Work on 5137's fuel system was completed by Jake recently and included flushing out the fuel tank, new jubilee clips on the fuel hoses and new filters. She successfully fired up and ran really well on Saturday 28th March. Her gearbox still needs connecting up as she was latterly used as a compressor(!) at SCOC HQ but this is a 5 minute job. She will retain MFN41R's silver offside rear panel whilst hers (and 7980's) are repaired by Paul and Jake.
Another year gone and we're a step closer to the big 100th anniversary of East Kent Road Car in 2016. This year we're hoping to finish the work on 1178 (EFN178L) and also 7980 (TFN980T). Other buses in the collection that should be on the road at some point this year are 1145, 1255, 5137, DMS550, BOO and 40306. Work will be focusing now of getting the East Kent vehicles (7041, 7681 and 7980) back on the road and fit for service ready for 2014. Whilst this is our aim, as we saw with last year NOTHING can be guaranteed...
Work will also continue on 'store shed' 7656 which will release 5807 and 7041 for work - hopefully with a view to hitting the road in 2015/6. Nuw is going to be given a much needed break this year in that time she will be mechanically serviced and tidied up inside and out. All in all another busy year is looming.
Also, in the coming months Nick Moore will be upgrading our website, making it even better and more personal to us too. More information on that later.
Wow, we've all been really rather busy this week. Work has continued on 7041 and the police bus interior is slowly receding on the lower deck. Meanwhile, 5807's staff room area is now all but done and proved to be very handy yesterday when the rain came down. We're now of the opinion that maybe it's a bit too comfy...! Andy, Paul, Jake and Matt helped with 5807 also tidying her upper deck which is now home to some RF seats that Paul acquired. Jake has been busy with the de-greaser and has cleaned the engines in 5807, 5137, Nuw and 1178. they now all look a lot better and we're thinking of maybe painting them up to keep them tidy. Paul and Nick were also busy working on 1178's front end and have removed most of the rotten lip that held the wind screen in place. It looks like we may have to remove the other screen too if we're to do the job properly but once it's done it's done. Last month 5137 passed her MOT and is now on the road again. A small problem with fuel starvation has reared it's head but the team know what's causing this and will be getting it resolved once the poor weather has passed.
Now the house move is getting out of the way, work on the buses has started to resume. Ex East Kent Bristol VR XJJ565V arrived at HQ on 1st August and has taken up her position as spares bank and storage unit. She will be given a wash to remove 21 years of grime from her exterior bodywork. Paul Tripptree collected his new coach on 5th August. Formerly L124 in the Heddingham fleet, B124BOO is a Leyland Tiger with Plaxton Paramount 3200 bodywork. "BOO" attended this years Herne Bay Bus Rally which was held on 11th of this month. Later this month we hope to complete the MOT of WKO137S. New pages on the new buses will be added to the site soon as will a full report on the Herne Bay Rally. Also we are adding a complete list of preserved East Kent and Maidstone & District vehicles. The East Kent page is up and running, whilst the M&D will be up over the next few weeks. Please pay this a vist and let us know what you think.
Having taken 5137 for a test run around the yard, it was noted she wouldn't go into 3rd and 4th gear. Jake and Paul returned to 5137 earlier this week where it was discovered the electro pneumatic control box (EP box) on the gear box was faulty and was engaging both gears at once. Jake swapped the faulty one for a working one from 7681 and Paul wired it all in, also having to use the loom from 7681 as 5137's had deteriated rather badly. Paul also took time to attend to 5137's problematic hazard lights and a sticky solenoid that was stopping her from starting. Whilst he was sorting out the electrics, Jake turned his attention 5137's bodywork and began giving her a much needed T Cut and wax polish. A quick test run around the yard showed all was well again with her gear box.
Paul, Jake and Andy have been working on ex M&D 5137 getting her ready to hit the road this season. Her test will be taken at Arriva's bus garage in Maidstone. This is the first time we have used Arriva for testing the double deckers, although 1145 has been tested there before. Talking of 1145, Nick has decided to keep her off the road this year as 1255 will be out and about in her place. This will give the team chance to do some work on 1145 and get her tip top for next year.
Today, Claire, Paul, Nick and Jake descended on the yard to tidy up 3131 and finally sort out 5137's throttle valve which Paul rebuilt. This was refitted but unfortunately didn't work. Paul later discovered he'd put a spring in the wrong way around, a very easy mistake to make. He removed 7681's throttle valve too as she can be very much 'all or nothing' and he will give this a service too and hopefully make her a bit smoother. The oil leak on 7681 is back despite last week it seemed to have sorted itself out - typical of 7681 with a mind of her own so it seems! Also she decided to throw a wobbly today as Nick took her around the yard and after a few circuits promptly lost all her gears! This niggly electrical problem has reared it's head before and although the rain had been kept out of the electrical panel under the drivers cab window, the day was rather foggy and damp which had probably penetrated where the rain couldn't. 7681 was pushed back to her parking space where Paul, Nick and Jake commenced a run through of issues that could be causing it checking fuses, connections and junction boxes. Paul took apart a rather suspect looking terminal block and cleaned it out whilst Jake checked fuses and put Vasaline (good stuff for electrics) on all their blades and low and behold the gears returned. Coupled to the oil leak, 7681 will be having some major work done over the next six months to get her on the road. Store shed 5807 had her gearbox oil topped up and was started up and run around the yard by Nick as can be seen on our YouTube page. The rear engine panel was left open to aid engine ventilation - not that it was exceptionally hot today but with 7681 playing up, we didn't want another dead bus in the yard. Jake also discovered 5807's radiator fins are painted shut which, coupled to the missing rear engine vents, could explain why she gets hot and bothered. The radiator fins are closed in the winter to keep the engine temperature up but have to be propped open in the summer - normally with a bit of old broom handle!
As stated on here and on our sister site, our store room (5807) is going to have to be re-organised to accommodate the extra bits from Sandwich. Jake and Claire started this today with a little help from baby Caitlin! Jake removed all the former wooden display units from 5807's lower deck which had originally been kept in place for seating. This has allowed bulky items like wheels to be stored to one side and maintains a clear walk though. Eventually a small workshop area will be installed on 5807's lower deck. Meanwhile, Jake added a seat upstairs on 5807 in the area that will become the group's mess room.
On Wednesday 3rd October, Claire, Paul and Jake popped down to the yard to give the buses a run around. Unfortunately 5137 decided she didn't want to play and although she started she would move, her throttle valve being stuck solid. This is due to water ingress through the electrical panel under the cab window. Our brilliant 'Bus Doctor' Paul has taken the throttle valve off and is currently looking at it. This has lead us to look at ways to maybe waterproof this area a little better than they are at present. 7681 has a black plastic sheet over the inside of the panel as (like some other VRs) she loses her gears if this area gets too wet. 5137 will be our next bus up MOT and will be on the road next year after undergoing a full mechanical service.
Here you will find out the latest news about our buses and future events we hope to attend. In addition we will add any interesting bus and coach related news we come across.
SOUTHERN COUNTIES OMNIBUS.
A collection of retired buses living in southeast England owned by a group of friends.