All posts by andy pitts

Let’s get this van on the road

Well it’s been a while, but work on Stan has started again. The gearbox is ready to be attached to the engine and then I need to make sure everything is in place to put the engine back in situ. I’ve attached the radiator back in place and started to replace the surrounding panels. Also replaced the Release Bearing in the clutch housing, although it’s more carbon based than a bearing

Pressure Plate
Pressure Plate

 

Release Bearing
Release Bearing

Out of the Garage

For probably the first time in about a year, Stan has been out of the garage. This was only possible as I’ve now got the rear axle fitted and filled with oil. I read in the manual that it needed 3 3/4 pints of hypoid oil. This turned out to be equivalent to just over 2 litres of 80W90 oil. Although this turned out to be slightly too much, as I got to nearly 2 litres and it overfilled. So I had to remove some, as the instructions say that the oil should be level with the bottom of the stopper thread.

Now I can get the van out of the garage, I can finally get to the engine and start to connect the recently refurbished gearbox. Then I can look to get all the bit necessary to put the engine back in. I recently bought an alternator conversion kit, which should hopefully work better than the old dynamo.

Still dips at the back

When I bought Stan the van it dipped at the back nearside. Sent the rear leaf springs to have them re-tempered, as they didn’t have the correct curve. As the rear axle had to come off to get at the springs, I thought I’d send it off for re-furb and made the mistake of telling them I wasn’t in a hurry. The springs came back all nice and correct, so fitted them. After just over 12 months finally got the rear axle back with all new bearings. Just finished putting the axle and wheels back on. Stood at the end of the drive…and low and behold Stan dips at the back near side. I guess I need to find somewhere that can straighten a chassis

OBL 432

OBL 432
OBL 432

Well I finally managed to meet up with OBL 432 the other day. It was really great to catch up and share stories of our vans. Then the conversation went like this…”Well I expect you’d like to go for a drive?”, “Yes that would be great, as I’ve never been out in one yet.”. It was lovely being a passenger and soaking up the experience. Then we turned into a country lane, came to a stop and out of the blue “Would you like to have a drive?”, well how could I say No! Thanks!! I really must get Stan on the road.

Diana’s Dampwash

Diana's Dampwash
Diana's Dampwash

The previous owner managed to find evidence of some of the signwriting on the side of the van. Apparently showing Diana’s Dampwash from Granville Street London. I tracked down the borough that the street was located and then contacted the local newspaper in Barnet. They have agreed to place an article in their letters page asking local residents if they either remember the van or the Laundry. Unfortunately the street is no longer full of shops and terraced houses, as it was bulldozed in the 60’s to make way for several blocks of flats. Here’s hoping someone contacts me and I can piece together some history for Stan. This is the picture I sent to them, as it is about the only one I have that gives a full view. Once I have the rear axle back on, I’ll take some better ones.

Colour decision

Not quite at this stage yet, but whenever I tell anyone I’m restoring a van their first question is always what colour will I paint it. Well originally Stan was painted blue and there were only¬†four colours (Blue, Green, Red and Black) that the vans were painted, apart from GPO Green and Red. The BS381 colour code was 107 and called ‘Strong Blue’. So that’s the colour I’ll go for. I will be getting a spray can sample to see what it looks like in the flesh; just to make sure.

      BS.381 107 Strong Blue

Driver side cab floor support

Rear springs
Cab floor support

Although the majority of bodywork is in good condition, there are a few panels that need attention. One of these is the driver side cab floor support panel. This provides a section for attaching the floor panels to the main bodywork. It goes from the step into the cab through to the front by the radiator.


Rear springs
Cab floor support front

It has a few holes and rather than trying to repair in situ, thought best to remove and replace the complete panel. This was no easy task and fortunately Josh did most of the hard work getting the rusted bolts out. Some of the previous welding repairs had to be un-done to remove the panel, as they’d welded the repairs to this panel.


Rear springs
Cab floor support front

I’m glad Josh suggested we repair this panel now, because it would have been extremely difficult to remove. Hopefully should be easy to get one made up, or even have a go myself.

More progress

Rear springs
Rear springs

Here we can see the back of the van with the rear diff removed and ready to accept the re-tempered springs. The diff is on the workbench awaiting an overhaul. The gearbox is still away having it’s overhaul…that reminds me I must give them a ring to check on progress, as getting all prepared now for engine and gearbox to go back. Although I do have plenty of other jobs to be getting on with.


The rear of the van
The rear of the van

Another view of the preparation for getting the springs back on. Don’t worry I’m not lifting the van with those blocks of wood on top of the trolley jack. It is just there to provide added support whilst I scramble about underneath. The axle stands look pretty stable, but as I’ve got the jack I though it would give extra peace of mind. You will also see some of the ZG-90 sprayed on the back of the chassis, which I must admit I’m quite impressed with so far.


Front wheel
Front wheel

Once I’ve finished messing around underneath, I will have to tackle the remaining bodywork. There seems to be a few areas of filler that will need attention, although much of the welding was completed by the previous owner. This is the nearside front wheel and I do have the panel that is missing in the picture.


Front springs
Front springs

Having concentrated on the rear of the van I guess the time will come when I need to tackle the front half. It looks like it’ll be worth sending the springs off to Brost Forge for their special treatment. I don’t really want to put everything back together and then find that they need doing. They look a bit worse for wear with some broken and others flat.


Another view
Another view

Another view of the inside of the van. You can just about see the radiator, which has been re-cored and painted by a local specialist here in Ipswich.



Inside back
Rear of van

This is looking back in to the rear of the van. There’s certainly plenty of space in there and I’m looking forward to the first large item I pick up.


Rear differential
Differential

I thought I would add one last picture today and it is of the rear differential. The only real space I had in the garage was on my workbench. I’m not sure what I will do to overhaul it, but probably just open it up and give it a good clean and see if all looks OK.

Fixing of gearbox mounts

Gearbox mounts
Gearbox mounts

Still actively working on the van, but most of the changes will be hidden when all goes back together. I am in the process of putting the springs back in, following clean up of the brackets and spraying with zinc primer (ZG-90). The photo below shows the mounts now they have been cleaned, primed and painted black. Also shows the old rubber mounts and the new ones.
The gearbox is away being refurbished and I am preparing for it’s return by getting the mounts in place. Before the engine can go in I need to attach the gearbox and hence both sets of mounts need to be in place. There are two engine mounts and two gearbox ones.

Gearbox mounts in place
Gearbox mounts in place

Having just looked at the picture on the website I think I’ve put the one on the right the wrong way round. It seems too high compared to the one on the left. The one that is correct has a large hole for the bolt and another smaller hole for the locating lug, so it’s easy to get this one correct. The other side only has a slot and I was wondering which way up it should go. Still not too much effort to swap it round and at least I noticed it before trying to put the engine back in. I must admit I probably wouldn’t have noticed this if it wasn’t for taking this picture for this site.

Not sure if other people have any experience with zinc primer ZG-90, but my first impressions are that it appears to be quite good. From the manufacturers website, they claim high 90’s percentage of zinc, which should create a good cold galvanising coat. I probably won’t know for some time if it stops the rust coming through, but hopefully it will. As I’m only doing small amounts of restoration at a time, I’m quite happy to pay the extra to apply via spray can rather than paint brush; as this saves me having to clean the brushes out each time. I’ve decided to use Halford’s black spray to overcoat the ZG-90 on the chassis and other parts under the van.

Gearbox mount brackets

Gearbox mount brackets
Gearbox mount brackets
Whilst waiting for the gearbox to return from an overhaul at the garage, I thought I’d start to prepare by installing the new gearbox mounts that I recently purchased. When I first looked at the chassis, I couldn’t work out where they should be installed. After rummaging through the box of bits I got with the van, I found the brackets that need to be bolted to the chassis.

However, they are not identical as can be seen from the photo. One has the correct holes for the mount bolt and locator pin, but the other just has a slot. I guess I may need to get a new one made.