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WW1 Thornycroft restoration


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It has been quite an exciting day really.. Tim and I pulled the camshaft out and rotated it through 180° yesterday. Unfortunately, he then had to go home but this morning, we were able to put the engi

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Thanks Tomo. I'll remember that! We have had a nice day., all bright and still and not cold. I have been pressing on with the hand controls and linkage. First part was to cut the throttle shaft a

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What happens to any water that gets between the front and back plates of the wheel, does it just pool in there with the dust and leaves until it evaporates? I assume that those screws to fix the brass plate also go through the wheel into that space, potentially allowing moisture to wick through?

There is no obvious drain for water in the wheel and I am guessing that it was never bothered about. Let nature take its course!

 

Tony

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It appears that sometimes the engineering at the time just "seemed like a good idea at the time." In 2013 a mate of mine spent most of his spare time laboriously working on two traction engine wheels for the exact same problem. A nightmare of a job... first cleaning between the plates and then applying rust protection. Robert

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With regard to water between the inner and outer disks of the wheel, I think that I would be tempted to drill some holes in the inside disk of the wheel near the rim to let it out. I know that this is not original but it should have been !

 

David

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We were curious about the condition of the bearing surfaces within the hubs of the two “new” wheels – very clearly we could see that they were rusted but the rust did not appear to be too deep and we hoped that with some cleaning up, they might be fit to be used again without too much further work on them.

 

For this quick and preliminary inspection, we simply used a Flap Wheel on the Electric Hand Drill – though not possible to reach all the way through – they were just cleaned at each end for as far as we could reach. We were not at all disappointed when we saw the condition of the surface and thought that they could be used again as they are.

 

We have some old front wheel bronze bearings in stock – saved from other wheels and these were tried in the hub. It proved to be fine at the outer ends but both hubs appears to have “belled out” at the inner end so that there was a great deal of slop at those ends.

 

This is something to think about as it maybe that the only answer now is to have the hubs bored out so that we are left with a parallel bore again. Something that we will have to discuss when we are all together again.

 

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We have talked about “Greasers” during the last couple of days and we were surprised to find that one complete – though very corroded – was still in one wheel whilst the stem part of another was still in the other wheel. The Greasers were accessed through one of the big holes in the front plate of the wheel and it was interesting to see that the Tyre Size Brass Plate on both wheels was situated over the relevant access hole, indicating where to look for the Greaser. Thoughtful!

 

The remains of the“Key” top which we spoke about earlier can be seen on the complete one – it is too far gone to be used again but both Greasers on their extended stems unscrewed easily from the hub. The stems will almost certainly clean up and be fit to fight another day!

 

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Could you get some pieces laser cut to silver solder onto your 'modern' plain grease cup lids to make them better reprisent the original ones? After soldering they could be cleaned up and then zinc plated and black passivated which would be reasionably long lasting and cheap.

 

I ment to say in my last post that finding these wheels is amazing and just shows that it is worth following a lead however doubtfull it seems.

 

David

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Could you get some pieces laser cut to silver solder onto your 'modern' plain grease cup lids to make them better reprisent the original ones? After soldering they could be cleaned up and then zinc plated and black passivated which would be reasionably long lasting and cheap.

 

I ment to say in my last post that finding these wheels is amazing and just shows that it is worth following a lead however doubtfull it seems.

 

David

 

David

 

There is stuff still about. I had a jaunt out to look at a trailer on monday, and this is what I found

 

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Not military I know, probably early 1920's and on good tyres. It gives you an idea whats still about to find.

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That trailer is nice!

 

I can see that it has brakes on the rear axle, with drums bolted to the wheel by a bolt through each spoke, but surely it doesn't have brakes on the front wheels, so why does it have bolts through the spokes in them ?

 

David

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Axles have large baulks of wood between the metal axles and springs, likely Oak. Typical 'cart' construction.

 

The front and rear wheels are identical save for the drums. Why have two patterns when you can have one?. Lovelly set of 120 x 670 Dunlops on it too.

Edited by 8_10 Brass Cleaner
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QUOTE=8_10 Brass Cleaner

 

The front and rear wheels are identical save for the drums. Why have two patterns when you can have one. /QUOTE

 

Ahh, I had thought that the fronts looked smaller diameter than the rears and they look like they have nuts on the outside which suggested something on the inside, bolted on. Probably a mud shield or similar.

 

David

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We have some old front wheel bronze bearings in stock – saved from other wheels and these were tried in the hub. It proved to be fine at the outer ends but both hubs appears to have “belled out” at the inner end so that there was a great deal of slop

 

 

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Two more daft questions:

 

1. The amount of wear at the inner en of the front wheel bush sees huge. Any chance they were tapered bushes? As a means of taking up water?

 

2. I couldn't believe that the wheels wouldn't have rusted hideously at the joint between inner plate and out plate, but looking closely at the picture of the greaser reveals what looks like a bead of some sort of joint sealer - pitch? - between the two. Was this a common practice at the time?

 

Thanks for info on greasers. All makes perfect sense now!

 

cheers, Will

Dubai

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1. The amount of wear at the inner en of the front wheel bush sees huge. Any chance they were tapered bushes? As a means of taking up water?

 

I would be very surprised if they were tapered bushes, as tapered bushes would tend to lock up under cornering forces.

(unless the adjustment was swapping thrust washers around).

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Two more daft questions:

 

1. The amount of wear at the inner en of the front wheel bush sees huge. Any chance they were tapered bushes? As a means of taking up water?

 

2. I couldn't believe that the wheels wouldn't have rusted hideously at the joint between inner plate and out plate, but looking closely at the picture of the greaser reveals what looks like a bead of some sort of joint sealer - pitch? - between the two. Was this a common practice at the time?

 

Thanks for info on greasers. All makes perfect sense now!

 

cheers, Will

Dubai

 

Will,

 

On something that is of rivetted construction that is intended to hold a cold liquid it was not uncommon to insert tarred paper between the plates to be joined to help seal with the hot riveting process. I have seen this in water tanks for traction engines. However quite why you would want to keep water in a Thorneycroft wheel is beyond me.

 

Tapered wheel bearings are also commonplace on traction engines, same engineering - plain bronze bushes (sometimes cast iron) running on iron or steel axles. In terms of age its the same era, some traction engine makers actually made wheels for this era I/C lorries.

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Hi Will.

 

They won't have been tapered bushes here as part of the 1912 Subvention Scheme specified the size of the wheel bearings, amongst other things. They are plain parallel bronze and fully floating with flat thrust washers at the inner end. Dennis used the same system as their 'Subsidy A' was also an approved vehicle. Ours actually runs on Thornycroft bearings at the rear as the ones we had were the best fit! I too am surprised at the amount of wear in the front wheels but have yet to inspect them. We are going to Devon shortly to pull the Dennis out of storage ready for Brighton so I shall take a look then. It may well be that we have to have them skimmed out and make over-sized bushes to suit but fortunately, I know a man who can do that!

 

The joint in the wheel is a perfect rust trap and I don't know why this new pair have survived so well. There may be a bead there but I should be very surprised if there is. Most companies used spoked wheels but I wonder whether there was a problem in getting these big castings so Thornycroft went for the plate construction. We will never know now, I guess. I understand that the plate wheels were made for Thornycrofts by Taskers at Andover.

 

Brighton is getting close now so it is time I did some more Dennis.

 

Steve:-)

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Hi Will.

 

They won't have been tapered bushes here as part of the 1912 Subvention Scheme specified the size of the wheel bearings, amongst other things. They are plain parallel bronze and fully floating with flat thrust washers at the inner end. Dennis used the same system as their 'Subsidy A' was also an approved vehicle. Ours actually runs on Thornycroft bearings at the rear as the ones we had were the best fit!

 

Steve:-)

 

Steve

 

Presumably the specification was so that wheels could easily be swapped about. Were the wheel sizes for example also specified? Just looking at the pictures it looks like your Dennis may well be on 670's on the front?

 

Our Carrimore trailer is also on fully floating bronze bushes, on grease I have found that there is a significant drag untill the grease has warmed up. The steamer doesnt really notice, but the Fordson Major certainly did!. Its previous owner ran it on oil and says found it easier to tow.

 

The wings on the stauffers could simply be cut out and silver soldered onto your existing ones. A lot of work for little return however!

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The Subsidy scheme was introduced to try to provide the military with a group of similar lorries and reduce the need for spares. Unfortunately, the war started before it really got going so there was a very small pool for the government to pull from. Various items were standardised such as wheel bearings, tyre sizes (881x120 on the rear and 720x120 on the front) and control positions.

 

Interestingly, the Thornycroft has grease lubrication at the hubs but the Dennis specifies oil. 'Oil' is even stamped into the fill plugs in the hub caps. Whilst I think that oil is the better solution, there are no seals of any sort so the oil runs from the hub cap, straight through the bearing and down the inside of the wheel. We are OK at the moment as the bearings are new but once a bit of wear builds up, I can't imagine it staying in the hub for very long!

 

Steve

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My Albion A10 has the same plain bronze/brass bearings. I fitted felt seals to the front wheels to hold in some of the oil. On the rear there are dainty little V shaped directors which funnel the excess oil from the hubs onto the chains to help lubricate them. It then flings onto the ground. (Not the best thing on sealed roads I guess.) I haven't fitted seals there for that purpose.

 

Current Australian Road Laws state that there be no oil drips from a vehicle. That doesn't apply to the Albion as that is how it was built and there is nothing that they can do about that.

 

I also have a 1923 20hp. Rolls Royce which marks it's territory quite well.(Most British vehicles seem to do that.)

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My Albion A10 has the same plain bronze/brass bearings. I fitted felt seals to the front wheels to hold in some of the oil. On the rear there are dainty little V shaped directors which funnel the excess oil from the hubs onto the chains to help lubricate them. It then flings onto the ground.

 

That's posh! On the 1916 Dennis (not military) I play with the oil serves to prevent brake wear. Or, for that matter, braking.

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The oil to be used should be as thick as possible and steam oil comes to mind. There are some modern oils which have a sticking ingedient added in which case you wouldn't need much, just enough not to run away. (if that makes sense?). Ambient temperature (or lack thereof in old Blighty) is an issue for grease.

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Standardization of parts is an interesting point. A couple of years ago we decided to swap over a worn front tyre by simply replacing the wheel with another on stock. This is on a 1916 Leyland with WD and RFC history. On placing the replacement wheel on the stub axle it would not fit. A further check on other bronze bushes of the wheels found of seven about the yard, only two were the same size! Stub axles also of differing sizes. These wheels covered the period 1916 through to the mid 20's. Certainly not a standardised pattern.

Doug

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The oil to be used should be as thick as possible and steam oil comes to mind. There are some modern oils which have a sticking ingedient added in which case you wouldn't need much, just enough not to run away. (if that makes sense?). Ambient temperature (or lack thereof in old Blighty) is an issue for grease.

 

All the bearings on the steamer are oil and total loss with no method of oil retaining. They are all plain also.

 

Front wheels are bronze bushes in the wheel, and steel axle. We use a 460 compounded oil, I think the one I use is a tallow compounding, but rape oil is also used. This makes it sticky so that it stays in the bearing as long as possible.

 

With the front wheels and egg cup full down the filler seems to do the day, which can be near 60miles some days. They never get hot, and I dont see swarf. Saying that they are not a particularly good fit either!

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