March 10th 2016 - By Mick Berry

It seems that I’m forever trying to make time for all of the projects and interests I have, and being KBMT Secretary takes up more time than most. The project I’ve really wanted to take on for some time though is putting KBMTs 1969 Leyland PD3/A, though a proper overhaul to bring it’s mechanical condition and appearance back to A1. I’ve decided to put some of my own vehicle restorations aside for a while and with the help of Mick Holian and Kiran Tolson 309 has been extracted from the back of the shed.

As you do with such projects I started out with my rose tinted glasses on and had confidently told myself that a major service and a repaint of the faded and crazed fibreglass front panel would see it back on the road. Immediately there were problems though…..

The batteries were dead flat and it wouldn’t start even with a booster pack at first. A generous helping of easy start did get the engine ticking over in the end though. After steam cleaning the engine bay and underside front (all very oily) 309 was given a wash and I started to drill out the rivets on the front panel. During this process it became aparent that the supporting structure behind the front panel is rotten and will require a good deal of welding as the restoration progresses.

The next task came to service the engine, which should be straightforward. At this point I must mention all the help I got from Kiran, I’m no mechanic just willing to get stuck in, and he showed me how to change the fuel filters and bleed the system. Changing the fuel filters and cleaning the fuel system led to the discovery of a very dirty (half full!) fuel sedimenter which has now been cleaned out and refurbished. After the fuel system was rebuilt the low level of diesel made it impossible to re-prime the fuel pump, after being topped and some re-charged batteries were added the engine came back to life.

While removing the fuel sedimenter the dreadfully poor state of the vehicle underside became apparent highlighting many, many new issues that will need to be addressed. If you come down to Riverside depot you’ll see that 309 will be in the workshop and is now having a full overhaul of the front brakes.

I’ll be putting regular updates into KBMT news so you can all keep track of how things are going on and what issues are uncovered. I’m determined that this vehicle will be turned out in the best possible condition and if anyone wants to help me along the way that support would be gratefully received. Ultimately I’d like to become the long term custodian of the vehicle, although that won’t be decided for a while as the Directors are reviewing KBMTs custodianship agreements.

If you think you can help restore KBMT vehicles or are interested in becoming a custodian of a vehicle yourself then please get in touch – willing volunteers are always welcome! Tel: 07501 250676, e-mail iainsimpson@kbmt.org.uk.