Over the bridge to Welsh Wales this morning to finally collect the Enfield generator that originally supplied the three phase 130 Volts DC current for the Kerrison Predictor used with Bofors guns on anti-aircraft duty. Extensive research indicates that this is the most complete surviving example. I'd bought it in November, but been unable to fetch it because of a continuing saga with the Volvo, now finally dead with knackered pistons.
I bought a BMW 535i SE out the paper for £550 and although it is rather confining having been used to the luxury van that is a Volvo estate for many years, it goes so well, I've rather fallen for it. Therefore, I got a second hand towbar off E-bay, had it fitted and fettled the bomb trolley to carry the generator on a permanent basis.
I modified the trailer as little as possible, just swapped the ring hitch for a standard 50mm ball and added a few chunks of wood at the rear to carry a trailer board. A cheap standard jockey wheel (£15.00) was added at the last moment to enable me to trundle it about on my own. A coat of grey paint stopped it from rusting as it was still in a very thin coat of 50 year old khaki with extensive iron oxide features. My intention is to paint it again in Land Rover paint, but the generator I shall leave exactly as it is.
The trailer tyres are in very good condition - in fact, I don't think they've done much more than roll out the door - and after pumping them up ten days ago and finding they held air OK, I thought I'd see if they would hold up with the weight of the genny on them. Not even warm after thirty miles at sixty MPH, so I think they pass the test.
Thus it was I ventured across the Severn equipped with angle grinder, drill, bits, spanners and 10mm studding. A pair of cheap mudguards completed the ensemble. I'd done some measuring and research and found that the frame of the genny would fit on the flat part of the trailer with just an inch to spare either side. Plan A was to drill through frame and trailer bed, run the studding through the hole and so assemble the two into an interesting display, readily attached to the BM for easy movement.
John Garwood and Don, his neighbour, were waiting for me, door open and the540 lbs of generator all ready. It was a quite easy job for the three of us (no change out of 200 years between us!) to run it up the planks and a certain amount of heaving about removed the wheels. The brackets were a little too wide, so I slimmed them down to just fit on the trailer bed and drilled and bolted through at the rear according to plan. It was more difficult to get a clear run at the front as the silencers run under the frame and were in the way. I chickened out on that one and decided to frap the generator with a big ratchet strap and solve it at home.
I refitted the covers and pop riveted the mudguards to the left and right covers. A temporary expedient until I can find a more contemporary looking pair.
The trailer proved all I hoped, the springs are more than adequate for the job and being able to balance the generator myself meant that I could get just the right amount of weight on the tow hitch.
An uneventful tow home over some fifty miles of A road and motorway was easily achieved, an altogether more pleasant and relaxing experience than towing the dead weight of a Parsons engine from Glasgow! There is a bit too much slop in the wheel bearings, but I'll grease and adjust them next week.
As for the generator, it was purchased ex WD for £50 in 1946 by John Garwood's father to supply electricity at his farm near Crumlin. To his consternation, it only ran for two hours on a gallon of two stroke mix, a consumption that could not be justified. The vendor would only offer him £20 to take it back, so it sat in a shed unused for nearly fifty years until John retrieved it about twelve years ago. The magneto didn't work, so John had it rewound and the engine would then run OK although it needed a bit of jiggery-pokery with the choke to make it reliable. At the moment, it has no spark and as it was coming on to rain when I got home, I just churned it over a few times and tucked it up under a green cover until I have a moment to clean the points.
Then we shall see what we shall see!
New album atregards,