The restoration started as a tidying up of the car. It ended up a full nut and bolt restoration.
After a very detailed inspection of the car it was obvious that major work was need to all parts of the car. The owner agreed to have the work done by my company on an hours and parts costing.It was impossible to quote a price from the outset. Basil Craske UK
The entire car was then taken apart .
After completely taking the car apart we commenced the major restoration work.
First job was to dismantle the engine.
During the dismantling it was discovered that the main gear as well as the eccentrics were loose on the crank pin and moving slightly back and forth, the reason for this was the key-ways were wider than the key, this fault leading to crank pin wear.
A new crank pin was made and a new key way cut . At the same time balance weights were made and added to the crank in an attempt to stop the engine vibration which occurred at around 40 MPH. We were informed by many steam car friends in America that this was the method used to overcome the problem.
The pistons were also found to be loose on the piston rods, the piston rods were also loose on the cross heads. These problems were fixed by tightening the nut holding the pistons in place and then locking the nut in place. New rings were also made and fitted.
The piston rods were only held in place in the cross-heads with a split pin. We fitted a lock nut and reassembled the rods to the cross-heads and then locked them in place again using the lock nut with thread lock and a split pin.
The bores were honed and the valve faces in the block re-faced. New valves were needed as they were found to be too badly worn to re-use. New valves were cast and machined and then lapped in.
The engine was then assembled.
When we timed the valves it was discovered that we could not get a full valve opening. The reason was found to be the brass fork which operated the D link movement needed the stop re-machining to allow more travel on the D links. Once done we were able to set the valve timing. This was done in full hook up.
Once satisfied we fitted the end and steam chest covers. The engine was run on air and it turned over at 90 PSI without trouble.
The chassis was next on the restoration list.
The back axle was taken apart as cracks were spotted in the axle case tubes. The entire axle and cases were taken to a local non destructive testing company. Many cracks were found, this resulted in new axle cases being made using the original castings, once they had been re-removed from the axle tubes and tided cosmetically.
Excessive clearance on the planet gears with around 20 thou clearance was discovered. Add this to the 25 thou clearance on the main engine gear to diff gear answered the question regarding the noise from the back end when driving the car. Combined to this the engine problems and excessive clearance on the cross-heads to piston rods etc I am sure you can guess how noisy the back end was.
New brake back plates were made and installed, as well as new wheel cylinders . A new brake drum pattern was made and castings ordered.The new brake drums were machined and fitted; the old brake drums were badly worn, cracked and far too heavy.
New brake adjusters were also made as it was found that the ones on the car must have failed in the past and were welded up solid?? So no adjustment was possible.
All the painted parts of the rear axle were sand blasted and primed ready for a top coat of paint.
The axle was then reassembled with 3 thou clearance set on the planet gears.
New hand brake linings were fitted to the band brakes.
The front axle was next to restore.
A damper had been fitted to the steering to help stop the steering shake.
New king pins and bushes were manufactured and fitted. The damper was removed. At the same time mounting brackets were fitted to allow the mounting of the newly purchased calipers . A disc brake pattern was also made and from this discs were cast, these were then machined and fitted. New wheel bearings were also installed.
The tie rod ends were very loose so were reset to the correct clearance, the same job was done to the steering drop arm .
Later tests showed that the steering damper was no longer needed as the steering had no shudder and was now quite light to steer.
More information regarding steering improvements will be discussed in later articles regarding the restoration.
The front axle was assembled and checked and passed, it was dismantled, shot blasted and primer paint applied ready for top coat paint. It was then reassembled.
The perch poles and chassis tie rods were checked. They were then shot blasted and primed ready for top coat paint. The entire chassis was then assembled ready for paint. New nuts were made for the perch pole rods' threaded ends. These were then nickle plated.
The customer, following our advice, had already purchased and fitted new Calimer wood wheels with Stanyweld rims from Coker tyres. Five new white wall tyres had also been purchased.
The wheels were prepped for paint.
The old wheels were made of cast aluminium , the spokes being very thick and not just out of proportion to wood style wheels , but also weighed 4 times as much as a wooden wheel.
With this the engine and rolling chassis were now finished.
We now turned our attention to the body.
First thing was the the removal of the hood (top) and the seats from the main body.The leather upholstery was then removed along with the 2 swivel seats that are fitted to the long wheel base body on this one of the few true 7 seat Model 85 Stanley`s made.
The boiler ring and steel sections around the burner bay were removed, this was made of 3/8 thick steel 3 inches wide.The sizes were well over spec leading again to excessive weight being added to the car.This steel work was remade to the style of the model 70 Stanley, but a different boiler mounting method was used. The Model 70 was the style of car used to create the Model 85 from. The 85 was ,to a point, an enlarged Model 70 . This created a very large, comfortable 30 hp car.
All the fitting , gauges , brake lever, pedals,copper piping, air tanks, water and fuel tanks etc were removed leaving a bare body.
The main wooden body was found to have been badly burnt in various places. This resulted in major repairs being needed.
Many sections of wood needed replacing by cutting in new wood. The main areas being around the burner and bulk head. There was no fire protection around the body in these areas, and it was clear that when the car was originally assembled some 14 or so years back that many areas had been incorrectly assembled leading to the many expensive problems now being found. Other areas needing wood replacement included the floor above the exhaust system, again no protection from heat had been installed .
The wooden body was also split in many areas, again needing repair. The section under the head light mounting fork brackets was split. We cut out that section. We then added a threaded plate to that area each side of the car to accommodate the headlight mounting brackets, wood was then put over the plates to disguise what we had done. We did the same to various areas of the car where splits in the wood were discovered.
The bulk -head on the driver's side had in the past had many gauges added to show such things a steam chest pressure, fuel line pressure at the burner forks and much more. These had been removed leaving the standard gauges as used by Stanley. This meant that many holes in the bulkhead needed repairing properly. Major work was needed around the area where the sight glass gauge was fitted and plumbed. A major fire in that area had caused bulk head damage especially around the hole the sight glass plumbing went through.
We also found an area at the rear of the car that was soaked in fuel. It was discovered that the pressurized
air fuel tanks had been leaking, maybe for some years. Fittings were found to be leaking . These fittings were not visible due to them being inside the mounting box the two tanks sat on, which also meant they could not be accessed either.
I am glad to read that this model 85 has finally received its needed restoration. I was aware of most of its problems. Jeff Theobald had kept me updated as his model 85 had progressed. Then Barry followed up with his reports. We have had our model 85 since Carl Amsley first built the body for it in 1998. First on the road in 2007, driven often, it has been most pleasurable to drive ever since. The biggest improvement on our model 85 were the additional counter wieghts added to the crankshaft. Our steering dampener has been welcomed too. Cast iron brake drums and GGA lining were also a plus. Yes... Our 85 has been a journey too. but has been well worth the experience. After 11 busy years, our paint is still perfect and in show condition.
interesting to learn of the engine vibration problems above 40 mph. Our lower geared and smaller wheeled Model 607 may have the same issues above the low 30s, so perhaps engine rpm are about the same when vibration starts. Symptom is hook up and reverse pedals shaking: the hook up dogs are a good fit, no slack or shake there so vibration seems to be transmitted from engine movement. Some have suggested valve face wear as the cause which seems unlikely given the low mileage since engine rebuild with no lubrication failures.
A recap of what we took on and the problems and work needed.
Note the fire damage as well as wiring quality.
Note the oil soaked sections all over the body as well as diff and other areas needing repairs.
Now we start the body repairs and paint.
With the the car completely disassembled, the body was steam cleaned in an attempt to remove all the oil and dirt.
Once done we then looked at all the burnt areas to assess what needed replacing by cutting in new wood. We took the decision to rub down the body with 180 grit paper. This took a few days but did reveal some more de-lamination problems.
Repairs were then carried out by cutting in new sections of wood and repairing many small section over the entire body.
With these repairs done, sanding of the body continued in an attempt to get to an acceptable surface finish to allow sealing of the exposed wood areas with a coat of West sealer.
The sealer was then rubbed down and a coat of primer was applied to the entire body. The body was allowed to dry for a few days allowing for some shrinkage of the primer.
We found whilst preparing the body for paint that the car had been painted after full assembly. This was clear under the seat bases and under all the steel fittings and steel framework.
Under the seats we found no paint or sealer, as was the case in many areas. Water ingress into the wood had caused a few problems.
Once primed and ready for paint, checks were made to obtain the line detail as used on the model 70. This was done with the help of Alan Blazick. No coach line painter could be found to do the detail work for the lines on the body,chassis, wheels etc. It was decided to do it ourselves by using special low tack tape cut to spec. A local company was commissioned to undertake the work. They cut low tack material into the very thin lines, the sizes for the car and chassis ranged from 1/16 of an inch in increments of a 1/16th at a time up to 1/4 of an inch. Shaped sections were also cut for the wheels and spokes.
When the primer had been prepared for top coat we painted the entire body, doors and seats all separately with a base coat yellow- the colour of the lines.
Once applied we then taped the lines using the low tack tape. The tape colour was black which helped us get the detailing uniform and accurate. The idea here was that after the top coats were applied that the tape was removed revealing the painted yellow detail lines. Line width was determined by tape width.
Once the tape had been applied the seats doors and body were painted black again in base coat. The black also gave an excellent base colour for the green paint used for the balance of the main cars main colour.
Once the black had dried, sections of it were taped over , the sections taped over were all the areas that would be black on the finished paint job; moldings around the edge of the seats for example.
Now we painted the body and seats etc green again in base coat green. When dry we removed the taped areas revealing the black and yellow detail lines, all in the Matt base coat. The odd touch up took place to make sure the finished job would be to a high standard.
Five coats of lacquer were applied to the painted body sections giving the gloss to the paint job.
This was slow baked at a low temperature. When dry all the painted areas were wet flattened and then polished using a slow revving polishing mop and various cutting compounds. This now gave us a high quality gloss finish with the added benefit of the detail lines being sealed in place, so no lines could be polished away when keeping the car clean and presentable. The same paint system was used on all the painted parts of the car and chassis etc.
With the body now finished and ready for assembly along with the chassis we turned our attention to the wings (fenders) and bonnet (hood). These were in very bad condition . The bonnet had been severely burnt leaving bad heat distortion. The wings had also been damaged in the past leaving them with numerous dents and twists to their shape.
As one can imagine the wings needed a large amount of work to include reshaping- in some areas heat shrinking was needed. All the splits were welded up and filed into a flush finish. Some areas were leaded to achieve the final finish required prior to painting them black, again using a base coat and lacquer. The bonnet was a major challenge. We tried to source a new bonnet but none were available. The top lift up flap was twisted and badly heat damaged, as was the rest of the bonnet. Heat shrinking was used to get it back to a workable shape. The pressed leuvures were reshaped by hand both on the flap and sides. A minimum amount of lead and filler was used to achieve the finish shape, as we had to consider the heat in this area. Over a hundred hours were spent on the bonnet alone.
Once finished the bonnet was painted using the same method as used on the body.
With the major work complete we now turned our attention to rebuilding the car.
All the main steel work had been black powder coated and unpacked ready for inspection and assembling.
We decided to pipe up the under body of the car first. So with the body turned over access was easy allowing for neat pipework to be accomplished.
This method of assembly also allowed us to install the newly made and insulated fire wall and bulk head piping, exhaust and much more as can be seen from the photos.
A new feed water heater manufactured in house was installed into the exhaust system.
The pump pit was assembled prior to installation . The fuel and water tank we also fitted and held in place with wood straps. This also allowed us to complete most of the pipework.
The piping in the pump pit was later altered. the alteration was requested by the owner. He wanted the rear pump (SECOND PUMP) to be operated on the steering column instead of the front pump. That way he could run with the front pump on all the time but operated by the floor mounted valve meaning he could put the second pump on easily by operating the leaver on the steering column. He reasoned that he did not have to bend down when driving to operate the second pump when needed.
The boiler blow down valves were also operated from under the bonnet (hood) instead of from under the car body. Again this meant that the boiler blow down could be done without bending down to get to the valves.
The fire wall piping also included the installation of a steam driven donkey pump for pumping water into the boiler. This was made some years ago by my father in-law John Liming and refurbished by him for installation back onto the car.
A second water tank was also made.
A luggage carrier was made and fitted to the rear of the car. Then a wooded box with a lift up lid was made and upholstered. Inside the box was the second tank and spare parts box. The rear bodywork was strengthened with a steel frame inserted into the frame work under the rear seat. This was to make sure the weight of the water tank when full did not stress the body .
The rear water tank top was level with the front water tank top. This allowed both tanks to be filled to capacity. The rear tank was piped to the front tank using a one inch stainless pipe, incorporating a flex joint as we did not want the pipe work to be rigid. Because of the design the rear tank gravity fed the front tank as water was being used. A shut of tap was also fitted.
The front water tank was also altered. It discovered that the siphon and overflow pipes inside the tank were fitted two inches down from the top of the tank. The meant that the tank could never be filled to capacity. As is normal with Stanley water tanks ,top hat pieces were added to the top of the tank. these stand up above the top of the tank by about one inch. The old over flow and siphon pipes were removed and new ones were then correctly fitted.
The steering and boiler installation will be covered in the final part of the story.