Monday, December 29, 2008

Ready To Roll

After the main work of dismantling the body was over and dust cleared away, Craig continued on, to remove the front bulkhead (firewall) once it was decided finally to rebuild it . The floor cross bearers had come out too, once he found they were sagging at the extremities. Many other small brackets and fragments of body had to removed.
Finally there stood a bare chassis exactly as supplied by Albion Motors except for absence of front mudguards, the Gardner engine and the gearbox. As noted earlier the original gearbox, after the bus' many overhauls, had been replaced with a post-war type. A prewar version with a somewhat damaged case (see 'The Mystery Gearbox' post) had been found at the Tempe bus museum. And since then we have yet another prewar box. More in a later post.
With no body or engine or gearbox the frame looks remarkably light and racy.

Hauled out of the garage behind Craig's Toyota van, the chassis sits in the driveway ready for sandblasting. The right hand chassis rail looks alarming crooked, but in fact all British double decker chasses featured this narrowing to the front, from the 1927 Leyland TD1 onwards. It gave more room for the front wheels to move from lock to lock, and brought the engine mounts closer in to be more rigid. Perspective alters the impression, but from just ahead of the second cross member to the rear wheel arch, the rails are quite parallel, then they dive up and over the rear axle, then down for the rear platform. There is also a drop down just behind where the firewall would normally sit, to lower the saloon floor a couple of inches.

Closer in can be seen the vacuum reservoir tank (R), the brake servo (L), and the fuel tank (Top L). The lump on the prop shaft is a vibration damper: a kind of flywheel mounted in friction linings so its inertia takes out the twists and shakes in the drive line.

From behind the extensions for the back platform are clearly seen, and the gussets to which the heavy rear cross bearer mounts. On a single decker the main chassis rails would simply extend out straight to the back.

The nerve centre: it seems the driver gets very little room to move, but the cab extends well left of the chassis rail, and outwards over the wheel arch. Albion were very early users of tubular cross members for the chassis: light and very strong.
Fortunately we have two brand new rubber "Albion" tread pads for the pedals.

In the centre of shot is the steering box, held in a bracket at left and steadied by another at right. The steering linkage is very simple and accessible even when the cab and mudguard are in place. Beside the front wheel is the vacuum brake servo, and between it and the fuel tank is the battery box. The stud poking straight out just above the front cross tube is a radiator mount.

all photos by Bill Parkinson


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