With the slow down in public appearances, the restoration team have been busy trying to resolve some of the problems that have arisen with the on board pump as well as continuing with the general maintenance and restoration.
The pump has been giving us an endless series of niggly problems including water and oil leaks, failing to start consistently and therefore it was finally decided that nothing less than a full overhaul would be required to hopefully ensure that this year we can run it without fear of failure, or a good soaking!
Over a period of several weeks, the pump was accessed, the control panel, deliveries, collecting head, volute and other associated fittings were removed, serviced, new bearings,seals, water pipes and clamps attached before being repainting and fitting.
The restored pump control panel was also refitted and at this moment we are just waiting for a couple of the gauges to return from refurbishment and then we can do a full pressure test. The starter motor has undergone a full professional refurbishment and should provide many years of reliable service and finally, It was also decided to install a new electrical circuit to provide a separate button, relay and warning light for the glow plug operation on the pump engine.
Running parallel to this, the work to complete the lockers has continued with all the final sealant and undercoat being applied and the metal locker fittings have been stripped back and powder coated ready for the final install.
This now leaves the top coats of paint and flooring to install now and then we can finally restow the appliance.
The rear hose locker door has been fully restored and refitted now and it looks fantastic.
The Hook Ladder, formally on the run at F26 Bethnal Green, was looking rather tired and was suffering from a few splinters along the strings and a rather pronounced bend due to it being constantly hanging on the hooks on the side of the top extension of the TL. One of our members has undertaken to completely strip it down and do a full restoration. This is currently in progress and we are all looking forward to seeing it once its completed, although I don't think any of us will be climbing it again any time soon!
In the front cab, ribbed flooring has been installed on one side so far. This serves 2 purposes, it makes for a cleaner appearance but also protects the floor pan which was restored 3 years ago. We will be doing the drivers side next.
On the 18th March, the group were privileged to have been invited to carry the late, Fireman George Bish, on the final part of his life journey.
George, who had served at the old B29 New Cross fire station in SW London at the time that 240FLM was delivered from new, would have ridden the appliance so it was fitting that he should be carried on it one last time.
240FLM and her crew were in attendance to serve as the lead vehicle in the funeral procession of the late, well liked and highly respected Firefighter Steven Bird. Steven was laid to rest in Chingford, North East London following a ceremony which was attended by many of his former colleagues from a number of fire stations in the North and East London areas.
As well as a fine turnout of retired colleagues, Steven was also shown respect from serving staff at Chingford fire station when they paraded outside the station for a 2 minute tribute as the procession halted before continuing to the church.
Steven was carried into the church by a combination of former colleagues, 240FLM crew and funeral staff.
October and towards the end of the month we have had to retreat into the appliance room at F38 Romford continue our work.
As we are guests here, we are limited to what we can reasonably undertake and we are always mindful of our surroundings and any impact we may impose on our hosts. Notwithstanding that, the restoration has continued with progress to the foot lockers, rear hose locker, communications system, and the never-ending task of fitting the new rubber treads to the rounds, of which there are many!
Running concurrent to the progress has been the need to continue to carry out running repairs after our first really busy, but very enjoyable season. A priority was the appliance engine having some much needed TLC and also a replacement airline to the braking system compressor following a rather lucky discovery that the existing one was a little "leaky"!,
whilst there, we installed a new compressor air filter to complete this work, the low air pressure flag now pops up and returns as it should
The ongoing problem of the leaking "sparge pipe" (which is the fixed plastic pipe that sits on the offside of the top extension and delivers water to the monitor) not seating correctly in its fittings was once again addressed after a series of explosive leaks!
A close inspection suggested that we had probably refitted the end connectors back to front after the restoration, and by reversing them, the pipe now sits deeper into the couplings. We are fairly confident we have solved this issue, let’s hope so as it hadn't leaked for about 40 years!
Although we had thought we had solved the running and performance problems affecting the Light Pump fitted behind the crew cab, it had continued to pose us problems firstly with starting and then inconsistent running.
A lot of time has been spent on this and despite our best efforts to resolve the problem with the pump installed, we have sadly had to conclude that it will have to be removed from the appliance, strip it down and have a detailed look at the issues.
However, We will need to programme this in and find a more suitable venue for this job as it will require a “Hi Ab” lift to get it off the chassis and also require a little frame cutting to get it out.
The painting of the lockers has at last been started and all of them are now at the undercoat stage. The front section of the nearside locker has had a second inner floor added and drain holes have been drilled in the offside and nearside lockers as water was collecting in them. Once the final painting has been concluded, we will be fitting period correct linoleum to the bottoms of the lockers to complete the preservation and provide some longevity to the work.
The rear hose locker door was looking rather sad on the inside so one of the group members set about cleaning back years of paint, a painstaking job but with the paint off, the door has been removed for repainting offsite. While we have it off, a replacement hinge was sourced as the original of 50 years plus was not looking very sound as it was made of brass with a chrome finish. The chrome had lone gone though so we have had to buy a stainless-steel version sadly as original brass are no longer available. Fortunately, as its almost entirely hidden, we are satisfied that this will not impact on the appearance.
The operator control position has also been having some attention as we had noticed that the extension dial had stopped working. It was found that the tape had parted from the spool and, as it is another one of those 50 year old items, we have sourced and fitted a new replacement and all is now working correctly again.
The communications system between the consul and head of the main ladder is now finally working after a full and complex restoration. We had been inching towards getting this working for about 4 years but it was never really at the top of the“ to do” list. Finally now though, with a replacement amplifier fitted in the consul, it has sprung into life, and, although this is a tiny non visible part of the overall project, it is very significant as it means we have full communications between the ground and head of the ladder which serves a couple of purposes.The first is the basic historic one of it being there and working, then, a more modern Health & Safety element as from time to time we do have firefighters up there who have never been up a TL before so this is a very important function and device for us.
The window screen wipers on 240FLM have continued to plague us with inconsistent working and swing but this is not surprising really being 55 years old. We have had to have rubbers specially made and it has proved impossible to locate new replacement arms of the correct shape and size. We have had new arms made, rubbers cut and fitted and finally all the new elements were refitted and now appear to provide a decent “wipe” and clean so the driver can actually see where we are heading!
Although we have only had 4 working parties during October, they have been well attended which meant that we have been able to make excellent progress and we continue to be very grateful to the LFB for allowing us the privilege of residing within an operational station, exactly as 240FLM once did.
September has seen a number of smaller working parties take place. The initial session was to review and address the mechanical issues that the appliance had suffered over the summer show season, particularly the final show at Odiham in August where 240FLM just refused to participate fully in the show display of 3 turntable ladders which was very disappointing for us.
Inspection of the ladder traverse sensor/activator revealed that it had in fact just dried up through lack of lubrication and jammed. This had prevented 240 from being able to rotate during the show and it ultimately was an easy fix with the traditional wiggle and a large dose of WD40!
We are constantly learning about this old beauty as none of us had ever been mechanics before, just LFB firemen who used the appliances. This therefore is a whole new learning curve for us but by the time we have finished the whole restoration we should be in an enviable position of being drivers, operators and MRV’S! ( Mobile Repair vehicle).
Attention then turned to continuing the re installing of the communications system between the operator’s consul and the head of the ladder. The whole top speaker/microphone box had been removed for refurbishment 18 months ago so we knew that was good, the entire length of cable had also been replaced so that was good. However, the one thing we had not yet got around to was the operator consul assembly. After much tweaking and scraping of knuckles, we managed to get the alert horn button working and the 2 parts of the system communicating, we couldn’t get any speech through it though, again, more head scratching and we ultimately discovered that the consul amplifier was defective, well after 50 years its not done to bad!, so a replacement has been ordered.
The plastic sparge pipe fitted to the top extension and leading up to the to the monitor short hose length had developed a leak of quite epic proportions so it had not been used for the last 2 shows. The sparge pipe was removed for inspection and it was found that the top coupling threads had worn away so new fittings were ordered and have now been fitted and tested to 8 bar pressure. All is now watertight again and the monitor works correctly.
The combined efforts of several of the group resulted in the long-awaited fitting of the brackets, straps and wheel chocks to the original positions on the side running boards. The frames were hand made in house, the straps likewise and the original Merryweather chocks given a full repaint. The whole lot came together beautifully and they fitted perfectly back into the original screw holes first drilled 55 years ago. This almost completes the exterior in appearance although we know that we still have bodywork refurbishment to address during the winter.
In the crew cab, an original 5 metre radio main cable, speaker connector and vintage P clips had been sourced and our newly recruited and much valued auto electrician has kindly reinstated all of these elements to complete the wholly authentic radio setup we ran with from 1966 to 1981 when 240FLM was decommissioned.
The dashboard area is now complete and really takes us all back to the days that we remember and enjoyed so much.
As we now have the on-board sound system playing original radio traffic it completely brings the cab alive and if you close your eyes just for a moment, you really are transported back in time. Brilliant!
The foot lockers have been emptied to allow them to dry prior to the preparation and repainting back to the original colour of “County Cream” to match the cab interior. Again, this will be a winter project but once done the whole stock of original gear and equipment can finally be brought out of the various garages and stores at the homes of group members and restowed.
And finally, 240FLM was given a thorough clean and polish which she was desperately in need of.
Although the show season has almost finished, 240FLM will be making an appearance at the forthcoming LFB Fire Station open day at Hornchurch Fire Station, which is located at 42 North Street Hornchurch. RM11 1SH, on Sunday 22nd September 2019, opening at 12.00pm. Why not pop along and have a look inside this iconic appliance, say hello to the crew and participate in another interesting fun filled day.
As we move into the Autumn, the group would like to extend it’s thanks and gratitude to all those readers and followers who have supported our project either with words, deeds or donations of unwanted equipment and uniforms. All of this is greatly valued, and, where we do not actually need the items, we try wherever possible to support other projects with items that they might need so everything eventually finds its way back to its correct home on a restored fire appliance.
Recently, and at extremely short notice, the group needed some magnetic GLC door crests for an event that we were invited to. We had been lucky enough to obtain 2 original GLC self adhesive crests from the various memorabilia circles but we didn't want to mess around with those so new ones were required.
240FLM was brought into service under the auspices of the former London County Council (LCC) and after only a year, this authority was reconstituted to become the Greater London Council, however, our appliance continued to be in service for a further 16 years under this authority. Currently we have the old LCC crests permanently on the cab doors and will in time replace these following a full respray.
As we stared our hunt for a competent supplier, we were directed towards a chap called Andy Hills who is based in West London and is well known to those preservationists in the South east of England.
Contact was made, the situation explained and without any fuss or drama, the magnetic crests were made, dispatched and in use within 5 working days despite a couple of technical issues. We are delighted with the product and service, especially as Andy keeps his prices well within the industry norm and goes out of his way to be helpful.
The colour reproduced in the images below should be disregarded as the pictures were taken on a camera phone and in flourescent lighting.
We were delighted to once again be invited to pop along to F39 Hornchurch Fire Station and support their annual open day.
Leaving our home base of F38 Romford, Trevor Barnwell, one of our 2 group mechanical officers, decided it was definitely time to resume his driving association with AEC Merryweather appliances and got behind the wheel. he smiled all the way there and back!
Although the weather was somewhat unpredictable, the event went ahead and the many visitors were treated to an "up close" inspection of our appliance as well as the current range of operational vehicles in use.
When the sun did shine, the event moved just a few metres across the road onto the lovely green space and 240FLM was once again put on show. Another fine community based event that allows the public to see the old and the new alongside each other.
The weekend of August 3rd and 4th 2019 saw 240FLM arriving at Odiham in Hampshire for the last ever “Fire Show” to be staged by the staff and friends of Odiham Fire Station.
This event has been running for over 20 years and with the very sad passing of its founder and perpetual organiser, Mick Paull, the decision was made to make this the final show.
Our appliance arrived on Thursday and made its way to its designated spot in amongst an array of beautifully restored former London Fire Brigade, and other appliances. The group of LFB appliances made up by far the largest contingent of vehicles and between them they covered the service period from the 1920’s right through to the 2000’s.
With fine weather expected, the scene was set for a wonderful weekend of static displays, arena demonstrations Turntable Ladder demonstrations, live fire shows, children's water squirts, steamer displays and the familiar smells and sounds of all those side shows one would expect at this type of event.
During the weekend, 240FLM was again a huge draw as she was one of the only two only appliances allowing visitors to actually get on board, a feature of our project that whenever possible, we encourage the public to get up close to our vehicle so that they can fully experience what it was like in its heyday. The 2nd appliance,. a beautiful vintage pump owned by the Paull family provided exhilarating rides for children, and many parents, around the show site all weekend.
Unfortunately, during the Turntable Ladder demonstrations our appliance started to suffer a mechanical/electrical issue which prevented it form carrying out its full range of manoeuvres but nevertheless, she still did the group proud.
Several group members made the journey down to the show to support Colin Farrington who had piloted the appliance all the way from Norfolk and established it at the show and subsequently operated the appliance over the weekend.
A wonderful, very well supported show and a fitting tribute to a lovely man who dedicated his life to vintage and preserved fire appliances and which concluded with a mass demonstration of firefighting jets.
Please note that all images are copyright protected and must not be copied or reproduced without the prior permission of the appropriate photographers and they can be contacted via this group website.
Our grateful thanks go to the following photographers for allowing us to reproduce their work:
Ivan Barefield, Paul Wood, Bryan Jones, Nigel Saunders. Steve Houston and Steve Lomas.
Travelling the 24 miles across Norfolk, 240FLM arrived on Friday the 26th July at Bressingham in East Norfolk in advance of this years event. The traditional " Fish and Chip" run to the Fair Green Fish and Chip Shop for the evening meal!.
With the Friday evening gathering and final organisation completed, the 2 day event opened on Saturday morning with leaden skies but the sun popped out and the day was dry and hugely successful. Bressingham has a vast array of steam attractions and a wonderful museum so there was plenty to see and do.
Firefighting displays were put on and all ages were able to participate. The aerial ap[appliances demonstrated their abilities and the crowds keep coming all weekend.
Make a note for next year as this is an event not to be missed for a family day out.
Please note that all images are copyright the following authors and are not for copying or reproduction without prior permission:
Colin Farrington, " Heritage Snapper", and Norfolk Fire Museum.
240FLM was safely moved from its London base up to the rural pastures of Norfolk for this years Weeting Steam Engine Rally and Country Show. This is the 2nd year we have attended and once again the appliance proved to be a key attraction even though its not steam powered!
A fabulous country event and growing in popularity year on year, this year it was was blessed with wonderful weather and huge crowds who were entertained by the steam giants, animals, crafts and other specialist vehicles,attractions and displays.
This year, we were pleasantly surprised to win the "runner up" place in the judging for best preserved vehicle and
240FLM was used in various displays over the event with many a young person getting drenched from high above!
A wonderful event as ever.
Please note that all images are copyright the following authors and are not for copying or reproduction without prior permission:
Colin Farrington, " Heritage Snapper", Nigel Saunders and Norfolk Fire Museum.
On the morning of the 29th June 2019, and almost 50 years to the day, 240FLM returned to its fist home at New Cross Fire Station to support their annual open day.
Despite it being almost a record breaking day of high temperatures, the crew of 4 consisting of original New Cross fireman and 240FLM group chairman, Peter Russell along with Graham Pearce, Dave Porter and Peter Weight endured the traffic jams and heat to arrive on time from Romford and set up the appliance in the rear yard amongst more modern appliances and police vehicles.
Although limited by a mechanical issue to elevating and traversing the appliance ladders, this did prove to be a popular attraction and enhanced the day by the visiting public being able to view the appliance at work.
The crew were made very welcome by watch manager Paul Frisbey and Station Manager, Keith Saunders and the crews of LFB Fire cadets were very interested to get up close and inside the appliance as were all the visiting children.
During the day a challenge was thrown down to anyone who wanted to have ago at picking up and pitching a Hook ladder in the old fashioned way, sadly only the Watch manager took this on but did it first time much to his pleasure as it was something he had wanted to do for years.
As 4.00 pm approached it was time to “knock off and make up” in preparation for the return back to Romford, however, thanks to a prearrangement, the appliance was re-positioned inside the centre bay of the station, its original home, for a photo call.
It had been such a memorable day and we were delighted to have been able to support the London Fire Brigade once again.
We extend our thanks and gratitude to the Green Watch at E38 New Cross for their support and assistance on the day.
The group are grateful to the photographers who have granted us permission to reproduce their images, please note the copyright assigned where applicable, all other images are copyright the 240FLM Preservation Group
Work has continued both at Romford and various individual homes to push forward with getting 240FLM ready for this years events.
Both Pete Weight, Graham Pearce and Trevor Barnwell have all been busy working on different projects and these should all be completed for the end of June.
Trevor had been working on a sound system through which to play some original radio traffic commensurate with the service period of the appliance. We had considered 2 options to do this: A wholly digital system utilising a Bluetooth mini speaker and an Ipod, or, a portable CD player and played through the original radio speaker. It was finally decided to follow the CD player route and accordingly, a "new old stock" Goodmans CD player was located for £10, a 24 volt to 6 volt inverter and a miniature Mono amplifier.
One of our new "recruits" John Lewis set about the task of connecting everything up and hey presto, It worked! The whole arrangement has been installed behind the OIC seat out of general sight. Whilst moving this project forward, it was also considered sensible to install a couple of USB ports at usable locations to cope with the modern requirements of the crew and we now have one in the OIC glove box on the dashboard and one in the rear crew cab. This has brought a tremendous sense of realism to the project, especially when the vehicle is static on events as the real life dramas that occurred so long ago are still so vivid coming out of the original speaker.
Attention has also been focussed on the door handles and catches with another new recruit, Martin Baker, getting on to them. most are now restored to full working order and the door straps are next in line for attention.
A noticeable issue was identified on several of our recent events, events where kids climb into the rear crew cab. We do have any suitable step system for getting them in safely and exiting the other side so thoughts turned to sourcing a pair of appropriate steps. When we originally purchased 240FLM, she came with a single set of steps, fortunately, we had photographed them before they " disappeared" so had a visual template to work to. Graham Pearce offered to undertake this project and today we have a lovely pair of tailor made, sturdy, dedicated steps almost ready to use this summer,final painting takes place this week.
Also offsite, Pete Weight had been busy making the hose ramp retaining parts that all sit on the roof of the pump bay. Nick Gunn had created the 3 flat bearers that the 4 ramps sit on but we still needed the wooden surround so Pete made this up and painted everything and while the brushes were out, also final painted the 2 hand made extinguisher brackets that sit in the rear cab.
Towards the end of May, all the parts that had been made offsite were brought to Romford and over a couple of days were installed.
The sound system is now fully integrated, the extinguisher brackets, complete with their original leather straps fitted and the 2 original extinguishers we had sourced fitted into place. The hose ramp securing system has been faithfully reproduced complete with original leather straps and the 4 ramps fitted. Colin Farrington has continued to make progress on the mechanical side resolving several niggly little leaks and issues and Steve Houston and Dave Porter have had periods cleaning the very dirty checker plate decking. Dave has also been busy refitting the dozens of fiddly metal securing plates that retain the rubber treads on the rounds, an extremely tedious and knee jarring job!
Once again, 240FLM participated in this classic vehicle event with a crew of 4. The day included a stop at one of the original stations where the appliance was based, its old number was K22 Wandsworth but today it is numbered H33 and is located on West Hill in Wandsworth. SW London. The run this year was less troubled by traffic congestion and the appliance performed superbly. On arrival at Madeira Drive in Brighton, It became a well visited appliance by enthusiast and spectators and even the Mayor and her party stopped by. The awards this year went to other beautifully presented vehicles but 240FLM still stood out as a " specialist appliance". Another wonderful run for the old girl was enjoyed by all the crew of Colin Farrington, Paul Wood, Mike West and Steve Houston. On our " moving pictures page" there is a full video review of our involvement.
One step forward and another back! A well known saying and one which has definitely applied this month. At the start of the month on April 6th, the team set with 240FLM for the overdue replacement of the rear differential oil seals which had been delayed from earlier in the year due to a " fail to start". However, this time no such problems and the small team of group members made their way to a local HGV repair facility kindly loaned out to us for this task. The appliance was carefully driven onto the hydraulic lift and the team set about the task in hand. Everything went as planned and the seal was replaced fairly simply and without any great issue. However, it was at the point of concluding the days work that the problems started. The starter motor refused to engage and there was a distinct smell of burning rubber or similar and so it was concluded that the only thing to do was to return the appliance back to the hydraulic lift and have a look. On investigation it was found that the starter motor had indeed failed and there also appeared top be a fuel system issue. By now it was mid afternoon so the decision was made to call for a heavy recovery lift back to our base at Romford, it had been a long day with the driver finally parking the appliance back in the station at about 8.00pm.
During the week that followed, the starter motor was stripped and a full overhaul conducted. Fortunately, within the group we have the skills to do this work so it didn't take long for the motor to be returned and refitted. With the fuel system bled, the appliance burst back into life and hopefully the starter motor will provide another 50 years of service.
Later in the month we held a busy working party during which the hand bell, which had required a new strap was refitted. Some woodwork around the OIC door had been stripped back and this was primed ready for coating up.
The hose ramp retaining frame that sits behind the cab, but had been mostly missing when we obtained 240FLM, had been constructed offsite and this was trial fitted and the fixing holes drilled out. It will now be brought to a full paint finish and the 3 base runners that the ramps sit on will be finished.
The 12mm radio cable was trial fitted and reaches from the radio on the dashboard to the rear seat area under which the transceiver will sit but some alterations are required to the connector to get it to fit, this is in hand and once installed, the cable will complement the "original" appearance as it is in fact a period item found by chance for £5 plus postage on an internet auction website.
Offsite, 2 new "original" extinguisher brackets had been made for the Foam and Water Stored Pressure extinguishers in the back cab, These had been routed out to accept the straps on the back and are now ready for final painting, strap attachment and fitting.
On the same day, attention was given by some of the team to the problem with the communications system that runs between the operators consul at the bottom and the speaker box at the head of the ladder. Although the whole system is now installed, the cable should run smoothly when the ladder is extending or housing, To assist the functionality of the cable, there is a twin wheel runner set that sits in a channel above the cable, It was noticed that the twin wheels were sticking at various points and after much investigation it was discovered that the trough that they sit in was heavily congealed with old muck and rubbish. This has now been fully cleaned out and should allow the system to perform correctly.
Arriving at Romford just before 7am, the crew, Dave Porter, Gary Quinnell, Steve Houston and Paul Wood readied the appliance and set off for Southend airport just after 7.30 with 240FLM starting first time thanks to the newly refurbished starter motor and engine servicing. The journey down to Southend was uneventful with Dave at the wheel but on Garys advice Dave negotiated the roundabout at Gallows Corner rather than try to get over the flyover.
The Vulcan Restoration Trust (VRT) treated us like royalty. We were given a VIP tour of the Vulcan cockpit
The gates were opened at 10am, and (apart from the Vulcan - obviously) we were the main attraction. Everyone wanted a bit of 240 - with some parents bringing their kids back several times such was the interest in her.
Tea and coffee was supplied by the VRT all day long, with a food stall available if you wished to buy burgers.
We were joined by our Chairman Peter Russell, along with Lady Julia mid morning, who supplied a box of famous brand of doughnuts for the crew.
The rain and wind was on and off all day, but the sun did show itself several times. To compliment the day, the Essex Yeomanry Band played appropriate music for several hours, and the electrics were powered up on the Vulcan to give a small demonstration.
The opportunity to get some photos alongside the Vulcan was hastily accepted with Gary lining 240 up alongside the aircraft as the crowds gathered around to snap away.
Gary did the honours driving back to Romford (via the fuel station to top the old girl up with fuel).
An excellent day for all concerned, and the amount of interest shown was beyond what we expected.
The on-board pump had been presenting us with problems and had recently failed to start. After much searching and testing, it was established that the fuel pump had become defective so it was removed, thoroughly overhauled by group member Mike Cotton and refitted. A little tweaking and checking and once again the pump has fired back into life and runs beautifully. It is our intention to have the appliance fully functioning in all aspects so this is a significant step towards that goal.
To complement the mechanical repairs, the pump deliveries and collecting head have had their ( non original) blank caps cleaned and reconnected via new galvanised chain. Unfortunately, the original chain remnants, (of which there was 3 different sizes) is no longer available so the closest match to that seen in the pre delivery pictures we have was purchased and used.
The driver’s dashboard gauge cluster had for a long time been in need of complete overhaul. Some of the more vital gauges in fact didn’t function at all so after much thought, this task was handed to professionals and the results are fantastic. A new set of cables were made and now that it is connected and reinstated, it completely finishes the repainted cab and dashboard.
Also fitted in the cab was a modern 2KG dry powder extinguisher. It had been considered a sensible precaution in case a member of the public approached us in an emergency, or, we needed it for ourselves!!
The exterior has continued to have finishing items added. The cable reel to supply the Francis searchlight has been refitted to the roof of the pump bay having been fully restored by Graham Pearce. It is likely we will be replacing the 50 year cable though as it looks rather unsafe!
The original windscreen washer system, including the plastic reservoir in the OIC footwell looked quite serviceable, however, it became clear that it wasn't pumping so a replacement pump has been sourced and installed and the system is once again working correctly.The Raydyot hand lamp for the OIC had developed a sever crack in the swivel joint since it was installed last month. Fortunately, one of our group members is a dab hand with brazing equipment so out it came and has been repaired and now sits back in its position, this now needs wiring up.
The Original radio channel plaque was in a bad visual state and, as this is on show, it was concluded that a new one was probably more suitable.This has been made and now sits back on top of the radio control box on the dashboard and reflects the early period in the Brigades radio history.
The " Licence" holder is now in place complete with the Joe Milner period certificate of ownership, we can however switch this to Mr Leete's period in tenure if we desire as we have one of those as well.
The drivers side floor has had its coat of black metal paint and this now means we can go ahead and install the rubber matting.
Attention will now turn to the 3 lockers on the outside. There are 2 foot lockers and a rear hose locker. All 3 were hand made by the group and the original skins then laid over. All 3 are currently still in the paint primer stage and it is our intention to get all 3 fully repainted and then refitted with the myriad of brackets, hooks and wooden formers that we removed some 3 ½ years ago. Once completed, this will allow us to restow the appliance with all the original LFB gear and equipment we have been able to collect since November 2015 and be one giant step closer to being able to proclaim 240FLM as “ On the run”.
Finally, a start has been made by Dave Porter on cleaning the original checkerplate decking which has been long overdue, initial impressions are that it will come up a treat for the summer.
February has seen significant steps forward in our winter maintenance and improvement programme.
Works by Trevor and Martyn to the onboard pump have resulted in the fuel pump being removed and dispatched for a much needed overhaul. It had become clear that this was the cause of the pump not firing when the start button was pushed. The dashboard has been completely removed and sent away for refurbishment as several of the gauges were not working and the surround needed painting.
Colin has started the first phase of the reattaching of the communications cable, between the head of the ladder and the operator consul. The cable is now loosely attached along its full length and connected to the refitted operator speaker and microphone box which is fitted at the head of the ladder. However, 3 specialist springs are required to keep the tension on the cable so these are being made " in house". Once made the whole system can finally be permanently attached and tested.
2 "new old stock" headlamps have been sourced and fitted by John Lewis as the silvering on the originals had started to fail.
In the crew cab, the radio, handset and speaker have now been fitted and immediately this has brought the cab back to life. The intention now is to install a small "bluetooth" system, played through the original speaker, to run original radio soundtracks appropriate to the service period. Also, in the cab (and pump bay) the replacement interior lights have been installed and are fully functioning.
Graham has finished the painting on the remaining ladder section at the foot of the main ladder and also given the steering column a much needed lick of paint, Trevor has also managed to get the " High Wind warning" pennant bracket at the head of the top extension painted in silver which is far better than the rust colour we had been looking at!
The foot mount for the Francis searchlight is now back on the roof ready for the light itself although this is currently being rewired and the hunt is on for an original " Niphan" bullet connector to complete the period look.
Finally, when the original interior cab lights, and the pump bay light, were removed for restoration, it quickly became apparent that they were beyond redemption!. It was fortunate that the identical " cage" lamps are still produced so with 3 new ones on site they were immediately fitted and connected, all 3 work perfectly!
Attention was focused on the on-board Light Portable Pump or " Donkey Pump" as its sometimes known *( it supplies high pressure water to the monitor at the head of the ladder when utilising the appliance as a water tower for large fires).
A couple of years ago, we gave it a limited refurbishment with new filters, exhaust and hoses and it had in fact run well but we didnt pump any water or put it under great strain. So when we came to fire it up in the new year, it steadfastly refused to start. A thorough visual inspection of the ignition system showed that we had a good spark and therefore a good electrical system so a strip out of the fuel system followed. This revealed that the fuel pump had failed so this has been removed and sent for repair. We have just been informed that the pump needed a thoroughly good clean and service and it has now been bench tested and produces the correct jets of fuel so it now just needs a final seal change and it can be refitted. Our thanks go to group members,Dave Porter, Trevor Barnwell and Mike Cotton for resolving this problem.
The hand bell over the Officer In Charge's seat has been removed to allow for a replacement leather strap to be fitted as the original one disintegrated this summer.
The complete driver instrument cluster ( dashboard) has been removed for overhaul and refurbishment as some of the gauges just didn't work, this should take several weeks to be completed so until then, 240FLM must remain static.
Running alongside the mechanical repairs and servicing, other group members had set about reinstating several of the new, or restored, original accessories inside the cab and on the exterior.
One very notable item to be restored has been the 8 day mechanical clock located centrally above the windscreen. This had been gifted to the group and it has fitted perfectly to the existing back plate and works beautifully.
An original, gifted, address/searchlight for the Officer In Charge was refitted. However, sadly a crack has appeared in the swivel mount so this will need to be brazed at some stage. Notwithstanding this, the period wiring can now be run to make the lamp functional.
After many weeks of deliberation, the final position of the radio receiver and handset were decided. Months of research had failed to provide any firm evidence of the fitting positions and no photographic evidence could be found. Discussions were held with retired members of the LFB Radio Workshops team and they confirmed that radios, speakers and handsets were in fact not fitted in identical positions and it very much depended on the appliance and fitter on the day. As no absolute certainty could be found or traced for the exact location, our joint collective memories decided on a later, known location, and the holes drilled accordingly. The new radio mount bracket will now be painted and installed on the next visit. The radio speaker will sit just to the left of the driver on the central divider, exactly as seen in several period appliance images. The handset will sit high up on the dashboard between the driver and OIC. Once all the 3 elements are installed, period wiring will be run to finish the project and it is anticipated that at some stage, we will install a Bluetooth speaker and player in the cab and have period appropriate recordings of radio traffic playing at events.
Measurements have been taken for the 3 wooden bearers that sit on the LPP pump housing behind the cab to accommodate the 2 hose ramps.These are now in construction and period leather straps have been sourced and are ready to fit once the wooden bearers are made.
The mechanical team gathered at Romford today with the intention of changing the engine oil & filters and a provisional look at the the next task of changing the gearbox oil. Meanwhile others had arrived to start the installation of some of the fittings and accesories that will start to make 240FLM look original again.
With the necessary safety options in place, the drain plug was opened and a rather unpleasant looking volume of old engine oil appeared. No one actually knows when it was last changed as we hadn't done this since we purchased her, however, it quickly became apparent that this was a wise decision. The rest of the day was spent inspecting the general access and state of the mechanics in preparation for the forthcoming season.
Meanwhile, the other lads were busy installing the new roof aerial and running the cable from it back towards the radio pack which, if we can locate one, will be sited in its original position under the offside rear crew seat.
A fully restored original CTC ( Carbon Tetra Chloride) extinguisher and bracket were fitted in the correct location behind the drivers seat. 2 of the newly re-chromed grab handles were refitted in the front cab, much to everyone's relief, the hand bell was removed to allow for the replacement of the leather strap which had broken during one of our event days and the original remnants of the 4 chains that retain the female blank caps were removed to enable us to try and source replacements. All in and excellent days effort before christmas.
The waiting was over, the decision made, the funds approved and finally, the majority of the items needing re-plating were off to the factory! Although as a group we had decided from the beginning that 240FLM was not going to be restored to "Concourse" condition, we had always envisaged that she would look at least as good as when she was operational. Items which would detract from that look were always likely to be the shiniest parts and during the restoration it became apparent that the Francis searchlight, which sits very prominently on the cab roof, and the interior grab handles were probably going to be the items most in need of re chroming. As we had reached a suitable point, the hunt began for a company capable fof undertaking this work, which we had assumed would be straightforward. This was a wrong assumption though as most plating companies will not deal with cast brass items, which both the grab handles and blank cap are made of, and the quantity is rather small. It was a relief indeed when we did manage to locate a company near Stevenage in Hertfordshire willing and able to offer a full professional service. The items have now been returned and look fantastic, almost as new, and we look forward to installing them in the new year.
During the course of November, a number of working parties have taken place. The purpose was initially to seek to remove the differential so that a troublesome oil leak could be repaired. However, on the chosen day, an electrical issue meant that we were unable to relocate the appliance from Romford to a pre-agreed location nearby where we could have use of HGV ramps.
Undaunted, the team set about the next task of dealing with the removal of the rear brakes to assess the condition of the linings and other mechanical parts. Over a period of 4 weeks, the small team, working outside in all weathers, removed both sides, and sets, of wheels, brake drums, hubs and seals. A thorough inspection revealed that the hub seals were failing and the brake linings were heavily contaminated so the decision was made to replace all these parts. The brake shoes were relined and new seals installed.
This was an onerous task, made all the more difficult as most of the team are of a more mature age and the weather was not always very kind. However, a very determined and small group of members, led by Colin Farrington and Trevor Barnwell supported by Dave Porter, Steve Houston, Steve Lomas and other supporters got the job done.
With the first, and unexpectedly busy summer now firmly behind us, the team are preparing to get stuck into some much needed winter maintenance on 240FLM. In particular, the differential has developed a leak and Colin, Trevor and Steve Lomas have prepared plans to access it and install new seals and oil with support from other group members.
Other maintenance will include complete renewal of the brake linings and adjustment of the handbrake cable as well as general greasing of the grease points and perhaps an attempt to get the onboard pump working so that 240FLM can once again pump her own water supply to the monitor.
In addition to this, further restoration will carry on and we are hopeful of re installing the communications system between the operator console and head of ladder, bringing the cab to a complete finish ready for next year with the installation of new interior lights, original equipment such as the radio system and all the small gear normally found in the cab of a fire appliance. All the original equipment has now been sourced and restored where necessary and is ready for installation and if at all possible, the final fit of the dozens of rubber treads to the 3 moving extension rounds.
On the exterior, the foot lockers on both sides of the vehicle need final carpentry work such as door shuts and then the refitting of all the small gear brackets and clips, of which there are many! Once this is done, the final painting can take place and then the equipment can be restowed finally.
Recently, we have been very fortunate to have been contacted by retired members of the London Fire Brigade with offers of some very rare items applicable to 240FLM. As well as uniforms etc of the correct period and which will complement our project beautifully, there has also been donations of: 2 original "Certificates of Ownership" to be displayed in the cab window, both have the signatures of the Chief Officers of the LFB at the respective times and each covers a block period of 240FLM's service period. An original and much prized, unused London County Council appliance log book and incredibly, an original mechanical clock, complete with bracket to sit proudly in the vacant space above the centre of the windscreen and a super rare original radio speaker to match the radio pack.
One item of particular historic value has been the gifting of an original 1965 LFB vehicle inventory sheet specifically for this type of appliance. To date, we have had to rely on memory and hearsay but now with the definitive list we can conclude our search for equipment far more rapidly.
A very difficult to find LCC hand Controlled Branch was also gifted to us and after full restoration it is now in its correct colour ready to restow. All of this however is now only possible thanks to the London Fire Brigade for allowing us to keep 240FLM warm and safe back in a London Fire Station and our group members who continue to support both physically where possible and financially likewise this project.
For all of this we are so very grateful because without the generosity of like minded people, the project may well have failed before now at worst or been nowhere near close to completion as we actually are!
After 3 years of collecting and having many items donated, the stores of uniforms, clothing and personal gear are now established at Romford. It was important to have it adjacent to the appliance so that on show days we can easily grab what we need to take with us.