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another Diamond T 980 restoration

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after riding shot gun in a friends 980 and being given the opportunity to drive Adrian Mason's 980 at south cerney a couple of years ago, i knew one day i would acquire one of these mighty and historic trucks with waiting for the ideal candidate to turn up being the key factor. in late december 2016 i went to see a truck a friend had recently bought as a project vehicle and after viewing the truck and lengthy discussions an agreement was reached and the vehicle bought.


collection followed on the 7th january 2017 in which the truck was transported the 50 or so miles back home.




ounce home no time was wasted in getting the Harvey & Frost crane removed and got stuck into removing the ballest box. i already knew the truck had a lot of corrosion in the ballest box, chassis and cab but as the truck was 99% complete it was right up my street, as my job involves re building traction engines boilers. before that i was a john deere agri fitter so it is only wiring & body work that i am stumped with.





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ounce the chassis was revealed it was very obvious the gusset plates were knackered which i already sort of new but was hard to see with it all covered up. originally 1/4" plate the thickest point was just under a 1/16" which was proper steel not rust! so out they came which then revealed the chassis rails are badly corroded near the winch mounts mostly caused by the crane mounting points which had held the moisture in this area.




at this point it looked like some weld & rivet repairs to the chassis and fitment of new gusset plates and it would be sorted but the repair/replacement list only grew! while the 980 still looked like a truck i put my 969 along side for a quick team photo then carried on with the strip down.



cab is in a bad way but can be saved.





fuel tanks are generally ok as they have both been galvanised post war by the British army.







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as the disassembly phase continues more bad bits pocked their heads out, when i removed the bumper i found the lower bumper support plates had rotted away so they were on the list to be removed and new replacements riveted back in. also while removing the bumper the post war unit marking was revealed from under the black & yellow civilian paint, which after talking to Graham Booth the truck was with 19 COY tank transporters.


also found the trucks chassis number on a post war registration sheet so the trucks numbers are as follow:


chassis number: 9801531

war time "H" number: 5109766

post war reg number: 20 YZ 65

release from MOD: 14/5/68














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know up to date with the trucks progress the chassis is stripped down to a rolling chassis and i am in the process of stripping the rear axles as these need removing in order to carry out the various welding and riveting repairs required prior the chassis being blasted and painted. the truck has had a very hard post war military and civilian life as the rear cross member is twisted despite being the up rated version, some of the break linings were no longer attached to the shoes, and one of the half shafts is twisted which took a lot of brute force with hammers and wedges to get it out!


replacement front springs as the originals are beyond repair.



last big stage of the strip down involved diff and hub removal as i can already see the torque rods being a night mare to disconnect. whilst removing the prop shafts i found both diff input shafts require attention as they both have excessive end float on the bearings.



hubs were reluctant to come off due to rust build up inside the drum and the bearings being a snug fit on the axle tube.








these wheel studs had been broken for a long time probably over tightened being the left hand threaded set, all these studs will be replaced on the rear hubs as all have there own issues.


twisted half shaft


broken rear spring which i will replace with good used springs.


break lining remains sat in the bottom of one of the drums.



New gusset plates are being profiled and should appear shortly, various parts are being sourced and hoping to be well into the chassis repairs in the next 3-4 weeks long as the axles come out. plan is to take 1531 to south cerney this year (4,5&6 august) as a completed rolling chassis which hopefully is a realistic goal.


more to come in the next couple of weeks.


regards sam

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Well done Sam , pleased to see your getting stuck in !


cheers John


have been putting it all on face book but it has been mentioned that a lot of people can't see it there so thought it best to start a thread here. know you can keep up with what's happening to ;)


regards sam

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19 Coy was probably what later (1960s/70s) was 19 Sqn RCT. When I was in Tidworth I occasionally passed their main gate (in Bulford I believe), where they had a Diamond T as a gate guardian. The Squadron also used XlX (Roman 19) on their signs.



Edited by Ex-boy
Just remembered another fact
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thanks for the info on the bumper decal i could just make out the blue/yellow square with 19 coy painted in black in the top left corner on the other side of the bumper.


according to the diamond t 980/981 book 19 coy started off as 336 company think this is war time? in 1951 336 became 19 company, then in 1965 it became 19 TT squadron, my 980 left service in 1968.


is it possible to find the truck's war time unit? i have the H number and can only assume from the delivery date it either went to Africa, Egypt or Italy.


regards sam

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civilian history is something i am trying to uncover, all i know is the truck was released in 68 and it worked in scotland (no particular area known) for national recovery services. bought by John Keeley for preservation and sat in his yard till being sold last year in a yard disbursement sale. got bought by a friend and sat in his yard (first pics) then i bought her in January this year.


if any one can shed light on "national recovery services" in Scotland or have pics related to this firm that may show my T working that would be fantastic.


regards sam

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Just a thought i have never heard of the company you mentioned in Scotland. But there used to be a club called National Breakdown (the fore runner to Green Flag). They had Commercial agents all over the UK. When you became an agent for them the rep give you loads of stickers to put on vehicles like this

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if you dont mind me pinching one of your pictures i could probably identify the operator by posting on some of the other sites i go on


by all means go for it and i think your correct it is "national breakdown" on the door, it had recovery services on the side of the ballest box. i may be able to take a pic of the remains of the decal on the door if it will come out.


regards sam

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Cosrec , those rates are interesting from 38 years ago ,the diamond was probably still in service with them then. Please correct me if I am wrong thinking you work in the recovery business , how do they compare with current roadside heavy recovery rates ?

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first of all apologies to greyhound 13222 for filling post with crap i had cut the round symbol and pasted to post. not thinking all other stuff would go as well. i can not delete it now. As for rates they are not much better now.

Edited by cosrec
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