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.