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Mk1 Militant Tanker


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Although most of the first line Territorial Division's were still in existance up until the disbandment of the old TA in 67, after 61 most became Divisions/Districts responsble for the administration of all the TA units in their areas and probably ceased to be deployable as formations.

Edited by REME 245
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Only got a couple of bits done this weekend, spent far too much time mucking about with the dynamo control box, still cannot get any life out of it.  If I fit the one out of the timber tractor she charges nicely, put it's own one back in and no charge, so it's definitely that's where the issue is.

Did get the coolant leak cured.


Washed out the block first, to clear all the sludge, there was quite a bit of it too so good job done


Refit plate with new gasket.  Run up for to temperature, while messing about with the charging lark, and no leaks found.

Finished painting the saltire, in the recommended lighter blue.


Looks very different to the first effort, but I think it is better.  We'll see when it's on the truck next week


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I know its more work, but given age and inherant AEC problems with cooling it may be worth checking the timber tractor block for internal debris build up at some point. On older vehicles coolant management becomes a major issue manifesting itself in overheating problems on there show days. Or worse still pourous liners or cylinders.

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33 minutes ago, john1950 said:

I know its more work, but given age and inherant AEC problems with cooling it may be worth checking the timber tractor block for internal debris build up at some point. On older vehicles coolant management becomes a major issue manifesting itself in overheating problems on there show days. Or worse still pourous liners or cylinders.

Absolutely agree. Especially Militants, they were known for blowing head gaskets after getting too hot. Timber tractor was done a couple of years ago, and it was on the list of Tanker jobs to be done at some point, the leak just moved it up the list a bit

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AEC engines and cooling problems unfortunatly go together, but not exclusivly for that age of engine builders. Long stroke, wet liners of the day, slow reving and evolving piston and ring technology. This gave many diesel engines a problem with liner erosion caused by several design and material deficency's, Injectors and charge detonation tech was really in its infancy also. Liner wall vibration caused by piston slap and ring stutter amongst other causes, actually causing the coolant to loose contact with the outside of the liner causing hot spots and steam pockets giving poor cooling accentuated by poor water pump impellers and water speed through the system. Along with foreign matter and bits of rust moving around in a confined space. This is where good thermostat and water pressure maintenance can help along with a good clean coolant mix to start with. Looking after these vehicles is a labour of love and persiverance, along with being inquisitive enough to do the detective work trying to find a vehicles history as you bring it up to your standard or repair it. You have done a fantastic job on your vehicles, they are a credit to you and your family.  AEC seemed to want to shoot themselfs in the foot with regard to cooling and vibration management right up to the Ergomatic cabed variants. You have to love them though warts and all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been an odd year all round, so far, but more odd with my day job.  Despite being furloughed for 12 weeks earlier in the year, my boss now tells me I've still got 4 weeks holiday to fit in between now and christmas.  More Tankering time, then. 

So last week off work and spent the time knocking off some more of the smaller jobs, and got on with the remaining major works.

First off try the new Saltire in position


I like the look of that, a big improvement over the first attempt, anyway.

Finally managed to sort out the dynamo control box and get the thing to charge the batteries.  Ended up stripping it completely and cleaning every terminal, connection and contact.  There appears to be a fault in the casting of the lid which has been allowing moisture to enter past the rubber seal over the years and there was quite a bit of corrosion throughout the whole box.

This time on reassembly I've put a small bag of silica gel inside to soak up any further moisture, and put a bit of gasket sealant around the rubber seal. Then, of course there's refitting of the dashboard, drivers seat and all the other bits that I had to remove to get the thing out in the first place.

Moved on to the catwalk from the top of the tank


Looked like this originally, but the wooden slats were rotten, and when I took it off a while back most of it simply fell to pieces.


Side rails have been de rusted and seen here in primer.  They are now done in green, but I forgot to take a photo.


Local wood store provided a new set of slats, made from Meranti hard wood.  Apparently it is ideal for this sort of application as it has very good non slip qualities, even when wet, and keeps it's colour so long as it is regularly treated with some decking or teak oil.  They've been laid out here for over a week now and every time I go past they get another coating of the stuff.

One of the air system pipes has suffered badly with the tin worm


It returns excess air from the unloader valve back to the air filter, so as it is not pressure critical, I decided to repair it by welding in a small sleeve over the corroded bit


After a quick pressure test with a bit of rubber hose from the workshop compressor and some soapy water.  Clean up the rest of it and coat with DBG.

Next job sort out the spare wheel carrier

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Spare wheel fitting.  This has been an on going mission for some time, and it has turned into a complete saga worthy of a telling by the great Bernhard Cribbins on Jackanory, except he would have to read it after the watershed time so as not to give the kids nightmares.

It started last winter when son Stuart and I set out to fit the recently reconditioned carrier parts back on.  All seemed to go well except we ran out of the right size bolts and had to leave a couple of bits off.  We also left off some of the cross bracing to allow access to the air intake pipes and compressor condenser unit, which was yet to be refurbished and fitted.


As you can see access is difficult, and I've still got the return pipe to squeeze in.

One other bit still needing attention was the foot plate that secures the wheel when in the stowed position.  I had difficulty in obtaining the right width of Balata strip


Finally got some, and a selection of extra long bifurcated rivets.  The wheel itself was cleaned and painted a couple of months back so we were ready to go


It's a bit of a fight to the death to get the wheel onto the carrier as you have to wedge it in between the side of the pump box and the carrier.  And it's a tad heavy too.  Got it on in the end and began to wind it up.  Bit of brake adjustment was required along the way to stop it unwinding by itself, and things were looking good.

Until it got jammed halfway up.  It appeared that now I have pumped the tyre up to the right pressure, it has grown too fat to fit on the carrier and gets stuck on the side.320776485_1195Sparewheeljammed.thumb.jpg.b18412fe5b9d9293ccf64b95108be7f2.jpg 

So wind it back down, and scratch head for a bit, needs some spacers behind it to move it over a bit.  So fight the wheel off, make and fit some spacers, fight to get it back on and wind it up again.  

All good this time, so well pleased with the result.  That was a fortnight ago!!

This week got the condenser and pipework fitted and set about fitting the remaining cross bracing.  None of the bolt holes want to line up, the whole carrier frame is leaning over toward the cab.

More head scratching.  Right, slacken all the bolts and use a ratchet strap to pull it over a bit.  Fit the braces and tighten the bolts back up.


Worked well,  all bits fitted, all bolts tight, job done, wind wheel back up

Except it gets stuck!!  This time on the other side, on the pump box.


Needless to say there was a few words, which will not get printed here, and the wheel comes down again, this time to remove the spacers, because now the frame is straight, there is loads of room on the carrier side.

Finally, after all the aggro it is all fitted and it winds right up and can be stowed correctly


Hopefully it will not need to come down again, ever!!


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7 minutes ago, radiomike7 said:

That looks like a 15.00x20 which although was often fitted in service is a size up from the standard 14.00x20.

15.00 was standard on the tankers, and it may only be one up from the 14.00 on other Militants, but the size and more importantly the weight difference is colossal.

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31 minutes ago, Zero-Five-Two said:

15.00 was standard on the tankers, and it may only be one up from the 14.00 on other Militants, but the size and more importantly the weight difference is colossal.

Thanks Rob, I looked at dozens of Militants at Vass, some had 14.00, some had 15.00 but I don't recall ever seeing a tanker.  

Agree about the weight, I had to swap 4 wheels and tyres when I bought my Martian, the ply rating also makes a huge difference to the weight.

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So, I'm back on here this morning doing a reply to Radiomike7's post about tyre size, and looking at my last picture. 

It suddenly occurred to me that bl@@dy wheel will have to come down again, at least a bit.  🤬🤬🤬!!

There is a small bracket still to fit on the back of the cab


I've no idea what it is for, but it is Tanker specific and our Stuart reckons it might be for attaching an earthing strap when refilling from an overhead gantry.  Anyway, it needs 2 bolt holes drilling into the back of the cab, and the tyre is going to be in the way.

The saga goes on.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Been wet and miserable round here the last couple of weekends, so Tankering has been pretty much confined to the home workshop, which is getting difficult as most of the jobs left to do have to be done on the Tanker itself.

Done a few bits though.  Had these made by the local engineering company


Brass turn wheels that fit onto the hose tube end caps to hold them shut. Only one had survived out of four, but at least that gave us a pattern to copy.



Took a bit of sorting to get them all fitted.  Despite looking the same, you have to get the right lid with the right end otherwise they wont shut properly.  So half an hour playing mix and match and we are all fitted


 Ready to go back on.  Moved onto the actual hoses next.  They have been buried in the ever growing weeds at the back of the Tanker since I took the tubes off last summer, or whenever it was.


Daft question time, what do you do with a rubber fuel hose?  You can repaint steel to protect it, you polish a pair of boots to keep them good, I feel I should be doing something with the hoses, but what?  Seen here getting the metal bits cleaned prior to repainting,  and the hose itself has had a good scrub with detergent to get the mud and weeds off. 

Back in the day when they were being used on a regular basis, they would probably have been a bit oily, tanker drivers grubby hands over them all the time, but what now they are retired? 

Got one hose end to sort out, it must have been dropped or something


Bit of a dent that needs some attention.

Finally took delivery of a missing part that I've been looking for since I got the truck.


No prizes for guessing what it is  😁!!

I say I've been looking for a long time, that's because I wanted the right shovel.  There's plenty out there, but I wanted a 1954 dated one, to go with the 1954 Tanker.


Finally found one last week, so thanks to a geezer called Gerry from Doncaster, who was clearing out his shed and decided to put this one on fleebay.

Needs a good clean up, but that's to be expected, it is 66 years old.  So, out with the wire brush and sandpaper.  It must have been the chosen one at some point in it's life as between all the many layers of green and black paint there was a coat of white, which must have been for a specific job.

Anyway, a good deal of sanding later reveals to lovely patina and fine wood grain of a traditionally crafted solidly built piece of quality equipment.20201029_202740.thumb.jpg.1223c7da948df40d4abaf85d481531a8.jpg

Then you paint it green like any good Army shovel


Speaking of missing parts, 


Still missing a couple of fire extinguisher holders, like this one, seen getting a fresh coating last week.  There is one on fleebay, but seller is having a laugh with his price of £99. I don't mind paying a reasonable amount but that's a bit OTT.

Lastly a bit of a plug, but more of a thank you.  A few weeks ago Forum member 67burwood posted on his WOT 6 restoration  "My daughter has just drawn a picture of my truck"  Instantly this conjured up a picture in my mind of a little 4 year old who has drawn Daddies truck with her chubby stump crayons.  

Scrolling down the post revealed that this is not quite the case.  His daughter, Ellie, is all grown up now and an art student.  And while she may still have that box of crayons, she is rather good with a pencil too.


So being a bit cheeky I posted back "Can she do a Tanker?"  I was a bit surprised by his response of send me a picture and I'll ask her, I meant it as a bit of a joke more than anything.  As it happens I had just taken a couple of decent shots of Militant with it's new badges in place so I sent him onw of them.

A few days later he sends me this, and asks "What do I think?"


 I think it's priceless, absolutely brilliant.  Only one thing to do with it, take to the local print shop and get them to boost it up from the original A4 to A2 size, get a frame on it and get it hung on the wall so it can be seen.


Can't get over how good it looks.  Thanks again Ellie.  Of course a donation changed hands for her time and effort, but it was a small price to pay for such a nice piece of art work.

If you want your own motor doing, a PM to 67burwood could get you a very nice Xmas pressie.




Edited by Zero-Five-Two
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I have no idea what to put-on your hoses, but I'll bet that whatever they put on modern hoses won't be compatible. Your hoses will probably be artificial rubber, but a very early variety.

If all else fails, thorough wash and dry and just put them in the holder tubes.  May be worth getting the tubes and ends air tight.

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9 hours ago, MatchFuzee said:

If you search 'best way to preserve old rubber' there is plenty to read. 

Hadn't even thought of doing that, there's loads of stuff.  Lot of people recommend brake fluid as a good treatment, but I can't say I'm too keen on that.  Spraying on WD40 also seems popular and that sounds better to me, although I think testing on a small area first would be a good idea too.

They look much better for a good scrub up, anyway 

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7 hours ago, Zero-Five-Two said:

Well spotted, thanks, bagged that one, need one more for the full set

You’re welcome! I’m still looking to see if I can turn up anything else. I have emailed someone who had 8 in stock when they took down their listing, so will see. Fingers crossed! 

A few years ago (lordy how time has flown), I bid on and won a full extinguisher, in mint condition, all for 99p. I asked the seller if he happened to have a bracket, and he said yes, but unfortunately had already posted the extinguisher to me, apologised (yes, HE apologised!), posted the bracket (NEW!) and absolutely refused any extra remuneration .........my one bit of luck in a long time! I used paypal and sent the guy some money anyway because he was so nice, and deserved much more than the 99p he got for the extinguisher.

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Another wet weekend in paradise, rain stopped play again.

Got the oil can carrier fitted


Then started plumbing in the screen wash,  which was OK while setting in the cab, but got to fitting the jets outside and decided to call it a day, too wet to work.

I did post these two pictures of the fuel control valves on my last post, but forgot to write anything about them, so moved them to here.



Fitted these last week, with new gaskets and sealant.  

Next up is in here


Main control room, valves all appear to work, just needs de-rust and repaint, but I'll let you know


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On 10/31/2020 at 6:38 AM, ltwtbarmy said:

You’re welcome! I’m still looking to see if I can turn up anything else. I have emailed someone who had 8 in stock when they took down their listing, so will see. Fingers crossed! 

Ok, had a response and the guy’s going to look on Monday. If he finds them, he’ll let me know, and I’ll pm you his details. He was asking for twenty quid each at the time, but that was in 2018. Fingers crossed!

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