Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Double yikes!! It's been over 2 years

I won't say time has flown as I have been aware I haven't updated this blog for some time. The reason, Facebook is easier to use. FACEBOOK LINK

Since the last post, our collection has grown. We now have two ex-Queensland Rail 3'6" cars, An M15 and ST2. The opportunity and the price was right to add them to the collection. A planned membership with ASSCO is in the works.

Three NSW trikes were added. ST2 Fairmont from the eastern suburbs line, another Type 4 Wickham and another VW DHD. The latter 2 purchased at auction from the Canberra Railway Museum. 

The other big news is the NSWGR Trikes was engaged by Sydney Trains to cosmetically restore 7 trikes for display at their new Clyde Headquarters. We are half way through this project, involved are 3 LGT trailers, Wickham, SIC, ST2 and a manual pull lamp trike.

Lastly, our website is defunct. The service provider stopped using the sub-domain. The site is still available but with a new address. If you have links or bookmarked the site you'll need to update it. Eventually a proper site will be setup, when I get around to it.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Yikes! It has been over a year.

Time does get away.

Things have slowed down, no projects are presently being worked on. Wickham 9865 has been shelved until there are enough funds and time to complete it's mechanical restoration. It is back together as a rolling chassis with the gearbox and engine fitted.

My Father acquired a rare TIC 135. It has been modified with a Datsun 4 speed gearbox and Suzuki IRS diff. the chassis has been lengthened to accommodate the drive train. Still powered by a Wisconsin S12D. Was built at the Broadmeadow Rail Workshop and used around the Singleton area. And it's rare as there were only 4 so modified and only 3 known to still exist.

During a trip to Queensland, I found a full fiberglass cabin for an SIC. I have been searching for over a decade for one. and I swapped it for a rolling Wickham frame. SIC 113 can now move forward, when I get around to it.

I purchased a another SIC 10, it to is a long way off restoration. It is the next project when time and money permits.

In between all that, I have come across many parts for trikes. Many needed for up coming projects.

Oh and I bought another VW.

I am on the look out for a complete and fairly reasonable TIC for restoration. If you have one or know of one please let me know.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Wickham Works No. 9865

If all went to plan this would be a post on my other blog Lines near the Lachlan, as after the VW I said I would get back into my HO models.

That hasn't happened, instead NSWGR Trikes has acquired more trikes. 2 more Type 4S Wickham Railcars. One of which is going through the workshop; Works Number 9865. One of the last to enter service on the NSWGR. The other is unidentified, someone has removed it's plates. The latter never being converted to Wisconsin power but the JAP engine is missing.

No. 9865 is fitted with a Wisconsin S14D engine, only missing it carburetor and fuel tank. As always with Wisconsin's that have sat for a while, the exhaust valve was stuck. The rest of the engine is in good shape. The Clutch however was badly damaged. Who ever played with it last did tighten certain bolts, they came undone, and smashed other bits and pieces off the clutch pack itself. Not happy about that as it will use up my spares I have for 526 if it needed them. 

The front axle is out and taken apart for new gearbox bearings and seals, the wheel bearing themselves are in fine condition. Was interesting to find out that self aligning ball bearings RHP NLJ 1 3/8 were used instead of factory fitted cylindrical roller bearing RHP LRJ 1 3/8. The ball bearing is cheaper but a PITA to set up correctly. The roller bearings allowed for a +/-2mm in alignment.

The plan for 9865 is that it will be the work horse of the fleet, replacing the favored 526. 526 will join the VW as a 'special occasions and shows' trike. As such 9865 will probably roll out a goer sometime in the next 3 months. Not having to do much about the looks of it will greatly speed up its turn around time and not to mention, save a a lot of money. 

As delivered with the other Wickham behind it. The TICs belong to a mate and were picked up at the same time.

9865 up ended and front axle on the floor.

Work continues on the engine and clutch

Bare axle 

Left hand side fittings.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What the VW has been up to

While waiting for a green light to run trikes again the VW has been to a couple of displays to promote the Goulburn Crookwell Heritage Railway. It's first outing was the Wagga model railway show in November last year.

More recently it was taken to Crookwell for display along with Wickham 526. The first time these two met despite having the VW for over a year. 526 is still out of service with a rear axle problem.

The newly built tandem trailer had to be chopped up to safely accommodate both trikes. Not that they didn't fit, it was about weight distribution. The Wisconsin engine in the Wickham is a heavy animal and made the trailer back heavy. The front of the trailer was cut out and moved to bring the front loaded VW forward, the rear loaded Wickham was then moved to a position that balanced the trikes on the trailer with still enough weight on the car (around 10%).

The tie-down chains were ditched for using the towing points on the trikes. All that is required now is to roll the trikes on and drop pins in the coupling to secure them. A removable bar was fitted between the loaded trikes to prevent collision and share the stresses of the trikes moving around. The trailer has no tailgate so just as a precaution a safety chain was attached to the Wickham.

The mods must have worked because I use less fuel and maintained a higher average speed that just taking the VW alone.

Both trike loaded. The sheet is to help protect the VW while towing

You can see the front of the trailer moved forward 250mm and how the trikes are secured.

The removable bar between the trikes. 

Crookwell held it's annual Potato Festival on March 1st and the GCHR had a display of trikes in the station car park. Unfortunately we all got rained out and chased the crowds away.

Crookwell Railway Station car park

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Not all went to plan but the result is a great one

The first bolts came out on the 27th October 2012. The engine was the first thing to be removed and it needed a lot of work, add in a conversion to 12volt and the allocated $1000 was not enough. The largest cost was the reconditioning of the heads followed by a new muffler. Other things were, A new alternator, distributer, carburettor, gasket and seal kit. The clutch housing had to be modified from a design flaw. When designed they didn't leave enough room for the clutch release bearing. Sure there was enough room when it was all new but when the clutch plate wears the bearing bottomed out and would make the clutch slip only compounding the problem.

Alongside the engine repairs the chassis was worked on. Armed with an 9"angle grinder all the old bolts, timber and shield were cut off. There was so much corrosion and rot that none of it was recoverable. The chassis was sent out along with other components to be sand blasted. This also cost more than was budgeted for. In fact almost all aspects of the restoration was more than budgeted for. Initially $2000 was set aside for the whole job. Half for the engine and the other half for the chassis/body. It was within weeks it was realised it would need twice that.

Around April 2013 paint was starting to fly, took until mid September to complete all the painting tasks. The chassis and the other major components were done first so to have a rolling chassis as soon as possible. Unfortunately the weather turn cold early and made painting very difficult, took weeks for the paint to fully cure. With the chassis painted the engine was bolted in first, probably the first job that went very smoothly. Then came time to re install the axles. New wheel bearings were required, the old ones looked like the grand canyon. These also cost more than planned. 8 new seal were fitted to the bearing housings and 2 for the gearbox. Working out the wheel gauge was a bit of the stumper, in the end the answers was found using Fairmont ST2 Manual.

All the brake rigging was pulled apart. A lot of it uses the same parts from Fairmont as is the design. The brake shoes are held on by wooden blocks. These had to be made, thankfully we had some hardwood laying out back and saws/tools to turnout 4 brake blocks. Linkages were welded up and redrilled and new pins fitted taking out all the play/slop in the brake system. This a part of the project was cheap and painless.

The gearbox was another easy job of refitting taking very little effort. A bit of silicone sealant and it bolted straight on and it doesn't leak oil.

Time came to do something about the body work. Originally the sides and running boards were hardwood, the top deck was plywood.  Not surprisingly hardwood is hard to get these days and what is available is expensive. The decision was made to make everything out of marine grade plywood. Prior to painting the plywood was fitted up so the paint would not get damaged trying to fit it all to the chassis. To replicate the plank look the boards were cut down their length. The plywood was primed before being painted red.

An all new shield was made up based on the same dimensions of the beat up original. The new one is all welded, no rivets were used, bracing was traded off for thicker plate steel. It ended up being only slightly heavier than the original, it will help with traction as well. Its construction was simple and straight forward. However, painting it was a nightmare. On the back of it is pale green and the front has to be red. The green back was done first then masked off to paint the front, all was going well until the last coat of red. A fly landed on the wet surface and ruined the finish. Once the paint was cured and the fly mark buffed out another 2 coats were needed but just as that 2nd coat went on it ran badly. Fixing took a couple of weeks. The excess was mopped up straight away, the paint then had to dry completely before sanding the entire front face of the shield with wet and dry sandpaper, then another 3 coats. It was at this point I was ready to throw the entire project in the bin. Thanks to a good friend who was helping with the job made me see sense. We moved on to getting the new trike trailer finished in time to take the VW to the Wagga model show.

The second to last job was the wiring of the electrics, this is the part I love doing. A central control box was made up to house the power distribution, fuses and relays. There is a key ignition to prevent unauthorised use and an emergency stop switch. Fitted also is a multi-unit electrical system I developed for when two or more trikes are coupled together, a jumper cable is used between units. This system makes it possible to share power, operate lights for direction of travel, all horns sound as one, most importantly and why the system was developed, is that from one point all powered units can be shut down should something go wrong.  It also has a remote control option.

On the 27th October 2013 the last bolts went in and the attachment of the identification plate on the front. This too didn't go to plan, despite using quality rivets they broke before pulling tight.

The VW is still yet to be track tested, probably sometime in the new year once the Crookwell Heritage Railway has its Heritage Operators Licence from John Holland Rail. It did go the this year's Wagga model show for display with only good comments received.

All up the final cost figure was $4,700 not including its purchase or labour and I lost count of the hours after 300. Would I do it again?  I have a TIC to do but it won't be done to the extent of the VW and not for a while. I will enjoy what I have for a while before tackling another restoration.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Oh so close!

The finish line is in sight. It's been a long, frustrating and expensive year.  Coming soon is the last blog entry on the VW restoration. In it will be all the good and bad stuff that has gone on.

It's been emotional.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

For one brief moment... was all together. For 30 minutes anyway.

The timber work was finished and an all new shield made.

Slight changes were made with the timber work. Originally the running boards had 3 access hatches, 2 on the left for the battery and engine valve cover and 1 on the right for the other valve cover. The left side hatches were made to be one piece. The other change was the top deck had 2 hatches and now just has one.  The changes were made for simplicity and improve rigidity of the timber work.

The top deck the had a giant hole cut into it to fit the modified control panel. There are a several more switches being used including a key ignition. The auxiliary board that was on the VW when I bought it has been deleted.

I found a couple of headlights on eBay. They are replacement headlights for a Fordson tractor and are the old fashion deep bucket type, very similar to what the railway used for all trikes. These accommodate halogen globes and parking light bulbs. The latter will have red LEDs and act as tail lights. New brackets were made to fit these lamps. A beacon pole has been made to bolt on the rear of the VW.

The shield frame was made from 25mm x 3mm angle iron and the sheet metal 1.5mm. I welded up the frame and took it to a local fabricator to have the 'sweep back' bent into the sheet metal and cut to size. I then welded all around the sheet metal to the frame and ground the seems to make it all look one piece. It turned out rather good.

A new aluminium fuel tank is being made. The old galvanised one will be good for a shower head.

A week or so ago a box of electrical goodies turned up from Jaycar.

This weekend the timber has been sanded and ready for primer. Brackets were made for the throttle cable on the control panel and carburettor and fitted the cable.

Another modifications we made was the remote operation of the direction changer. Originally there is no provision to change direction without getting off and walking around the front. So we had an idea to add another lever next to the clutch pedal.

 I'm on holiday for the next 4 weeks during this time the remainder of the painting will be done and final assembly. I'm looking forward to a friend coming up and staying for a week. His help should speed things up. Who knows, it might get to a point it can be fired up.

Right hand side running boards
Control Panel
Shield frame

Fitting the sheet metal

A big hole for the control panel

12 volt accessory sockets

That 30 mins the VW was together

Beacon pole

Remote direction lever and clutch pedal

The sliced up left running boards and hatch