The restoration of AEC Reliance CDK172L

 

Autumn / Winter 2014 /Spring 2015

October to February 2014/ 15          Arriving at the workshop one Saturday morning in late October we were greeted by a huge pool of black oil underneath the front of CDK. Rather worried we opened the shed doors to let the light in and clambered underneath to investigate. The oil was leaking from the power steering ram and we deduced that when Steve took it off to facilitate the removal / refitting of the steering box that the reconnecting process had damaged a seal somewhere. Damn! Oh well, it had to come off and the intention was to pack it off to Direct Parts at Cheddleton (who did the steering box) for overhaul.

We didn’t get around to doing this until mid January, dropping it off on a Monday morning and by Wednesday morning a call from them confirmed our fears that we had indeed blown an O ring but all was Ok and they had completely refurbished the whole unit for us. The only problem was that they wouldn’t let us have it back until we took the power steering pump down for refurbishment too. This was a little puzzling as we didn’t think there was any problem with the pump but upon disassembling the ram they discovered that it was full of engine oil instead of hydraulic oil. One of the previous owners of CDK had at some point put the wrong oil into the system and their sound advice was to overhaul the pump so as to not refill the ram with the wrong type of oil. Yet more expense – will it never end!

After being located by Phil Platt, late November saw us make a trip over to the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust’s facility near Preston to view a driver’s partition screen and framework.  The parts we were presented with were the clear acrylic upper screen, the curved stainless steel centre tubing and the lower formica covered panel. Fortunately the tubing had both mountings on each end however, the lower panel was covered in material trim and was water damaged on one corner and was beginning to separate (it is actually shaped plywood). Nevertheless this was something we could repair – the material could be stripped and the glue removed, the water damage could be glued and filled as the plan was to recover the whole thing with specially printed vinyl in the birds-eye maple pattern to match the rest of the interior panelling. The clear upper screen had suffered from poor storage and had a number of quite nasty scratches on both sides. Not wishing to look a gift horse in the mouth we gladly took all items back to our workshop and suitable thanks are offered to RVPT for the donation. A couple of work sessions in less than pleasant weather saw the lower panel prepared ready for the vinyl and the tubing cleaned up. We were missing the vertical floor to ceiling pole plus the end caps (which mount to the floor and roof) and initially thought about robbing those fitted to WEB but it transpires that the pole and ceiling fitting are different - luckily there were two suitable ends on parts of the rest of the frame so these have been stolen for fitting to CDK.  The scratches in the acrylic screen can be removed by using very fine wet and dry sandpaper and then polishing out with T-Cut, so many hours have been spent turning this item into one which is scratch free.

                   

After dropping off the steering ram we headed over to West Yorkshire to pick up a new vertical pole which Steve had dropped off at a company to have a ‘dog leg’ bend put into it (required at the top of the pole). We now, finally, have all the components to recreate an authentic driver’s partition although we are awaiting some warmer weather before attempting to fit it – far too cold and dark up at the workshop in the winter! It will totally transform the interior as we have only ever known CDK without one.

Still a small list of outstanding items to attend to although hopefully nothing that will stop us from presenting CDK for MOT in early April.

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