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Mk1 Militant Tanker


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13 hours ago, Rootes75 said:

The restoration is looking very good, thats a lot of paint to spray that tank!

I have never sprayed top coats, on Commers I have restored I spray filler primer undercoats and then have brush painted coach enamel.

After some practice it becomes a bit of an art and the finish can be superb. In saying that I wouldnt want to attempt a surface so large as that tank!

Just had a quick measure up. Only roughly, mind. Tank surface area is 32 sq metre. With 2 coats of paint, that's 64. Big, big area. Doing that much with a brush would take forever

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I recall when doing cabs with coach enamel that it takes an awful lot of patience but the result if done correctly is well worth it. 

That said, your arm aches and you cant stop till the complete coat is done. The cab on my Commer from memory took 2-3 hours to apply 1 coat and I applied 3 coats.

Imagine doing that on a tank that size, it would take days per coat and your arms would end up looking like popeye!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Still on the furlough thing, so much tankering over the last couple of weeks in between the showers

Wheel arches got the dodgy welding covered over copious quantities of filler


and then a good coating of high build primer


They are now in the queue for flatting off and then top coat

Hose tubes got the same treatment


Made up the wooden frame to hold them upright, so I could get all round them with the spray gun


It's supposed to be dark grey, but comes out very white.  Good job DBG covers well


Frame turned upside down makes a good working bench for flatting off.  Another lot in the top coat queue


Took the main tank valve block off, to strip and refurbish the valves



60 odd bolts to undo, all of which have now been cleaned and oiled ready for the refit


Some of the valves were well seized and full of gunge.  All but one now work nicely having been stripped cleaned and resealed.


One had the return spring completely rusted away, and I have spent a good deal of time sending emails to allsorts of spring manufacturers and stockists up and down the country to get a replacement at a sensible price.  Eventually found one that is near enough and only £28 so that is on order.

All finished in the usual red oxide Bonda primer and new gaskets


Next up, the diesel tank.  Did start cleaning it off while it was still fitted to the truck, but I was never going to get a decent job done like that.  It's got to come off.


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Before the diesel tank can come off, there is the small matter of it being half full of diesel, which even though it might be slightly cheaper at the pumps just now, doesn't need wasting.  I have a squadron of 25ltr cans, which I use to collect up diesel during the winter, so I have a reserve for the summer show season.  But as we haven't been to any shows this year to use any diesel,  cans are already full.

Solution.  Fill the timber tractor up and free up a few cans


Haven't been near the old girl lately due to the restrictions and her last time actually out on the road was last October.  She does look a bit abandoned and neglected. really needs a bit of love, a run out and a bath at the very least

But this is the Tanker thread, so back to the tanker, drain diesel out and unbolt the tank straps


 Came off quite easily, nothing seized and nothing broken and not too heavy to carry about.


Back home for paint stripping and cleaning.  So far, so good.  Until


Spot the damp patch


Looks like this when you clean the old paint off.  There's 2 bits like it, just where it meets the mounting brackets. Just as well I decided to take the thing off.  Bit of patch work required.  Best the welding is on form if I am to stop any further leaks. Will let you know


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Quick update on the tank


Two patches welded on today, haven't done any cutting out of rust, smoothing off etc, just welded a patch on big enough to cover the rusty area.  This side of the tank faces the chassis and you won't see it.  Main concern is to stop any leaks.


At the time of writing, it has been sitting on these tressles for about 3 hours.  Patches downwards and about 4 gallon of diesel inside.  No sign of any leaks so far, so reasonably confident the welding is good.  Intend leaving it over night to make sure.  If it's all good finish cleaning off the old paint, then on with the new



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21 minutes ago, MatchFuzee said:

Are you going to clean and seal the inside of the tank? 

Definitely. Looking inside tank it doesn't appear too bad, but given repairs etc  it would be prudent to do something.  Investigating slosh sealents and rust converters just now

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They say all good things come to an end, and so has 10 weeks of furlough and good Tanker work.  Got a call from the Gov'nor last Saturday asking me if I would mind awfully going back to work.  I did protest saying I had essential Tanker work to do, and thought he might understand as he owns a vintage Maltese bus that used to be a Bedford QL.  But no, he was insistent that I was needed, so it's back to the Monday to Friday grindstone.

Wasn't too bad, there was a small glimmer of hope, first job was to replace a brake chamber on a double decker.  I restore knackered buses as the day job.  For those that don't know, a bus brake chamber looks like this


  Inside is a very sexy return spring, that just happens to be the exact size of the one required for my fuel valve


Absolute perfect fit.  It's made of slightly thicker wire than the original, and a little bit stronger, but that just shuts the valve tighter.  Bit of a joke really, all the phone calls and emails the other week trying to find one and getting quoted silly money to get one made, and all the time our works scrap bin is full of them at nil cost!

Despite being reduced to only Tankering in the evenings now, I've still achieved quite a bit this week, and money saving seems to be the theme.

Was sorting out the fittings for the rear wheel arches a couple of weeks back including the rear and side reflectors.  Having painted the mounting brackets, I fitted the orange side reflectors


These are readily available from most of the Military parts suppliers and on fleebay, all brand new about a fiver each. 

But, if you want red ones for rearward facing, then that's a different question.  Rocking horse poo is easier to find.  Green Machine have some available £54 a pair.  Think they are having a laugh at that price, but I suppose it's supply and demand where else are you going to buy some, they seem to be the only ones available.

Solution, get a couple of cheap reflectors of the right size off fleebay for £2.98, and fit them into orange reflector cases.


Hardest bit is grinding the remains of the orange bit out with a Dremel.


Think they'll do nicely.

Diesel tank has been centre stage this weekend.  Having been leak tested for 48 hours without so much as a damp patch, set about getting some fresh paint on it


Usual red oxide first


Filler primer and flatting off


And finally Shiney DBG.  The support strings do leave marks, but they will be underneath the mounting straps, and wont be seen.  Biggest problem now is where to store it so it doesn't get scratched prior to fitting back on the Tanker.


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Looking back at it, would you have opened up those small holes in the tank before adding the patches to ensure the seam sealer could get to all the inside faces of the welds?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Haven't managed much Tanker work the last couple of weeks, seemed to have  other, more important?  commitments. 

Got roped into sheep herding last weekend, to help out with shearing down at the farm where the Timber Tractor is kept.  Too much like hard work that is, makes parts of your body you didn't realise you had ache like mad afterwards.

Did manage to get the diesel tank mountings finished, fresh paint and new balata strips rivetted on.


And a good days work today, finished flatting off the rear wheel arches, and DBG all round.



Hopefully I will get them, and the diesel tank fitted next weekend.


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It's a great feeling just fitting refurbished bits with new or reconditioned bolts.  Fit straight on, easy progress in a short time and instant results.  Needed a second pair of hands to prevent scraping the new paint, and fortunately son Stuart was available, so mention in despatches for his assistance.  Cost me a breakfast as payment though.


Tubes fitted.  They are just hooked on loosely for now, pending alignment and end cap fitting.


Near side wheel arch fitted with reflectors and side marker light.  You can tell it has been a while since the old girl was moved, look at the weeds growing round the wheels.


 Off side looks good too, and both sides are well solid. Side marker lights still need wiring in, but need to get some more conduit and clips first.


Diesel tank is back on, with new webbing packing under the straps.  No diesel in it yet, and has a latex glove for a cap as the real one is still waiting for a coat of yellow paint.  Stuff has been on order for a fortnight and not arrived yet.

I decided against using any kind of tank sealant, for a number of reasons.  Given the size of the tank, baffles etc, it is difficult to get the thing clean in the first place, and subsequently, it would be almost impossible to guarantee good coverage of sealant into all of the corners,  which could leave areas untreated, and possibly patches of unused sealant.  We don't use anything on the bus tanks we repair at work, just make sure the filters are changed. 

Plan is to fit a filter/separator into the line anyway which will collect any gunge that may be lurking, but more on that later.


Jerry can racks fitted.  4 reconditioned cans with the appropriate date stamp have been loitering in my loft for a long time, awaiting for this moment, but there wasn't room for them in the transport today.

Last job today, and the longest one, was going round with a kiddies paint brush painting all the new bolt heads and nuts.  Am I being pedantic with this or do other people worry about this sort of detail?

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10 minutes ago, Gordon_M said:

She is looking wonderful, but I expect you will be waking her up so she doesn't forget how to run some time soon, even if there is nowhere in particular to take her.

Got an open day, vintage bus running event planned for late September at our place, so she will appear in that as allbeit as a static exhibit in the back of the workshop. And hopefully a run out to Matt Fosters do in suffolk in October if all goes to plan.

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1 minute ago, Zero-Five-Two said:

Got an open day, vintage bus running event planned for late September at our place, so she will appear in that as allbeit as a static exhibit in the back of the workshop. And hopefully a run out to Matt Fosters do in suffolk in October if all goes to plan.

Sounds about right, nothing too taxing but enough to blow off cobwebs.  

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8 hours ago, Zero-Five-Two said:

Last job today, and the longest one, was going round with a kiddies paint brush painting all the new bolt heads and nuts.  Am I being pedantic with this or do other people worry about this sort of detail?

It’s all in the detail, you’ve done a cracking job with everything else, last thing you want is a bolt head going rusty and spoiling all the hard work. 

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