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1944 Flying Control Dodge WC51 - The Story So Far


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The dome is removable. It has been since the time Rupert owned the truck as the barn where he kept it wasn't very tall. It was also necessary when I kept it in the shipping container. It has those qui

Here's some views in the military vehicle Romney hut. First, a panorama from my phone. Two model cabinets celebrate the 100th anniversary of the RAF with models of many of the types flo

March 21st - Putting Faith to Bed With the coronavirus lock down only likely to become more severe and the 2020 MV events falling like dominos, we popped over to say good night to "Faith" for som

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It's been a busy season yet again, but things are winding down now. I've attended sixteen shows and had six further trips out to museums, historic sites such as airfields and photo shoots. The "Follow Me" Jeep has been to 17 events, the GPW 6 and the Dodge 5. The Tanfield Railway 1940's weekend may be my last public event for 2019, but I also have a school visit to do soon.

Tanfield Railway 1940's Weekend - September 21/22nd

September 21st - Day 1

It was a lovely sunny day at Tanfield Railway, for what is possibly our last show of the 2019 season. I'd decided to get all the vehicles to the show across the two days and so took "Jessie the Jeep" and "Faith the Flying Control Dodge" for day one. Lynne drove "Jessie" for the first time out in the new Red Cross markings. Without thinking, we parked with the other vehicles which meant I was photographing them into the Sun for much of the day.

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There was a Jeep that I hadn't seen before and the huge Scammel truck was a surprise visitor. I haven't seen that at any events locally before.

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Bob's Command Car.

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Dodges were reasoably well represented during the weekend.

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Around 1pm, NCB No 49 collected another carriage from Marley Hill yard, to add to the train for the evacuees. They walked up the hill from the Home Front display in Marley Hill carriage shed and back down the bank to Andrews House station. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was there to see them onto the train, which departed Andrews House station at 1:30pm.

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At Andrews House, the Seatones were singing and there was a big band in the main carriage shed in Marley Hill yard. Mid afternoon, we had a mini convoy down to East Tanfield Station for coffee where Colin was performing as George Formby. The car park was virtually full, as was the main car park near Andrews House Station, so there must have been a good number of public there.

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At the end of the day, we took the Dodge straight back to the storage yard, as it was on the way home, and came home in "Jessie". For day two, we'd take "Jessie" and "Hope" on display. With the vehicles away, we had a quick bite to eat before returning to the evening dance held in the carriage shed.

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September 22nd - Day 2

Tanfield day two started out nice and sunny again. I hoped it would stay that way, as with "Jessie" in Red Cross markings and using the olive drab roof canvas, "Hope" was roofless!

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A few of the larger vehicles didn't come for the second day, but there were a few different Jeeps, Chris in his Dodge and more civilian cars, all on display in the field above Andrews House station.

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Following a chat with the farmer, late morning three of us set off across the fields for some green laning. Actually more brown and straw coloured laning, but a good laugh until we got to a flood and a locked gate.

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We'd sent Derek first as he was expendable if there'd been any land mines, so he ended up turning around in the flood and we made our way back to the show field.

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Following my social media appeal for a second hand roof canvas, Bob came along on Sunday with a spare roof in fairly good condition. A deal was done and "Hope" now has a roof too.

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The evacuees set off for the 1:30pm train again but this time I didn't follow them to the station. Instead I caught some photos from the bank overlooking Marley Hill signal box and spotted my daughter as she watched from the carriage window.

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Some of the vehicles left soon after lunch but six of the remaining military vehicles had a small convoy down to East Tanfield station for coffee. Colin was singing inside the station building because of the predicted showers which didn't happen.

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We had one idiot Audi driver ( always an Audi or BMW ) that forced his way through the convoy in a hurry to his grave. Fortunately he didn't take any of us out in his crazed overtaking. The day before, on the way home, another Audi overtook my Dodge on a blind corner. Every trip now, I encounter a selection of idiots on the road, always looking for the worst possible place to overtake!

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We parked up the convoy against the trackside fence and stormed the cafe, which was taken without much resistance. It was nice to see both Jeeps out together, both looking a bit different to normal.

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We convoyed back to Andrews House and displayed there a while longer before packing up to head home. Driving home, two or three eyes at the front of the new canvas popped off the studs on the screen. I'm going to have to try and get the canvas pulled tighter, or see if it fits better on "Jessie".

The Roof bows on "Hope" are slightly lopsided, which I discovered just recently. Where the pivot is for the front bow, the bracket had been welded onto the rear bow with about a quarter of an inch height difference compared to the other side. It must have been manufactured like this during the war as during the restoration, I only straightened the bends in the tubes. This may also be having an effect on getting the roof canvas tightened evenly.

We just got onto the drive when the promised rain came, and it didn't half chuck it down! I got the Jeeps away as quickly as possible and sat down to begin processing several hundred photos!

A full set of the event photos can be found here - http://www.sacarr.co.uk/mymvs/events/2019/tanfield_1940s.htm

Edited by Jessie The Jeep
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  • 3 months later...

I went  over to visit the Dodge this afternoon before the year is out. It's been three months since it ran on its trip out to Tanfield 1940's weekend. Even though it is still on a 6 volt electrical system, it burst into life after a good prime and a few presses of the starter to suck the prime through to the engine.

I warmed it through and checked the oil pressure, brakes and lights. I also moved it a couple of feet inside the container to avoid sitting on the same spot on the tyres all winter, then took the battery out until spring. The battery has been fed with a couple of acid tablets per cell and is now on a nice slow charge in my workshop.

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I have never been one for miracle pills for batteries.   My  AVO , Chloride discharge resistance thing (drop-tester) and hydrometer(s)  - now fully retired.  There are a few alternatives but I settled for a RING Smart charger , registered the 5 year warranty  (it's 4 year must be up) and it has been kept in constant use to try and bust it.  The Halfords 'trade-card' knocked a few £ off.   I have fully recovered 3 soft sulphated batteries , two hard sulphated - I could not do anything with.  It is the fact that now I can do a very accurate  % capacity check of CCA that is the most worthwhile feature in knowing how a battery life is standing up , and then do something about it in time.

https://www.halfords.com/workshop-tools/garage-equipment/battery-chargers-jump-starters/ring-12a-smart-charger-charge-and-diagnose?cm_mmc=Google+PLA-_-Garage+Equipment-_-Battery+Chargers+&+Jump+Starters-_-116453&istCompanyId=b8708c57-7a02-4cf6-b2c0-dc36b54a327e&istFeedId=62b447cf-331e-4fec-a47a-9985ff72d404&istItemId=lwwalplt&istBid=tziw&_$ja=tsid:94971|cid:1537737348|agid:57846660239|tid:aud-80976661069:pla-328947886443|crid:291898457468|nw:g|rnd:18366707104303103304|dvc:c|adp:1o1|mt:|loc:9046708&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIifTKqKfR5gIVxbTtCh0DOwFlEAQYASABEgLA1fD_BwE

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14 hours ago, Jessie The Jeep said:

Well this battery has lasted a minimum of 15 years that I know of with no other care and occasional use, so it's working for this one.

15 years sounds very good to me. I once drove the Dodge on a tuesday and on the friday after that the battery was completely dead. Luckily I had a old spare that was just good enough.

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  • 2 months later...

March 21st - Putting Faith to Bed

With the coronavirus lock down only likely to become more severe and the 2020 MV events falling like dominos, we popped over to say good night to "Faith" for some time. I normally go every 6 weeks to 2 months to run the engine, exercise the clutch and brakes and turn the wheels if not being driven. The likelyhood is, Faith may not be out at all this year.

The battery has been out for the winter, but with the lock down and the possibility of not being able to visit, I went over and jacked up the truck to get the weight off the wheels to avoid tyre flat spots. The truck is now perched on some axle stands, an inch or so above the container floor.

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Quite hard work to operate the jack at the back, where you have to be lying down to get the jack far enough under to reach the axles. The fuel tank then doesn't give much room to operate the jack. At least there's enough roof clearance in the container, even if the sides are a tight fit! The brakes were exercised and the handbrake released. The clutch was also operated and the clutch pedal was left in the disengaged position.

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So the mileometer seems very unlikely to clock up much, if any mileage this year. Since the two Jeeps live at home in the garage, they are easier to maintain and check over in the event of a more serious lockdown being enforced.

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  • 4 months later...
July 28th 2020
 
Faith the Dodge has been patiently sleeping this year. Every event I was booked in for this year has cancelled due to the virus. We had the Jeeps on the drive for VE Day and have been on a few Jeep drives and photoshoots around the local area, but that's it for events.

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Despite the loss events, Faith, our Flying Control Dodge is still amazing, especially for a 76 year old vehicle running on 6 volts. This became apparent today, with a visit to check on the Dodge. From my logs, it appears I last put some petrol in late June 2019. The last event for the Dodge was in September and then it was shut away in the container for the winter. The engine was run and warmed through on December 24th 2019 and then the battery removed for the winter. In March, two days before lockdown, I put the Dodge on axle stands to take the weight off the tyres, but it was still without a battery, so wasn't run.
 
Today, after 7 months of inactivity, and 13 months since any fresh fuel was added, I went to try and give it a run. With such old petrol, I had my doubts. Water and oil checked, fuel pump hand primed and then I turned the engine over a few seconds with the ignition off, to pump some oil around. The 6 volt starter seemed to turn so slow compared to the 24 volt Hotchkiss Jeep on Sunday!!
 
After the oil prime, the choke and hand throttle were set, then I pressed the starter again for a few seconds to spin the engine over and then turned the ignition on. VROOOM! Off it went to a fast idle. Oil pressure 50PSI, idling smoothly, temperature slowly came up - fantastic! The clutch was released to spin the wheels, gearbox and differential over, brakes and steering exercised and lights checked. Everything was fine. 
 
So everything was shut down, battery removed again, clutch chocked in the released position and Faith left to sleep for a few more months. I might be tempted to go for a short drive in the Autumn before the real cold of the winter comes. It was a tad dark in the container and my torch has vanished somewhere, but thankfully I could use the torch on my phone to see to fit and remove the battery.
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Nothing has happened with the Dodge this year since the July engine run. It is still sleeping in the container, waiting for better days. However, the recent forum update prevented me from adding my http hosted images, posting only a link instead. Then a few days ago, Google Chrome started blocking http images displayed within secure web pages, blocking all the images in the thread Chrome on my phone did it a day after.

A browser change was only a partial solution, so over the last few days, I've moved all my websites ( some 42,000 files ) to a new host, transferred my domain name and set up SSL security, so no my pictures are https and can be posted in this forum and not be blocked by Chrome. I have had to go back and edit the whole thread, changing every picture link to https! A long job, but worth it to keep this and my other Jeep threads alive. So the Dodge and M201 Jeep are done now, only the GPW thread left to edit.

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  • 1 month later...

December 2nd - Waking a Sleeping Giant - Again!

I went to visit the Dodge today. My last visit was in July. I shouldn't have expected miracles, as it is months since it last ran and the petrol in the tank is now at least 18 months old. Add that to a 6 volt electrical system and the best I hoped for was to pump some oil around the inside of the engine on the starter.

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Faith the Dodge really is a miracle worker however, as after a good prime and turning over on the starter on and off to get some oil moving, the ignition was turned on and the in-line 6 burst into life once again. I did however promise Faith some new fuel and a ride out next year!! Perhaps if we are really lucky, there may be the odd event happening later in the season.

 

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  • 3 months later...

Yesterday was exactly one year since Faith was jacked up and placed on axle stands to sit out covid. It has now been 18 months since Faith went into the container after the Tanfield Railway 1940's event in 2019. It was a long hibernation. A year and a day after the wheels left the ground, they touched down again.

Faith the Dodge joins the Fleet at Durham - March 22nd

Today, March 22nd 2021, it was time to bring Faith to the new house, in preparation for the work on the garage to allow all three vehicles to be garaged together. The first step was to get the Dodge back down off the axle stands. After that, the 6 volt battery was fitted and the Dodge started up - now on fuel that was around two years old!!! Once running, the Dodge was backed out of the container to allow ten gallons of fresh fuel to be added. The filler cap wasn't accessible while in the container.

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After plenty to time to warm up and load up the container contents, I set off on the short three mile trip back to our Washington home. This gave me the chance to check the engine under driving loads again, as the two runs in the container in July and December weren't to particularly high RPM. I also needed to blow up the tyres, so had brought my compressor over in anticipation. Everything seemed to be in order and I had faith in Faith.

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Once my daughter finished school for the day, we loaded up a few more odds and ends and began our trip to Durham. We travelled the same back road route as we'd taken the Jeeps in February. My daughter took a few shots to record the trip over which went without any problems. It was a great feeling to be back behind the wheel after 18 months off the road and 12 months and a day locked away in the container on axle stands.

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The Dodge was parked up next to the garage to check its height in preparation for the modifications to raise the doors. This will allow the Dodge to fit inside and give more clearance for the Jeep with the roof up. At present, Jessie's Follow Me sign would be too tall to fit through the door.

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In the shot below, all three vehicles can be seen together, the first time since Bowes Railway in June 2019.

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8 minutes ago, No Signals said:

Even with your door raised.....

The dome is removable. It has been since the time Rupert owned the truck as the barn where he kept it wasn't very tall. It was also necessary when I kept it in the shipping container. It has those quick release clips like you find on metal flight cases, so it's a quick job to take it off and I used to flip it upside down and put it back in the hole. That gave me enough clearance.

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You can just about see the inverted dome in this picture from a few years ago.

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@steviem I've chatted with the guy immediately next door about them, but the people in the house at the bottom of the garden I don't think have seen much until the truck turned up yesterday. I'm guessing they'll have noticed it now! Hard not to!!

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Don't cut it too fine.  Measure twice  - before you cut with the Stihl saw !       Obviously you can't do a practical check prior.      You seem to have a slight drive down incline to water step gully  -  been there  ,,    you need to do a desk-top exercise , establish gradient fall in relationship to garage FFL  (finished floor level)  , then superimpose truck section on drawing to see if there is a striking point. 

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