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J317XVX - Story in Picture

Iíve divided the images up into smaller galleries so that you can follow things a bit more easily and view specific areas as I work through them.

This first gallery shows what condition 317 was in upon arrival in Essex, and the scale of things as far as the interior goes...

Click on any small image to go to the area with the larger images

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The Stagecoach interior

So with the decision made  regarding the original interior - that it was completely damaged beyond repair - I set about sourcing a replacement set of seat frames and  cushions/backs; it  should be 35 seats not 8!!

Having put the feelers out, and being so impatient as I am, I located a former Stagecoach Alexander bodied Dart and having come to an arrangement with the owner, the seats  were promptly removed and fitting began in 317. Of course 317 only worked for one national company, Arriva; but 35 seats in any colour are better 8....

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Winter 2010

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Throughout November & December, various little things were done such as repainting and relabeling the dashboard, fitting a new steering wheel that I acquired along with the Stagecoach interior and fitting the ticket machine I won rather cheaply off eBay....

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Midland Classic

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Whilst doing some research I found that there was a strong likelihood that one of 317ís sisters,  J315XVX, may still be in existence with an operator on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border. I sent off a speculative email and was surprised to learn that not only did they still have 315, but that it was off the road and I was welcome to collect the interior.

Now I had been pondering whether or not Iíd been too hasty with the Stagecoach interior - being out of an Alexander bodied bus, it didnít actually fit properly (if you look again at the images above, you may be able to see in the final images that the frames actually dip in towards the centre of the bus) Given the opportunity to get the proper seat frames fitted, I went up to 315 at the first available opportunity. Sadly the original Brown interior was long gone, but the operatorís owner threw in the Red interior which Iím sure youíll agree is far more appropriate than the Stagecoach stuff. I still have the Stagecoach stuff so I may be in a position to move it on for the right offer...

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Panel beating & spring clean - March 2011

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This month is all about getting some of the body panels straightened out, then giving 317 its first wash in my ownership. Now the first image is a copy of the one shown in the top right hand corner of the Ďas acquiredí gallery above - this was the first panel we decided to tackle as it is probably the most damaged. The image showing the damage really doesnít do it justice - the panel was very badly warped/dented and the hole is much larger. Having found that the panel was easy enough to remove, it then went on to be pressed (I have a mate who fits solid tyres on fork lift trucks) & faced some  manual persuasion with the end result being quite pleasing. Again the images donít do it justice as it really does look good compared to before.

Having got that panel sorted, we moved on to the next worst area....the grill at the back on the off side. This proved to somewhat problematic in terms of rusted bolts, etc; but it came off eventually. Although it proved difficult to manipulate, strangely the biggest headache has been the rivets that are used to hold the grill in position. After some struggling just getting the 4 corners done, we decided to leave it at that and  re-install the panel as I needed to get 317 back to itís storage location before dark. As it happens, it does look pretty good and so the offside of the vehicle is looking relatively straight along the bottom now. The rear grill panel and nearside panels remain to be completed at a later date.

We did have time to give her a wash though, and it was surprising just how dirty she was - thankfully we forgot the ladders so the roof escaped (for now....had the roof been done too, the sides would have been even dirtier than shown below!!

**UPDATE!!**

The nearside lower panels were tackled on a different day (but still in March) and although not totally straight, they are looking much better than before we started on them. The images from this side do highlight some more of the rust issues hidden underneath but it is something that will  be time and cost dependent. Whilst it is out of sight it isnít out of mind.....

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Rear Wheels & Dealer images - April 2011

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Continuing the theme of tackling more complicated things, and with a need to add long valves to the  inner rear wheels anyway, the bus was jacked up and the rear wheels on both sides were removed. This gave a chance to have a closer look underneath and revealed that an outrigger requires some welding  attention. Given that DW317 is now 19 years old and that this sort of thing will become more of an issue, I have decided to purchase a welder and have a go myself - more on how that goes in a future  update - as a result, I have taken the decision to pull out of the Lewes rally.....I still intend to put in an appearance at the Clacton Rally in June.

I have also been sent some images by dealer and preservationist Mike Nash, through which DW317 has passed twice. Of particular interest is the one showing the original interior - what a shame the previous owner to myself managed to destroy it!! The images date from Mikes first foray with the vehicle in early 2007 - the exception being the last image which was taken on delivery day to Weymouth in July 2010.

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Onwards & Upwards - May 2011

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This month weíre onwards in terms of gears - well the gear selector to be precise; and upwards in terms of the area around the destination blind.

The gear selector has been an issue since the day I acquired 317 - in particular she was an absolute pain to get into reverse gear. Occasionally, and by that I mean very rarely, sheíd go in first time. More often than not it would take several attempts to get reverse to engage and even then only if we went back into drive and moved forward a foot or so. Having sought some advice, I was assured that replacing the selector would cure the issue..... well I owe a mate of mine a big big favour as he has, after about three hours of blood sweat & tears, managed to install a selector that selects all gears at the first time of asking every single time - cheers Kev!!

Unfortunately I was busy with something else to get any images - the aforementioned area around the destination blind. We are talking outside the vehicle at the front, and that area where someone once stuck a school sticker, and where someone else tried to remove said sticker with what can only be assumed to be a pick axe. There was also some rivets up there that needed removing too, soI drilled them out, filled in the holes and sanded the whole area as smooth as I could. As it happens it needs a lot more work to get it even smoother but I only found that out when it was too late!
I wanted this area painted Black for Three reasons. Firstly I wanted to tidy the front up, secondly I wanted to relieve the all White front and thirdly that area was originally black any way!! The results are fair in my opinion, given my skill set, but I do want to have another go

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24th & 25th September 2011

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Well this turned out to be an interesting weekend.........somewhere along the way the decision was made to start repainting 317!!

Youíll have to excuse the bits of painted window rubbers - cheap masking tape - they will be sorted.

**Updated 3/10/11**

More work was done over the weekend of 1st & 2nd October, principally painting the roof Cream (was still in Arriva colours) and the addition of the two stripes. The masking tape let me down again and so the stripes do not have clean edges. Weíre in the right livery now but thereís a fair bit of corrective work to be done over the winter.....

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15th October 2011

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On the eve of the day that I bought 317 Twelve months ago, I reached a pivotal stage - fitting her Thameside logos!! I never imagined Iíd reach this stage within one year of buying her, but a concerted push towards the end has seen me get there. It was never the intention to have her anywhere near this stage this early, but having seen the state of some other preserved vehicles and having gotten a feel for whatís what; well it just sort of happened quite quickly in the end.

Although there are many other little jobs still to do, none are of particular interest and so this will probably the last update on  this page, at least for 2011 anyway......

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April 2012

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As you may have seen on the story so far page, quite a lot of work has gone on over the winter period. Although I didnít take images of every single item of work carried out, the images I did take are below.

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