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83C's Shite-esque Fleet: A Matter of IMPORTance.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I've been swearing at the Transit.


On the drive home from Kettering I found the driver's side outer CV was shot, and there was a fair rumble from the same side wheelbearing too. This afternoon I took the opportunity of good weather to replace both, or so I thought.


Stripped the wheel, brake caliper and driveshaft bearing clamp off, so far so good. Then came splitting the lower arm ball joint off to allow the hub carrier to swing out of the way so the driveshaft could pull out. No go, not even when I got brutal with a 5lb lump hammer and a big crowbar. The wheel bearing bolts were also too deep behind the hub face to reach with my Torx bits. So, off I went into town to buy some new tools. Except I couldn't, because nowhere stocked the deep torx bits I needed. However, I did manage to get a 14lb sledgehammer. Surely this would split the lower arm away from the ball joint? Er, no. Bigger ball-joint splitter needed to go with the bigger hammer.


There was one result however, with the steering locked over the outer CV practically fell apart and allowed the old shaft to come out. New shaft is now fitted at the gearbox end and just awaits the hub to move away so it can slot in.


A friend dropped off a set of deep torx bits and the bearing bolts undid nice and easy, a bit of persuasion with the crowbar and it started to ease away from the hub carrier. I still have to split the old bearing and the hub face itself, but that can wait until tomorrow.


In other news, my new store/workshop has arrived in mid Devon. If any shiters want to use it when I'm around then get in contact - donations towards the costs would be appreciated!

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Some more progress on the Transit, though re-assembly was not possible due to a family emergency.




Just needs the ball joint splitting off now, and I've located a BFO splitter that will fit, to match the BFO hammer I have.


Getting the new wheel bearing fitted was an arse-ache. The old bearing wouldn't shift with the normal treatment (decent size drift and a big hammer), so I turned to the internet for ideas. According to the Transit forum Mk.6 front bearings are just about inseparable from the hub using normal means. The 'home' method usually involves a big angle grinder and a couple of chisels, as well as a big hammer to fit the new one. The alternative is take the assembly to a local garage and have them press the old one out and new one in.


Whilst there is a time and a place for bodgery, smacking new bearings with a lump hammer isn't it, and I didn't want the mess of trying to cut the old ones off. So off I went to the chap who does my MoTs, who quickly told me his 10T press wasn't even remotely man enough for the job - every time he had a Mk.6 Transit in he just took the whole hub assembly to a place in Redruth who have a 50T press. So off to Redruth I went, to the Cornwall Engine Company. They split the hub, disc & bearing and pressed the new bearing in. Dropped off at 1100, got a phone call at 1415 saying it was done.


Tomorrow I'm getting hog-whimperingly drunk with some colleagues so there will be no Transit progress. Hopefully it'll be chucked back together Saturday, weather permitting.

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Just seen your old bus in the gallery section of this month's Bus & Coach Preservation. There was also a very tidy Wumpty Metrobox from Wythall parked next to the Tiger at Weston-Super-Mud last weekend.



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And all back together:




As ever, it's a reminder that doing a job is made much easier by having the right tools! I was going to borrow a splitter but in the end I decided to buy a new set of ball joint splitters.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Some more VR progress.


I took the front valance off in order to reconnect the throttle at the pedal end.




This revealed another issue. Located at the bottom are a pair of fittings that allow the valance to tilt forwards. The n/s one was rusty but intact:




However, on the offside....




Totally shot. However, a small problem in the grand scheme of things. A bigger one is that the throttle is already connected, but has no air pressure at all. Therefore, there is an issue deeper than simple disconnected parts. I undid the unions on the handbrake valve and got no compressed air from the pipework at all. Very odd, and it points to something common to both having failed rather than any particular issue with the handbrake or throttle. On the upside, it does mean that potentially neither the handbrake valve nor throttle need replacing. The auxiliary air tank that feeds both handbrake and throttle (and also the door controls, which don't work either) builds and holds air, as do the two main circuits (brakes work from the foot pedal).


At the moment it's blocked in by a big caravan and a Tradesman van - once I have some extra space to maneuver in I'm planning to move it and put it on some ramps so I can get underneath. As I don't know how efficient the brakes are and don't have a working handbrake I want as much space around it as possible for when it first moves.

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In other news, my unit has arrived:




The plan is to turn it into a basic workshop.


I also drove one of these:




Volvo Citybus (also known as a D10M) open tops. Being taken for sale/storage and the owner needed a second driver.

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Erm, not one to teach egg sucking but if there's no air to the handbrake, they'll be stuck on. Don't forget to wind the chambers off and remember REALLY SHIT brakes!

If the aux tank isn't getting any air, you'll probably have no gears either (off the aux tank too). It'll be the check valve stuck on the input to the tank or the regulator on the other end. Both can be persuaded to work again temporarily with percussive maintenance.

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I wish it were that simple. The VR was parked with the handbrake off and was moved around six months ago. The aux tank holds air fine, and the gearbox engages. The regulator valve was 'encouraged' to work via the application of a deadweight hammer but no go.


What doesn't have air supply live:

Throttle at cab end (full pressure available in engine bay)

Door controls



All the air tanks hold air and had very little condensation in them when I drained them.


The gearbox engages (and will allow the vehicle to move briefly) but the engine then cuts out. Once the vehicle behind is moved I'll try moving it - winding the throttle adjuster to give some slightly higher revs should solve the cutting out.

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Inspired by BorniteIdentity's vehicle history thread, I thought I'd list a few of my old motors. I can remember most of the registration plates, but there's a few I can't fully remember.


Starting in May 2000:


E955 GVV - Yamaha DT50MX. Freedom at 16! A bit small for me in some ways, but it was great fun.


F476 HYA - Ford Escort 1.4 L. A 16th birthday present with the idea of fixing it up ready for turning 17. The further we dug however the more we realised it wasn't worth doing.


G133 HUJ - Ford Escort 1.1 Bonus. My first car on the road. It had Cobra Monaco bucket seats and XR3i alloys, and X-pack arches. I got bored after around 4 months with the limited amounts of power available, so I sold it and bought....


G955 ONH - Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6L. A burgundy coloured saloon, I put 11,500 miles on it before I stacked it into an armoured barrier near Bala.


G706 BEH - Vauxhall Cavalier 1.6GL. A hatchback in Jewish Racing Gold, and nowhere near as good as the saloon. Shifted on quickly.


J350 ??? - VW Golf Mk.2 1.6 Ryder. Sounded epic with a motorbike silencer on the back, the police didn't much like it though.


J3?? NFK - Rover 214SLi. Was great for two weeks until the head gasket went. Replaced the HG and it went again 4 weeks after that. Gave up and sold it.


J350 CVO - Ford Sierra Sapphire 2.0 GLSi. A great car but I couldn't afford the insurance.


F??? AFF - Vauxhall Cavalier 1.4L - yes, seriously, a Mk.3 Cavalier with a 1.4 8v lump. By christ it was slow.


L650 MUX - Ford Mondeo 1.6LX. Good but drank fuel and oil for fun.


N413 WNO - Vauxhall Omega 2.0GLS. A great motor, it made me want a new Omega. Therefore I went to a dealership....


Y697 MRE - Vauxhall Omega 2.2 CD. I couldn't afford a new one but a two year old one was ideal. £8995 makes it by a country mile the most expensive vehicle I've ever had. I kept it for two years.


G77 UMJ - Vauxhall Senator 3.0. Bought for £50, sold for £100 a month later.


K9? BNP - Peugeot 405SRi. I bought this on a whim around a year after Y697 MRE. I liked it but it smoked and the clutch gave up soon after.


E29 ??? - Vauxhall Carlton GSi3000. This was bought including a complete Lotus Carlton body kit. It got as far as the body shop before it was realised that underneath was totally rotten.


J??? ??? - BMW E36 316i. Monkey see, monkey want. It was good for what it was and was swapped for....


M851 EKH - Vauxhall Omega 2.0GLS. I wanted something comfortable again, so this did the job. It shat it's alternator by Stourport Services once, and got dumped there for a day whilst I got a new one. Other than that, a solid machine.


J??? ??? - BMW E36 316i. I bought it back and used it for a couple of months until a big barge arrived.


J969 KAM - Opel Omega 2.6 GL. A strange one this, a RHD Opel Omega that had been supplied to its first owner in Germany. It had the 2.6 six, and the only interior refinement was central locking. Still, it was a manual and very good at leaving elevenses.


H963 PRD - Mitsubishi GTO 3.0 N/A. A relative had bought a Mitsubishi GTO and I was hooked. This one was pearl white.




K548 BOM - Mitsubishi GTO 3.0 Twin Turbo. I was desperate for a TT so I p/x'ed the N/A on the cheapest, ropiest TT I could find. The cambelt went two days later. It was never right and needed lots spending, so it got sold and replaced with the one that started the obsession.




NUI 1393 - Mitsubishi GTO 3.0 TT. I owned this for over four years and did somewhere around 30,000 miles in this car, more than any other before or since. It took me all over the lower half of the U.K., and apart from the clutch and clutch flexi hose failing was totally reliable. I still miss it, and I'll probably have another at some point.






I only sold it because I really wanted a Mk.4 GTO. The buyer was from Germany and managed to blow it up two weeks after buying it. I was less than amused.


Whilst I had NUI 1393, I also had:


H462 ??? - Nissan Micra K10 1.0LS. Bought as a cheap runaround. I found I could drive it from the front passenger seat, which was entertaining on the A49.


P??? ??? - Nissan Pulsar 1.5. Bought, MoT'd and sold.


K??? ??? - BMW E30 318i Touring. Looked good, had horrendous fuel leak.


M??? ??? - VW Golf Mk.3 1.4 Match. Stopgap that was ok, swapped for....


N489 UOA - BMW E34 525 TDS. A good mile munched, and I still maintain the E34 was the best looking 5 ever.




J27 VBO - Vauxhall Nova 1.2 Spin. A two week rag, sold on when the MoT expired.




H556 HDV - Toyota Previa 2.4. No idea why, but it was great fun.




A197 TNK - VW Beetle 1600. A LHD Mexican beetle, bit of a case of an itch that had to be scratched. Bought it for Run To The Sun, sold it soon after.




D325 CDC - Land Rover 90 2.5D. My first Land Rover, but certainly not the last. Welded it all up and then managed to fall off a hill in it whilst off-roading.




L279 MTV - Land Rover Discovery 200Tdi. Bought to replace the 90, and was great for 8 months. Was also totally rotten at the back.




K59 GHH - BMW E36 320i. No idea why I bought it, I just liked it. Sold a few months later.




A6 GLL - Audi 90 2.3E. I wanted this car for years, it had been my Mum's. The 5-pot sounded great and it was so comfortable. It was also horrendous on fuel.




G104 NBT - Range Rover 3.5 Vogue SE. A cracking machine, it had just had a new inner shell fitted so no rust issues whatsoever.




G38 YHJ - Leyland Lynx. My first bus. I remember riding around on this one and its sisters when they were with Crosville Wales. The opportunity to own it came up so I had to have it. Unfortunately when I moved to Cornwall a year later I had nowhere to put it so it was sold.




M672 OBD - BMW E36 318iS. Another monkey see, monkey want car. Fun but largely useless.




KYB 706T - Jaguar XJ X300 Sport 3.2. I walked past an XJ for sale in Llandudno one day, so when I got home I started searching for one I could afford. It was great but had short MoT. Sold with a few days left on the test.




L973 ??? - Vauxhall Corsa 1.2. Bought and sold for a bit of fun.


N882 YUY - BMW E36 318i Touring. I sold everything except the black GTO and the Lynx, and bought this to run around in. It served well for 3 months but suffered low oil pressure.




That concludes the first 10 years, 2000 - 2009. Sometime in the next few days I'll start on part two.

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Vehicle History Pt2


In early 2010 the fleet consisted of a Mitsubishi GTO, a Leyland Lynx bus and a BMW 318i. I wanted to get back into a Land Rover so the BMW was sold, to be replaced with:


N173 JDM - Range Rover P38 4.0SE. A great car, and despite the P38's reputation, totally reliable. Still had the air suspension, and LPG kit worked well too.




Around this time I moved area again, so without storage being available the Lynx had to go. NUI 1393 was sold a few months later as this had come up for sale:


H467 RSX - Mitsubishi GTO 3.0 TT. Although strictly speaking this was a Mk.1 like the previous 3 GTOs, the front end had been rebuilt with the Mk.4 front end. Under the skin, all versions of the GTO are the same, with only minor modifications needed to fit early or late model panels. The front end was by far the most expensive bit to do, since the headlights were (and still are) £1200 a pair. To do it right with all genuine parts means spending over £3,500 on parts alone. This is how the car came to me:




On the drive home, the cambelt went. After a rebuild, and a load more parts (I already had a Mk.4 rear wing in stock), this is how it ended up:








I sold it because of a change in career and the arrival of children. In 4 years it had cost me well in excess of £10k, had a shitload of rare parts and drove beautifully. The new owner bought it for the good stuff on it and scrapped the rest. I knew it was worth far more in parts but I couldn't bring myself to undo 4 years worth of work.


Whilst I had H467 RSX, I also had:


P??? ??? - Vauxhall Combo 1.7D. Bought while I was rebuilding a house. Great little load lugger, and economical.


KU53 KXN - Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 130 LX - great, economical car.




N350 LUG - Land Rover Discovery 300Tdi. Bought to scratch the continuing Land Rover itch. Sold because it slipped its cambelt.




XJI 7720 - Jaguar XJ X300 4.0 Sport. Yet again, monkey see, monkey want. Drank fuel like no tomorrow, but by eck did it shift compared to the 3.2 I'd had before.




Y52 YNV - Volvo V70 2.4 170. Lovely car but electrically fragile.




W449 RNP - Subaru Legacy 2.5. Bought covered in horrendous stickers and misfiring. New HT leads and the application of a hairdryer resulted in a nice clean car.




DA03 CZG - MG ZR 105. Bought with accident damage and repaired. Very nippy but not overly comfy for a taller bloke like me.




XAR 967S - Land Rover 88" Series 3. Fitted with a Nissan D23 diesel this was a great fun toy.




PK04 EGE - Rover 45 1.6. This was in stunning condition, 8 years old with 35,000 on the clock. Sold because I wanted something a bit quicker.




C912 YBF - Ford Transit Beavertail. Around this time I started buying scrap cars to strip for spares and weigh in. This prehistoric Transit was for sale in Alfreton and was cheap. Basic but huge fun. Only sold due to the limited carrying capacity (only up to 1300kg vehicles).




BV54 FVU - MG ZS 1.6. Probably the best gear change of any car I've had. No play, no slop. Handling was great, just needed the bigger engine.




GY51 RYP - MG ZT 190+. I liked this so much it stayed with me over a year. That V6 makes a seriously addictive noise. It's also a pain to replace the thermostat on.




H141 FDD - Land Rover 90 300Tdi. Bought as a project. Started out like this:




Ended up like this:




Withdrawn from service due to a terminally rotten chassis. Awaiting regeneration.


MT05 UUB - Ford Mondeo 2.0 TDCi 130 Ghia X. Heated and cooled seats. Very comfy barge.


T493 FFR - Suzuki Swift 1.3 GLS. Bought to load all my scrap into but pressed into service for a couple of weeks, a co-worker took pity on it and bought it.




J596 CUC - Mercedes S124 200E. One of a pair of W124s that arrived, this one had had a bare shell rebuild. Slow, but lovely.




L666 TEX - Mercedes C124 E220. The other one of the pair. Drove well, the underside and mechanicals were perfect, but the paintwork was shot.




Around this time the GTO went. It was replaced with:


Y342 ULF - Mercedes W220 S320. I had wanted a W220 for ages, and this one came up cheap. It was great for six months but a few issues with it made me sell rather than try to get through a test.




EU02 GMG - Ford Transit T260. My first venture into shite-esque campers, this one served well for 9 months until it was too rotten to bother with.


WX55 FPE - Honda Varadero 125. I wanted to get back into biking again so I bought this to learn on. Great little bike, even if I did nearly catch hypothermia on the ride home from the dealer. A story for another time....




HF51 XSL - MG ZS 120+. Bought as a cheap stopgap when the W220 was sold. Was ok but very leaky everywhere except for the headgasket.




WK06 HVY - Triumph Sprint ST 1050. Bought after passing my bike test. I still have it.




L212 KFU - Kawasaki ZZR-1100 C2. Bought as a project but never started. Sold when I realised I'd never get time to do it.




X343 AAP - Mercedes Vito 108CDI. After EU02 GMG went, I needed a van pronto. This came up for a reasonable price. It was very draughty though, winter was not a pleasant time in it.




X835 XPJ - BMW E38 728i Sport. I needed a decent machine for the family and this came up at a very reasonable price. I actually prefer it to the W220. Still in the fleet.




R285 HFS - Mercedes Sprinter 308. Without a doubt the slowest machine I've ever owned. Even the Series was quicker. Horrendous on fuel too. However, it was very comfortable, warm and the best camper I've had so far. Sold when it looked like I no longer needed a camper.




AV03 LEJ - Rover 75 Club SE 1.8T. More monkey see, monkey want. Great car for pennies, now in continued AS ownership with Red5.




B105 KPF - Leyland Tiger/East Lancs EL2000. See the last few pages of this thread. Part of the current fleet.




W96 XAJ - Vauxhall Astravan 1.7DTI. Bought as a replacement for the Rover and as a support van for B105 KPF, sold because of the need for increased carrying capacity.




NA52 MVO - Ford Transit T280. The Astra's replacement. Good all round machine, tatty though. May get converted to a camper, though ideally I'd like something bigger again.




And that brings us to the present day. I know I've missed a few out, but nothing major.

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Today I had a go in this:




It's a Scammell Crusader. Power is courtesy of a Rolls-Royce Eagle 290, coupled to a Fuller 10-speed with deep reduction gears also available in low range.




I don't mind admitting the inner 8 year old who controls all the valves and levers in my head was doing cartwheels when I got behind the wheel 8)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today I've taken a quick drive north.




1725 is now fairly unique, which means parts are becoming hard to come by. I had a lead on a potential source of parts so I went to Staffordshire.






This is why I wasn't able to buy the Volvo T5. The opportunity to acquire so many rare parts was just too good to pass up!

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The latest addition to the fleet.




588 is an early Volvo B10M with a Berkhof Esprit body.


A bit of history first:


Leyland dominated the heavy-chassis market throughout the 1970's with the Leopard, and the replacement Tiger was meant to be a case of business as usual. Volvo had begun to offer its B58 chassis in competition to the Leopard, but Leyland products were still very much in favour, especially with the demise of AEC and the absorption of Bristol Commercial Vehicles into British Leyland. Around the same time as the Tiger was introduced, Volvo released the B10M - Bus, 10 litre (actually 9.6) engine, Mid-mounted. Sales for both chassis were initially strong, and operators were quick to realise the B10M's strengths. Whilst the Tiger was successful here in the UK, Volvo's offering was successful world-wide.


Even so, Tiger sales remained strong for a number of reasons including operators being reluctant to change from their traditional chassis supplier, and because of Leyland's ability to offer alternative drive trains - the B10M was only ever available with variants and descendants of Volvo's own THD100-series engine, whereas Leyland offered (after initially only offering the Tiger with the TL11) Gardner, Cummins and Leyland options.


By the late 80's however, the writing was on the wall - Leyland Bus was a shadow of its former self, despite a decent range of vehicles. The Tiger was still selling well, but sales were eclipsed by that of the B10M. The Lynx, the replacement for the National, was a very good design and was selling in fair numbers but wasn't what newly-deregulated operators really wanted - it was still a heavy chassis with a big engine, when operators wanted smaller and lighter vehicles due to the effects of deregulation. The Olympian was the only model in the range to sell well, especially after MCW stopped production. Too late, Leyland introduced the Swift, meant to occupy the gap in the market that the Dennis Dart was to dominate for the next 15 years, but it was underdeveloped and launched just in time for Leyland Bus to be bought by Volvo in 1988 from the management buy out team who bought the company in 1987.


Volvo saw that sales of the Tiger were still strong, so they added the option of fitting either the Cummins L10 or the bestselling B10M's THD100-series engine, deleted the Gardner and Leyland engine options and let sales continue. By 1993 however the last major buyer of Tigers had switched to B10Ms, so Tiger production ceased. At the same time, the Lynx (which was offered with a similar range of engines), was dropped in favour of Volvo's own B10B. The Olympian, which had always significantly outsold Volvo's own B10M-based Citybus (also known as the D10M) was rather more successful, being re-engineered into the Volvo Olympian. It finally went out of production at the turn of the millennium - overall a 20-year production lifespan.


The B10M meanwhile, continued in production. Bus bodies, coach bodies and double-deck bodies were built on variants of the B10M, as well as articulated coaches. The Mk.4 B10M was finally superseded by the B12M in 2000, though the new chassis didn't find anywhere near as much favour due to the heavy reliance on electronics.


From a driver's point of view, very little separates the Tiger and B10M. A well-sorted example of either machine will drive exceptionally well, the mid-engined chassis giving sure-footed handling. With the right engine options, both are also more than powerful enough even for today's traffic.


B588 XNO was built in 1984, and bodied by Berkhof, in the Netherlands. She was part of a large order of several identical machines for The Kings Ferry, who were undertaking a mass fleet upgrade. Co-incidentally, she would have been at the Berkhof factory at the same time as B105 KPF (my Tiger) would have been there, receiving it's similar Berkhof Everest body for London Country.


For the last 14 years B588 has been with an operator in Devon, who very clearly look after their vehicles - there are very few working coaches of this age in as good a condition. Having always liked the look of the early Berkhofs, and having a soft spot for B10Ms, I really wanted this when it came up for sale a few days ago. Fortunately all the stars and planets aligned, so this morning I headed up to Barnstaple and collected it.




Although B105 KPF now sports an East Lancs bus body, it's still nice to have two machines that would have been through the same factory at the same time when new, and two examples of coaching history.




Autoshite Quiz Question: Can anyone work out the origins of the headlights on B588 XNO? 5 Internet points to the first right answer!

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