123 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces
From Chasewater News April 1990
I rang directory enquiries and asked for Leyland/Daf; phone number actually in Leyland, Lancs. No such luck, their computerised system could not find it. Oh well, try a different tack. I rang BREL at Derby and after about four phone calls managed to speak to someone who knew the Leyland 900 engine. Unfortunately, after speaking to him, I was probably more depressed than before. BR had employed the horizontal version on some of their stock and they had not exactly been the most spectacular success story ever. Initially the engines had employed a wet linered cylinder block, there had been a change in piston design, followed by a change in crankshaft design, followed by a change to dry linered cylinder block. The last modification was to cure an inherent problem of blowing head gaskets, not totally successful either, he added. The outcome was that he could not be sure which variant we had, even from the engine number, his only suggestion was to go away and measure the cylinder head stud diameters, find out if washers were incorporated under the head nuts, etc. etc. As a final comment, after giving various gasket fitting tips, he said that in BR use a good engine of this type would run for about a year between blowing gaskets. Our ‘Toad’, it appears, had done so every couple of years, Leyland must have been taking lessons from Crossley.
Parallel to this, I decided to try to find Leyland again, but how? Ring up the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust thinks I, well they only deal with cars but their non-computerised system had a record of Leyland’s phone number. Computers 0, Card Index 1
So, feeling a little perkier I rang Leyland – Daf as it is now, and after a few tries I got through to their technical publications department.
“Have you still got any data on the 900 series?” asks I, “Good grief” say they. After a five minute rummage, I was asked to ring back in a couple of days. A couple of days later I rang back: Bad news and good news, they had disposed of all their old manuals, but most had gone to the British Commercial Vehicle Museum. However, they could not guarantee their having passed a 900 series engine manual on as it really was an Albion engine, built in Scotland. I could try the Albion owners club. This I did, but they didn’t seem to want to answer the phone.
The other parallel course was still grinding onward and after a measuring session of head stud diameters, etc. I rang BREL back: the chap I wanted was on holiday. Ho Hum.
I decided to ask the loco’s previous owners if they knew anything about it. Now I don’t know if you have ever tried to find the phone number of a military establishment, but it’s not quite as straight forward as it could be. Deciding not to bother with Directory Enquiries, I rang the War Office, sorry, Ministry of Defence, in London and eventually got the requisite number. I rang Radway Green, only to be told that I had just missed the Head of Transport, he had just gone home. I rang back the next day – he was not in. The third day I rang I was given a vital piece of information, they were shut down for holiday, could I ring back next week? OK folks, don’t invade us or declare war – we’re on holiday!
Next week I rang back and spoke to the head of the transport department, they certainly remembered ‘Toad’, but did not repair it themselves, some chaps used to come from ‘somewhere near Derby’ to repair it. I was passed on to the fitter, who was uncertain about whether it was wet or dry linered, and did not know the head torques.
Not long afterwards I traced the British Commercial Vehicle Museum phone number, BT’s computer had this one in memory – shock, horror, anyway I gave them a ring.
“The chap you want is out, can you ring back tomorrow?” This sounded familiar, so I rang back the next day and found the relevant person and gave him the by now very well rehearsed patter. He sounded quite hopeful and asked me to ring back in a few days. This I duly did and was rewarded with the information we required. Just for the record, if anyone else wants to fit a Leyland 900 head gasket, the torques are: 200lb/ft on the ⅝” UNF studs, and 100lb/ft on the ½” UNF studs. Eureka! They could even sell us a copy of the engine manual. It is at this point that someone comes up and says ‘I could have told you that’ – if they do I’ll scream!
Now all we’ve got to do is buy a head gasket and fit it….
Then there is the dynamo control box to set up……
Then the exhauster to fit…….