The restoration of AEC Reliance CDK172L

Project Dairy May to September 2013

 May to September          As the summer draws to a close I suppose it is time for an update! The extraordinarily cold spring of 2013 didn’t let up until the 3rd week of May, indeed the temperature didn’t get into double figures until the 3rd week. As soon as it warmed up the paint tins were opened up and several long sessions of painting and flatting back took place during June resulting in the majority of CDK’s paintwork being completed. Then we went from one extreme to the other with one of the hottest summers we have had in many a year! Attempts to complete the paintwork proved fruitless - as soon as the paint went on it was drying and inhibited the ‘flow capacity’ thus rendering an unsatisfactory finish. This was particularly evident with an attempt to apply gloss varnish to the roof - big mistake! I’d made the assumption that the whole vehicle would require varnishing since the transfers would need sealing in to protect them so I started by applying some to the first 4 roof panels. The paint manufacturers assured me that the varnish was suitable for hand application but I’m not convinced – coupled with the extreme temperatures the finished panels looked like they had been painted with a clear rice pudding! I was not impressed and decided not to proceed with varnishing at all – the 4 roof panels were left to dry and would then have to be sanded flat again and re-covered with gloss cream – another time consuming task delaying completion.

With my enthusiasm dented I next turned my attention to getting the front panel finish up to the required standard. With its multitude of curves, using the roller as I had on the flat body-sides was not an option, instead I used the aerosol cans which I had made up when I purchased the paint. This was quick and the finish met the required standard but once it dried it quickly became apparent that it was slightly darker than the paint from the tin. Bugger – another set back! I was determined not to be beaten so I purchased an airbrush (more expense) and with my small compressor managed to use the paint from the tin to get the colour to match. A few small areas of the orange were looking a little thin in places, as were the surrounds to the body-side access flaps, so again the airbrush was used to blow these in. By the beginning of August I felt I was now getting somewhere with just those roof panels to be completed and the rear panel.

Conscious of Steve chomping at the bit, attention was turned to completing some of the other outstanding tasks. It had been some time since we dropped the first seat cushions at the trimmers so a phone call revealed that although they were very busy they had managed to cover two, so we popped over to collect them along with some of the off-cut material. The cushions look fantastic but it was the off-cut material we were more interested in as we needed to cover the window pillars and the panels above the entrance and exit doors. We chose one of the hottest days of the year to do this fiddly task – temperature in the shed being over 30*! Nevertheless, with sweat dripping from the end of our noses, the end of the day saw the driver’s area plus the panels above the entrance and exit doors completed which in turn allowed us to refit the wood panels in the driver’s area that had been gathering dust for years. Smiles all round upon seeing these areas completed with new and restored items covering the bare frame-work which has been visible for the last 9 years.

With items once again being re-fitted the body-side trims were brought out into the summer sunshine for a final clean up and inspection. Abandoning the idea of varnishing the whole coach an executive decision was made to investigate how to finish the paintwork an alternative way. A couple of hours research on’t t’interweb and I settled on the use of cutting paste (a slightly courser version of T-Cut) to remove any small imperfections followed by a good old fashioned polishing with a high resin polish. The finished result is very good although takes rather a long time to achieve.

With suitable areas of body-side now prepared Steve was like a kid at Christmas and sections of stainless steel trim now began to be sized and offered up prior to fitting along with light units. At the same time the new entrance door rubbers and the long door brush (which is mounted on the front nearside corner pillar) also became attached to CDK after sitting on the luggage racks for years. Adding all these bits and pieces puts a smile on your face but is time consuming due to the need to position them very carefully.

With half the body-side trims on the near-side in place I though I’d better get those roof panels finished so that the stainless gutter trim sections could be put in place – this necessitating more of my annual leave days being taken to achieve.
Early September and a landmark session saw us able to refit the destination box glass quickly followed by the destination blinds (as you do). With smiles as big as the proverbial Cheshire cat suitable destinations were selected and duly photographed for the records!

Who's a Happy Chappie

Refit of Bright work

The front light panel has made some progress – Steve has managed to source new replacement headlamps and surrounds as the originals were buggered but the fog lamps previously acquired turn out to be not the ones we need. The size is fine but we were under the impression the yellow lenses could either be made clear or swapped for clear versions - nope, they are sealed units. We now have to find some ASAP but now know that they are extremely difficult to source.


I managed to source some light grey in-fill strip for the upper trims – this covers the the screw heads which sit in the recess – at £41 for 100m this was much cheaper than I anticipated…… that’s a first with this project!
We have recently left a window rubber sample with a local extrusions company in Middleton and are awaiting a quote. It will require a special tool to be created as the profile is not one of their stock items (as you would imagine). That’s another £200 before we even start….. However, they have offered to attempt to re-form our door rubber which has suffered from poor storage. This is the rubber that sits between the first window bay and the entrance door and is fairly chunky. We were given it several years ago however, although new it had been stored in a heap and had lost it’s original shape so much so that something needs doing with it before we can fit it.

So, as we head into the autumn what is left to do?
1. Complete the painting of the rear panel.
2. Finish the fitting of the upper stainless trims.
3. Purchase and shape some wood battens as internal support for the lower ‘D’ section stainless trims and fit.
4. Fit the wheel arch trims.
5. Complete the front light panel
6. Fit the stainless trims around the light panel and add bumper trims
7. Add material to rear end internal pillars
8. Visit Manchester Museum of Transport to measure / trace the name-glasses and legal lettering on HVU
9. Get said lettering made up and fit along with Yelloway logos
10. Carefully varnish in logos & lettering
11. Somehow get the Yelloway lettering onto the inside of the front & rear name-glasses and fit.
12. Add light and trim fittings to rear panel
13. Re-fit remaining door rubber
14. Replace all missing screws in luggage racks (window side) and clean up
15. Re-fit all windows
16. Re-fit wing mirrors
17. Full interior clean up and polish
18. Finish rebuilding / re-foaming seat backs
19. Pay for re-trimming! and fit seats
20. New tyres
21. Paint wheels
22. Purchase correct pattern number plates
23. Get the steering wheel re-coated
24. Final mechanical check
25. MOT

And probably a whole host of other bit’s and pieces but these are the main ones- still plenty to do!

October/November 2013          WEBSITE Home

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