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1928 SOS "QL" Type Bus - Page Two.

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Restoration of a Classic Bus: Page 2.

photograph: 1928 Midland Red Bus.

Photograph: Starting the engine can be good fun.
With alternative description for non graphics or blind users.


Winter 2004 1928 SOS "QL":

In the last Report I said that we intended to start the SOS bus' engine again and I'm pleased to report that we have done so. After about eighteen months of standing idle, it wasn't keen to run and our first attempt ended in failure, which was especially disappointing, since Chris Scott, our new Assistant Keeper of Industry, and Paul Jarman, our new Assistant Keeper of Transport, came in to share in the moment! There was some consolation for Paul at least, in that he was taken for a trip around the site with the Matchless.

Our only consolation was that we had lots of practice at the starting technique and the engine was easier to pull over on the handle, after an afternoon of swinging to no avail. Neat petrol down the plug holes did not induce it to start, but it did thin the sticky oil in the cylinders.

Engine - The engine is a 4 cylinder side valve [sv] L-head with the two valves per cylinder living outside, where they can be seen dancing up and down when the engine is running. Lubrication is by an occasional squirt from the oil can. The sump and crankcase are separate aluminium castings bolted together and there are two cast iron blocks, of two cylinders each, bolted to the crankcase. Each block has a detachable cast iron cylinder head.

Cylinder Heads - The cylinder heads were originally of aluminium, but, apparently, they furred up onto the holding down studs and became too difficult to remove for decoking. This was a regular activity for apprentices in former times of unleaded, low octane petrol, when valves needed frequent grinding to retain performance. Surprisingly, an unused pair of these original heads turned up in Dunston many years ago and are now in our collection. The combustion spaces in the cylinder heads were designed by Ricardo, which aids the performance. It is a lively engine, although it is only 4 litres, and comfortably pulled along 38 passengers.

Lubrication - In 1928 there was not much complication about the internals of most engines and the SOS is no exception. Oil is pressure fed to the main bearings and everything else is taken care of by splash. There is a trough under each big end which is fed with oil and the big ends have a scoop on them, which picks up some oil at each revolution and throws the rest about the crankcase, to lubricate anything else which gets in its way. It seems to work fine!

Manifold - The inlet manifold has a muff cast into it, which fills with hot water from the engine, and heats the incoming charge, to aid vaporisation of the fuel. The mixture is provided by a cast bronze Claudel-Hobson carburettor, without a choke mechanism. The cover from a light switch fits nicely and the hole where the switch came through allows just enough air to pass.

Sparks - Sparks are provided by a Scintilla magneto - a quality instrument - to 18min detachable bodied spark plugs. A brass lever bolted on to the steering column below the steering wheel, advances or retards the spark to get the best performance from the engine in changing running conditions. It also aids safe starting of the engine.

Starting - To start the engine, the petrol is first switched on at the tank, and the magneto switch set so as to stop the low tension current from running to earth. [To stop the engine the low tension current is grounded, which prevents sparks occurring at the plugs.] The carburettor is flooded and choked, and the ignition is set to retard, to prevent the engine kicking back when it is pulled over on the starting handle.

To turn the engine, the starting handle is engaged by one person and a second person pulls the rope attached to the handle. When the rope sets the handle moving, the person on the handle pulls up and carries the engine over compression. If everything is set right, a plug will fire and the engine runs off the handle, which is then returned to the bottom of its swing. It doesn't always go that easily!

We now intend to start the engine regularly to keep it free and ready to be driven when the cab frame is completed, perhaps by Easter.

Spring 2005 1928 SOS "QL":

The 1928 SOS "QL" bus continues to make progress. There have been two visits to the Midlands Bus Museum in Wythall, Birmingham to compare notes with the volunteers at that museum and share spare parts and pool the knowledge acquired from both sets of volunteers.

The Sunderland Glass Centre is helping to produce interior glass lights for the bus.

End of page.

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