Sunday, 7 February 2016

Maintenance Update (beam, pin, oil, bridge)

Wednesday 3rd
John G began the day by stamping an identifier on each of the underkeep straps and then painting them black (see photo). After lunch he joined the Pony Club.

 … and while you are looking at the first photo, guess the cost of the bolt. This is one of the four fitted bolts to secure the RHS rocking shaft housing to the loco frames. It is five inches tall and has a diameter of one-and-a-quarter inches. Answer below!

During the morning, our two invalids, Gilbert & Bruce, measured every conceivable dimension on the pony frame in order to decide if the height is right. Having inserted the rubbers (exactly those ones that came out) into their bell-housings, they appear to sit about an inch higher than before they were interfered with. Why? Who knows! My guess is that six-plus years of having 7 tons on top of them squelched them a bit, and now having two months without, they relaxed. However, G&B decided to remove two 1/4" rubbers from each side … which meant disassembling the pony again! It was back together by lunchtime, though.

Determined to get the pony back under the loco today, I pressed on by jacking the loco up.

After lunch it was all hands to the pony (i.e. John G, Mike W, plus several Loco Dept chaps (Tim P in particular); even Gil decided to stay on, though his leg prevented him from doing some things).

Rolling the pony along is the easy bit. The buffer beam has to be high enough to get them under, of course, but a whacking great beam has to be low enough to slide the frame of the truck over it. If it goes too low, it clobbers a cross-member that operates the drain cocks. Once the "pointed end" of the frame is past the mid-point of this beam, a roller has to be inserted between beam and underside of the cylinder block.

Then the truck is eased into place, with the beam being adjusted to clear the axle, and the loco frame gradually lowered to manoeuvre the pony frame backwards. This, too, had a habit of fighting that cross-member for the same space! At one stage, we realised that while trying to lift the beam high enough to clear the axle, we were in effect attempting to lift the entire loco, because the roller had engaged and the jack was now trying to push the cylinder block upwards! It really was inch-by-inch.

Back at the "sharp end", the newly-bushed link had to be slid into the newly reamed bridge to line the three holes up. I was yelling (above the needle-gunning and riveting noise from the group next to us) to push "an inch" at a time, as I lifted the front of the frame to slide into the bridge. We got it "almost there" by 4 pm, when the chaps decided to pack up for the day. Since I was stuck between the frames, with the securing pin through two of the holes, I decided to press on. I was able to lever the front sufficiently up/down and side-to-side such that after 20 minutes of fiddling, the pin dropped into place!

All of this time, we were watching the two oilers that dangle down and sit on top of the pony. The loco couldn't be lowered to engage the newly-machined discs on their bottoms until the to & fro movement had finished. They survived! All that remain now is to lower the big chunky weight down from in front of the smokebox and connect the bottom of its link ("Exhibit A") into the end of the beam ("Exhibit B").

Answer to quiz question: The four fitted bolts cost £152 + VAT, so that's £38 each!

Saturday 6th
Bruce was AWOL today, but Donna and Graham from Loco Dept assisted us all day.

I arrived first, so I set up the tackle & pulley to enable us to lower that thunking great weight down onto the pony.

Then Gil suggested that we should fit the large tie-bar frame to the bottom of the pony (it stops the hornguides from spreading under load) before dropping the weight. Much levering and laying down on the job failed to get the 8 bolts to engage in the frame. It is difficult lifting a heavy object upwards, especially when trying to line up bolts & holes. However …

…a voice from the Back Left corner said: “There’s an RF stamped on it here!”

We adjourned for tea break!

Back out again, we turned the frame round and started again. It was still a struggle getting all bolts to fit at the same time, but we got it up and nuts on … though one bolt refused to allow its nut past a couple of turns. We’ll tackle that when 2807 is over a pit.

We still have to finish and fit the underkeeps. The insides need some rough edges grinding off; the bottoms need a drain hole, and the new oil pads need oiling.

Donna was assigned to oil duty, then assisted John making drain holes. The purpose is to easily release any water that collects in the underkeeps. It’s simply a job of drilling, tapping and fitting a small bolt. I won’t embarrass them by saying what happened!

Incessant rain prevented angle-grinding (outside) so the underkeeps remain uncompleted.

Back at the loco, we had to crawl under and jack up the heavy beam to position it below where the eye of the bolt through the weight was going to fall, for them to engage.

As I lowered it, Donna fitted the pin through. Then all we had to do was tighten the nut down on the top, fit a locking nut and a securing bridge on top and put the bell housing back on. Believe me, there was no way that nut would tighten (because it was effectively lifting that beam plus the share of the weight of the loco on the pony! Brainwave: Jack up the beam (again!) to take the weight and then try.

I crawled back under, and jacked; Graham played with the nuts and bridge. You have to get the height right and a split pin through the bridge piece.

Success! Then, while Graham fitted the running board back in front of the RHS valve, the rest of us put things away and tidied up.

The next item on the critical path is to ream out a second hole on the RHS rocking shaft bracket. It was too late in the day to start upon that.


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