Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Island Special: Part 2

In Part 1, I made our departure for the island sound like a whimsical, capricious affair - as if we're now so confident in 270 KTA's performance that we can run off and behave like the Famous Five. 

Regular readers will be rightly suspicious, so I should declare there was actually much preparation. A minor weep from a fuel pipe at Kingsbridge prompted a major pre-island obsession with fuel delivery, leading to the replacement of the main pipe between the injection pump and the fuel filter, the latter also being replaced and other potentially vulnerable pipes sleeved or re-routed.

The previous pipe had been cobbled together by Mr I. Bodgem using a couple of olives, loosely-fitted to a dubious length of 1/4" steel pipe. In disgust, I sourced some proper brass ends and soldered them nicely to a new length of copper pipe, and replaced the unions at either ends with fittings that were made for the job.

I also made it a pre-island priority to solve, finally, the old issue of throttle-return springs, long since replaced after multiple failures but never to my satisfaction. Subsequent springs have always weakened when warm, causing the throttle to stick during gear changes and the driver the blush on occasion. I had springs of the required length and tension specially made and, on the advice of Basher the former Weymouth Inspector, in large enough quantities to allow spares to be carried.

Speaking of carrying spares, this box was assembled for our trip to the island and virtually contains a spare SU chassis in kit form. Alongside the vulnerable throttle-springs are most hydraulic cylinders, associated repair kits, assorted pipe ends, filters, a reconditioned fuel lift-pump, pipes and a selection of ends, hoses, jubilee clips and assorted fastenings. There was no question: we'd get to the Isle of Wight and back...

Less crucial for getting-there in one sense, but just as vital in another, the traditional handmade Sheppard destination blind resulted from several hours on my knees with a roll of tracing paper and and pair of scissors. Not bad from a distance.

And so - as I remember saying before - we set off... via the A38, A30 and A35 to Bridport, Dorset - a very famous haunt of the SU.

Western National's Bridport depot was among the final bastions of Bristol SU operation into the early 1980s and, like the Isle of Wight, it's unlikely that one has returned since. Our friend looks just right against the gates of the 1972 depot site, where we made a brief pause for our lunch. 

And where better for a picnic?

Okay, so this is a bit more scenic, as we made our way via Burley and the New Forest towards the start of our 1700 ferry crossing at Lymington...

 To be continued...

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