We took the K4 TL to Chesterfield last weekend and parked outside the Museum on the Saturday morning. This followed an intense couple of weeks getting the vehicle ready, which included fitting the crew cab and electronic ignition, and a host of other minor jobs including electrics and lights, radiator hose, lots of painting, etc.
We set of hopefully, and with the new ignition, the engine performed much better than ever before, but the brakes were still binding, and by a mile down the road, the rear drums were too hot to touch. We relieved the pressure in the rear brake pipe, and adjusted the push-rod from the pedal to the master cylinder (shortened it by about 3mm) so that the piston would fully retract, and this made a great difference. [However, on the return run, we found that it is still not quite 100% correct].
We also had a solution to the problem of the ladder going up, but not coming down again (flouting the old rule, ‘what goes up…’). We had greased all the rollers that supported the ladder previously, and although that improved things a , it was still a problem at full extension and low elevations.
A talk with Neil Billings, a former Fire Brigade maintenance engineer, suggested that as the ladder is raised, it eventually passes the balance point, and rather than sitting on the lower rollers, the heel raises and is restrained by sliders, which hadn’t been cleaned or greased for decades. So that is what we did – with the ladder up in public. (It is well known that in the war, firemen did maintenance in their spare time, so there was nothing incongruous about a man in a vintage boiler suit climbing the ladder with an oil-can!)
It was completely successful – the ladder now goes up more smoothly, and comes down on its own, even with a (large) man at the top, fully extended and at minimum elevation (the worst case).
In the afternoon, John noticed that a pulley wheel that the wire rope passed round was not rotating, and was wearing the wheel away. So out came the tools again, and the pin and pulley were removed and taken home. In the evening, David made a new pin and cleaned up the pulley. These were successfully refitted on Sunday.
Overnight, we parked in the yard of Chesterfield Community Fire Station – many thanks to the Station Officer for granting permission for this – but the Sunday was a much quieter day as far as public were concerned. We did a few ladder demonstrations by the Tourist Info office, but had to stop at 2:30 due to a concert in the church, which would be disturbed by the engine revving and the bell ringing. We were parked next to the appliance from Mansfield Fire Museum.
All told, a very pleasant weekend, and a good ‘shake-down’ before the season gets under way.