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Diary - July 2002

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7th. Restoration starts in earnest. The plan is to concentrate on repainting the exterior. I have not yet decided on a livery, but work can start on scraping down, repriming and undercoating. I start to remove the paint on the beading down to the bare aluminium and reprime - old paint tends to collect round the rivets and in corners, and the bus will be made much smarter by stripping this away. The panels are mostly in good condition, and will only need rubbing down, but where the paint has flaked (mostly at the edges) it will need removing and the edges "feathered". There are a number of small dents which can be repaired with filler. Some panels will need to be replaced, and this will give me the chance to view the condition of the frame.

8th. I remove one small length of beading by drilling out the rivets. DMS beading is aluminium (compared with steel on RTs) and some sections have a lip down one side. Underneath, the panels are overlapped, which explains why rivets through the centre of the beading can be used.

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Round the cab much of the beading is held by screws, indicating that there is wood underneath. The screws look very rusty and will be difficult to remove. I have bought some mid-grey undercoat and made a start

July 2002

11th. Decide to remove all beading screws and replace them with non-rusting chromed screws. Will also use vaseline when screwing them in! This should make sure that it will be easy to remove beading at any point in the future. The screws are mainly round the cab area. At present they are nearly all 8 x 1" slotted, very rusty and are, as I feared, very reluctant to move. However, manage to remove the entire beading across the lower front, below the glass-fibre cab-front, but 3 screws in a side beading resist all my efforts and I resort to drilling them out. This is probably a mistake, because I will have to make new holes in the beading when I replace it later. I should have forced WD40 behind the beading and left it to soak overnight.

Also remove "modern" front number-plate to reveal worn original, which can be restored.

The chrome on the fittings round the front head and side-lights is very pitted and beyond salvage. Decide to paint rather than rechrome, so prime it with Halfords spray primer. May well be able to pick up replacement fittings at a bus rally some time. The nearside front sidelight fitting is eaten away with rust, and should be replaced.

Stopped about 10pm when it was becoming too dark to see, and listened to a tawny own having a spat with a kestrel - kestrel very annoyed.

12th. Painted the front of the cab in undercoat, and started on removing screws from the front beading just below the windscreen. Only 1 in 4 seems to want to move...

Front panel
Rear end

13th. Only had a short time available. Drilled through a washer to enable me to remove the nearside bustle shroud - there are 2 bolts that will not budge. Eventually, after about an hour, the washer was removed and the bolt (still firmly in place) slipped through the hole in the shroud. One bolt to go!!

14th. Finally worked out how to removed the wheel-arch panel trim, and so free the panel with a cutout to be replaced or repaired. Removed the panel, and refixed the wheel-arch trim temporarily - I want to make sure the bus is always driveable.

Panel removed

15th. More removing of stubborn screws. Also, offside bustle shroud bites the dust!

16th. More undercoat on offside, and more removing of beading and screws. Manage to removed front offside rubber panel. If I can find a source, I can easily replace it with a new panel. The frame needs a tap at the corner before the panel is replaced since it has obviously suffered a minor bump at some stage - that's after all what the rubber is there for. Have removed all the screws from the centre front beading below the windscreen, hoping that that would release the centre panel, as I can see that some wood should be replaced. However the panel still stays firmly in place!

18th. Centre panel removed at last! The horizontal timber at lower edge of panel is fastened to the inner panel with 6 long bolts with screw heads, but every one sheared off near the head when I tried to unscrew them, so I had no option but to remove the timber by force, which forced the nuts through the inner panel. When I replace I will use angle-brackets with rivets to fix to the back panel, and brackets with screws to fix to the vertical timbers.

Front panel

20th. Removed the offside bustle shroud. The rear looks better already! Then sanded and primed part of the nearside lower panels ready for undercoating.

Nearside front rubber

22nd. Removed front offside rubber panel. Lower front is now completely ready for new timber. Undercoated 3 nearside panels, and filled minor dents.

23rd. Hammerited all parts of the frame that I could reach while the front panels were removed. Made new timber for the short vertical sections that hold the rubber panels in place, and bought some new aluminium angle to adorn them. Inspected panels that I undercoated recently, and added small amounts of filler where dents showed through.

24th Undercoated the front lower panel, and removed further wretched screws (almost done with screws!). Removed all rivets round nearside panel near door that has to be replaced. Sanded all small sections of beading that I had previously removed for cleaning.

26th. A good fairy arrived (disguised as an RT bus-driver) with a complete back-end for an Atlantean on the platform! With some difficulty it was stored inside DM1051 for future attention. On the whole it is in better condition than the one currently in place, but will still need a fair amount of repair and repainting. I may also have problems with the fitting, since the existing left-hand bustle is joined without a break to the centre section at the top, whereas the new one comes in separate bits. We will see...

Rear end

I use a friend's bandsaw to cut out the timber for the front cab from the template I made previously.

27th. More work on the cab timber, trimming to exact size. Temperature at the front of the bus must have been in the 90s....

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Material Copyright © 2002 John Braga