Bertha Bus test Centre

Preserving A Volvo B10M Alexander PS - Update 16/01/16

Bertha The Bus Advert

Bertha the bus is an ongoing project, one which no doubt will take form over much time. But when she was bought on 5th September 2015 the plan was to get her to a show-standard by the end of March 2016. With 2016 set to be full of shows, rallies and other events, there's a lot of work involved to ensure we can hold our heads up high.

Collecting Bertha

After collecting Bertha the Volvo B10M from Andover we had the long drive back to York, unfortunately the drive wasn't without issues. Less than an hour out of Andover and Bertha was low on coolant, we pulled over to assess the damage and topped her up with 2 litres of Buxton water before limping to the services. With a few more stops along the way back to top up our coolant, we eventually made it.

Once home the full diagnostics revealed that the water pump had packed in and, not related, the hub seal had gone on the nearside drive axle. Once the water pump was replaced and a new seal fitted to the hub, Bertha was running well.

Service And Inspection

Whenever you buy a used vehicle for transport it's always best to service it and do a full inspection. Our inspection revealed: rusty and leaking exhaust (which we knew about), seized rear brakes, rev counter not working (obviously knew about), faulty pre-start, loose water pipe, and under-powered batteries.

Under Volvo B10M

Parts And Finds

Luckily we're only a short drive from three of the best bus scrap yards in the UK and they're all on one site in Barnsley. These sites have been great to us and along with some auction sites and donations we've managed to acquire:

Volvo Bus Speakers

Speakers Replacement

There's a set of announcement speakers fitted to Bertha, it's a bit of a mystery why as they're not connected to anything else. So, we've retained the original housing and covers but replaced the speakers with 4 inch Vibe's and then connected them to a Vibe amplifier. Then the amp is connected to a Google Chromecast wifi audio connector, meaning Bertha is wired for sound without actually showing any wires.

Air Tank Replacement

That awful feeling you get when you turn the engine off and hear a snake escaping from underneath. Originally we thought the air leak was coming from the retarder, but upon investigation it was from one of the air tanks. 23 years in service and now she chooses to rust through an air tank. With the added problem that the air tanks have been discontinued, we had to buy a similar type and adjust the connectors to fit. Now with a new tank fitted there's no snakes escaping our Volvo B10M.

Rev Counter

After replacing the sender unit and dash counter, the rev counter still didn't work. So then it was time to get out the multimeter and search for the problem. We soon realised that there was a current at the gauge, so now all we have to do is earth the sender to the chassis. Or do we, although that worked, it occasionally will not. To be continued...