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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

  • Rank
    Lieutenant-Colonel
  • Birthday 01/18/1965

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

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  1. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks for all of your thoughts, Ed, and everyone else's contributions. I think the next step is to tear it down, look for evidence and measure what we actually have. I don't really want to skim the pistons if I can help it but we shall see. It may be very obvious where the problem lies so we just have to have a look. That will be part of the task for the next visit. An impulse starter is definitely on the cards. The difficulty is that very few magnetos have the holes to mount the trigger plate. I have a variety of impulse bits so I think I shall have to put my thinking cap on and make up a 'special' to suit the lorry. I have a similar problem with the Dennis but space is very tight in that case and another special will be needed but this time, anti-clockwise. I must go and get the bits out and study them. Steve
  2. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks for your kind comments Ed. I am very interested to hear your experiences of piston clearances. Are these for alloy pistons or iron? I am very keen on doing the job as closely to how it was when new as possible so we have made iron pistons for it and fitted the rings we could get. I really don’t want to go to aluminium pistons even though they are so much better! If memory serves, I gave them a five thou clearance along the length with 0.009” above the top ring and simply turned them circular. Another of our forum friends in South Africa has very kindly sent me these experiences of a local restorer ‘He used Model T pistons as an example as those were the most recent pistons he had worked on. (3 3/4 bore.) 1. The pistons were machined perfectly round and 4 thou clearance with the bore size. 2. Pistons were then tapered 30 thou from the crown to the oil ring. (Crown expands more due to higher temperature) 3. He then machined a dolly to hold the piston and clamped it in a 4 jaw chuck. It was then off-set 5 thou on the one side and then on the other side to allow 10 thou total ovality. The thrust side will expand more due to heat build up. When you remove the first block on your engine, you should see scoring marks on the piston and possibly the bore. The scoring on the piston will indicate where the material will be removed to make the piston oval.’ These views are similar to yours. Also, I was reading the FWD Model B drivers manual, as one does, and found this: ‘The clearance between the cylinder and piston, at the skirt, is 0.003” to 0.004”, under bottom ring 0.006”, at the third land 0.008”, at the second land 0.009” and at the top land 0.012”. They don’t write drivers’ manuals like that any more! All of this suggests that I am going to have to set the pistons up again and skim them, a job I don’t want to do! Oh well. Steve
  3. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Well, Brighton was a week ago and things are returning to normal. In other words, cooking, gardening and earning a living! This is how close we got to succeeding: It was a bit disappointing not to go but I am consoled by the fact that the traffic was terrible and it would have been a miserable drive. In the mean time, we didn't stop during the week but carried on without the pressure. We cut and fitted the tailboard hinge pin. And then went on to the wing brackets. I tacked them up ready for a proper welder to stick them together. Even my tacking is dreadful! I can't seem to get the weld to stick to both halves of a fillet at the same time. More practice needed I guess. Four rear brackets ready for welding. Once properly attached, I shall spend some time with the angle grinder and files to give them some shape. We had various friends around when we attempted to test-run the lorry and they have kindly sent me some photos. This is the somewhat daunting sight to be met coming out of Dad's driveway. I have to trust that I set the brakes up correctly! I mis-judged the corner, however. Fifty yards further on, it stopped. Return to base. Steve. Thumbs.db
  4. Old Bill

    1914 Dennis Lorry

    Well done Ben! Hows the starting handle arm? Or did it go first time? Steve
  5. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Hi Scott. Glad you have been enjoying it. Yes, the tension was certainly there this time, more so than with the Dennis. We were much further on with that one at this stage. It is very disappointing but was quite a big ask to be 100% right first time after such a big rebuild. We did put it on the road on the day we promised though! Starting the thing is always an issue with these old vehicles and not many of my friends can swing it. I think it is technique as much as anything. I must say that there is great satisfaction in a hand start but sooner or later I may have to give in. At least one of my friends has rigged up an electric start on his bus but has managed to do it without drilling any holes in the chassis. The intermediate stage is to fit an impulse starter and I certainly plan to do that. The Thorny isn't actually too bad when it is free. I hurt myself trying too hard on a stiff engine but have now learned that lesson! I don't think an impact driver has enough torque to turn it but it is a good idea. I have seen a starter rigged up using a chainsaw engine and gearbox attached to two long bars and engaged in the starting dog. It worked but took two people to hold it! I need to start the thing again this morning so that we can put it back in the shed. I shall be more careful this time. Steve
  6. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks for all of your thoughts Chaps. I am still pondering at the moment as I am not much good at instant action I'm afraid. We haven't run it today as I pulled something yesterday and now have blue biceps! Driving a desk isn't good practice for this hobby! In the mean time, we have been gently pottering along, making capping strips and edging strips for the tailboard. I have also fitted some reflectors as a concession to modern traffic.I shall have a go at the floor tomorrow and then the wing irons. I am not really looking forward to them but they need to be done. The sump plug is not magnetic. However, the pump draws through a strainer so major lumps of metal shouldn't get in. The fine stuff will so we will end up with another oil change soon, I guess. Steve
  7. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Thanks Chaps. To be honest, it was quite a successful day really. We did take it on the road on the day we planned. We just didn't get very far! Today, our old friend Dave came and had a look. He is a retired motor mechanic and keen rebuilder of motor cycles. He has helped us a tremendous amount over the years with advice and assistance and we value his opinion very highly. We ran the lorry for him and it started very easily. We seem to have that bit nailed now anyway! It was very smooth and nice and, when switched off just ran down as you might expect rather than stopping sharply with stiffness. I started it again and, although stiffer than when cold, rotated OK. His considered view is that it is almost certainly tight in the bore and he thought that it should have nearer 0.008" clearance. However, rather than pull it down for the moment, he would keep it running for a few hours at a fast idle and see how it goes so we plan to do that. Failing that, he has the appropriate honing equipment and would be pleased to have a go at the bores for us if we drop them off with him and handle them. We have run it for another hour today until the fuel ran out. I put some more in the tank and then tried to swing it but after those few minutes, it had tightened up a lot and I couldn't turn it. In fact, I have pulled something trying so I thought that a good moment to stop! I have a couple more days of holiday so we will run it again and see what happens before putting it back into the shed. In answer to Andy's comment, it is running rich now due to my oversize jet. I shall make some more, when I get home, of slightly smaller bore. In the mean time, we are doing some bits of the body ironwork before going back to the wing irons. I would like to finish off the floor shortly as well. It is interesting watching the clutch operate beneath one's feet but I should hate for someone to put their foot through it! Steve
  8. Old Bill

    WW1 finds and discoveries

    It is just that I have a head full of useless information. I still don't know why British tyres were metric! Steve :)
  9. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Well, once we had finished cancelling all the arrangements, we had quite a nice steady day. I started off by cutting the tailboard hinge pin to length and drilling for split pins. I also fitted the tailboard catches leaving only the pins to make. I also took the bonnet boards off and fitted the rearmost bonnet catches so they are now secure. With the lorry out in the sunshine we could see the faults in the paintwork so Dad has been touching up and finishing off. I am amazed at how well father does in such a cramped shed in the dark. It still narked him to see the odd patch of primer showing through! Then our pal, Mark D turned up with the cab straps. Mark is an amazing craftsman and can turn his hand to anything. He previously made up the leather drive shaft joints for us and very kindly offered to make the straps as well. I gave him the measurements but he was keen to see them fitted in person so that he could adjust them as necessary. A brief moment of doubt when he thought they were too short! However, Mark's work is spot on and when I pulled the canvas tight, they proved to be perfect first time. And then the other one. The straps pull out the canvas and the lorry is looking really nice. I think we will have a look at the valve plugs tomorrow and see if we can seal them up. Two were blowing, one quite badly, so it would be nice to fix them before we try the engine again. Then I want to finish the floor and start on the wing irons. Steve
  10. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Good morning one and all! Well, the phone was red hot last night and again this morning. Many thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. We have just discussed our options and have decided not to go which is a great disappointment. However, it really needed everything to be spot on yesterday for us to be able to finish the rest off in time and the hours are just not there to fix it. It would be a great shame to get there and fail or, worse still, bust a rod and do catastrophic damage for the sake of lifting a block and having a look. We shall carry on this week and have a day out in Brighton to watch our friends come in. Thanks to everyone who has been rooting for us. Steve
  11. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Today has been one of mixed successes. Not a bad one for a new lorry but not quite as good as I had hoped considering our timescales. This is what we have been up to. We started off by fitting the seat cushions. I first drove the Dennis with no cushions and every time I tried to steer, I slid around rather than turning the lorry and I didn't want that to happen again. We drained some more water from the sump which, to be honest, is causing us some concern. I took a side cover from the crank case and then poured water over the top whilst Father looked in with a torch. Water could plainly be seen coming in at quite a rate so that is where it is coming from. The best solution will be to seal up the water hoses and stop the leaks at source. At least we know how it is getting in there now. We then filled the radiator with water and the sump with oil. Time for a swing! It didn't want to know so one of our guests, a young and fit student type had a go and, of course, it went. It idled for a while but didn't want to pick up very much. However, I decided to move it out which it did nicely. The clutch works anyway! I had a bit of a go at manoeuvering and it was OK but it would not rev and the engine kept dying on me. We decided to stop for a bit and fit the hood and tailboard whilst there was plenty of manpower about. and then have a think about it. It idles quite nicely but any move to open the throttle and it fades and pops and bangs through the carburettor. If we choked it a bit and tried to open the throttle it was much more responsive so we diagnosed a weak mixture and I turned up a new main jet. The original had a number 56 drill through it. Our 55 and 54 were missing from the rack so I used a number 53 which is 0.012" bigger. That was a much bigger step than I intended but we fitted it and it was much improved so we decided to have a go. Coming down that hill certainly proved that the brakes work! We were away! Unfortunately, fifty yards up the road we came to a sudden stop as the engine stiffened up and seized. I could not turn it. We sat there for ten minutes whereupon it freed itself and I could re-start it. We reversed to the bottom of the hill and then started to drive back up whereupon it seized again. Another delay whilst it freed up and then I drove the rest of the way back. That hill start was fun! We then parked it in the driveway and left it idling for two hours which it did very smoothly. I did try to accelerate it just before we shut down but it was very sluggish and then stiffened up again and stopped. We are hoping that it is only a running in issue and that perhaps I made the pistons a bit tight. We intend to idle it some more during the week and see if it frees itself up. In the meantime, there are still the straps for the hood, the tailboard catches, the wing irons the cab floor and the hood frames to do. Fortunately, I have the week off! TIm has some clips which he will post when he gets home. Steve
  12. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    We have had another good day with plenty of progress. It is feeling a bit relentless at the moment though! We started off by finishing the bonnet catches and fitting them to their new mountings. That all went well and I drilled the holes in the bonnet boards for the front ones without issue. However, the rear ones are so positioned that they are right over the chassis rail. I am not drilling a hole in that so I will have to take the boards off and counterbore them so that the nuts sit inside the timber. One for another day as we are pushing to be ready for the test run tomorrow. The front one does look quite nice though. Then I spent the rest of the morning setting up the footbrake linkage and pedal. Nothing very interesting to see, unfortunately, but we do now have a working footbrake. If we are going to drive it tomorrow, we need some half-shafts. Dad has cleaned these up so it was just a simple fit, or so we thought. Nothing is ever quite that easy! After clearing enough space to swing it, the half-shaft was pushed home I don't remember it being that rusty but the back of the garage is a bit gloomy! The 5/8" bolts are fed through from the rear. The holes are very close fitting so the bolts had to be tapped into place which was quite tricky considering the limited access. Then the hubcap was fitted and the bolts tightened a little bit at a time until everything was in contact. They were finally done up with my 3/4" drive Chinese socket and tommy bar. Then the other side. As has been noted here before, space is a bit limited. We had to push the lorry forward until the axle aligned with an empty shelf! Then it was a case of simply bolting up as before. The flange on this half-shaft is very loose on the spline and has obviously been working over a long period. I think it will be OK in the short term but we will have to make another sooner or later. The brake setting up brought the pedal into line with the clutch. This looks nice but the stroke is a bit short so we will have to be careful about keeping it properly adjusted. I have no doubt that the shoes will bed in very quickly so we will probably have to stop to adjust them on the run itself. With the padel in its final place, I can now see what I am going to have to do with the floor board. After setting the clutch springs and bolting up and pinning the coupling between the clutch and gearbox, I fitted the outer floor panel. And then the footstep. We put oil in the differential and I moved the lorry back into the garage by winding the handle with it in reverse. So far so good! Just water and oil in the engine and we will be away tomorrow. Let's hope all goes well and it will drive back up the hill into the driveway! More tomorrow. Steve
  13. Old Bill

    Thornycroft Big Ben

    Good luck with that. We shall follow with interest! Steve
  14. Old Bill

    WW1 Thornycroft restoration

    Dad has been busy whilst I have been at work. He has finished off the footstep and also fitted the rear licence plate as well. That is another tick in the box. Tomorrow is going to be busy if we are to have a test run on Sunday. I need to set up the footbrake and clutch, oil in the engine and back axle, fill all the greasers, fit bonnet catches, fit the step and also the cushions. The cushions are actually quite important as we test ran the Dennis without them and whenever I tried to turn the wheel, I just slid around on the seat without maneuvering the lorry. With the narrowness of our roads and the steepness of the drive, that is one variable I could do without! Steve
  15. Old Bill

    WW1 finds and discoveries

    British solid tyres were specified in metric dimensions from the very early years and the Government Subvention scheme required that those on the front would be 720x120mm and on the rear 880x120mm twins. Both our Dennis and Thornycroft have these. The AEC Y-type was not approved for the scheme but, very sensibly, had the same sized tyres all round but 850x120mm. The American trucks coming over had imperial sizes so our FWD has 36x5" tyres all round. The Peerless also has imperial tyres but I can't remember the sizes offhand. This seems to be another little quirk of history. Do you think it might have been the French influence which led to metric tyre sizes being adopted? Although these are 850mm tyres, I don't think they are AEC as the hub cap is too square. I shall have to look at some more photos and see what other suggestions I can make. An interesting find, nonetheless. Steve
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