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 Post subject: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2016 10:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:35 pm
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Hi

I am also interested in an RT must be in A1 restored condition . If you have one or know anyone who has one for sale please let me know

Thanks

Daren


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2016 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:24 pm
Posts: 107
You need to look very, very hard at any RT offered for sale. It may look nice and shiny but underneath the panels there is a very good chance it is little more than rust and dust. If you can't keep it under cover forget it. The chance of finding one which has been mechanically restored in addition is fairly remote.


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 3:17 am 
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cav551 wrote:
You need to look very, very hard at any RT offered for sale. It may look nice and shiny but underneath the panels there is a very good chance it is little more than rust and dust. If you can't keep it under cover forget it. The chance of finding one which has been mechanically restored in addition is fairly remote.

The advice of caution is wise, but I think you are being harsh towards those who have spent a lot of time or money getting their RT into good condition. Most restored RTs are not "rot and dust" and in good mechanical condition. "A1" condition vehicles do not come up for sale often but it is the unrestored vehicles that really need approaching with caution (and that is not what is being asked for here).

RTs do have some quirks untypical of other vehicles of the era. Key areas to check are:
  • Riser - these can rot to the extent that they no longer support the back platform and are a major renewal task. On RTs the back platform was solely supported by the riser owing to the shortened chassis (which was designed to reduce chassis damage in rear-end accidents)
  • Framework - composite construction means the steel can rot as can the woodern inserts. Either can necessitate in a major body rebuild. Bulges at joints are the visible clue here.
  • Roof - the majority have a one-piece composite upper-deck ceiling/roof which were never truly waterproof and will sag with water-ingress. Again a major rebuild task if you want it to look "A1".

The mechanical side is less of an issue - like all vehicles of that age the parts are hard (but not necessarily impossible) to obtain but most can be rebuilt or substituted. But these were built to be more rugged and reliable than their provincial counterparts and mechanical issues are generally rare.

John


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 7:25 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:24 pm
Posts: 107
A trawl through the pictures from Dave Simmons of Bus and Coach Restoration services will reveal what lies hidden behind the panels of an RT. A major body rebuild is exactly that - in capital letters. Mechanically the weak point is now the engine, with decades of using up the 'runners' when one goes bang, overcoming engine failure is now dificult. Without an engine all you have is a nice shiny trailer.

Lovely vehicles though, but a real money pit. They live up to the saying about the best way to become a millionaire - start of with two million.


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 10:14 am 
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cav551 wrote:
Mechanically the weak point is now the engine, with decades of using up the 'runners' when one goes bang, overcoming engine failure is now dificult. Without an engine all you have is a nice shiny trailer.

I am sorry but from personal experience over many years I cannot agree. RT engines seem to go on for ever, they were built to do massive mileage between rebuilds and in preserved use they will not experience the mileage nor, hopefully, the harsh treatment by employed drivers that didn't have to worry about the repairs. Use anti-freeze all year round to reduce internal corrosion and feed them well with oil and water and they should go on, and on, and on.

Engine issues that may arise are fuel blockages with contaminated fuel, and worn fuel pumps - both are easily dealt with.

John


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:44 pm 
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I am sorry John I just cannot agree with you over this. Yes you have hit the nail on the head re antifreeze and clean oil. The problem is that although they may now be afforded this' luxury' they will have a history of that not being so. Most RTs will have passed through several hands between withdrawal from LT service and the present day. Even then their last few years in LT service will have been subject to the assumption that the bus would be going soon so accordingly expenditure would have been a matter of luck to later purchasers.

We are talking about an engine of initial pre war design with a maintenance regime recommending quite major servicing attention on a scale long since abandoned in more modern practice. The engine ran on tap water and the oils of the day, albeit the latter subject to significant developments, but it had neither oil nor air filter to keep the engine clean. Service bus operation with its dashes between stops and then periods of standing idling either in traffic or at stops, aggravated when saloon heaters were introduced, subjects the engine to severe heat cycling and the consequences thereof. I will admit that this does depend upon how hard it is necessary to drive between stops in order to keep time, but the evidence while obviously not typical of yore, from RTs running on the last day of various Routemaster routes indicated very hard indeed.

In private hands since withdrawal the operation has been perhaps just as hazardous to health. Long periods of idleness often in damp and cold conditions deleterious to both bodywork and mechanical parts. Engines subject to internal condensation, oil slowly drained away from the top end, acid attack from the byproducts of combustion and weak antifreeze. Suddenly awakened in true imitation of LT driver's practice foot to floor until the flag rises. This followed by perhaps an hour or two of near maximum revs running on the motorway to get to the rally field or maybe the running day. Alternatively the scenario might be that the bus has to be moved regularly to allow others on site to access their own vehicle, so the same standing and starting procedure but an added maybe half hour of tickover ostensibly to charge the batteries, during which time incomplete combustion wreaks its havoc.

IIRC from one of Colin Curtis' writings these engines averaged about 200,000 to 250,000 miles between major overhauls, a figure surpassed easily by modern engines. Quite how many overhauls an individual engine will have had is open to speculation, as is the Trigger's broom content, however one can predict realistically that major components are at or near to the limit for reconditioning, IF one can find over/undersize/recoverable parts. Sadly recent years have revealed that elderly bus engines (not referring to A204 specifically) are expiring due to metal fatigue.

The youtube channel of tilsworthworks shows further examples of RT and RF bodywork overhaul/repair and significantly RF 512 mechanical repair which illustrates problems common to both types.

Again I admire the RT greatly, but a purchaser does need to appreciate that there are many pitfalls to even the most glamorous of examples. Top notch guaranteed-long-term undercover storage is essential otherwise forget it.


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 7:23 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:44 pm
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I respect your opinion so don't feel I am shouting you down. I am just speaking from my own experiences of RT ownership since the 1980s.

But the key thing is that the OP says he is looking for an "A1 condition" one. Provided he isn't hoodwinked by false promises by a seller, he should get one that has had the hurdles already dealt with. Provided he treats it with respect he will get many years of trouble-free pleasure from it.

There are quite a few around that fit that spec but they don't come on the market often.

And I would add that I do not put my own RTs in that category, I see mine as on-going love and attention rather than top to bottom rebuilds. Otherwise my toes would curl up before I had a chance to enjoy them . . .

Best regards,

John


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:08 pm 
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Posts: 107
I certainly haven't felt that at all John. These message boards are there for the purpose of debate after all !

The prime purpose of taking that line was to reinforce the warning that all that glitters in not gold. A genuine A1 vehicle will have documentable proof of what restoration was carried out , by whom and when. As far as the engine goes I would recommend having an oil analysis done to seal the deal.


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 31, 2012 4:03 pm
Posts: 32
I cant agree with "CAV" and his negative attitude towards the average RT. A while back an equally negative post was left for a would be Matador owner.

Yes complex to restore in the body department. But certainly do-able. I have to ask how complex a rebuild will be on a modern body when its time comes for preservation? Plastic mouldings, high levels of technology, high strength stressed steel panels and deep pressings are common place now.

As for the gloomy predictions of engines and their future. Yes 200,000 - 250.000 miles would seem about right. A modern would not be apart before a minimum of 500,000 or so. But its a bit strong to suggest that all the engines out there are on their last legs and about to fail.

I dare say some enthusiasts do let cold engines tick over to charge flat batteries, but again there are those of us (lorry & bus) who fit new ones every three years. Also there are quite a few of us who are technically qualified and do know how to maintain our old stuff.

Having worked for large fleets (Bus and Post Office) I know that maintenance does not simply get ignored at the end of their service life. A vehicle in a fleet has to get out of bed and do its job right up to the end. Its not acceptable to the firm for the Motor Transport department to shrug its shoulders and say "Yeah well it didn't start first thing but we got it going, but it then broke down in the high street." No, the service must go on. As will the maintenance.

Metal fatigue will slowly come to haunt us. As have all sorts of other hurdles such as new fuels, tyre sizes becoming obsolete and spares drying up. I had two large batches of 7.7 and 505 gaskets made and manufactured and sourced other spares. Its part of our ongoing challenge. We may see some technology in the future which allows us to duplicate the parts of these old vehicles cheaply. Who would have thought you could "print" objects a few years ago?

As the older enthusiasts die off (its no secret we have an ageing problem amongst our hobby) we will need to encourage younger folk to get involved.

So CAV, (as always, neatly anonymous) perhaps you need to accept the real risk to these old vehicles is a lack of new owners to take on and continue the challenge. Here would be my advice to our possible new friend:

"Lovely old vehicle and a real icon from London. Solid and reliable mechanics. Body is a problem if you buy a rotten one. A high percentage have been in the ownership of caring enthusiasts who have spent vast sums of money maintaining them. If purchased for occasional use you probably wont do a high mileage, so an engine which is half worn at 100,000 will probably see you out. Take someone who is familiar with the RT, remember there are fellow enthusiasts who will help. Get them to check it out with you. Ask to see a pictorial history of its rebuild. Maybe start at a bus rally and ask around, you will soon meet an expert."

But if I was the would be buyer I think I would have left these pages by now, depressing eh?

Paul Charlwood.


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 Post subject: Re: AEC RT WANTED
PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2016 9:44 pm
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0853 9769 wrote:
I dare say some enthusiasts do let cold engines tick over to charge flat batteries, but again there are those of us (lorry & bus) who fit new ones every three years.

Small point, Paul - anybody who does that with an RT is wasting their time. RTs have dynamos (as do most old vehicles) which do not charge on idle. But if they put their boot through the floor to charge batteries, they will do just as much (if not more) harm. My own observations were that in the 1980s there were a lot of people who didn't treat their RTs with respect but this many years on I think rather more do.

But thanks for your positive comments, the remainder of which I thoroughly agree with.

John


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