Restoration of

Sentinel STC6-44 bus



Sentinel Home Page


Huddersfield Passenger Transport Group




The ODE182 Sentinel Preservation Story So Far

by John S. Hinchliffe

     A Sentinel 44 seat bus was advertised by Peter Bowers in the H.C.V.S. magazine in the summer of 1997, I rang him and discussed the vehicle, from what he said it was to going to be expensive proposition to buy, restore and to bring it to our premises.


    Although I was interested mainly because I used to travel on one to the swimming bathes from our school in the early sixties, this one was owned by Baddeley Bros of Holmfirth, but Baddeleys one had had the doors altered to operate  manually by the driver, but individually rather than double folding as it was usually one man operated on the Holmfirth to Penistone via Flouch service.
    At this time it was decided if anyone else was interested to sell it to them but I did say that I would contact him later in the year to find out if it had been sold. When I contacted him November it had not been sold so I said that I would come and have a look at the bus, a few weeks later I went down to a quarry near Aldershot where the bus was along with Lenny Spence and John Shearman.
    What we found was slightly worse than I had expected, but a through examination was done taking photographic details to help with anticipated restoration, it was found that some windows were broken  the body frame and integral chassis were quite sound, but the floor was rotten and was like walking on a sponge. The gearbox side cover and selectors was missing, the exhaust system was missing, the track rod was missing, most seats were missing (but Peter had acquired some modern bus seats for the bus but these were green and considered unsuitable as the original seats were red, the green seats are now available for sale from myself).
    The engine appeared to be all there apart from one top cover clamp, the injectors and injector pipes, Peter had had the injectors overhauled and these were with some spares including a overhauled pump Peter provided with the bus, the oil was checked and appeared alright although slightly over full one oil pipe was rusted  through no further checks could be made on the engine at this time. 

    Steel corrosion at the front of the bus and cab area was bad, some windows were broken, most panels around the bus were damaged, but the roof was in good shape except for one joint that had been leaking water and causing the wood in the rack bases to rot.    

    One strange but good point was that where steel had been bolted or riveted together there was no corrosion, this meant that exceptionally high quality aluminium was used by Welsh Metal Industries who it is believed were involved with building the Sentinel integral body, Sentinel's parent company, a design that had been based on a Beadle design that had been used for earlier Sentinel buses. Later that day we looked at various photos of Sentinels and other Sentinel products that Peter had, John, Lenny and myself then went for refreshment, where we looked at photos John had of Sentinel buses, as John lived in the south he would soon be home but Lenny and myself then had the long drive home to Yorkshire.

         It was then decision time which depended on the cost of the bus and the cost of getting it home and thanks to Geoff Ripley the Barnsley bus dealer suitable deals were done, which includes the sale of the remains Blackpool 510, which was giving up its place in our arch for the Sentinel so the bus was collected in January 1998.



    We (Andrew Ripley and myself) set off from Boulderbridge Lane, Barnsley at 2am one cold January morning in a large ERF recovery lorry, also another recovery lorry set off to deliver a Leyland National for preservation, both setting off down the M1 motorway together. After a  short stop to sort out the lorry heaters we soon left the other lorry behind, we arrived at the quarry where the bus was at 6.30am the driver then had his rest. Peter arrived about 8.00am, we loaded some spares, I paid peter for the bus, the driver changed the o/s rear tyre with one of the spare tyres that came with the bus as the original was unsuitable for the road. The bus was then lifted on suspended tow and manoeuvred out of the gate.


    Collection did not go exactly to plan, on the M25 it found that the n/s rear wheel studs were giving way, so we tried to refit the front in to the rear wheel but they too tight and could not be undone, as the rear wheel had got warm we managed to remove some studs. So the bus was unhitched and away went the lorry to find some new studs, while I was left with the bus.


     New studs were fitted, we hitched up the bus and away we went, unfortunately we had hitched the bus too close to the lorry and the o/s front corner of the bus caught the rear of the lorry on a corner in a service station. We arrived back at Geoff's yard in the evening, the bus stayed in Geoff's yard for a month while we got our premises ready, finally the bus arrived at our railway arch in February.
    Our arch is rather cramped at 29ft wide and 66ft long and accommodates six buses these were at this time David Brundrit's ex Blackpool 540 a Leyland Titan PD3 with Metropolitan Camel Weymann body, John Dyson's ex Sunderland 46 a Atkinson Alpha with Marshall body, Huddersfield Passenger Transport Groups Huddersfield 472 Daimler CVG6LX-30 with East Lancashire body and Huddersfield JOC 225 AEC Regent lll with Northern Coachbuilders body, my ex Blackpool 300 with Burlingham centre entrance body, we also had Blackpool 510 which was being cannibalised for other buses.
     A few days before the Sentinel arrived 510 was driven onto spare ground nearby (part of the deal with Geoff Ripley was that 510 went to him with its engine) other mechanical parts on the front axle were then removed along with parts of the breaking system, on the day the Sentinel arrived 472 and 225 had to be removed from the arch 225 decided that its fuel pump was not going to work (although it has been defective for a while it had run with out any problems a few days before) by manually moving the pump rack we moved it to a position where the recovery lorry could pull it out, it too was put on the spare ground for a few hours. The Sentinel was towed round and reversed into position on suspended tow we were pleased it went into the correct place at the first go.
 Then 225 was towed back round to the arch and placed as near as possible to its intended place. We thanked Geoff's driver and I left for work leaving the driver to hitch up the remains of 510, during this time 472 had been parked on a nearby street under the watchful eye of other arch tenants. Lenny and myself returned in the evening to adjust 225s position in the arch, by jacking it onto rollers to move the front sideways, when this was done 472 could be put away in the arch.   


      First the panel on the offside front corner was removed to assess the damage that was done on collection, it was found that the repair would not be too difficult, but it was also found that the interior panels were very rusty and they would require a extensive rebuild. As it was my intention to get the engine running early in the restoration it was decided that the offside front corner would be left for the present time. Also as the top step in the entrance was loose it was removed and stored for restoration. As the entrance door was not in place and was in the way inside the bus I decided to re-hang the door in place. The door was fitted, but only after replacement of the wooden body section which was mounted in the aluminium frame of the body.

     The wooden body section was completely rotten and came out in several parts, the new piece of wood was made exactly to the shape of the aluminium frame, as the aluminium frame was in excellent condition I did not want to dismantle it to get the wood in place. With the panels in the doorway prised back the wood was forced into place, fortunately I had made the wood exactly the correct shape therefore it was a perfect fit. the panels were re-riveted in place some into the wood, a practice I have not come across before but as it worked originally when the bus was built, It was successfully done again.


     The panels on the door were refitted where they had come loose and the door was hung on a new piano hinge as the original was missing but this was 6ins shorter. the door guides were overhauled as were the guide rollers and locating pins, as the bottom rollers were in bad condition they were swapped with the top ones, as the top ones carried no load, the bottom ones carry the weight of the doors. The bottom step was cleaned up to allow efficient operation of the door.

     The emergency door was hanging on one hinge (the lower one), I have tried to purchase a new hinge, but I could not obtain one, so a repair the original was repaired this involved drilling out the broken pin, a smaller drill was used which eventually loosened the pin revealing the original pin hole. A new pin was made out of a long narrow bolt and fitted in place. The door handle is partly broken this has still to be repaired, but still will fasten the door in place. 

     Next it was intended to get the engine running, but it was found that the battery boxes were unfit to use so the intention of getting the engine running was not going to take place until new boxes were obtained. So preparations were made to fit new boxes, this involved rolling back the thick rubber floor covering, which revealed rotten floor boards and severely rusted battery box cradles so these were removed along with the spare wheel carrier which will be rebuilt later.

  With the floor boards removed excellent access could be made to the chassis. The main chassis is made of steel with aluminium outriggers to the body which were bolted directly together. The rear overhang of the chassis was cleaned up and repainted in hammerite, the cradles were rebuilt with new straps and angle iron sides these were also hammerited and bolted back to the chassis, nothing was done to the aluminium outriggers as they are in excellent condition and appear to have never been painted.
The rear of the aluminium wheel boxes was cleaned up and a new steel rear support made which was bolted onto the chassis and body. I have made new floor boards painted them black similar to the original ones and fitted them in place. I have had made new battery boxes out of galvanised sheet and to save on cost I am fitting the original tops and drilling the cable holes myself.
      Batteries were then fitted and on came the interior lights, which have since failed to operate, the wiring is in bad condition.  A gear was then manually selected and with a long bar in the prop-shaft joint eventually I was able to turn over the engine for the first time since acquiring the bus, this eventually became easier. 
     Then a starter motor was then fitted from former Blackpool 510 Leyland Titan PD3, the clutch was then released by jamming the clutch pedal down and by fitting a direct wire to the starter, the starter engaged and turned over the engine, after checking all was OK the engine was turned over for a long period of time until the batteries ran down, the engine turned over quite quick as there was no resistance with the fuel injectors removed. With this successful test the engine was now left as more work on the floor is required. 
  Moving forward along the bus the floor boards between the rear wheel boxes have been removed along with the floor trap over the differential. With this removed the rear axle, diff and springs have been cleaned up with a repair to the springs, then painted in hammerite paint including the aluminium casting of the diff as this appeared to have been painted when new.
    Two large shock absorbers were cleaned up for repainting, but the nearside one sprang a leak while it being wire brushed, having survived the trip from Aldershot a few months earlier. The shock absorber was dismantled and welded up but as yet I have been unsuccessful in sealing it satisfactory, so the rebuild of the shock absorber was to go on, but I have found out that new ones are still available, so a new pair have been acquired, but are slightly narrower than the originals but are now in place.
     The rear wheels have dirt plates on the inside, these have been removed, cleaned and repainted, but as a few rust holes appeared these were covered with a small piece of paper while the paint was still wet, then filled on the other side before that side is painted, this can save many hours making new parts when they are not load bearing.
     Next the section of floor between the wheel boxes are ready for fitting new floor boards, the old floor trap will go back in place as it is still in good condition apart from a side edging strip that is missing, the front of the wheel boxes will require a new support bar to be made.
     The next part of the restoration was to remove the old rotten floor boards above the gearbox this was slightly more difficult than previous ones as they went under a heating channel along the offside of the body. Once removed the aluminium  body frame outriggers could be inspected, once again these were in excellent condition even though they were mounted direct to the steel chassis frame. On the nearside some outriggers were slightly distorted as they also carry the full weight of the fuel tank, the fuel tank was then removed for repainting, and received four coats of silver hammerite paint this involves six week delays between coats.
 During this time the chassis and the gearbox were prepared and repainted. The gearbox is a four speed manufactured by a company called "Moss" of Birmingham, but is incomplete as the side cover and the selectors are missing, I hope to acquire the relevant parts in the near future but any help with these parts would be appreciated.
     Opportunity was also taken to overhaul the air cleaner which was in bad condition as it was the oil bath type, but was leaking oil, the steel bath part was removed and set on fire to remove oil and rust leaving several holes these were successfully rebuilt with plastic metal, it along with cleaner air dome was then repainted with Hammerite paint, the rest of the air cleaner is aluminium which was cleaned but not painted.
The floor boards around the engine were now removed, along with the heater control the recently fitted starter motor and the fuel pump. Many hours were then spent on cleaning the engine and surrounding chassis ready for painting. painting was again done in silver Hammerite.
    With the side cover missing and half shafts out I have been able to test all gears and they all appeared to operate well. Again new floor boards have been fitted, it was difficult to fit the ones under the heating channel but with brute force they went into place, but it was impossible to bolt them in place under the heating channel, but I have been able get some wood screw studs that look similar to the bolts used elsewhere.
     Then came the shock news that the railway property company Spacia were to increase our rent by over 50%, first thoughts were close down, what are we spending this time and money for. Second thoughts were find somewhere else and continue, but I find it most rewarding seeing the progress as it is made. Spacia later accepted a 20% increase.
     The vacuum tank was then removed and repainted over the six weeks, Back to work on the chassis around the engine.
This was cleaned including the copper / brass pipe work for the fuel and braking system which was then varnished to avoid discolouring, opportunity was taken to clean the oil filters as access was easier with the vacuum tank removed, the bottom of each filter mounting appears to be made of gun metal these were cleaned and varnished. New seals were required these were home made from cardboard fruit juice cartons, I have had success with these on a previously overhauled Leyland engine.
     The vacuum pump was cleaned but as it was in good condition it was not painted similarly the fuel pump was cleaned but was not in good condition but it was decided not to paint the fuel pump.
 The engine rocker covers were removed and it was found that one of the rocker arms is missing along with the rods, so this has put back operation of the engine until these parts have been located, also the injectors were put back in the engine but one of these is incomplete. After drilling out broken studs and replacing with new studs, other engine parts missing are the injector pipes and the return fuel pipes.
 The inlet manifold was removed and as it had a large hole in it, it was then subject to having a patch welded into it after painting the patch was well disguised. the outlet manifold was also removed as the bolts holding it in position were almost non existent. With the manifolds removed it was then decided to clean the inlet mounting chambers which appeared to be made on gun metal these were cleaned and refitted as were the manifolds.

A exhaust pipe and silencer was then fitted which came from former Blackpool 510, also from 510 was the track rod which was put in place, this fits better than the Sentinel track rod ends which came with the bus, the Sentinel ones are obviously the wrong ones and would have fouled the front springs. The vacuum tank was then refitted after repairs to the mounting straps and the outriggers for the tank, some of the vacuum pipes are still to be reconnected.

     Once again the new floor boards were fitted, these were easier to fit than some of the previous ones as they would slide under the heating channel, but the finishing touches will have to wait until the final section is complete. The floor flaps were placed back in place.

     Dismantling of the front section of the floor could now commence, the rotten floor boards were removed and replaced, the front wheels have been dismantled to give access to the front section of the chassis, this involved removal of the drums and wheel centres together work is now on to split them, this involved removal of the wheel bearings and locking disk. The wheel bearings are in reasonable condition and will be refitted when overhaul of the front axle takes place, many of the various parts extend under the entrance and cab the entrance floor was removed followed by the steel plate box onto which the cab seat was once mounted this box is in bad condition and will be replaced later.

      A large heating channel was mounted on top of the box and part of the was also removed, the box once contained the heating radiator but this is now missing. The heating should work by collection of cold air from two large vents externally on the roof, this air is channelled down the back of the cab to a heating radiator under the drivers seat. The now warm air is channelled out of the back of the cab down a heating channel along the offside of the bus, this radiator is missing and it is not known what it looks like so one from a Leyland Atlantean has been acquired. The fuse box was removed and most wires marked for refitting, although most wiring will require replacing as it is in bad condition. 
     To remove the radiator the front lower panel had to be removed, this carried chrome trim which had to be removed first to give access to the trim the majority of the cab interior including the remaining thick aluminium floor. To give more access to the chassis the radiator was then removed, this is in bad condition it has had a extensive rebuild and is now back in place, although the vertical pipes still have to be re-fitted. This left the fan and fan drive loose, with great difficulty this was also removed.
     The towing eyes are of a loop type bolted to the front and underside of the chassis, these are well rusted and would not be reliable in use. As the towing eye bolt holes on the front of the chassis are of similar spacing to Leyland Atlantean screw type towing eyes two of these have been acquired and have been fitted in place but have had to be ground shorter as they stuck-out forward of the  body. The nearside chassis strengthener is in bad condition and has been removed and overhauled. The one on the offside is in good condition, so it will remain in place while the chassis is overhauled.
It was decided to now renovate the whole of the cab at this time so the cab roof panel was removed so that the dented external roof dome could knocked back straight, as  photographs show it was damaged early in its life. To knock back the roof a piece of soft wood was used being hit by the hammer as direct hammering was not possible. The interior lighting fuse box was renovated at this time along with some re-wiring to the bell, bell pushes and interior lights

     Internal trim around both windscreens was now removed, the offside screen was completely removed as the sloping frame requires replacing, the external chrome strip fractured at every screw hole as it was removed, so a new strip will have to be made later. 

     All panels in the upper cab area along with the doors now had all the paint removed and filled as necessary with metal filler where corrosion had taken place, and repainted. New metal has had to be purchased to make a new sloping frame for mounting the offside windscreen, this will be difficult to make as there are different angles to take into account to make a new frame. It will take at over a year of my free time to renovate the front section of the bus as some of it is in bad condition.
     The new windscreen frame has now been built and fitted it was necessary to fit the floor frame, this has now been re-built, as this has to be lifted over the steering column, and the windscreen frame would also be in the way, it was also necessary to remove the steering wheel.
     The main fuse box is now under renovation which involves freeing off of switches including the mains switch which was solid, all internal wires are in good condition, the box now has been painted and refitted. The cab has been painted, but the seat box has still has to be made, the entrance panels have been recovered with Rexene, the top entrance step is now being replaced. Some of the Sentinelís stable mates have changed, The Atkinson Alpha and Blackpool 540 left my Blackpool 300 bus and two of  Huddersfield buses are still there, they have been joined by another Huddersfield AEC Regent III with East Lancashire body and a Bradford trolleybus.

     In the H.C.V.S. May 2003 magazine a Sentinel generator unit was advertised for sale, very quickly a offer was made on the unseen generator unit after a description over the phone, it is powered by a Sentinel 4 cylinder engine which it is hoped will provide most of missing parts for ODE182í engine (ODE182ís engine is 6 cylinder).


     I hired a small truck and went to collect the generator unit from Lancashire, the unit was larger than expected at 10ft long, 4ft wide and 5ft high, it just fitted on the truck loaded by a tractor with rear mounted forks. I was wondering how I was going to unload such a large unit when I arrived back at our railway arch in Huddersfield, upon arrival the nearby wood yard's fork lift truck was moving some wood in the street so I got assistance from the fork lift truck to unload and put the generator unit in our arch. I had only made a space of 8ft for the generator unit; this was quickly made larger to accommodate the unit.


     The generator is quite old but appears to be in good condition as it has recently been rewired, I have had it running and runs well, once the Sentinel engine has been removed the remains are for sale, it seems that the unit would easily take a modern 4 cylinder engine to get it operational again, it is fitted with a Coventry Radiator. The stable mates changed again, The East Lancashire AEC Regent lll left and were replaced by former WYPTE 8501 Leyland Leopard, Huddersfield Northern Coachbuilders AEC Regent lll left. The Trolleybus left and was replaced by Huddersfield Guy Arab under floor engined bus this was soon exchanged for another Huddersfield AEC Regent lll, The Arch now had five buses and the Generator. The generator was later dismantled I still have the engine.
Work on the Sentinel now had to stop as the Garage now required some maintenance, which took about two years of my spare time during this time the Leyland Leopard left leaving an available place for another bus or vintage lorry, this involved getting rid of accumulated rubbish & repairs to the roof although not quite completed as at present the Generator makes access to one part difficult. The floor of the arch was levelled with concrete.
At the back of the arch a new section of roof was put in place, in the corner a AEC engine removed and passed to its owner, this allowed access to finish the roof, I had built the rest of the roof 25 years earlier. While this was done 472 Daimler was out of the way at Truckline Services.
I have now got a six cylinder Sentinel Engine although defective it has all the parts required to repair the bus engine, this now makes the Generator available in full working order, 'For Sale' at £1200 anyone interested (contact John on ).
Huddersfield 472 back in the Arch along side the Sentinel. Work now progresses with restoration of the roof with three new exterior roof panels, the interior section of the roof ventilators were remade with fibreglass replacing the corroded steel. Rewiring of the roof now also took place at this time
The original internal roof panels were repaired with fibreglass & put back in place along with the original beading strips. Some of the parts were now getting in the way of progress, up to now parts have been kept near to their original location, it was now necessary to store parts elsewhere in the arch.
Work continued on the Sentinel's interior roof all paint has now been removed from the roof and the racks dismantled to replace the rack bases with new plywood.
      Some of the down supports were cracked of these a few had a fibre glass repair but others had to be completely replaced. All the roof and rack lights have now been rewired. The window frames were also removed, several of these will require some repair before recovering with Rexene. The remaining windows were now removed & stored.
The roof has now been repainted with several coats of cream, the rear destination number box cover has had the original hinge repaired. The rack panels continue to the outside of the body, some of these were in bad condition but it was not possible to replace any they had to be repaired in place.
The nearside windscreen was removed & the glass stored, The by folding door has had all of its glass removed, the doors were rebuilt with fibreglass on the many dints & cracks.
Paint was removed the exterior roof rear & remaining front panels, some was thin but other parts had a very thick coat requiring a grinder mounted wire brush. These were soon filled as necessary.
Repainting the roof with red oxide paint has now hat the first stage completed, The rear panels are in bad condition & have been removed for repair as replacement to the special shape would be difficult.
Work has now started on the lower panels as these are completely flat replacement should not be difficult, Many riveted joints on the frame have split these will require re-riveting, this has required the interior panels to be removed all are special shape at the bottom, all will now have to be replaced.
The external mudguards will require complete replacement very little is left of the originals, This will be done later.
The racks edging was put back in place. New Interior panels have now been fitted in place, this gave opportunity to have a clean up.
New covering has been put on the bulkhead maroon leather cloth and moquete below, the floor in the entrance has still to be completed
As I am now sixty five a decision had to be made on the future of our premises, it was thought best to have premises where I was not responsible for maintenance of them. I was given the opportunity to join in with Dewsbury Bus Museum store at Wakefield so arrangements were put in hand to move there. this meant the front wheels had to be put back in place. The bus had been on axle supports for over ten years.
In the summer of 2014 arrangements were in hand and Geoff Ripley's son Andrew was back to move three buses from Huddersfield to Wakefield including the Sentinel. The others were Huddersfield 234 a AEC Regent lll with East Lancashire body and my other bus a Leyland Titan PD2/5 with Burlingham body ex Blackpool Corporation.
In the store shed at Wakefield work has started on replacing the wheel studs that were in bad condition.