by Daniel Bysouth
One morning, not long after we started work at 8am, in through the door from the lower mechanical floor walked David.
He was a master of his trade, a mechanic of immense skill and a flamboyant character. He had long hair and shuffled across the CBR floor to take up position at the stores counter. The counter was tucked away in the corner behind the CBR office and manned by Alfie, one of the best parts men I have ever known. We all shouted a hearty ‘Hello’ as he walked by, but all we got in return was a slight wave, which was strange because he was usually very ,very talkative and happily shared his witty banter to anyone who would listen. Of course, no one called him David because nearly everybody at Mann Egerton had a nick name. His was ‘Brassy’ (as in the metal).
The stores counter was a good place to hide up for a while and many of the guys from downstairs made use of it daily. We had our own hiding places but of course, we never skived away from our work! *wink*. We got to 10am – tea break time - and Brassy was still at the counter. After tea, Alfie came across the floor to use the loos and on his return we asked what was up with the Brass. "Don't know Honey, he hasn't said a word apart from hello".
Now Mann Egerton’s was like a big family and from time to time some people would have a problem or be having trouble at home or just having a bad day. If we saw this, we knew that we should give that person space and time. It was a fact that if anyone wanted any help with anything at all the whole of the workforce was there for them, it was that close there. It seemed that Brassy wanted to be left alone, and we all did just that. His mates on the line downstairs covered for him and we all kept an eye out for the bosses in case one of them stuck their nose in. At midday the buzzer sounded for lunch, and as it was a hot day nearly everyone who usually sat on the benches on the CBR floor went outside to sit in the sun on the roof looking down on the lunchtime shoppers in the busy town centre.
I went across the road to the chip shop and returned to eat my hot chips sitting on my bench. About 12.30 the main door to the floor opened and a chap in a long trench coat and hat came in. He looked a bit suspicious; for one thing it was a hot day to be dressed up like that, and for another he walked past the CBR office towards the stores. Well, I didn't like people just wandering in, so I put aside my bag of chips and hurried over to approach him asking if I could help at all? He turned and faced me and I got such a shock I nearly did something very childish; it was Brassy!
“Hold on” I thought, “if you’re Brassy, who the hell is that at the counter?” The chap at the counter came over and as he got closer I could hardly believe my eyes. No-one knew that Brassy had an identical twin, and when I say identical, he was just that. The only other person there was Alfie and he was as dumbstruck as me.
Taking care not to be overheard, they quickly explained to us that Brassy had an appointment that would take up the whole morning and he could not afford to lose a mornings pay, so he had persuaded his brother - who knew nothing about cars - to stand in for him. They both had more front than Tesco’s. No one, apart from Alfie and me, ever worked it out. Good bloke, was Brassy.
It was around this time that we had a front screen to replace on a SD1 Rover, which was quite a new model at the time. It was the first one we had had to do and Keith was asked to take it on. He wanted to have me with him as it would be a good idea to have me learn from him how to fit one, plus it was a two man job in any case. According to the workshop report on these screens they had to be 'cooked' on removal and on installation.
The idea was that a long round strip of sealant with a wire running through it would be placed around the aperture and with a low current passed through it , it would soften and adhere to the glass and the aperture, whilst securing the screen mouldings at the same time. We dug around the bottom left of the screen and we did find two wires. Connecting the machine that we specially purchased for these jobs, the current soon warmed up the sealer and after disconnecting the machine we gently prized out the mouldings. We didn't have to worry too much as we had new ones anyway. But it was good practice. Next we pierced a small hole from inside to out, so we could pass piano wire through and attach each end to a 'T' bar.
With a slow steady sawing motion, we cut around the screen and lifted it out. We then had to fully clean the screen aperture and apply a black primer which was in the fitting kit along with the new coil of sealant. This was applied with a foam swab. This had to fully dry and then we had to offer up the screen to the car, mark it top and bottom in four places as we would get only one chance to attach the screen to the sealant. It would do the sealant no good to unstick the glass once it was in. This done, the black primer was applied to the glass as well and the electrodes were connected to the coil of sealer for approximately 10 mins.
This made it pliable, and after disconnecting the wires we could lower the glass into place. The wires were connected back up but not turned on; we had to push the mouldings into place at the same time. When we were satisfied with all we had done the machine was switched on and cooked as per recommended factory times. Turning off the machine, we tucked away the wire ends in the bottom left of the screen and left it overnight. The next morning we water tested for leaks and as all was well, released the car to the main reception for customer collection. We immediately became the screen fitting team and boy, did we do a few of them! We loved it though.
Next time: a Dutch P6 re-spray, and Honey gets a big bird.
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