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WW1 Peerless lorry restoration

Great War truck

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Dad is struggling and he lives next to it. I haven't seen the thing for seven months! Oh well. This forum keeps the interest going. Many thanks to all of our friends!

In the mean time, there is just a little more progress. On top of the front springs is a bump-stop spring. Unfortunately, we are one short and need a replacement. It is a cussing awkward thing with a spiral coil at the top and a square one at the bottom, all bent from 7/16" wire. Beyond my capabilities so I contected the Tested Spring Company and they have made up the replacement.


I sent them a drawing and the original and they turned this around in ten days.




I am very impressed with their service and would heartily recommend them!

Another small step.

Steve 🙂

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

We picked up some newly sand blasted bits today to clean up and prime - first of all there is the coupling bar between engine and gearbox. The bronze bearings from one end are missing and the remaining set on the other end which are still there are very worn and will want to be re-made in any case. The cross driving pin in each end of the bar need to be replaced - simply a tight push fit in the bar - 1" in diameter - the old ones have been pushed out.


The Peerles name plates are the ones to go on the rear of the chassis on the cross member - different from the front ones which we do have as these rear ones are flat whereas the front ones are curved. We never had these but were lucky enough to find one on EBay but only good enough to be used as a pattern and two new ones now cast from this.


IMG_1144 (1).JPG




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Another job that was started some time ago and has been awaiting further attention is the first Radiator. The top tank was taken off some time ago so that a new Filler cap could be made and fitted to that one with a second cap to be made at the same time and to be ready for the other Radiator for the other Peerless in the queue.. The cores for each of the two Radiators will want replacement as they are damaged beyond recovery


So today, it was our intention to remove the bottom tank off the first Radiator and although we planned to complete that today, we ran out of time for as usual, every nut and bolt was a fight. Next time...........






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Finished removing all the fixings holding the Radiator together - the sides popped out very easily after the bolts were removed - the bottom tank is stuck and will need some gentle easing to remove it from the core. Surprisingly, one of the side frames is iron and the other is ali ! Both are fit to use again but we already knew that the core has had it and must be replaced.





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Dad took the bottom Radiator Tank off - no problem and it unstuck very easily from the core - despite all the rubbish that was revealed inside of it when it was off! This one is cast iron and although heavily rusted and pitted, it is still sound and will be OK to use again. The bottom tank and the iron side frame will go for sand blasting now but the ali side frame is more delicate and will require more gentle treatment to clean it. The top tank is iron and was cleaned up some time ago when he made the new Filler Caps.

IMG_1171 (1).JPG




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Yesterday's demolition of the Radiator revealed that the two side frames were different from each other - one was of iron and other was ali. The iron one was sound but the ali one was cracked and broken and will have to be replaced.


A visit to the Spares Department today yielded the remains of another Radiator - the top tank had already been removed from that one but the two side frames were still there and were iron ones. These have been taken off today - one is completely sound whilst the other is slightly cracked - but not beyond repair.


So with the sound one that we already have in hand and with the sound one now revealed, we have a complete set of original iron Radiator castings - very pleasing - all we have to do now is construct a new core, These latest two must now go for sand blasting.





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6 minutes ago, Great War truck said:



Looks like an excellent candidate for a braze repair.  That crack is probably longer than it looks so better done sooner than later, assuming it is destined for the second truck.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I am anticipating that we will have to make the new core ourselves. The tubes were cut and the gills for the Thornycroft stamped out for us by Vintage Wings and Radiators in Oldham for a very fair price. However, they have since sold out that side of the business and the current owners have hiked the price by a factor of three which I find difficult to swallow. I think I will have to have a chat with Ben and see if we can come to an arrangement about making tooling and punching them out ourselves. Watch this space!


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CPA Radiators at Grantham had square gills available when I took the core for my Fowler motor plough to be soldered up. This would have been somewhere around 2005 - can't believe it's that long. 

No idea if they still do this or at what price, but might be worth a try. 


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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, the time has come and I have been to see the lorry for the first time in ten months! (And parents!). I had rather lost track of where we are with it but started off by fitting the other king pin greaser.


One more piece off the bench! Dad has finished painting the track rod so we fitted that finally.


Another piece off the bench and the lorry can sit on its wheels.


Dad has made replacement brake bands but had been unable to position the hold-off springs so we did a temporary assembly to mark them out. Now they can be drilled and riveted and the linings fitted and completed. Good progress so far.


The brake shoe return springs need to be fitted so I got out my new spring compressor and had a go.



First one was OK but the second broke the tool so back to Leicester for repairs.


The job which defeated us last time was getting the wheel off. This is the best wooden wheel we have and we want to replace it with an iron one on our second chassis so that we can use it on the current project one. This time, I have borrowed a hydraulic puller of significant proportions.


First job was to shift the 'stuff' from under the chassis.


Then drag it out.


The object of our attention.


Dad had made a steel ring to screw onto the hub-cap threads in order to give us something to pull against.


Assemble the puller


And off we go.


I wound it to the limit of my strength but with no effect. We took it off, heated the hub and had another go but still no effect, even after leaving it for an hour. We gave up and put it away. Disappointing as we so desperately want to get it on its wheels. Further thought required.

On my way back home, we picked up the pistons which have had the gudgeon holes bored through. Now they can be mounted for machining so another task for father.


We also visited the wheelwright to see what he can do for us in repairing the wheels we have and we visited the foundry to deliver the Dennis radiator patterns.

Some good progress and some disappointment but we are up and running again!

Steve  :)

Edited by Old Bill
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After  picking up the lorry again, Dad is making progress with the brake bands. We had positioned the hold-off spring so it has now been drilled through and countersunk on the underside.IMG_1361.JPG.0340553ec74636d72f7116dbf7e3d8a0.JPG

Iron rivets have been used and knocked down into the countersink before dressing off.


Once they were cleaned up, the lining could be fitted. It was temporarily blted on to hold it whilst the holes were counterbored and standard copper brake lining rivets used to attach it.


We were fortunate to be given a brake rivet punch which gives the fancy star shape when knocking them over.




A complete band ready for fitting.


Just need to do the other one now!

Steve  :)

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Tim has just presented me with this 'for Christmas and Birthday' and significantly out of phase with both! It matters not. Quite amazingly, he has found another Radmill gas generator, complete and WD marked! It is just right for the Peerless and will need only a little mechanical attention from me before returning for a paint job.




I understand that this was a phone call out of the blue and pure luck. Nevertheless, I am very pleased indeed!

Steve 😁

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