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WW1 Dennis truck find

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I agree with Robert as I was already thinking along the lines of getting this great record preserved in a stable format for future restorers. If it wasn't for the Dennis story demonstrating that it can be done I wouldn't have rescued the wrecks now in my yard. There is nothing more ephemeral than material stored on current technology;-. 5" discs, floppy discs, 8 track, video tapes etc etc, all gone to the tip.

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I too have looked at recording these restorations on to storage as they are so helpful in guidance in restoration. One of my sons has a computer background however what I thought would be a simple task is not , but rather in the difficult category. Hopefully some can take the lead. 

 Doug

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The last few times we took the Dennis out, it was running quite roughly and took an age to get warmed up. It has also been difficult to start and since I hurt my arm, I have been concerned about trying to swing it. I therefore thought that it was time I got a grip of it and sorted it out. First job was to try to work out why it was getting rougher. I suspected that it had been running lean so I took the carb off and this is what I found:DSCN7669.JPG.3630ad5ea84b5fa1b8e1bc9d411bae50.JPG

It was much sootier than I would have expected so I wondered if the jet was getting choked.

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It wasn't solid with carbon but I gave it a good soaking with carburettor cleaner and also the ways and guts of the carb itself to clean it all out. I also checked the inlet joints whilst putting it back to make sure that they weren't letting air in. Hopefully, that would sort the rough running.#

Starting these old engines is definitely a skill and hazardous at times as well. I absolutely don't want to go down the route of an electric start but thought I might compromise with an impulse starter. I had a rummage in the box to see what bits we have.

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An impulse starter is a rather clever device in the coupling between the drive dog and the magneto. It has a trigger arrangement which stops the magneto turning whilst it winds up a clock spring. Then, at just the right moment, it trips, releasing the spring and giving the magento a high-speed flick to give a really strong spark. The beauty is that I only have to slowly pull the engine over compression and not swing it at speed. Amongst all the bits, we had a complete anti-clockwise impulse starter which Father had obtained from a dealer in the US so I thought it worth trying to install this.

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First look at the magneto on the lorry and I could see that there were no holes to mount the trigger plate. However, our spare mag does have them and the taper and keyway in the starter matched the spindle. We were on! I pulled the mag off the lorry but not before recording the position of the distributor and contact breaker.

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Once it was off, I could make up an adaptor between the starter and the drive dog on the lorry.

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That was successful but I then found that the screw holes in the trigger plate didn't match the magneto so I had to make up a new one.

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That is the original on the left, a Simms pattern on the right which matched the holes but not the starter and the first part of my replacement.

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After machining it to shape, I case hardened the the actual trigger.

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It fitted!

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Final assembly and ready to refit on the lorry.

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I set the distributor position the same as the original and re-fitted the magneto. Then it was the moment of truth. The lorry hasn't run for nearly a year but it fired on the sixth compression with me just pulling it slowly round. Success number one!

I then went for a test run around the village and it went like stink. Cleaning the carb out certainly made a difference and it was a real joy to drive. Now I need a free weekend and an excuse to take it out!

Steve   😁

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Well done !  I am wondering though why the carb was so caked with carbon. This would suggest either ignition point before the inlet valves are shut or leaking inlet valves I think.

David

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Sticking EGR valve 🙂

(More seriously, perhaps a leak into the inlet air warming path)

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Good job Steve! You won't hurt your arm anymore with this arrangement. I would bet it starts on the first compression if you prime it.

Regards

Marcel 

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It started on the fourth compression without priming after sitting for ten months. I was very pleased!  It then started on the second the next time and the first the one after that. Now I have to wangle one into the Thornycroft!

All the soot was a symptom, I think. It started popping and banging for longer and longer periods until it was really warmed up. I suspect that it sooted up then. Time will tell!

Steve  :)

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I have just done another 'finishing off' task in the shape of the chock or 'Scotch' as it says on the drawings.  I was given the chunk of timber in the summer so I have screwed the plate and ring to it and attached some chain. Once I had sorted out the right length, I bent up another ring from 5/16" steel and attached that to the other end.

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I mounted a hook on the body and hun g the ring on it. The scotch can now be pulled  out when needed and is readily available when hung on the hook.

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One more job ticked off on the way to finishing the beast!

Steve   :)

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Hi Steve,

An interesting attachment and very handy on a downhill gradient. What was the plan for scotching on an uphill section ? Edit.( Ok, I see the chain is removable.)

While on the subject, will you be fitting the sprag poles to the Thornycroft and how were they operated, was there a control in the cab?

Tomo

Edited by Tomo.T
Brain not engaged.

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We are not fitting sprags to either lorry as the current highways authorities are unsympathetic to holes appearing in thr tarmac!

The Dennis ones were operated by a cable with a large ring on the end. This ring sits on a hook on the side of the steering column until needed when it is released and the sprags are lowered.. Our column does have the hook fitted.

To be honest, I suspect that sprags dropped out of fashion very early in the war as you don't see them on vehicles very often at all.

Steve    :)

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Steve, please see my recent thread; Thornycroft Victory Parade, which shows clearly that sprags were fitted right to the last of the wartime models at least. 

Their use was not officially banned until 1921 (along with frost spikes on steam rollers,) after the advent of tarmac surfacing.

Tomo.

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One could make up a sprag but not have it operative.I know of one vehicle in NZ with a sprag welded in the raised position.

Doug W

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Hello,

I came across this thread when “googling” for background information relating to my Grandfathers service in WW1. He joined up on the 1st November 1915 and by the 9th, he was at the ASC HQ, Grove Park. I find the photos of your restored Dennis a fascinating insight to the equipment he was working with in France, Belgium and Germany.  I congratulate you on an amazing restoration, a wonderful piece of history.  My Grandfather was from Newtownards, Co Down, Ireland, but like your truck, served with the New Zealand forces. The photo was taken at Cologne and shows my grandfather taking a look under the bonnet of his truck. The other  is his jacket, complete with NZ fern.

Muliem - Cologne April 1919 (1).jpg

IMG_6548.JPG

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Thanks for posting that John. What a super photo and piece of history. I am pleased that you enjoyed this thread. Here is another one of NZ forces entering Cologne with Dennis

Cologne 10 b.jpg

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, John Heron said:

Hello,

 

I came across this thread when “googling” for background information relating to my Grandfathers service in WW1. He joined up on the 1st November 1915 and by the 9th, he was at the ASC HQ, Grove Park. I find the photos of your restored Dennis a fascinating insight to the equipment he was working with in France, Belgium and Germany.  I congratulate you on an amazing restoration, a wonderful piece of history.  My Grandfather was from Newtownards, Co Down, Ireland, but like your truck, served with the New Zealand forces. The photo was taken at Cologne and shows my grandfather taking a look under the bonnet of his truck. The other  is his jacket, complete with NZ fern.

Muliem - Cologne April 1919 (1).jpg

IMG_6548.JPG

John's Grandfather was with the British ASC 610 Coy.(MT). which served on the Western Front as 1st New Zealand Divisional Supply Column. Apparently the NZEF relied on British support for most of their Mechanical Transport requirements. The Goslings Dennis is also depicted in the livery of this unit.

Information from British & Dominion Vehicle Signage 14-18 by Ron Dux & Mike Hibberd. 

Edited by Tomo.T

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Thank you very much for the information and sharing the photo. I have recently come into possession of our family archive...well a rather large pile of documents, photos etc that will need a fair amount of sorting (I'm really enjoying the task). My Grandfather sent a lot of post cards to my Grandmother during his time in service and seemed to enjoy buying post cards as souvenirs. These should help determine where he had been during WW1. I take it this lorry would have been used for transporting anything and everything that an Army required?

Maybe a little late ...or very early, but here is the ASC Christmas Card sent home Christmas 1916.

1276553469_ChristmasCard1916(1).thumb.jpg.f9987bd792e263336d8563ba885821fc.jpg

.2129315595_Christmascard1916(2).thumb.jpg.45bafc1ea1e290deb3f45a2d44909850.jpg 

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Amazing items. Especially the jacket. How did it survive the decades and moths?

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14 hours ago, John Heron said:

Thank you very much for the information and sharing the photo. I have recently come into possession of our family archive...well a rather large pile of documents, photos etc that will need a fair amount of sorting (I'm really enjoying the task). My Grandfather sent a lot of post cards to my Grandmother during his time in service and seemed to enjoy buying post cards as souvenirs. These should help determine where he had been during WW1. I take it this lorry would have been used for transporting anything and everything that an Army required?

Maybe a little late ...or very early, but here is the ASC Christmas Card sent home Christmas 1916.

1276553469_ChristmasCard1916(1).thumb.jpg.f9987bd792e263336d8563ba885821fc.jpg

.2129315595_Christmascard1916(2).thumb.jpg.45bafc1ea1e290deb3f45a2d44909850.jpg 

John, Nice card confirming the 610 Coy. You are correct as to the employment of this unit, basically the Divisional Supply Columns were responsible for transport and supply of rations and stores from railheads to forward dumps in the Divisional area. Ammunition was dealt with separately by Ammunition Parks at first, but later, combined MT Coys. were formed to deal with all supply requirements. I have further details of the exploits of 610 Coy if you would like them.

Tomo.

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Hello Tomo,

I would be fascinated to learn more about the 610 Co. I have only really started to poke about the internet to see what information is available. Yes please - I would be delighted to hear what you have.

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I've spent the last couple of months working on this painting - based on the photo posted earlier. (I'm no more than an enthusiastic amateur...as you can see)  The information on this thread provided details not visible in my 100 years old photo (thank you very much!). I hinted at the Cologne location in the background - no idea if Granda's truck could possibly have been at that particular place with the cathedral in the background....but sure,m why not! Thanks once again for sharing all the pictures etc. Also to Tomo for the insight into 610's activities during this period.

20190511_122909.jpg

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Nice picture John. You have some good detail in there  The chap behind your Grandpa does look remarkably like Tomo!

Steve :)

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Hmm, Thanks Steve. The chap behind is actually wearing an engineers blue cotton jacket over his rather better fitting service dress. He also has on over trousers. This was to protect the uniform whilst engaged in oily/ dirty  tasks and he may well have been a fitter in the unit LAD then known as the First Aid Workshop.

John, otherwise a very credible effort which certainly brings the scene to life and I think you have a good likeness of your Grandfather.

Tomo

 

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Thanks for the additional information about my Granda's buddy. I thought the big fella just squeezed into a second jacket, to keep out the chill!  Would you know the shade of blue for his over's jacket? and would his over trousers be blue?  

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