On Saturday, Rob Michael and I visited Fireworld, the Fire Services National Museum to collect some parts. I had done a deal to provide the museum with some parts that they need for their restored K4 GXN249, and a pile of notes, in exchange for some parts that are surplus from their ‘donor’ vehicle GXN202. In particular, we were short of the bell bracket, the crew cab, and the self-levelling parallel motion that fits to the bar at the heel of the ladder that is used to raise the ladder.
On our K4, the bar is fixed, and that makes it very hard work to raise. The self-levelling mechanism will make sure that the bar always sticks out horizontally, and will give us about 2 feet of extra leverage, which should make the difference between us currently needing 4 people to raise it, whereas the wartime photos show just three men doing it.
The crew cab is attached to the wooden plinth, which in turn is U-bolted to the chassis. So we took the plinth as well, but that looks destined to become firewood as it is well rotten. The metalwork looks mostly OK, except for the bottom couple of inches, where the metal moths have had a go! The timber inside the cab looks quite good.
The mechanism took longer than we expected to remove, as the main bearings were nearly seized. Using a vehicle towbar as a lever, and a big blowlamp helped! Many thanks to the museum volunteers who helped.
We have now already scraped the paint, and applied some fresh Dark Admiralty Grey, and some Turntable Ladder paint to the silver bits. The half-inch clevis pins that joined it all together have been cleaned up, and the damaged ones replaced by some spares that came from a demolished signalbox in Nottingham! Should be possible to assemble it soon.