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New to the Bedford RL

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I picked up a Bedford RL 1957 petrol engined truck fitted with an Atlas crane on the rear. I think the vehicle was originally AFS.

 

What sort of happy crusing speed should I expect?

 

What's parts availablity like, any good suppliers out there?

 

Anybody got any ideas what Atlas crane it is, can't find a makers plate?

 

Would a TK or MJ body fit on it, as my wooden buck is in a bit of a poor state.

 

What MPG would the engine return in good condition?

 

Is there a simple diesel conversion? I regularly convert Landrovers but I have no experience with Bedfords, I assume one of the later engines would fit?

 

Also even though it wasn't particularly hard to drive I think power steering would be nice, again I convert Landrovers to power steering so I'm assuming it's basically the same principle, later Bedford power steering gear could be fitted.

 

I'll try and upload some pictures of the olde girl.

Bedford RL 1.JPG

Bedford RL 2.JPG

Bedford RL 3.JPG

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There was a Disel version called the RS I belive. Atlas cranes if the serieal leters are EA then it is the military version. She is a pretty little beast.

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There was a Disel version called the RS I belive. Atlas cranes if the serieal leters are EA then it is the military version. She is a pretty little beast.

 

RS was the short wheelbase version as on tippers, RL was long wheelbase, petrol or diesels optional on both.

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RS was the short wheelbase version as on tippers, RL was long wheelbase, petrol or diesels optional on both.

 

Thanks, the only disiel version I've had dealing with was an ex Ministry of Supply box back, we all called it the RS. The reson for disiel was that the vehcile was used as an electronic test truck.

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Is there a simple diesel conversion? I assume one of the later engines would fit?

 

 

 

 

The 300 petrol engine can be changed to a 330 diesel, with Bedfords, the size and fitting on the engine block make it relatively easy to swap and change as there is little difference between petrol and diesel, you need to end up with a diesel engine with bell housing mountings to suit you RL, down on the side, the TK had a different bell housing suspended from a cross member.

 

It is a lot of years since I was working on Bedford RL and MK, so mind is a bit slow :-D

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Thanks, the only disiel version I've had dealing with was an ex Ministry of Supply box back, we all called it the RS. The reson for disiel was that the vehcile was used as an electronic test truck.

 

Was it a two wheel drive truck? They were S type, not R, which denotes 4x4.

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The lockers, headboard, rear arches and registration are all AFS features, but I suspect the crane was added later. This is what they looked like when released:

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=11685&stc=1&d=1245929743

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Was it a two wheel drive truck? They were S type, not R, which denotes 4x4.

 

Yes she was 4X2. The vehicle was at DERA Aquila, had been used to test sonar gear in a deep hole bored on a corner of the site. I managed to find a home for her but she was to far gone for restoration so ended up as a donor vehicle.

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Tony the problem is there are no serial numbers or markings on the king post where they're supposed to be. It's going to be a couple of weeks before I can assemble the crane so there could be a plate on the opposite side of the dipper arm, which is laying down on the deck at the moment.

 

The plan is to move the crane to the back of the cab, for two reasons, I can fit a longer load on the bed and at the moment the extra weight of the crane as it is seriously knocked the balance of the truck out, tends to bounce although once it's up the front it will make the steering heavier, hence the enquiry about power steering.

 

Richard, thanks for that, I did wonder, I suppose the 330 would be more than adequate, I was thinking a 6 cylinder Cummins but I think there would be too much to modify to make it fit. If I go this route I would most probably retain the gear box as well, the 130bhp one out of a Leyland Roadrunner, I think it's a mated to a Turner 5 speed box.

 

It would be nice to see some pictures of a 330. Could I just remove the bell housing off the petrol and fit it to the diesel.

 

Mike, nice looking truck, I found some pictures of SXF 333, SXF 279 and SXF 288 but I think it's too far gone from original now to be full preserved, it will survive as my work truck, most probably only be used about 2 or 3 times a month but will make my life easier.

 

The later remote transfer boxes, are they the same ratios as the petrol ones?

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Richard, thanks for that, I did wonder, I suppose the 330 would be more than adequate, I was thinking a 6 cylinder Cummins but I think there would be too much to modify to make it fit. If I go this route I would most probably retain the gear box as well, the 130bhp one out of a Leyland Roadrunner, I think it's a mated to a Turner 5 speed box.

 

It would be nice to see some pictures of a 330. Could I just remove the bell housing off the petrol and fit it to the diesel.

 

 

Swapping the bell housing would be fine, I suggest you find an engine from a Bedford coach, mountings may well be right and it might have a Turner 5 speed box as well. Don't forget oyu will have to swap the sump over, to retain the deep well type from RL ( and oil pump ). This gives axle clearance.

 

Best of luck.

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Swapping the bell housing would be fine, I suggest you find an engine from a Bedford coach, mountings may well be right and it might have a Turner 5 speed box as well. Don't forget oyu will have to swap the sump over, to retain the deep well type from RL ( and oil pump ). This gives axle clearance.

 

Best of luck.

 

That's good news just need to find a 330, but what do I do about my vacuum brakes, does the 330 have a vacuum pump or are they all air. If so where can I find a suitable vacuum pump?

 

Your help is gratefully received Richard.

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That's good news just need to find a 330, but what do I do about my vacuum brakes, does the 330 have a vacuum pump or are they all air. If so where can I find a suitable vacuum pump?

 

Your help is gratefully received Richard.

 

The 330 has a compressor driven from timing gears, then driving the injection pump. there is usually a take off point on the other side of the engine to drive a steering pump or vacuum pump. Other option is to convert to air over hydraulic, but that gets involved, looks like you will have to forego having power steering then :(

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Thanks for all the great advice about the engine. I'll have a ring round the local breakers and see what's available. I've taken some pictures of the Atlas crane, hopefully somebody can help identify what model it is.

Atlas crane 1.JPG

Atlas crane 2.JPG

Atlas crane 3.JPG

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The 330 diesel would be the perfect solution and keep it authentic,all Bedford. Unfortunately they are a very expensive powerplant these days as many of them have been exported,to Pakistan mainly. An unserviceable one fetches £1000... But try and find one, You may get lucky!:)

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I spoke to a couple of breakers today and they were talking telephone numbers with no warranty, it's hard to believe, it's cheaper to buy a Cummins. I'm going to have to have a good long hard think about this. Obviously I could go for a different manufacturer, apparently the Iveco 6 cylinder diesels are cheap but I'm not a big fan, equally Perkins are now getting hard to get hold of.

 

Has anybody run one of these Bedford petrol engines on LPG without problems? I would have thought it would be necessary to have the exhaust seats and valves hardened.

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The 330 has a compressor driven from timing gears, then driving the injection pump. there is usually a take off point on the other side of the engine to drive a steering pump or vacuum pump. Other option is to convert to air over hydraulic, but that gets involved, looks like you will have to forego having power steering then :(

 

My Bedford is already "Air over Hydraulic" has a compressor mounted on the n/s and is belt driven, is that not the same on the AFS one :confused:

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ACH,

 

If you are looking for spares you can try John Morter 01953602581 or mobile 07773066820, or there is Pete Gaine 01189736480.

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My Bedford is already "Air over Hydraulic" has a compressor mounted on the n/s and is belt driven, is that not the same on the AFS one :confused:

 

No, not the same, AFS ones and early Army RL's had vacuum assisted brakes, no problem with a petrol engine, but if a diesel is to be fitted and you do not want to go to great lengths installing an air system, then it has to have an exhauster to produce the vacuum. Was looking at a Bedford diesel manual today and realised that the early diesels had exhauster fitted in same place as the compressor on later ones, driven from timing gears then driving the injection pump.

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I had an idea about the vacuum pump, some modern diesels have a vacuum pump mounted on the back of the alternator so I could just swap out the alternator off the donor engine, this would be the simplest solution.

 

Any idea where I could get a decent manual or a copy and parts book?

 

The top support bracket on the steering column, should that have some type of bush in? My steering column is flopping about all over the place.

 

Cheers for the phone numbers Ian.

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I picked up the 330 diesel engine and gear box over the weekend, I don't think it's going to be as straight forward to swap the engines over as I had previously thought. The starter motor is on the opposite side to the petrol one and I can't see how you could swap the gear box and bell housing onto the diesel block and the gear box which came with the engine is mounted differently ie the TK mounting.

Also where do I find out what the gear ratios are for this box? There's a serial number on the casting which is 6362499 and underneath that is 23Qx5.

Any ideas, anybody out there who has done this sort of thing before?

As I don't really want to start pulling it to pieces until I know what I'm doing (sort of!) it would be easier if the two engine and gear boxes sat next to each other for comparison.

Bedford 330 engine 3.JPG

Bedford 330 engine 4.JPG

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I'm not familiar with the petrol lump, but if you are lucky you may be able to swap the flywhel housing over on the two blocks?

 

Are you going to put a 5 speed (Turner) box in? You have a choice of direct top (same as 4 speed?) or overdrive top (fast).

 

On the MJ the front prop will run veryy close to the gearbox (especially if you have the shorter wheelbase chassis). Can anyone advise if this 5 speed conversion is O.K. on an RL?

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I think I'm just going to have to take the engine and gear box out and get them side by side and see what can be done. I would like to fit the Turner 5 speed box, I believe the PTO is fitted to the opposite side of the box, if I fit it to the 4 speed on the RL it will foul on the front prop and it looks like I'd be very lucky to find a PTO unit for the transfer box.

 

Some pictures of the Turner 5 speed overdrive box would be nice and any relevant serial numbers so I get the correct one.

 

The 4 speed box ratios:

1st gear 7.06:1

2nd gear 3.332:1

3rd gear 1.711:1

Top 1:1 direct drive

 

I think with fitting the diesel it would make a lot of sense to fit the overdrive box.

 

I've managed to pick up a not very good copy of the users handbook for the RL 1955, a parts list for the GS and a Commer Q4 3 ton 4x4 GS parts list, which to be honest is a lot nicer parts list, as it has all the illustrations including the braking system with the set up for air brakes for the trailer (which I'm particularly interested in).

 

The problem with the vacuum pump is solved, I'm going to fit an alternator from a Transit, it looks like I can take an oil feed from the block on the alternator side and there's also a return there as well, so no problems with lubrication and a vacuum tank and this should give me the 30 in vacuum needed for the brakes. Just need to figure out how to mount the power steering pump and what parts I need to convert to power steering.

 

I noticed on the TK when we were removing the engine the steering box looked identical, is there a power steering version on a later trucks which would bolt on or could something be adapted from another commercial. I fit power steering to Series Landrovers on a regular basis using Defender parts, it's remarkably simple to do, so hopefully so will be converting the Bedford.

 

My daughter Alice absolutely loves the RL, thought I'd share this picture with you (she picked the overalls herself and she had a choice of different colours but they were the ones she wanted:)). By the way she's only just 4 years old.

Alice in the RL.jpg

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Just need to figure out how to mount the power steering pump and what parts I need to convert to power steering.

 

 

On a 330 engine there is usually a take off point on back of timing cover for a power steering pump. Looking at your engine, it would be below the alternator, and would have a pressed steel blanking plate on rear face. I am not sure that timing case has this facility though.

 

Another point to watch, you will have to swap over the sump from the 300 petrol, also oil pump pick up, in order to clear the diff.

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Just need to figure out how to mount the power steering pump and what parts I need to convert to power steering.

 

I noticed on the TK when we were removing the engine the steering box looked identical, is there a power steering version on a later trucks which would bolt on or could something be adapted from another commercial.

 

This might be of interest, it is the power assisted steering set up for a Bedford S ( the 4x2 chassis, same cab ).The pump on this was driven by a belt off the crankshaft pulley, but as I said yesterday, later versions of 330 diesel have a take off incorporated in the timing case. The set up shown was made by Girling, so it will give you an idea.

bed frame 001.jpg

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