Thursday 21 November 2013

Maintenance Update

Monday 18th
I popped in to the TPO and slapped Deproma anti-rust on some bottoms, and GWR green enamel on 4 tops.

Tuesday 19th
Today the sun shone, and I could see what a pig's ear I'd made of the tops yesterday!  Had to re-paint them.  Had hoped to do the lettering with a view to finishing them off on Weds!

Wednesday 20th
The day began with rain and hail.  Geof pressed on for a while outside.  Bruce decided to paint some chairs inside!  Fred brought Gilbert, and tea break was declared.  Fred then returned to the siphon at Winchcombe, where he had abandoned Ray.

Bruce completed 3 BR chairs in red Deproma, ready to become Crimson Lake.  Then he focussed on the vacuum retaining valve that Carpo thought was sticking up.  Bruce keeps making sealing rings for the valve piston, testing out ideas and trying to get the ring to be a perfect circle and not stick in its cylinder.  Also he has an idea of making a push rod for inside the cylinder so that you can demonstrate that the piston is stuck up ... or is not!  This is Bruce's homework.

Geof pointed out that, since the damper door is being lowered, but not increased in depth, could we please remove the angle iron welded across its inside face, because it makes it very awkward to get the ash rake in through the door, as the angle restricts the opening.  I'm sure I'd mentioned it before, but this time notice was taken!  Bruce cut it off.  He also found a smaller angle that could be welded in its place with considerably less interference for the fireman.  The point was expressed that some of our team would benefit from experiencing a day of firing and clearing out the ash, to learn some of the idiosyncrasies of our loco first-hand.

Gil & Geof re-measured the LHS cylinder valve rod, and decided that it is feasible just to re-bush the front cover.  All else is within tolerances.  This saves us removing the whole assembly - just the front cover.  Bruce joined in with the discussion about actual sizes versus sizes on the diagrams that we have.  As usual, the diagrams do not entirely reflect what we have on the loco.  G&G then replaced the running boards on the LHS and also took the remnants of the ash pan bottom to the skip.

I had busied myself with you-know-whats, painting 9 tops in Deproma, lettering the 4 that I re-painted yesterday, and finishing off one boot scraper that is ordered.

The loco has had 59 of its 60 steamings, so there is no guarantee she will be out during December, though rumour (i.e. Geof) had it that Adey is planning 5 steamings for her.  Oh, BTW, the Turk has two more broken springs, I hear!



Sunday 17 November 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds 13th
By the time I arrived, David, Gil & Bruce were hard at it.  GWSR Loco Dept had purchased a sucky/blowy-thing so that when David is welding inside the ash pan, it will maintain a supply of fresh air (and suck/blow out the welding fumes).  As with any new toy, the chaps had unwrapped it and had a play - Christmas came early!

David & Bruce worked on the damper door and its linkage.  The old door needed a bit more straightening, and then a bit more stiffening, followed by the cast steel bracing being bolted back on.  David had cut out various bits of metal for the new linkage - it needed lengthening and a minor diversion inserting.  This he welded up, cleaned and primed.  Which reminds me - we need new primer.

Gilbert, aided by Mike, concentrated on the ash pan.  Specifically, cutting out the bottom panel that once was the infamous hopper door.  The latter had been welded in place, having insisted on drooping during service and letting air in & hot ash out.  Finally, Gil & David were deciding how & where to make the "big cut" to remove the lower half of the rear section of ash pan.  Fred was last seen toddling round with a spirit level in his hand - serves him right for asking, probably!

Geof arrived after lunch (after the doctor's) and took many measurements of the cylinder valve rods and valve diameters.  He pronounced that the rod had worn 25 thou' (which is within the 30 thou' tolerance) and the valves themselves were also within tolerance limits.  Therefore, no work is required to be done on them (other than to fit them back on the loco!).

Me?  Well, you can probably guess: I cleaned 5 BR(W) rail chairs plus 2 rather filthy GNR chairs.  John Mayell (P.Way) popped in to collect (and pay for) a BR boot scraper in crimson that he had ordered.  My neighbour Dorothy has ordered one as a Christmas present; she doesn't know for whom, yet, but they are so unique that someone who thinks he has got everything is about to find out that he hadn't!

Sat 16th
Initially, John T, Gil & myself prepared the workspace for cutting off the base of the ash pan.  This was the proverbial situation of sitting on a branch and cutting it off !!!  Gil was to be inside the ash pan, cutting out the bottom ... while standing on it.   :-))
So, we acquired some pallets and built a base that supported the ash pan such that when it fell, it would not drop more than the odd millimetre.  It was also time to test the sucky/blowy thing, to try to maintain fresh air in the ash pan for Gilbert.  John got volunteered to be chief gopher and nurse maid (keeping an eye on Gil while he worked inside the firebox cutting off the lower portion of the ash pan).

Bruce came with some ideas about testing a valve in the braking system that Carpo was convinced was sticking.  Bruce is convinced that it isn't, and so devised some ways of testing it.  We can't do that unless in steam, though.

Geof and Steve tackled the cylinder valves, with Bruce joining them.  The RHS rod and valve heads are all within tolerances, so they simply fitted the whole shaft back in place.  In an effort to save effort (!) Geof attempted to measure the LHS without extracting the whole thing.  This appears to show that the LHS rod is well outside of tolerance.  However, it was not easy to measure, so it will have to come out next Wednesday and be checked properly.  Geof, Steve and Bruce started to dismantle the LHS valve assembly to give a 'flying start' to Wednesday.

Apart from assisting with pallets, and later with carrying the RHS valve assembly back to the loco, my focus was once more on building up a stock of boot scrapers in case anyone wants one (or two) for Christmas.  I aim to have enough to tide us through December, and thereafter we have three months in which the loco will be at Tyseley, so I hope then to have more help getting boot scrapers ready for next season.


Saturday 9 November 2013

Maintenance Update

Weds. 6th Nov
Gilbert attacked the ash pan, and Bruce initially offered help.  The first task was to remove the damper door so that it could be used to verify the new-cut metal.  This proved to be quite a challenge.  Two chaps from the Loco Dept joined in and helped Gil.  Fire bars had to be removed so that Gil could get inside the firebox, standing in the front section, leaning over where the axle passes beneath, and working (almost upside down) in the rear section.  It was impossible to undo nuts & bolts, so Gil attacked them with an angle grinder.

The portable lamp threw a wobbly, as two wires decided they'd had enough of being bent.  I examined the cable, and discovered that it had not been assembled "cleverly".  It was easy enough to cut off the dead wire, thread the cable properly and re-assemble it.

3/4 the way through the last bolt, and Gil's angle grinder died.  Raiding the Loco Dept tool store, he found another.  Plugged it in ... no sign of life!  Why do people put away dead tools, instead of informing someone and getting them fixed???  Gil found a third one, and that did work.

Meanwhile, I started cleaning rail chairs, but rain soon started.  This results in the rust & oil combining into a brown soup on the chairs as the needle gun pounds the mixture into a paste.  Also, Gilbert had nicked my angle grinder (see above) so I couldn't finish off the prep anyway.  As the rain increased, I decided to give up.

Bruce had wisely moved inside and was painting chairs prepared last weekend.  He could only spare the morning at Todders, and disappeared at lunchtime.  I painted brushes until lunch.  Thereafter, there was little I could do, so I went home, too.  In a way, it was lucky that I did because a courier arrived at my house with new wire brush discs for us.

Fri. 8th
I did lettering on rail chairs and then dismantled our dead angle grinder.  One of the carbon brushes had died.  I located spares on t'internet and order a set.

Sat. 9th
Lots of people responded to my email asking for help for Gilbert, as he was supposed to be replacing the lower rear section of the ash pan and remove the cylinder valve pistons - these need to be completed by end November.

Because rain was threatened, I arrived early and attacked some GWR rail chairs, cleaning three before the rain set in leading to me making more soup.

David arrived did a bit of welding. Later, he made a short section of rod for the new position of the damper door.  The door will be a couple of inches lower to make it easier to clear out ash.  Needless to say, the existing rod then fouled some pipe work, so this by-pass had to be made to divert the rod round the pipe.  Bruce, John G, John T, Geof soon followed.  Despite the rain, most people started tackling the ash pan and valves.  Fortunately, the rain stopped at lunchtime, which made it more pleasant to continue.

The rear damper door (that Gil managed to get off on Wednesday) was bent in the centre of the top edge.  Because our ash pan had to be narrower than the original in order to accommodate the steam heating pipe (which was not fitted originally) the cast steel bracing piece from the original damper door had been cut through the middle.  This formed a weak point, and the doors tended to bend down the centre line.  So, Bruce & John T undid the nuts and bolts, and David subsequently welded up the centre.  Meanwhile, Andy W [Loco Dept] got the gas out and tortured the door, beating it back into more-or-less straightness.

When Bruce was in the pit under the loco, he moved a ladder and discovered a toad hiding behind it.  Feeling that the toad was truly in a hole (i.e. it couldn't climb out of the pit), I extricated it and deposited it in the hedge by the wood store - plenty of places for it to crawl and hide.

Removing the piston valves is one of those jobs that requires one to move half of the planet before being able to extract the valve rod.  Several sections of running board had to come off.  Then, at the rear end of the valve shaft, there is a taper that fits into a slidey-thing.  A cotter pin secures the tapered end in the slidey thing, but getting the rod out was a minor challenge.  You can't hit the end of the rod to free it.  The only thing to do was disconnect it from the connecting rod.  The connecting rod is secured to the slidey-thing (aka valve spindle cross-head) also with a tapered gudgeon pin, which has a castellated nut on the inside (not visible in the photo).

It took four of us to remove the pin, separate the parts, slide the valve rod in a bit, and then belt the end of it with a sledge hammer!  I was a tad concerned, since it was I who was holding the brass drift against the rod end, while Geof was wielding the sledge hammer - frequently hitting the connecting rod and bouncing into the wheel.  But we got there in the end!

During all of the excitement, John G was acting as general assistant and gopher; John T was undoing nuts & things in support of the valve removal.  Underneath the loco, Gilbert was removing more bits of the lower ash pan, assisted by David at times, and Ray O'H [Loco Dept] and Andy W, with his gas bottles.

All in all, much fun was had, and many things achieved.


Saturday 2 November 2013

Maintenance Update

On Wednesday (30 Oct), Gilbert was alone at Toddington, cutting out steel plate to fabricate a new bottom half for the front section of the ash pan.

On Saturday (2 Nov), Gilbert continued, making sure the two side sections were identical in size and shape.  He then cut the damper door section (including the hole for the door).

Bruce inspected the "pep" pipe tap, but it seemed to be OK.  People will just have to live with the fact that it dribbles.  If one of us is around the next time 2807 steams (possibly not until after Christmas) we could test the effect of opening the LHS injector feed side, and then the RHS injector feed side (without the injectors on).  Whichever one squirts water out at a significant rate must be the side with the top clack that leaks.

Dodging showers, Bruce and I prepared 9 rail chairs to try to build up boot scraper stocks (we have just two completed ones in stock).