Thank you for visiting the Routemaster Owner and Operator's Forum (ROOF). Please feel free to use this forum for the mature discussion of any issues of interest and relevance to Routemaster owners. Please do not use this board to publicise your feelings about individuals, National or Local Government or TFL policy. Owners of other London bus types in service during the 1950s, 60s and 70s are also welcome to contribute to this forum.

The ROOF website has more items of interest and illustrated technical guides. The forum and website are independent and not connected with any association or club for Routemaster owners.

Please do not respond to abusive posts but notify

Start a New Topic 
RF511 on Ebay

I see RF511/ MXX488 is for sale on Ebay at the moment. Would be a good parts donor as I think it's a bit too far gone, even with the optimistic description of being an "Ideal Restoration Project"

My bus number (if any): RLH62

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I made an enquiry about this bus yesterday as there is no mention of it's mechanical condition.

The reply I got back from the person who listed it said he had no idea about it's mechanical condition as the bus has been repossessed and is being sold to recover storage debt.

Anyone wishing to buy this could end up having a legal battle with the registered keeper over the legality of the sale?

My bus number (if any): RM765 and RM548

Re: RF511 on Ebay

It would appear from the ebay photos that the seller does have the V5 etc, so presumbably the owner has passed it to the seller ?
Is this vehicle historically significant and worth saving - or best destined for parts ?


Re: RF511 on Ebay

Like a lot of RFs and other buses, few are historically interesting unless they are unique, so best this goes for parts to keep others going. There's a lot of preserved RFs out there.

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

The only significent thing that I can recall with this one is that it participated in the RF Farewell Tour the day after the RFs finished on the 218 & 219.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

RF's are an easy restoration just so long as they haven't been at the mercy of the well intentioned preservationists, this looks bad but ill bet it isn't any worse than RF395 was.

From my point of view i can see a full set of seat frames, i can see most of the removed parts including a couple of spare window pans and what looks like a good replacement drivers window pan which is worth its weight in gold.

Yes the engine gearbox etc could be a risk but whats new? RF512 (nearly finished) has paper work claiming the dynamo and control box were serviced/repaired - no..... The engine starts on the first turn but has oil leaks on the sump, the rear brake cylinders leak and we had to change the air tank brake/clutch/unloader valve assembly, the tyres initially looked good but will now probably fail class VI MOT. Add to this the nightmare bodywork (preservationists) and messed up electrics you begin to ask yourself "was it worth it", but when it goes back on the road in PSV service and the problems are long forgotten i know i will be.

All im saying is RF's are tough old beasts and "where there's a will there's a way"

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Class 6 RFs are exempt from annual testing as are all pre-1960 vehicles. :)

Nothing is usually beyond repair, witness my current project GKE68, but is it really worth spending more time and effort on restoring yet another RF? Seat frames etc are worth keeping as Dave says and you may just get a reasonable engine and diff out of it.

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Roy, what I'm saying is: from what i can see it definitely IS a viable restoration project.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

The seller put this bus on ebay a while ago - with no V5 - somebody did bid on it but apparently never turned up - I suggested to him that he ought to obtain a V5 before trying to sell it due to the ownership circumstances (apparently the owner has abandoned the bus according to the seller). I believe a V5 is not proof of ownership and can be issued to someone applying for it if reasonable attempts by the relevent agency to contact the original owner prove fruitless ?
A mate of mine bought an MGB in similar circumstances from a garage who sold it in lieu of payment. There was was some dispute afterwards but he did end up keeping the vehicle as the garage had waited some considerable time before selling it.

My bus number (if any): RML2747

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I was offered a couple of ECW-bodied Regal IVs a few months ago from up north; these were new to Thomas Tilling and originally had RFW type bodies. One of these would have made a far worthier preservation project than another standard RF.

I sometimes wish people would see sense when it comes to rescuing old vehicles. In an ideal world all those found would be saved, and I agree with those sentiments. However, I tend to live in a practical world where I see on a weekly basis the fruitless search for spares to keep such vehicles on the road. For instance, AEC590 parts; RF engines seem to go bang at the rate of 3 a year that I hear of; RM half shaft and foot brake valves...need I carry on? What is the point of having 500 preserved Routemasters, 100 RFs, 86 GS's etc. when a few worthy specimens would suffice?

Remember too none of us are getting any younger and there isn't the interest from the younger generation to carry on our interests. One example of another basket case is a Metrobus parked near me. I know the owner, he parked the bus up a few year ago after an enforced "holiday". He had offers to buy it for whatever. He decided not to sell, that's his choice, as the bus was one of those that carried a historic livery. The bus still sits in a field rotting away and is a haven for wildlife. That bus I probably still restorable, but to what purpose and at what cost?

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay


I completely agree with you, there are too many owners who buy with the best of intentions to restore and I have to admit to have been one of those in the past, then the reality check sets in with the rot. I know of an RT that is gently decaying away in a barn, now as you pointed out it is up to an owner what he or she does with their vehicle, so with this in mind I do not see a change in the way buses are owned.

My own view is that too many vehicles are being restored in any case, lets have more RM's that can be used for spares instead of looking at every one to be found in a poor state as a potential restoration project.

Talking about age is very relevant, unless a lot more young people come forward and take an interest in these old buses i can only see a slow decline of the hobby of owning a bus.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Oi Ed, you haven't been to the barn at Mountnessing where MY RT is have you?? LOL...

Yeah, another basket case that'll probably end up being dismantled for spares, along with 4RF4 MLL721 and my OB. Well, I've got to have SOME spares to keep the others going.

OK, looking at the eBay RF, there's no roof dome; no front panels, I've got a few of those, brand new, both types, bus and mod green line; seat cushions and backs, cushions can be made from scratch, backs you'd need to get the wood and the springs. window pans are probably rotten; glass you can have cut, window rubber from Baines. Uprights are probably rotten, front corners missing, rear corners missing. Why bother with restoring this one, it's another red RF. BTW I've got a spare rear roof dome and blind box in my workshop!

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I really must question some of the logic here.....

So according to some of the comments in this thread it comes down to this: RF511 should be completely disregarded because it never carried a cream band, white roundel transfer and Setright ticket machine combination, seriously?

What, exactly, are the requirements for an RF to become historically significant? How about RF281 - the modernised Greenline with the experimental blue/grey interior. Many hours of research and hunting for materials were put into that unique and painstakingly restored interior, and what did the masses say: "ew! they were never like that in service" The owner even carried around an evidence bag of recovered scraps as proof! My point? - why bother about interest and significance when very few know or care!

Spare parts? more spare parts? Like Roy (and many others) i too have RF parts, iv'e got that much of the stuff i could weight it in and get a bloody good holiday out of it! Engine parts? 4 new pistons, 2 new con rods, a bag of new push rods, valves & springs, engine mounts, gaskets, exhaust manifolds, bearings, seals and so on...... I don't see people queuing up at the door to buy this stuff, and why? because its not wanted or needed. Yes this RF could yield an engine and gearbox but why should the whole bus be sacrificed because someone else is to lazy or inept to maintain theirs?

The missing/knackered parts? The front dome is inside the bus, all of the front structure is available or can be copied from parts in our stores, panels and mouldings - yes, glass - stacks of it, frame work - we get that made by the 8' length, rear tie panel and step structure - patterns in stock, hand rails/switches/cappings/hinges/indicators/seat frames/ep valves/doors/door engine/door switches/wiper motors/timber parts/blind box winding gear/ brake adjusters/brake linings..... i don't think there is any shortage of RF spares.

We are old and we need new blood in preservation, well of course... but i don't see a connection with that fact and the fate of this RF??? Throwing our hands up and scrapping a bus because its rusty is hardly going to inspire the next generation is it?

Can nobody find a good reason why this RF should be restored?

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Any bus looks worse than it is without it's clothes on and most of the bits missing seem to be in the bus except for the seat backs and bases. Any bus is doable - the bases and backs were probably dry stored somewhere away from the bus and probably not available now. In an ideal world a fair cross section of vehicles would be preserved including more obscure ones but most preservationists choose a vehicle they remember riding on or have a connection with. As like some of you I was on the last three RF tour with my father and spent many days riding around on the last days of Kingston so remember this bus well. Although I am tempted to take it on I already have two bus restorations on the go and a full time job I would get done but it would be a while before I could get it sorted. Ideally it would be better for someone with more time to get it back on the road sooner than I could. Sadly I suspect the owner removed some panels and the window pan and lost interest when he saw the rot in the framework.

My bus number (if any): RML2747 Gash DD6

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Some valid points made by everyone above, nothing like some good old debate! I'm not suggesting RF511 MUST be scrapped/dismantled for spares or retored, just trying to put the opposite view of those who think everything old should be preserved.

To answer some of Dave's point, I too have a vast quantity of RF spares, something like 30 pistons, 50 head gaskets at least, valves and spring etc. When I said engines go bang I mean just that; serious mechanical failure. For example, RFW14's engine went bang a couple of years ago without warning, no.2 big end bolt sheared and the block and sump damaged beyond repair. In 1971, MLL721's engine done the same. I know of 1 other RF that's had the same failure in the last year, and several RMs. ISTR starting a thread on it here a while ago.

When RFW14's engine went bang, the owner was lucky inasmuch as I had a complete spare engine in stock ready to go. That turned out to be a bit of a "knocker" so Paul Morris replaced that with one he had in stock. I've heard "my" engine is now in the RF that went bang last year. So now I don't have a spare engine, but still have the original block from RF136 and should be able to make a decent engine "one day".

So it's not the PARTS for the engine that are necessarily in short supply but the block and sump. Gearbox casings are getting porous, and diffs fail fairly frequently due to the wrong oil (or no oil) being used. again, I have part to make a decent one and know of other parts to make another, but my stock came from dismantled buses. Maybe someone should start a register of what spares are available?

Good luck to whoever takes on RF511 to restore, maybe Dave and myself could have a decent holiday each out of supplying spares for it. :)

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Dave Simmons

Can nobody find a good reason why this RF should be restored?

Yes, because it can be.

If there are the parts and the skills available to repair it and it can be repaired then why not?
Which RFs are to be the recipients of this vehicle's parts? The equally bad or worse ones sitting in fields and yards?

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RMC 1458, RM 1585 and several RTs

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I would say that there is a good reason for this bus to be restored,since it seems to be more or less complete. But only if it is going to be done properly. For this to happen a realistic assessment of the main mechanical units needs to be made; particularly of the potential cost of their overhaul, which could easily exceed the budget for the rest of the entire restoration. There is the risk otherwise of an absolutely beautiful,correct-in-every-detail trailer as the end product.

The reason that there are stocks of 'unrequired' parts laying around is twofold, either the parts are not the ones which fail, or they have not been taken up because of the historic attitude that any major failure can automatically be rectified by substitution rather than repair. Engine or gearbox fails? answer fit another one equally on its last legs - which also fails some time down the road. Result now two failed units, but the discarded one might well have revealed what would have been needed to ensure that the second one if examined, could have been overhauled; or vice versa.

So restore it or cannibalise it? Restore, because otherwise someone will merely see it as a cheap means of keeping their limper staggering on.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Exactly brian

Once again (do search all similar previous threads) this is highly subjective.

Who exactly should break this up for spares? Are one of you going to buy it for that purpose? Perhaps you RF owners should break yours to help others or is it only those with an insignificant bus should do it. My RML is historically meaningless apparently so should go. Oh hang on, it is as historic as any other Routemaster with the added bonus that it was one of only 32 that were in the ensign raffle and it ran out of my garage, HL. Very historically significant to me then.

My metrobus is no use to anyone and is in poor condition and my limited time prevents me from completing but I will sell my RML before she go's.

The point is this. One mans basket case/parts source is another mans dream and if it never is completed then what has that got to do with any of us?


My bus number (if any): Various insignificant basket cases

Re: RF511 on Ebay

It's certainly becoming apparent that many preservationists and certainly the pioneer preservationists are either passing to the big bus garage in the sky or becoming too infirm to manage the care of their much cherished vehicles.

Like most of us who put off writing a will, (even though we full know we should) very few have laid plans for their vehicle's future when they are gone or no longer able.

And we also have a predatory market which will pay big money for small things like registration numbers and in many cases the vehicle.

But we also know, this does not mean the vehicle is safe and protected. It is most likely to be butchered in a poor conversion or sold on several times.

The other side of the coin is the point about younger people becoming involved in their own restoration projects.

I know a few who have taken the plunge.
They have to be applauded.

Some have a natural aptitude, and can manage to do most if not all the jobs required in a restoration.

Others are willing to learn and get there by trail and error.

And a few have deep pockets.

And most make a lot of sacrifices, more than is probably healthy.

But it's not the cost of parts, the skills to restore, the make do and mend or even the time afforded on a restoration, or even the maintaining of a preserved bus or even the weirdy brigade that's pushing younger people away.

It's the cost and lack of adequate, accessible and affordable storage where work can be carried out.

In the London area, rents exceed incomes and it is simply unaffordable to anyone on a normal income. It's not too prudent even on a high income. And suitable sites are getting almost impossible to find, even for businesses.

The cost of storage exceeds the cost of restoration by a long chalk.

I have 3 classic vehicles. 2 are in rented garages and one lives on the street but has to have a borough parking permit (up from £40 per annum to £95 p.a. in just 2 years under the current local council regime.)

The council rented garage rent though, has risen 450% in just 3 years. The storage costs have way exceeded the value of the vehicle.

On paper, it is nothing other than completely stupid financially to retain it.

But I spent 100's of hours restoring it and was something I always wanted to do.

I feel now that I'm being taxed on my hobby and certainly because I live in a London Borough.

I would buy a bus tomorrow and would love a basket case as a challenge.
I've had plenty of practice either renovating other peoples basket cases or arresting their decay!

For me restoring is the thing I enjoy. There's not much more satisfying that turning a pile of rust and dust back to it's as new condition.

But the simple fact deters me. Cost of useable storage and location. By the time storage is affordable, I'm 70 miles from home. The cost in time and fuel is eroding the storage rent saving.

So the conclusion is that this is becoming a hobby for those with space and facilities well away from cities and in the case of London Buses, away from where the interest was spawned and nurtured.

But it is also dispersed the skill holders. There is no longer a concentration of skills and experienced people with know how in London .

The only saving grace is the internet without which, I think this movement would have already foundered and faded to a tiny clique.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I could not agree more Mark.

Unless you have an industrial business with a space spare, Preservation and particularly restoration is going to be something that money can't buy.

It's gone so crazy in London that the bean counters are questioning the viabilitiy of some of our depots because the site is worth far more to developers.
It's becoming a serious pressure. What was semi derelict scrubland that no-one really wanted just a decade ago and was good for nothing more than parking empty trailers on is now prime development land and can make more money in one go than 30 years of viable operations on the site will ever realise.

If it's a threat to multi million international businesses then what chance does an individual have in finding a space to work on for a bus.

It's still just about possible with a lot of luck and good connections but a few more years and it will be completely impossible.

I understand even Brooklands has embarked on Property development because of the high value of the site.
Fast quick money in the short term and possibly securing some projects, but in the long term? Possibly curbing any chance of expansion within the location.
What quite will the nice facility the London Bus Museum now has, do when the place is full and the queue of restorations gets longer?

Re: RF511 on Ebay

RF 511 is up to £700. There are quite a few people including posters here who have the skills and facilities to do bus restoration, including putting this one back together.

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RMC 1458, RM 1585 and several RTs

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Sadly if it only goes for a few hundred quid there is a danger it may well just we bought by a local scrap dealer and weighed in . The initial purchase cost to a preservationist is largely irrelevant given the eventual cost of a proper overhaul.

My bus number (if any): RML2747 Gash DD6

Re: RF511 on Ebay

It's a wreck with little other use apart from a full restoration or for parts.
Even the parts yield will be small.

Given the cost of restoring a wreck, the reality is it is not even worth £700.
Only the chassis will have a scrap weight value and that will not make £400.

I would love to see this acquired by the LTM or LBM as an apprentice project for younger people to restore.

It's a good starting base with all the skills necessary required.

It's not too rare and not too difficult.

It would be great as a supervised youth project teaching the correct techniques in all aspects of restoration and even for older participants who want to learn and get involved.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

How can anyone see from the Ebay photos what condition the majority of the framing is in?
As Graham said, with a dome on it would look much better.

This was overhauled the same time as 512, and if not bodged would have been in far better condition than a lot of other RFs that have looked red/green shiny and complete!

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RMC 1458, RM 1585 and several RTs

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Since 512 is being mentioned as well, below are pictures on Ebay of it some long time ago. I trust that the overheating has been cured, because it certainly won't have liked it. It would be such a shame to have spent a small fortune on restoration only to find that it expires in another cloud of steam.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

RF 512 has been checked over mechanically by someone who has extensive experience on them with LT (and has one of his own), following its extensive and extremely well done body overhaul. The mechanical work required now will be carried out before it goes for a class 6 MOT.

My bus number (if any): RTL 960, RMC 1458, RM 1585 and several RTs

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I see it went for £1175.

Going slightly off-thread with the overheating problems with RFs, the usual cause is a blocked radiator; then a blocked cylinder block, usually around no 5 and 6. Reliances were fitted with a bleed pipe from the water jacket cover at the back of the block back to the header tank to try to alleviate the overheating which may have also been caused by air locks in the back of the block.

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

Brian Watkinson
RF 512......., following its extensive and extremely well done body overhaul.

Given who did it I think that goes without saying.

Re: RF511 on Ebay

but still have the original block from RF136 and should be able to make a decent engine "one day".

Off topic again..... I hope RF136 doesn't turn up on ebay one day in the same state as RF511, does it need to be purchased/restored etc or is it tucked away safe?

Re: RF511 on Ebay

AFAIK 136 is still in the Weybridge area; I approached the owner a couple of years ago with a view to buying it but have heard little since then. I done a lot of work on that bus in the 1990s, getting it back into psv condition then operating it for about 10 years. I'll try contacting him again.

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I am a young man at 32 right I am into my buses and so is my good mate Steve at 35 but the problem is the older owners get older and pass away then the bus gets sold they want top money or someone sells the plate and the bus look at buses dumped in fields like the metro i love to get that and put into the historic livery but cos I don't have money to do this I am stuck I have noticed the decline in rts and other buses as well that's why I am glad we got got roger wright at London bus co and the boys at ensign and rob duker as well who have saved loads of buses

I even saw on the news that the battersea steam railway needs youngsters as well to keep that going. Buses and railways are suffering ATM and youngsters don't find it cool I thought my bro would have the bus interest but no took him to rally's but got bored had to go home after two hours

My bus number (if any): LT150 and RM1562

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I used to take my sons to rallies; the younger one shows little or no interest in buses; the older decided he prefers playing with tanks and steam trains!!

Do we know who bought RF511?

My bus number (if any): RML2532

Re: RF511 on Ebay

My Dad took me to many rallies and now at 30yr I own...

...a Bristol VR, Bristol Olympian, two Dennis Darts (step entrance - not many of these saved!) and an RML.

And that is just the buses!


My bus number (if any): RML2344

Re: RF511 on Ebay

I see this bus is back on EBay it doesn’t seem to have moved on or had much work done on it since it was last for sale ?

My bus number (if any): RML2747