that received some work. The upstairs side panels were bowing and had worked loose, the bus was therefore removed from the available list, until it could be looked at and we then removed the panels to diagnose the problem. The panels had been made from poor quality wood that was showing its age and the framework inside had suffered the ravages of time, so was all replaced as can be seen. Next new panels were fitted which were covered in original style rexine, which is something we want to do throughout this RT as currently it has painted ones, so its a start on 'prettying her up' and also gets her back on the fit list.
Lastly its engines...and the constant problem that has been DUF, but shes not the only engine issue we have at the moment, but hers is pretty serious as can be seen from these damaged pistons... We also have the Jersey, with cracked block as mentioned above, the MW which now has its reconditioned engine back with us and the process has begun of reinstalling it and with it getting her back on the road. The RTW is problem number four, with what we hope is a timing issue but could be more serious, but its 'diagnosis day' for the RTW tomorrow so fingers crossed its not to serious and that the four on the sick list we can get down to three!