Maudslay project

1916 Maudslay Chassis

This chassis was acquired as an un-restored basic lorry chassis. These lorries were supplied to the military during World War I and were built by several manufactures.
After the war many of these chassis were modified into buses for local bus services. Friends of Coventry Transport Museum are restoring this chassis into a WW1 lorry ready for the Centenary in 2014. After that, if funds permit, we plan to convert it into a Coventry bus from the period.


Another historic moment is pictured left as the engine is started for the first time.
It ran very well and sounded good but oil leaks curtailed any thought of driving it for the moment.

The Maudslay made its first public appearance at Leamington Spa on the 21st June. Not absolutely complete and without being able to run the engine, nevertheless it marked a significant milestone in the story of this restoration.

Just one week later it was on display in Coventry City centre.

The engine ancilliaries, and the hundreds of small items that need to be taken care of have kept the team busy over the last couple of months.
Some concerns over the engine have meant that no attempt has yet been made to start it, but hopefully it should be ready this month.
Work continues on the finishing touches.

The steering wheel is now powder coated and looks really good. Work continues on the body, engine ancilliaries & transmission propshafts.

A set of mudguards has been manufactured, a front one pictured left.

The transmission brake with new linings has been fitted, picture left. 

The engine has at last been returned to the Museum and fitted to the chassis. The rebuild used as much of the original material as possible.
New bonnet sides have been manufactured by Martin Robey Eng Ltd, free of charge. The originals were too far gone and could only be used as patterns. After preparation and priming, the refurbished strengthening bars were fitted using the same method of riveting as the bonnet top. The seat box has now been painted and mounting points for the canvas roof hoops sorted out. The canvas roof itself will be outsourced. The cross-piece support beams have also been painted. A new steering wheel has been cast to as near to the original pattern as possible, based on research done by Steve Gosling, who also made the pattern. The rim will be powder-coated to closely replicate the original finish. Steve has assisted us in making many of the other small fixtures and fittings which the vehicle would have had, but are either broken or missing.


Still awaiting return of the engine, but as you can see from the picture, some of the woodwork has now been assembled and primered.

Sitting on the chassis is the main seat box assembly and all the cross-piece support beams for the flatbed.

Technical drawings of body components and woodwork have been completed.
Woodwork for the cab and seat is under way.

Parts for the transmission brake have been cast and machined.
First quotes for fuel tank, mudguards and bonnet side panels were too expensive, now waiting for other quotes.
Period rivets have been obtained and used to fix bonnet top panels to reinforcement strips. The engine has been away for a few months now and is behind schedule; re-assembly has started and may be complete late October.

The Maudslay team were disappointed when a decision was made to sub-contract all the engine rebuild work to an outside contractor. Although this will allow us to concentrate on the design, manufacture and assembly of the cab and flatbed body to ensure completion during 2014 it has led to two Friends removing themselves from the project. To make matters worse John Batchelor, who has worked on the Maudslay for many years, recently suffered a stroke so the team is sorely depleted at the moment.
Some useful contacts have been established with regard to a new steering wheel and transmission brake, as well as ironwork patterns and timber for the flatbed. The design for the cab has also been established.

With the gearbox complete attention has turned to the engine. A full description can be found on the back page of the February 2013 Newletter, while below are brief details of the stripdown;

Starting at the bottom, pictured left is the cast aluminum sump which also houses the lower half main bearing shells.
Sitting on top of the sump is the crankcase casting which has large doors to the open sides. There is some damage, and a new facing plate has had to be welded on, along with other spots of aluminum welding repairs. 
With the doors removed it is possible to remove any one piston for examination.
This type of accessibility feature is cleverly repeated throughout the engine.

The cylinder block/head is 'blind cast' with the cylinder head forming part of the casting. It is actually 2 castings of 2 cylinders each bolted together to form a 4 cylinder engine of 5" bore x 5" stroke. The overhead valves are sub-assembled into 'pockets' which are then screwed into the top of the block/head casting.
Above the valves sits the camshaft which is enclosed by hinged covers. The whole camshaft can be hinged out of the way to provide easy access to the valves.
The internals are pictured left, crankshaft, pistons & conrods, and bearings are all present and correct.
Initial findings are that the valve guides need bushing, but valves need only light grinding. Bearings and crank probably need renewing / machining. Pistons and bores appear serviceable.

Meanwhile during all this mechanical mayhem the correct colour for the chassis paint has been identified and the whole assembly is now resplendent in its new topcoat.

The gearbox is now re-assembled with new bearings. The selector rails can now be seen, again in Neutral.
Cogs marked 'C' are in constant mesh.
The lower selector rail moves the 2nd/1st cogs left or right to mesh with the upper cogs '2' '1' 'R' to select 2nd/1st/Rev gears.
The upper selector rail moves the 3rd cog left to lock with the input cog or right to mesh with upper cog '3' to select 4th/3rd gear.

And here is the gearbox positioned in the chassis frame with its cover on.

The new gears are now back with us and join the remaining serviceable items as shown in the photo.
Shown in Neutral, the upper and lower cogs (far right) remain in constant mesh.
For 4th gear cog 3 slides right and locks with cog 4.
For 3rd gear cog 3 slides left and meshes with the upper cog.
For 2nd gear cog 2 slides right and meshes with the upper cog.
For 1st gear cog 1 slides left and meshes with the upper cog.
For reverse gear cog 1 slides further left and meshes with the Rev Idler cog which is driven by the Rev cog.
Straight-cut gears and no synchromesh will not make for a quiet gearbox, or a quick one!

More metalwork is has now been trial assembled around the bonnet area as the photo left shows.
The top bonnet panel is in reasonable condition, but the side panels with louvers will probably have to be re-made. This is now being looked into.
If we are to meet the completion deadline of 2014 for the centenery we will soon have to start on manufacturing a flatbed body.

Some new gears are being manufactured for the gearbox and we hope to have them back soon.
Similarly, the top bush on the steering column is having to be re-made, there being too much ovality in the original.

The chassis now has it's grey undercoat applied, and the front bulkhead panel has been refurbished and painted and is now bolted to the chassis.
The gearbox has been found to need some new gears and re-manufacture of these is being investigated.

The paintbrushes are out again to cover the red primered wheels with a grey undercoat.

The photo left shows the gearlever and it's quadrant attached to the chassis.
There are four forward speeds plus reverse. Reverse is selected by moving the lever to first gear position, then operating the handle part-way down the lever to override the first gear stop. Then the lever can be moved forward past the first gear stop to reverse gear position.

At the bottom of the photo can be seen the brake pedal and rods.

A rod from the gearlever crosses the chassis to the gear selector box pictured here. It will be a while yet before we can complete the gearbox rebuild and mate it up with the chassis and selector box.

Meanwhile the steering box and re-machined bushes and bearings are being re-assembled and fettled to take out any excessive play.

Various research has so far failed to come up with a definative colour in which the chassis should be painted, more research to be done.
Meanwhile Apollo Sheet Metal have been contacted about producing a bonnet, and various small jobs continue on the mechanical bits of the chassis.
Some interesting documents and drawings of period commercials have been received and these should help with the construction of the flatbed body.
The gearbox has now been stripped, and all the gears and bearings are being examined to determine what needs to be renewed/re-furbished.

 More work has taken place on the rear axle, as can be seen in these photos.
The left rear wheel with brake drum (left) is awaiting assembly of brake shoes to the stub axle (right) before assembly. The right rear wheel is already fitted.

 have been fitted after having been machined, reemed and repaired as necessary (photo right).
Meanwhile at the front we now have all the new steering ball joints ready for re-assembly, and are expecting the repaired steering box back shortly.
Before too many components are fitted to the chassis we need to research what colour the chassis and components would have originally been painted. Then it will be out with the paint brushes again.

Photo shows the off side kingpin /stub axle components stripped for examination. These are now re-assembled, painted, and fitted to the chassis. We are now waiting for some steering ball joints repairs to be completed, the front axle assembly should then be almost complete. In the meantime the gearchange / handbrake quadrant and levers are being trial fitted to the chassis.

Plenty of progress during the summer, despite it being the holiday season. Most of the front suspension has now been overhauled, new spring shackles made, and various bits and pieces reworked / refurbished. Various ball joints in the steering mechanism have been checked out, and a seized left side kingpin freed off. The steering box and steering column have been stripped and examined to see which shims and operating mechanisms will need to be repaired. Some items are with outside repairers for specialist treatments so we await their return.

Trial fitting of the front wheel & tyre
The re-worked rear leaf spring has now been fitted and the axle is now alinged with the chassis.
Also the front wheels with their new moulded-on rubber tyres are now back at the museum, so work has now started on the front suspension, steering arms, and brackets. It appears some mounting holes became oval due to wear and were 'repaired' by inserting a bush, which in turn went oval. Many items such as this will need to be properly repaired before the front end is ready to accept the wheels. However, it is looking like a 'rolling chassis' will be a possibility this year.

After a bit of a lull due to continuing involvement with the new store facility and a series of Bank Holidays, progress has resumed on the chassis. We are still a few weeks away from receiving the front wheels with their new rubber tyres, but the axle assembly and rear suspension has been trial fitted to the chassis. The axle seemed to be set a couple of degrees out of square with the chassis rails which caused some head scratching. It was eventually discovered that the mounting eye of one the main leaf springs had been drilled in the incorrect position. This will now be returned to be reworked.

The team work on installing the axle

The offending leaf spring

Recent progress has seen one of the front wheels sent away for machining. After completion of this work both front wheels have now been sent to have their solid rubber tyres moulded on.
Meanwhile back at the Museum, work continues on the rear brakes, interupted from time to time as members of the team assist with moving vehicles to the new store facility.

After a thorough check-over the axle is now re-assembled and running smoothly. Work now moves on to install the re-built brake actuating arms and shafts into the axle casing. Then it should be possible to attach the axle assembly to the chassis, before assembling the brake shoes and drums.

The rear wheels with new solid rubber tyres are now with us in the museum and look really excellent. The rear axle has been stripped again as the team are not 100% happy with the smoothness of operation.

More work on the axle required special tools to be made in order to hold the inner shaft while the outer nut was turned to adjust end float. General fettling of shims etc has resulted in an acceptable installation.
The rear wheels have been fitted with new solid rubber tyres and should be returned to us next week. Some work to the front wheels is required prior to their being sent for new tyre fitting.

The axle casings have been stripped of their paint and any corrosion and rust treatment applied. The badly worn brake operating arms and their bearings have been sent to Lenoch engineering for attention. Enquiries are being made by the Friends for various ball races in the assembly which need replacing.
The diff has been set up with minimum end float by the usual combination of shimming and machining and the sun wheels blued so that the planet gears could be fettled. This work has improved it but the diff when turned by hand could be described as agricultural. The rear wheels have been sent to Clifton Rubber for new solid rubber tyres.

All the new nuts on the main chassis frame have now been castellated, and primed where practical with red oxide. Material for the new engine bearer spacer tubes has been obtained and these items will be manufactured shortly. The rear spring mounts have been refitted. The Diff assembly was stripped into its main components to reveal some horrors and some pleasant surprises.
All the bearing races with the exception of the drive input shaft nose bearing were in good condition having been exposed to the heavy gear oil within the casing. The unfortunate nose bearing lives in a separate chamber to the axle proper and its lubrication has been neglected. It turns but must be replaced. Its removal necessitates the Hardy Spicer prop shaft joint being withdrawn from its splines which are seized. The oxy-acetylene has been employed on this task and it is steadily yielding to persuasion. The lower part of the casing was found to be extensively cracked around the off side drive shaft bearing and the off side diff carrier bearing cap was snapped clean in half. With the diff assembly split the sun wheels were revealed in poor condition. The planet gears have faired better and only their bearings and thrusts require attention.
David Stansfield has a contact at Lenoch Engineering (Rugby) and they, at very reasonable cost, have repaired the axle casing, re made the sun wheels and supplied new bearings and thrusts for the diff. Another excellent local firm for the roll of honour. I have removed the nasty bits and burrs from the main drop gear to hopefully prevent future damage. Rob says no one will ever see it again). Enquiries into the production of two new matching front wheels have been made, and into replacing the tyres.
Work on the chassis is done by: Roger Brown, Bill Bates, Richard Dawes, Brian Bromwich, David Stansfield

Unfortunately, due to other work projects and events, I have been unable to update this record for some time, but I will endeavor to do so now.

Work on the chassis has continued steadily, all but the most unreachable areas having been rust-treated with the exception of the parts obscured by the front axle assembly. A pillar drill is now at our disposal and I have begun to drill the split pin holes. All areas no longer requiring attention have been given their first coat of red oxide primer. The rear axle assembly has been broken down into its major units, wheels, brakes, half-shafts and springs.
The springs were farmed out to a small firm in the Black Country, Jones Springs and they have returned in fine fettle with new shackle pins, boxes and the main leaves remade. The rear axle has been stripped down, washed and a  preliminary inspection carried out which has revealed that it has endured some trauma in its past, resulting, apart from general wear, in some broken and cracked castings and some rather hasty repair work. When and in what circumstances these were carried out, we can only imagine. Bill Bates, Collections Care Technician

The rear springs have now been reconditioned by Jones Springs of Darlaston and the dismantling of the rear axle assembly has commenced. The condition of the double reduction gear and worm drive is still to be ascertained. The castellated nuts on the chassis bolts are being fitted with split pins. It is hoped to apply primer to the chassis shortly.

In the last few weeks a lot of progress has been made on the Maudslay project. The Friends are now starting at 10am and this will help us make more progress on Fridays. Bill Bates has made trestles to support the chassis and rear axle. The rear axle has been removed and most areas of the chassis have been cleaned and treated with rust converter. The axle has been placed on the trestle and the springs have been removed. The springs will be looked at by specialists next week to see what work needs to be done - we hope to re-use the original springs. The last cross-member of the frame has also been removed and after treatment will be re-attached to the chassis.

One more cross-member has been installed with new hardware into the chassis and the last cross member has been removed from the front. Once this has been re-attached to the chassis we can treat the entire chassis with rust-converter. After this is achieved we will put the chassis on trestles to remove the suspensions.

Another restored cross-member has been re-attached (using new hardware) to the chassis and the next cross-member has been removed for cleaning and chemical treatment. We have also decided to remove the first and last chassis frame from the chassis for cleaning. We will also re-install these with new hardware.
The engine and gearbox have been removed just like all the smaller parts like pedals, brake-rods and mudguard fittings.

Once the chassis had been stripped of all removable items we dry-ice blasted the entire chassis to remove the paint. This process is rather slow but allows us to just remove the paint rather than any actual material. It also has the added advantage that the dry-ice turns to CO2 and there is no grit residue on the chassis.
After the blasting of the chassis the cross members of the chassis were removed one by one to enable us to chemically treat the inside of the cross-members and also to change the nuts and bolts. The nuts and bolts were badly corroded and since the chassis will be restored to a running condition, the decision was made to replace the nuts and bolts with new material

The brake shoe operating shaft and levers