TLC for Bedford Betty…

The brakes are finally sorted with the rear wheel cylinders having been resleeved.  They’re now all painted in shiny silver, looking pretty and reinstalled.

The master cylinder is an unusual setup and hopefully I’ll get some more life out of it before it needs rebuilding.  The most common problem with old trucks which have been sitting around idle for years are brakes and seals.  Many of the other issues sort themselves out once they begin to get some use.  The brake pedal was taking a while to come back up after being depressed.  After a bit of use, it’s working perfectly.  When I first collected the truck, the tyres had a terrible flat spot.  I thought there was something seriously wrong but after a while the tyres rounded out again. 

I suppose no girl likes being neglected.

While I was under the truck I thought I’d give old Betty’s nipples some attention.  (That is so wrong!)

Fortunately the original owner maintained the old truck quite well.  Everything underneath has a heavy coating of paint and/or grease.  All of the suspension shackles are the greasable type and function well.  Interestingly these old trucks didn’t come with rear shock absorbers, so it’s a bouncy ride when there is no load on the tray.

Next on the list was the drive shaft universal joints.  Again, these appear to have been greased well.  I pumped a bit more new grease through the nipples and checked for wear.  Looking at the gauge of steel in the chassis and the riveting, the old saying that, “they don’t build them like they used to” came to mind.  I’ve been under modern trucks and they are like tin cans compared to trucks built 50 years ago.  

Old Betty’s tray is actually a tipper.  It has a 3 tonne hydraulic ram which is operated from the cabin through the PTO on the gearbox.  It works well and is going to be useful for carrying garden and building supplies over to the island.

The old steel tray is quite rusty and bent due.  I don’t know what the original owner used the truck for but given that the tray has a beaver tail, I’m guessing it was used to transport a small excavator or a machine with tracks.  

My plan is to treat the tray with rust converter, then prime with a good cold gal and then give it a final coat of epoxy.  This will seal it completely.  After that I’ll do exactly what I did with my previous Bedford, which was to make a new deck consisting of 12mm Nycel board with 5mm checkerplate aluminum over the top.  I’ll run a seamless bead of sikaflex around the perimeter of the existing tray to stop any water ingress under the new deck.

Below is the old tray after an application of rust converter and a start with the cold gal.  I only ever use cold gal from a paint tin.  If you hold a spray can and a paint tin in each hand, you’ll notice the difference in weight due to the zinc content.  You’ll also notice how much you need to mix the paint tin to get the heavy sludge of zinc mixed.  The zinc content is so heavy that I needed to get a screw driver to move the heavy sludge.  

Next up is the water pump.

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