Part four Bulkhead repairs
Photo number one above shows the truck as collected the bulkhead was known to be very badly rusted but as the dismantling got under way the extent of the corrosion beacame more visible as soon as the bulkhead was removed from the chassis things seemed to get much worse.
Photos two ,three & four show the full extent of the corrosion the worst of the rust eating into the cab sub chassis on left side .
I will admit that repairs to this kind of monocock constructed bulkhead was looking to be beyond my skills and my thoughts looked to finding a replacement ,but aero screen MW bulkheads are different in many respects to the later ones and the only available replacement early bulkhead had been dug up in a field in Belgium and was not really that much better .i knew that my friend Rippo had been having some excellent work done by an old style time served sheet metal man called John who works from the garage at the side of his house , the original bulkhead and a donor later bulkhead were taken over to Johns to see if he could work his magic and save the early parts from the original bulkhead .
Donor later bulkhead
Wooden jig built for repairs to Bedford bulkhead with sub chassis fixed in place
Centre section of bulkhead fitted into jig
New replacement floor panels fitted
Inner wheel arch and passenger toe plates fitted
Door pillar and foot well top plate fitted
Work on drivers side inner wheel arch and steel work to attach to cab wood work
Finnish welded bulkhead prior to shot blasting showing the new steel and some of the differences between early and late bulkheads .
1) Center section has an extra reinforcing pressing on the right side
2) Speedo cable and wiring loom holes all diffrent to match early dash panel
3) Door pillars have fittings for canvas cab doors
4) Passenger side toe plate smooth ,later bulkheads are fitted with angled reinforcing plates
Finished bulkhead after shot blasting and first coat of red oxide primer at this stage there are sixty hours labour on the bulkhead repairs
Test fitting of cab floor plates
Things have been moving on at a steady pace with the MWD restoration , i made my self-imposed dead line of having the truck sripped down to its component parts by the end of the christmas holidays ,the bulkhead has been sent off to be repaired by John the sheet metal man with it in good hands i could concentrate my efforts on the chassis repairs .
The fully stripped chassis in the workshop to assess the extent of the repairs needed
Copy of my notes regarding the work required on the chassis
The following work to carried out and parts replaced
1) chassis to be shot blasted to find extent of rust damage
2) Repair holes in rear chassis rails were tow hitch has been bolted to bottom face
3)repair rust in rear cross member
4)repair rust in top offside rear frame
5)Fuel tank brackets badly rust pitted to be replaced
6) Cab step brakets badley rusted
7) Frame rails from rear front spring hangers forward very badly rusted
8) Rear engine cross member totally rusted out
9) Front engine cross member very badly rusted
Drawing of proposed repair to front frame rails
Using the MW contact network i obtained the front section of an MW chassis which had all the necessary repair parts which after several hours de-riveting gave me all the parts i need to carry out the chassis repairs
Chassis repair flitch plate bolted to replacement chassis repair section
Chassis assembled with repair sections,front and rear engine cross members all bolted in place chassis levelled and square ready for welding
Chassis welding after tack welding ,all welding carried out vertically to give maximum weld penetration chassis turned to allow vertical welding
Chassis flitch plate weled inside chassis over replacement section
Completed welding repair after grinding with repair behind the cab step bracket the modern bolts are just being used to set up all the spring hanger brackets ,cross members etc. ready for the next stage which will be to replace all the steel rivets which had to be removed to allow the chassis repairs
Started the big strip down , i thought the best place was to start at the front and work back with the idea of having a bare chassis by the end of the Christmas holidays, although seriously rusted the front panel and bumper will be repaired and re used, the front panel still has in place the rare round Bedford badge
With the front panel removed the soldered joints holding the radiator to its frame had long since failed and after cutting through what was left of the radiator hoses it was simply lifted out of the frame leaving the support brackets and fan shroud behind to be unbolted
With the radiator mountings etc. removed i could now access the engine with the fan ,water pump and dynamo removed work started to remove the cylinder head
Surprisingly all the cylinder head bolts came out without too much of a struggle with the worst corroshion on the heads of the bolts , removing the cylinder head revealed the corroded mess you see bellow which on first inspection is not that bad but !
When i started digging in the rust in cylinder number six my screw driver went straight through what was left of the piston
How long has this truck been laid up, it must take a very long numbers of years for a piston to dissolve hopefully if there is no more damage to the engine block it can be salvaged by fitting cylinder liners .
I mentioned in my first post that the engine number MW 30134 matched the stamping on the bulkhead data plate , closer inspection shows that this number is over stamped on top of the original engine number which hopefully i can read on the reverse of the plate when it is removed ,the replacement engine is a wartime factory rebuilt unit dated October 1943
Could i ask if there are any more examples of replacement engine numbers being overstamped in this way ?
A new restoration blog for my next restoration project which is a bedford MWD built in July 1940 i first saw this truck when my friend John Rippingham asked me to help with the recovery of two bedford trucks he had bought from the disposal sale of a collection of military vehicles in Chester
The two trucks after there recovery from chester
The second truck being a later 1941 full cab model ,having already restored a later 1942 MWR model with a closed cab i thought it would be an intresting project to restore the aero screen truck
July 1940 bedford as found
The truck had been brought to Chester by the previous owner Trevor Willliams who bought the MW at the dispersal sale of the Grange cavern museum in 1989 it was in the sale catalogue as LOT 108 ww2 bedford MW rolling chassis , part completed restoration project and sold for £200.00 it must have been a much more complete truck in 1989 as Rita ,Trevors wife remembers her husband towing the truck home from the sale with a tractor as she followed behind on a moped ,the site at side of the river Dee in Chester was prone to flooding so i think some of the missing parts of the truck are some were in the Mersey estuary
what is left of the truck seems to be very original with the chassis number still readable ,all the plates on the dash are still in place showing the chassis number and the engine number on data plate matches the stamping on the engine block ,the contract plate is still riveted to the top of the dash pannel showing contract V3733
all the dash instruments ,choke cable and starter pull knobs are correct for an aero screen truck onf July 1940
having drained about three gallons of water from the engine sump and found lots of rust under the rocker cover there is not much hope of saving the engine but hopefully the engine block will be reusable
i thought that the gear box was also full of water and rust but when i removed the gear box top it was only the selector shafts in the gear box top which were ceased up with the gear box in neutral the gears can be rotated ,so some hope there .
removing the drain bolts in the back axles the axle was found to be still full of gear oil and inspection of the diff and pinion teeth show very little signs of wear
the truck is now safely home and moved into the new workshop tent ready for the big strip down