Sorting The Cab

On delivery the cab interior was intact and as new but had had a few wiring looms added to support the radio systems that this particular variant of T244 had been fitted out for. It was also extremely basic - as is undoubtedly essential for its intended purpose. This meant that there was absolutely no soundproofing fitted, no headlining and absolutely no concession to comfort or luxury. It did though have some fitted rubber matting and some crude (and badly warped) door and rear quarter panels. Driving it in this standard condition was actually not too bad; T244s are pretty refined as old trucks go. It was obvious, though, that it would benefit hugely from some sound and heat insulation. At least it was a blank tapestry...

Soundproofing

Enter Noisekiller. II mainly used two products from this company, namely 'Egg Box' for the roof and 'Lead Sheet' for the engine cover / floor areas. These were supplemented by self adhesive closed cell foam strips which I used on the bulkhead and on the insides of the rear quarters. Both the egg box and the lead sheet were easy to work with but making cardboard templates to ensure I cut the materials correctly in the first place was very time consuming. I also spent perhaps too long making sure even those items that wouldn't be visible when the job was completed were all cut and finished propely. Again though, I believe it's that kind of time investment that professionals just couldn't afford if they wanted to make a job pay.

Trim

There were basically four areas that needed work: the rear bulkhead, the rear quarter panels, door panels, and the engine cover. The bulkhead and engine cover were both awkward in that their surfaces were far from flat and needed building up in various ways in order to give a level surface to work with. I achieved this with a combination of softwood battens, ply sheet, closed cell foam and lead sheet. Once all was level I covered the rear bulkhead in specially pliable lightweight 'lining' carpet which was fiddly but not insurmountable. The engine cover though was a different matter. Because of the three dimensional ‘double hump’ shape I just couldn’t fathom a way to cover it without resorting to making sections and stitching them together. Lacking any kind of sewing machine, not least an industrial one, I admitted defeat with this and had the job professionally done at AS Pickering. The result is very pleasing; plus it gave me an excuse to drive about in the truck for a couple of days in the depths of winter in order to get the work done.

The rear quarter panels were shot, they had warped beyond recovery. I carefully removed them in order not to break the original fasteners and made some more in 4mm ply. I sealed the back of these with a couple of layers of varnish and trimmed them in the same carpet as the bulkhead. Using the original fasteners they went in really nicely and the area behind the seats is now pleasantly light and cosy. The door panels, though a little warped, just needed covering in vinyl and fastening back with better quality fasteners to pull them into shape. I ended up using rivnuts and stainless steel M6 button headed bolts for this job and the result looks entirely in keeping with the rest of the interior. Automotive Trim and Woolies were reliable suppliers for most of the (high quality) trimming materials.

Though the work so far had produced a decent result, we needed to add a few creature comforts to finish the job off.

Most 'luxury' items like drinks holders, storage boxes, phone holders etc were easily fitted; though I did make sure I made use of original fixing holes and fasteners stripped from the truck when removing the military hardware to keep everything looking as original as possible. Slightly less straight forward was the fitment of a DC-DC converter to reduce the 24V truck supply to a steady (nominal) 12V in order to charge telephones, MP3 players etc. The actual wiring of the Road Pro sourced unit was easy enough but finding somewhere unobtrusive to mount it, and the two new 12V cigarette style sockets that would act as our supply points proved a bit of a headache. I eventually settled on a spot behind the central control panel and with a bit of careful measuring got everything to fit just-so. For what it was worth I also added an isolation switch into the dash using an identical-to-standard Leyland DAF switch enabling us to turn the converter off when not in use.

We did consider whether to fit a stereo system but both having mobile phones capable of storing vast amounts of music and able to tune in radio stations, decided to keep things simple and use those with bluetooth stereo headsets paired as required. The end result of the cab work is very pleasing. It looks alright, is functional, is easy to clean and is well insulated. Keeping the engine noise and heat out was certainly worth all the effort. The truck is nice to drive and it's easy to maintain a conversation using normal voices at its current comfortable cruising speed of 50mph.

Though the original seats would prove comfortable enough as a stop-gap, we eventually submitted to full suspension units - see subsequent pages for details.