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Old Bill

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Old Bill last won the day on April 24

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About Old Bill

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  • Birthday 01/18/1965

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    Military Vehicles, miniature steam locomotives, ships, aeroplanes, anything mechanical.
  • Occupation
    Refuse Collection Vehicle Designer

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  1. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Hi Chris. This is what I have done although it is not very good, really. As Andy has suggested, I removed the plastic nut at the front of the tool and just mounted the tool through a steel plate. I turned up the steel collar because there was not enough thread in the original nut to get a good bite. The plate fits into my parting tool holder. The whole arrangement is not really stiff enough but it was good enough for cork. If I were doing it again, I would cut the thread in a piece of 1/2" bar and grip that in the toolpost after screwing the motor into it. The Dremel bearings aren't good enough for any sort of repeatable accuracy but it did the job I needed. Good luck with yours! Steve
  2. Old Bill


    Hi Errol. If you look at the Thornycroft thread, pages nine and ten, you can see what we did. If you pull the engine right down and remove the pistons individually, you won't risk any of your precious and irreplaceable parts. I used to keep a can of penetrating oil on top of the Thorny engine and give it a squirt every time I walked past. This did absolute wonders and we managed to break very little getting the thing apart. If you do that for six months or so, it really will make a difference. Good luck! Steve
  3. Old Bill

    HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY To my Albion Chassis No. 361A

    What a find! Soon be on the road now! Steve
  4. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    We have been plodding on this week. I really want to get on with the engine but living 200 miles from the lorry does make it very difficult! I have been amusing myself by turning up two new carburettor jets slightly bigger than the original but smaller than the one I made when we tried to run the beast. It is nice to get back on the lathe after all the heavy ironwork recently. The next item has been the petrol tap. The one we fitted was a simple tapered plug cock which looks almost exactly like the one in the parts book. Unfortunately, despite my lapping it in it leaked very slowly. If we were running the lorry every day then we wouldn't even have noticed but because we leave the vehicles laid up for such long periods, we would have noticed the loss. To get over this, I decided to make a new cock but with a cork lining. I tried PTFE on the Dennis but I have learned that PTFE swells in petrol and the tap seizes. I have a cork lined valve which will fit the Dennis so I copied that. First job was to turn up the body and machine flats for the bosses. These were silver soldered of course! I bored it out after soldering so there was no distortion. Then the spindle, a nice bit of turning. After drilling and tapping, the handle was screwed in. Now for the cork which came from a sherry bottle. I drilled it through at 23/64" to give a slight interference on the spindle. High speed and low feed rate is the secret here. Have you ever tried turning cork? It is evil stuff! I now resort to grinding it. I have made up a flat piece of steel which fits the nose of the Dremel and also the toolpost and, using a grinding wheel, can machine it at up to 0.010" each cut. It is quite accurate too. I Loctited a driving pin into the spindle. And after copious 3 in One oil on the cork, a working tap! Well, for a while anyway. I was lazy and used a normal nut and washer on the cork. This meant that all of the drive was transmitted through the peg and it tore the cork up. I therefore made a fancy flanged castle nut and machined another cork which was composite this time. Success! This weekend, I have made up the tailboard catches. They are not something sensible like a peg in a hole but rather fancy flip-over catches, bent out of 3/4" bar. First task was to make a bending jig. I heated the bar with the propane torch and it bent OK. The blacksmith's hearth would have been a much quicker heat source but that is in Devon waiting for me to build a blacksmith's forge. Another future project! The bosses were turned up, had a flat machined on them and were then silver soldered into place. The pegs were turned up and soldered into place as well. Finally, I turned up the pivots. These are bolted to the tailboard through the middle using a 3/8" bolt with the catches free to turn on them. Something else to fit once the engine is sorted. I have been very highly recommended to wash the grit out of the blocks and valves with plenty of paraffin. This is a very sensible idea but I will have to take the first block off again to do it. Oh well. Steve
  5. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks Doug. Yes, it wouldn't have made it and we would have spent a lot of money for nothing. We did play the same trick with the Dennis though and got away with it! We have now set ourselves another deadline as we have promised to take something to the 'Tanks and Trucks' do at Bovington at the end of August followed by a road-run to the Great Dorset Steam Fair. That will be a 140 mile round trip so it would be nice to get a few miles under our belts first! We took the blocks down to Exeter to see our friend Dave who had very kindly offered to hone them out. I had never seen this done so it was educational as well. The honing head is made by Delapena and has an adjuster on the top to push the stones outwards. The result is quite a torque reaction which caused the drill to 'kick' as it went over bumps in the bores. It quickly settled down and Dave took out somewhere between one and two thou. The swarf was quite noticeable so it was certainly cutting! He worked it up and down the length of the bores constantly to give a spiral cut without circular grooves Once we got the blocks home, I set about cleaning and sealing up the crankcase starting with a coat of Hylomar on each valve follower. I don't want any more water getting in if we can help it. I also cut a thin paer gasket to go under each block. These were marked out by tapping around the edge of the block with a ball pein hammer. The second piston went back and we were ready to try to refit the block. I don't have any pictures of it at this time as we ran out of hands. Suffice to say that I got too enthusiatic and broke a ring which irked me in the extreme so we stopped for the day. Sunday morning when I had got my temper back and it wasn't so hot, we had another go and this time, all was well. We just used the chain block to lower the block back onto the pistons whilst I squeezed the rings in one at a time. The other two pistons were fitted, less one ring, and we are ready for the next time. The replacement ring turned up today, £20.10, so finishing the reassembly will be the task for the next visit down South. In the meantime, still plenty of bits to do! Steve
  6. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    We have 1963 109 as well within the collection! I bought it about 25 years ago as that we needed something to tow the two Autocars around on a Trailer when we took them to "Meets". It is ex -RAF Regiment and had the equivalent of about 7K miles on the clock when I bought it - now reached about 27K only after all of these years.. Looking a bit shabby but dearly loved by us all! Tony
  7. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks Chaps. Lots of food for thought there. We store them dry, generally, as we do very few miles and it reduces the amount of drips on the floor! The Dennis has been roadworthy for seven years now and still hasn't done 500 miles and the poor old FWD hasn't run at all for nearly three. All a bit sad really! I have spent the day working on the front wing irons. Grinding, filing and filling the same as before although the welding was very kindly done for us by Adrian. A very tedious job which I can now hand over to the paint shop. Steve
  8. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Hi Chaps. I have been sorting out all the things I put on hold whilst working on the lorry! However, I am getting back to it now. I am not good at instant decisions as I like to weigh the facts and listen to all of the advice I am offered. Even if I don't take your advice, I always appreciate it very much so many thanks to everyone for their suggestions. In the mean time I have been pushoing on with wing brackets. They are a horrible job and I shall be pleased to see the back of them. I have spent a lot of time filing a bit of shape into them. Then it was a case of drilling the bolt holes. Followed by a bit of filler to tidy them up. They are now in primer awaiting attention from the paint shop. Something else which didn't quite get finished off was the throttle pedal. Dad had cut it to my sketch but never quite got around to filing the section. In the end, this proved a blessing as I got it a bit too long and had to drill a second pivot hole futher up. Once trimmed back, the pedal was filed to an elliptical shape to represent a forging. Another tedious job! It does make a worthwhile improvement in its appearance, however. I have finally decided what to do with the pistons and cylinders. The cylinders are to be honed out by a further 0.002-0.003" to clean them up and increase the clearance and this should happen next week. I have been turning the pistons in the Myford to increase the clearance around the top land to 0.017" and that between the rings to 0.012" with the bottom section remaining with a 0.005" clearance. This will increase when the bores are honed. I have also taken the opportunity to increase the depth of the ring grooves by 0.020" and have opened them out by a whisper to make sure that the rings move freely. Following advice from here, I shall replace the compression rings on the two pistons which picked up as the originals were scored when this happened. I shan't trouble with the oil control ring. The pistons are all complete now and only await delivery of the new rings. Now I must return to filing wing brackets, the front ones this time. They don't get any more fun to do! Steve
  9. Old Bill

    1911 Dennis Fire Engine 3035

    Well, that is a super find! The engine is very nice and will certainly suit it better than the Merc! I am now eagerly awaiting some comments from Barry and Ben as if anyone knows anything about it, it will be them. Ben, I think, is at Brooklands today with the lorry collecting a well-deserved restoration award. Prince Michael has asked to drive the lorry but that depends on how Ben has progressed. It wasn't driveable two days ago but getting very close! Good luck with it. We are all here to help! Steve
  10. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks for that Ed. Most interesting! Some lawn ornament! I think we shall have to count that one as one that got away. At least you have a garage big enough for a Sherman tank. You can never have too much space! Steve
  11. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    I had heard of the weathering of castings by leaving them out in the foundry yard for six months to settle down ('That's not weathering, that's rusting!') I must admit that I hadn't thought of doing so on ours as I thought the effect would be negligible. Apparently not! Our pistons are about a thou elliptical with them being narrower across the gudgeon pin holes. At least I don't have to machine them that way. I just need more clearance in the bores! Many thanks for the reminder. I shall know for next time now. Steve
  12. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Hi Tomo. You are right in that nearly all Thornys have a straighter portion at the rear of the wing. However, if you look , you will find that there are quite a few different patterns in use with some domed and some flat on the top and other subtleties. As ours are domed, I think that straightening out the rear edge is not to be attempted. I haven't been able to search through the pictures as my new computer won't talk to my back-up drive which is irksome in the extreme! Steve :)
  13. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    That is one beautiful car, Ed. 'Shiny' and 'refined' are not what we usually see on this forum as 'functional' and 'matt olive drab' are more the norm! However did you find us? Many thanks for your thoughts. From my measurement of the original piston I think that Thornycrofts probably went for a clearance above the top ring of 0.017", between the rings, 0.012" and for the remainder of the piston, 0.005". If I hone the bores another 2 -3 thou then that would give me a general clearance of 0.008". If I take another 9 thou from the top land and 4 thou between the rings then that would give me something comparable with 'new'. I will take a good look at the rings and replace any that are obviously damaged. I am curious as to why they should have stuck in the bottom of their grooves on 2 and 3 pistons as all were quite free when I put them in. I will have to ease the grooves as well. In the mean time, I have been pushing on with the wing brackets. They are a horrible job and no fun at all. This is not helped by my welding incompetence so there has been no satisfaction in them being nice. Oh well. They are tacked up now and ready for a proper welder to put them together for me. He is probably reading this and going 'Oh no, not again'! Steve
  14. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Well, I have found my way to Devon again with the intention of putting the lorry away and then making some more progress. Since I crocked my arm, the lorry has been sitting outside as I have been unable to start it to back it into the shed. Three weeks later, I am mostly recovered but still cannot start the beast due to the damage. Our pal couldn't make it to help out ( he is moving house!) and our neighbours both have bad backs! The only solution was to push it back. Whilst we were coming to this conclusion I fitted some more bits, starting with the reinforcing strip around the tailboard. Then the capping strips along the body sides And the floor strip just inside the tailboard. It was a nasty wet day as you can see. The we decided to have a go at manhandling the thing back inside. At four tons, this is a bit of a performance. Dad pulled it back with the car to start with and then I steered it forward, downhill on full lock. I managed to misjudge it and Father had to shift some of Mother's plants. Then we worked it back in using a pinch bar, 1" at a time. We got there in the end but it was hard work. After that we carried on with some more bits. I trial fitted my floorboard and, much to my surprise, it was right first time. Then I set in a flush ring to allow us to get the board up. That was all satisfactory so Father now has the board in the paint shop. Then, this morning, we decided that the time had come to pull the engine down and have a look. Now the lorry was in its usual position, the chain block could be installed. Not immediately too bad. Some scuffing along number two piston and all of the rings were stuck. A shiny patch on the wall of number two. Interestingly, there is a ring towards the top of the bore which can be felt with a finger nail. I can't see how it was formed unless it is just where the piston ring stopped and dragged up the surface, the next time it moved. Interestingly number four piston is clean where the others are well sooted. A close up of the damage to number 2 piston Number four piston was very clean and all of the rings were free. Number 3 piston is scuffed as well but not quite so badly. I had a good measure of all of the bores and pistons and find that I machined them all straight with a nominal 0.005" clearance from end to end. Cylinders two and three appear to be a thou or possibly two smaller than one and four and I think that must be the trouble. My plan now is to remove all four pistons and un-stick the rings from two and three. Then I want to set them up in the Myford and take 0.006" off the top lands in each case as well as giving them a polish to tidy up the scuffing. I also plan to get 0.003" honed out of each bore to tidy them up and give a greater clearance. Hopefully, that will sort it. Then I went on to the front wing brackets. This is a horrible job and I am not enjoying it at all. More wing brackets tomorrow. Steve
  15. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    We are still pottering on but only slowly. There are other things which need doing at the moment! In the mean time, Adrian has kindly welded up the rear wing brackets and I have been filing some shape into them. That is proving to be very tedious and time consuming but I have three down now. I have only to make the front ones to go with them! For a bit of light releif, I have cut the pedal slots in the floor. I am a bit concerned about the strength of the item though so I have cut and rebated a strip of steel along the front to brace it. Looking through my notes, I made a decent sketch of the original pistons in 2013. Apologies for the drawing clarity or lack thereof. However, assuming that the bore was 4.500" originally and that there was no wear on the piston, the clearance above the top ring is 0.017", between the rings, 0.012" and for the remainder of the piston, 0.005". Once we get the top off, I will have a measure and see what I actually did! I am sure that I gapped the rings in accordance with what was on the packet. I would quite like to do some sums to check so can anyone give me a feel for how much hotter the rings could be than the bores? I am guessing at 150°C but I would value your views. Steve