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Jessie The Jeep

1944 Flying Control Dodge WC51 - The Story So Far

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The start of a busy weekend! With my wife at work in one car, and the other left at the shipping container where the Dodge normally lives, I had to take the Jeep the 2.5 mile drive to Bowes Railway this afternoon to start setting up for the weekend show. Since I wanted to display all three vehicles, I thought it wise to reserve a space, and so loaded the Jeep trailer with the signals square and ropes to mark out my plot. I then had to get home to collect my daughter from school at 3:15pm.

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Lynne phoned late afternoon to say she was leaving work and that she would meet me at the railway. This allowed me to take the Dodge over and have a lift home again, via the Springwell village pub for a meal and listen to the 1940's entertainment they had on. This now means I only have the two Jeeps to get to the railway in the morning.

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Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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The two Jeeps were ferried over on Saturday morning around 9am and their accessories were set up soon after. The Dodge was then assembled, adding the windsock, aerials and the small internal items such as the M8 pistol, flares, headphones etc. 

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There were a number of other vehicles turned up on Saturday, mostly Jeeps, but also a Kubelwagon, a GMC CCKW 353 an a civilian car.

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There were no locos running around the Bowes goods yard this year. The normal steam loco had its boiler certificate run out the day after last year's event, and as yet, they don't have the funds for a rebuild. They do have diesels, but they just wouldn't have the right character for a 1940's event.

There were several dioramas dotted around the railway museum site, which included German, French, British and Russian re-enactors and equipment. The main areas were along the fence overlooking the goods yard and in the courtyard formed by the engineering shops.

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There was a battle on both Saturday and Sunday. This took place on a rather sunny "Eastern Front" between the Germans and the Russians. These pictures are from the battle on Saturday where the Germans won the fight. There was a small skirmish on Sunday morning prior to the main battle later on. There were also firing demonstrations of various weapons on both days.

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Lynne was away for Saturday morning taking our daughter to her dancing class. In the afternoon, she spent much of her time at the various other activities held around the village as part of the whole event. We brought both Jeeps home on Saturday evening and took them back on Sunday morning.

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There was a slight change in vehicles on show with one Jeep, civilian car and GMC missing and a fire engine in there place. I started packing small accessories away around 3pm and we took the Jeeps home at 4:30, returning a little while later for the Dodge. A very enjoyable weekend.

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A full report and further pictures can be found here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2018/bowes.htm

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I was thinking of taking the Dodge to the local aircraft museum for their Trams & Transport open day, but the weather forecast has been proven correct and it's heavy rain all day, so no trip out.

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The Dodge hadn't been out since Bowes Railway at the beginning of July. As we near the end of the season, I decided to take the Dodge for a run out to the North East Land, Sea and Air Museum for one day of the Heritage weekend.

NELSAM Heritage Weekend - Sept 9th

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Despite being the same day as the Great North Run, there were still a good number of public there, who still got to see the Red Arrows display over the run, even if it was a couple of miles away. Around mid day, we got a nice rainbow, but by the time I walked along the site to the Vulcan with my camera, it vanished! Around half an hour later, a much brighter rainbow appeared and I caught that one.

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Here's a few of the projects at NELSAM. The Morane is nearing completion, while the Hurricane replica framework is a fairly new arrival.

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The Provost has been a long term resident but there isn't the space to assemble it at present. The Bell47/Souix has also been with the museum for a while now.

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Here's some views in the military vehicle Romney hut. First, a panorama from my phone.

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Two model cabinets celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAF with models of many of the types flown on display.

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December 31st

On the last day of the year, I went to give the Dodge one last check over before the winter weather really sets in. I added another gallon of fuel as the tank was getting low, and gave the engine a good warm through. Clutch and brakes were exercised, lights checked and the truck moved in the container to avoid tyre flat spots.

After it was nicely warmed through, the engine was shut down and the battery was removed. I brought it home to add some acid tablets and give it periodic charging over the Winter until things warm up again in the Spring.

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May 3rd - Flexi-Brake Hoses

For a while, the brake shoes have been dragging after pressing the pedal. I'd previously checked the shoe springs and the tension seemed good, so suspected the problem lay elsewhere. Another symptom was that for the first press of the brakes, the pedal almost went to the floor to get braking, but as I drove a while, the pedal free play reduced to almost nothing. Since buying the Dodge, I've replaced the master cylinder and all four wheel cylinders. I've also relined all eight brake shoes. The only part of the system not touched were the four flexi-hoses - one on the rear axle and three on the front axle. This is where I suspected the problem was.

 

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After refitting the battery after the winter lay up, I brought the Dodge home and set to work. I began at the back, opening one of the bleed nipples and pumping out as much fluid as possible. Next I removed the old hose and fitted the first of the new hoses. This went fairly easily but I had a feeling that the front wouldn't go so well!

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Moving to the front, I started on one of the steering knuckle flexi-pipes. The inner end unscrewed without too much fuss, but the wheel end wouldn't budge from the brass union. I ended up removing the pipe and union together and put them over a camping stove flame to heat the parts to help release them.

After a couple of minutes cooking, there was a large bang and the union/pipe fitting went one way while the hose shot off the other way! This seemed to confirm that at least one hose had collapsed internally and the pressure of the heated and expanding brake fluid finally blew the rubber pipe out of its fitting. Shortly after, a vice and a spanner finally freed the fitting from the union.

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The second steering knuckle hose was stuck fast the same way and that union had to be removed too. It was also heated on the stove and an identical bang separated the rubber from its fitting. Another collapsed and partially blocked hose! Like the first, the union was freed as a result of the heat treatment. Both of the new flexi-hoses were fitted without problems.

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The last hose was the chassis to axle hose which was rather difficult to remove and refit. The large spanners needed to fit the hose fittings were too big to move in the space available. The chassis fitting also had a bracket with electrical wires running right in front of the access to the pipe fittings. The same wires also restricted access to the bolt head that held the brake pipe bracket and wire support bracket. Eventually I got that bolt undone, freeing the wire and hose bracket which then made the rest of the job fairly easy.

I got all the hoses fitted by about 1:30pm, then stopped for lunch. After lunch, I began to top up the extra brake fluid reservoir and started pumping fluid through the system. I went around the four corners three times as during the first attempt, fluid started pouring from the front right wheel. I realised the copper washer had dropped out from behind the brass union and once refitted, held firm. The brake pedal free play was set up next and there was just enough time for a quick test drive before the school run.

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I didn't have much time, so the drive was short, but the brakes worked well, other than a slight pull to the right. The free play remained unchanged and the pedal was firm and consistent throughout. Tomorrow I'll adjust the shoes to try and balance the braking and there's the usual Spring work, such as cleaning and gapping the plugs and points etc. The first trip out for the Dodge will probably be in a couple of weeks to Blyth Battery.

Here's the four old hoses.

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May 4th - Service and Additional Work

Day two was a general service and a few other odds and ends. All the usual stuff like cleaning and gapping the plugs and points, greasing, oils etc. When I collected the Dodge from the container, there was quite a bit of oil had dripped from the air filter onto the exhaust manifold. It was checked once home and wasn't over filled, so the leak must have been coming from elsewhere. I drained the oil, cleaned it up and had a closer look. The oil hadn't been pouring out, but standing for a few months in the container, there must have been a steady seeping. I suspected the seam around the central tube and the turned over edge did look like it had lifted in places. It was cleaned up with a small rotary wire brush and soft soldered all around the seam. Time will tell if this has sorted the drip.

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After the other servicing jobs, I jacked up the wheels and gave the shoes a provisional clearance setting with the wheels spinning freely. After a short delay due to a rain shower, I took the Dodge out for a test drive. It was still pulling to the right a bit, so I stopped a couple of times to make further adjustments. I clocked up eleven miles during which the brakes behaved themselves, with the free play and pedal position remaining constant.

Tomorrow, I'll be looking at my daughter's child seat. Inconsiderately, since first making the seat, she's continued growing and now needs more legs room. I should be able to move the seat back and modify the existing supports. We'll see tomorrow!

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May 5th - Observer's Seat Modification

Day three! It's been four years since I made the seat and my daughter has now outgrown the leg room originally provided. The first picture shows the original configuration, quite close to the driver's seat. Looking at the supports, it looked like I would be able to cut away the rear diagonal and reuse them added to the front of the supports. This would then provide support for the front of the seat and new material for the bolt hole that fastens the seat to the floor rails.

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The second picture shows the cut from the rear and additions to the front. Cutting the rear away would also mean the seat wouldn't encroach too much into the cargo area, required for camping gear when we don't have the trailer ( currently fitted with 24 volt bulbs for one of the Jeeps ).

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The right side leg would have to be a bit shorter in length due to the supports for when the seat is centrally mounted in the observers position. The left side could be a bit longer as there was nothing in the way of that rail. The welding work was completed by mid afternoon, 'though my small angle grinder died in the last moments of the project with a burned out motor. I had to finish off with my 2000 watt grinder, normally for 8 inch discs. It was test fitted, then removed again for painting. The parts were then left in front of a heater to bake the paint until 9pm when it was all fitted into the Dodge ready for its trip to Durham in the morning.

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Durham 1940's Day - May 6th - Millennium Place & Market Place

It was a rather damp and chilly start to the day. So damp, that "Faith's" 6 volt electrics didn't want to wake the Dodge engine from its overnight slumber! With a bit of encouragement, I brought the engine to life and had an uneventful drive to Durham Millennium Place, next to the Gala theatre. The new brake system behaved itself and the engine pulled well in the first decent run out since Barnard Castle in June last year. All the other Dodge events last year were just a few miles from my door.

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There were a good turnout of vehicles and in the market place, another Jeep, diorama, vintage bus and car. Both locations had music and dancing and despite the dull damp day, there were lots of people about, many of whom took interest in the displays, vehicles, uniforms and fashion from the 40's.

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I went straight to the storage yard on the way home, put "Faith" to bed in the container and brought the normal car back home again. A 22 mile round trip.

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Next weekend, I'm off to the Yorkshire Air Museum at the former RAF Elvington, for their RAF themed "Against the Odds" event. "Jessie" the "Follow Me" Jeep will be going to that one.

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May 8th - C-2 Signal Lamp Overhaul

I've had this C-2 Signal Lamp since buying the Truck in August 2010. It has often been displayed along with the other accessories I have, but not until today did I have a look to see if I could get it working.

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In the seventy odd years since it was made, it has been battered about and has suffered from aging in a number of ways. Here's the original data plate but I can't see a date of manufacture anywhere.

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The rubber coated power cable was severely perished, the main tube had a large dent and the glass front was loose, along with its felt seal. The lamp is held together by numerous tiny screws, but came apart fairly easily. The rear handle needed to be removed in order to fit a new cable. I didn't have any rubberised wire, but did have a nice length of two core flex from my angle grinder that died while working on the observers seat.

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The lamp terminals were screws to clamp the wire, while on of the switch terminals had a spade for the wire to be soldered to. The trigger simply presses a brass lever onto the top of the screw terminal, completing the circuit. Here's the battered case, though from this side, it doesn't look to bad.

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Inside the lamp housing, the bayonet bulb filament looked intact. It was removed to test. While the data panel on the lamp said 24 volts, I couldn't be sure the bulb was 24 volts, as there were no markings on it. I tested it on a 6 volt rechargeable battery pack and it illuminated with enough brightness to display, but not overly bright. Next I tried on a transformer and increased the voltage up to 12 volts. This was quite bright and I decided I didn't want to push the bulb beyond 12 volts. For final use in the Dodge, I'll probably run it off the 12 volt radio/amplifier battery, but try and drop the voltage to around 9 volts for the lamp to prolong bulb life.

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Also visible once the case was removed, were two trigger operated levers. The two triggers are mounted on the front handle. One operates a blanking plate, shielding the mirror from the bulb. The other has a blue/green filter to give a green light when required. The front glass and reflecting surface were in good condition and just needed a light clean.

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The new wiring can be seen here, exiting the top of the handle, just after the switch. They run briefly over the top of the frame before ducking under the filters to the bulb terminals below.

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Both filters rest on a small vibration absorbing pad to prevent damage as they drop back onto the frame when the triggers are released. The glue had long since gone brittle and the pad dropped out once the lamp was opened. It was reattached with a small amount of clear silicone.

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