Digging for engines (long again)

Kim's request for a Norman oil pressure indicator reminded me that I had the
remains of a T600 lurking in 'low access storage' at the end of the garden.
The shed concerned has been mainly noted lately as a happy hunting ground
for the cat, so much so that I had sealed it up and been putting down rat
destroyer (rather bafflingly labelled "free from poisonous chemicals!) for
the last month or so. Anyway, I decided to risk life limb and wiels disease
to exhume the engine and see if the non-toxic rat poison had done its work.
I think the shed must have started life as a wendy house as there is no room
to stand up and infact the junk is piled to within a couple of feet of the
roof. So in I crawled, watching for anything darting for cover. No signs of
life but equally no sign of a Norman engine, had I got rid of it and
forgotten? No it must be in there somewhere.
I couldn't remember when I had last seen the engine, so, In best Time Team
tradition I started digging test pits through the sedimentary accumulation
of junk. Among the 'useful' bits of wood, tins with half an inch of
solidified paint in the bottom etc, I found quite a few bits of Morris
Marina left over from Marlin building days (complete front suspension
assy's, starter motor, gearbox, anyone?) and a tracking gauge hand crafted
from the finest Dexion.
After a while Norman parts started emerging, first a single pepper pot
silencer, then an inlet manifold, but where was the mother load? I saw
something with fins and dug towards it, looks like ally, perhaps it's the
bottom of the crank case? No, It turned out to be the bones of a small
Fichtel and Sachs wankel engine which I'd forgotten I had - these were,
perhaps still are, used to power a field artillery radar (As a measure of
progress, it's 1950's predecessor required an Enfield '85' diesel).
Eventually I struck pay dirt and TL3570 was dragged into the daylight for
the first time in probably ten years. A real 'hanger annie' it had obviously
been robbed for spares by several successive owners. Tinware heads flywheel
carb mag and timing chest cover are all missing, as is one piston and rod,
plus the flywheel taper on the crankshaft looks pretty well knackered.
However it did still have its oil pressure indicator and also yielded a
breather pipe which I need for the T300 - result!
And the rodent's? I saw nothing dead or alive, but plenty of evidence of
past occupation - quelle pong!
Reply to
Nick Highfield
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Thrilled you were able to find a replacement for Kim (will you now dismantle the failed one Kim?). If the silencer is spare my otherwise complete T600 is in need and that might encourage me to try and start it.:-) Don't take Weils lightly. Its very painful and debilitating! (it also makes you p*** creosote) regards Roland
Reply to
Roland and Celia Craven
"Roland and Celia Craven" wrote:-
Drop me an address off list and it's yours (probably another lurking somewhere in the depths).
Sounds like you're talking from experiance. I first heard of weils during my brief membership of university caving club (no particular interest in the subterranean, but the thought of a paricular lady member in a muddy wet suit did odd things to me in those dim distant days!).
Reply to
Nick Highfield
I thought that Weil's Disease occurred mainly around the water rat communities? although cannot see any good reason why it should not occur in land-based rodents as well...
-- Peter & Rita Forbes snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Engine pages for preservation info:
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Reply to
Peter A Forbes
Nick --
Taking your theme literally, & adding your well known family interest in Scotts ----
I lived in Wokingham for many years until recently. Only amazing find that I had to dig for there was a turn of the century Tangye Gas engine in the same slurry pit in which it had resided since the 1930's .... nasty.
More relevant to your heading was a local garden nursery which had a deep well, already long disused in the 1960's. The owners knew of my curiosity with anything derelict, & told me that when the well was filled in, a whole pile of motorcycle parts went in as landfill -- with Scotts & Rudges being named as prime suspects.
As my wife was with me when I was first told, it wasn't possible to launch an immediate dig. That's 25 years ago. Never did get round to it, nor has anyone else since to the best of my knowledge. Some kind soul should now bury onsite a set of appropriate parts books in waterproof cladding, so that when Tony Robinson the Eighth & Time Team dig the well out in 2204 they understand what they are looking at!
Reply to
Colin Osborne
I used to work for EMI in Hayes, and part of the site had been the Rudge motorcycle works pre-war. It was widely believed that when production stopped for the factory to be turned over to war work, all the part built machines etc were buried somewhere nearby.
It is amazing what does turn up, dad dragged an Enfield cush hub out of the Grand Union Canal (he claims it was momentarily illuminated by a shaft of sunlight as he walked by!) and a neighbour breaking up a concrete shed base found a pair of early Chater-Lea front forks. I believe the lugs were eventually re used.
Reply to
Nick Highfield
Last year I put in our Club newsletter the tale of a lovely 1920s Triumph that was buried in an allotment in 1947, dug up in 1997 and is now fully restored and on the road. ttfn Roland
Reply to
Roland and Celia Craven
I've got various Tales of the Unexpected Find, but perhaps my favourite is this.
Back in the '70's, an old friend of mine, Dave Yeo (pronounced "yay") was a veteran bike enthusiast and dyed-in-the-wool lucky git as some men are. By profession he was a ditch and pond digger and, in the main, he used to work for Parish Councils, farmers et al, clearing village ponds and Somerset reims (drainage ditches). He always worked for a set fee and kept everything he hauled out - that was the deal an' if you didn't like it, you could clean it out yerself, matey!
He had a couple of interesting machines to help him. One was a sort of mechanically propelled grapnel that would fling a hooky thing out into the pond and haul it in again, pulling with it whatever it caught. Another was a trailer mounted open crank (oh, come on, it was thirty years ago!) engine running a big volume pump for pumping out the water and sludge. He also had a home made bucket chain, driven by, with and from a Morris 1000 pick up rolling chassis.
He took his kit to a remote Wiltshire village to clean out the pond, taking a local B&B so he could be at it first thing. In the pub that evening, he heard various tales of what was in the pond from an unpopular village bobby from Victorian times, the naturally-occurring shopping trolley and two old boys laughing over the 1910 baby Triumph they had driven into the pond in the 1920's.
Well, the Laughless Policeman didn't appear, but the bike did and he retrieved it the next day. It had been in the sludge below the level of available oxygen and was actually restorable! This he did over the winter, but could not free the piston no matter what he tried. The barrels on baby Triumphs are hedgehog finned, so very hard to get as the fins are easily damaged and he could not find one anywhere.
The first job in the New Year was clearing a riem with his bucket chain. He is walking alongside the thing, watching to see if there is anything interesting in the buckets and lighting his curvy blackguard of a brier, when, perched neatly on a bucket tine, appears a barrel from a baby Triumph.
Dave being Dave, he was a bit miffed that it needed a rebore ..............
Kim Siddorn
Reply to
J K Siddorn
I'm shocked ! 8-)
It's easier to catch in a wet environment. Dry rat pee tends to sit where they left it.
Reply to
Andy Dingley
My only dig out was about 18 years ago. I was at the local scrap yard just after an old corner had been cleared. I spotted the top of a hopper buried under 30 years of rust fragments & mud. I dug it out and bought it for £2. It was the remains of a Fuller & Johnson NB minus carb & magneto. I spent a year restoring it. The flywheels had lost a lot of metal at the bottoms of both flywheels & I couldn't get either off the crankshaft. I was lucky in knowing someone who was a turner at Vulcan loco works. He put the entire crankshaft (with flywheels) into a large lathe & turned both flywheels round again. You can see the engine before & after at
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engine ran OK but due to the weight loss in the flywheels it wouldn't run slowly. Due to this I sold it eventualy. When showing it a local told me he owned one. I saw it in his yard covered with a plastic sheet & in good condition. He died a couple of years later & 15 years later the engine is still there. His wife says she will sell it shortly. (She has been telling me this for 15 years! -- Dave Croft Warrington England
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Reply to
Dave Croft
and a neighbour breaking up a concrete shed base
First 'adult' bike I had was a Granby tourer (passed down from my father) with Chater-Lea bottom bracket & cranks. I wrecked it (age about 13?) failing to make the right turn into our drive - we were half way down a steepish hill - & piling into a substantial oak gatepost at speed. I went flying over the gate/wall etc & landed very luckily on the grass the other side. There, you really needed to know that, didn't you
Cheers Tim Tim Leech Dutton Dry-Dock
Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs
Reply to
Didn't know Chater-Lea made push bike parts - what period? I know the company as an early (1900 on) supplier of cycle parts to the motorcycle industry, which went on to make complete machines in the 1920's.
Reply to
Nick Highfield
My father bought it in 1944, says he thinks it was probably built circa 1930. As far as I remember, the back wheel was arranged with a freewheel on one side & a fixed wheel on the other, so that you could choose one or the other by turning the wheel round. It also had a 12Volt Dynohub on the front, unusual as they were normally 6 volt.
Cheers Tim
Tim Leech Dutton Dry-Dock
Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs
Reply to
Famous for it - find a website with pictures of chainrings (yes, there are such things) for the Chater-Lea had a distinctive one.
-- Smert' spamionam
Reply to
Andy Dingley
Hi Andy, I sent Nick a picture on my site earlier. See
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they made chainsets until the 1970's.
-- Dave Croft
Reply to
Dave Croft
I heard a rumour that there is a complete steam locomotive buried under Wembley Stadium. The tale goes that the engine derailed and it was easier to bury it than recover it. Perhaps it will turn up during the redevelopment.
Reply to
John Manders
Under a housing estate in th Birmingham area is a recorded site with several crated Aircraft engines buried.
Martin P
Reply to
Just for the record -
Water rats aren't actually rats - they are a large type of vole with very specific survival requirements which is why they are dying out.
It is real rats that carry Weils disease, but being great opportunists will live anywhere where there is a food supply, including watery environs.
>I thought that Weil's Disease occurred mainly around the water rat communities? >although cannot see any good reason why it should not occur in land-based >rodents as well... > >Peter
Reply to
John Ambler
For Info
I lost a dog to Leptospirosis once, which is the canine version of Wiels Disease, after she had been playing in water which I later found out was frequented by rats.
It was not a nice way to go as she suffered complete renal failure and was passing pure blood at the end before the vet decided there was no hope,despite two days administration of high powered antibiotics.
So be very careful if you know there are rats about, it is carried in there urine and can be picked up by any mammal. The symptoms in humans are very similar to flu with a kidney infection thrown in, it can be cured with high powered antibiotics but better safe than sorry.
John Ambler wrote:
Reply to
Jimmy Gibson
Andy Dingley wrote in message ... SNIP
Also, to refer to Water Rats is a gross calumny on the delightful species of Water Vole. Yes a rodent, but a much nicer little beast that Rattus Rattus.
Reply to
Bob Spowart

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