Sunday, 25 February 2018

Maintenance Update (mudhole, gauge, rods, pins)

Wednesday 21st
Lots of people here today - luckily John G and Fred did not join us, otherwise they would have had to sit outside for lunch! It is time we got the siphon moved back here and vacated our squat for a permanent home.

David and Bruce fitted the mudhole doors back in place. This requires hot water to soften the gaskets on the doors. But, having experienced the difficult removal of the one door, David decided to mildly modify the surrounding boiler cladding! All eight doors are now back in place. We still can’t fill the boiler because lots of inspection plugs are still out. They were removed primarily to enable the Riley’s chap (Colin) to inspect the boiler prior to quoting for its overhaul. We can’t fit the plugs without authorisation and supervision from the Boiler responsible Person.

John T reassembled the gauge frame. Three sides are heavy grade glass that is held in with brackets and bolts. Some clearing of the holes was necessary, where paint was where it was not needed. Doesn’t it look smart? Actually, it kind of shows up the rest of the backhead paintwork, doesn’t it!

John fitted the lubricating felts into the newly-metalled rod bearings. Then he spent the afternoon slapping paint on rail chairs (7 tops and 2 bottoms).

The rods occupied much time from most people during the day. Gil and David M began by emerying the final bush and its pin to get a good fit.

By 12:45 they matched!

After lunch, it was everyone to the rod fitting!

Working from rearmost to front, each coupling rod was lifted up and slid into place. Typically, the rod to its rear had to be raised while this was in progress and then lowered to be connected. Note the brass spacer to reduce sideway knock in this one.

When the coupling rods were on, the connecting rod completed the set. This one is a shade heavier, but it behaved well. Thereafter, securing nuts and pins had to be fitted and tightened. Some have to be inserted from back-to-front, and wheel spokes tend to get in the way! The solution is to roll the loco until there is sufficient room to insert the pins. So, Graham manned the tender brake (for safety) while David, Bruce, Steve and I manned the pinch-bars to roll the loco (with tender, of course) firstly about 3 feet backwards, and then about 3½ feet forwards again!

By end of play, everything was together except that some bolts require split pins fitting (as a safety measure against their nuts dropping off).

Thursday 22nd
Minor amusement: I went to Todders to cut some wedges for boot scrapers. Our feeble trolley had a tyre a bit low, so I decided to pump it up. The tyre said maximum 30 psi; the gauge said that it was down below 10. So, I started pumping. Just as it reached 20 psi, there was a ripping sound, reminiscent of The Hulk when he gets very angry! Then the tyre tore open and a balloon of inner tube oozed out, culminating in the inevitable “BANG!” Whoops!

Saturday 24th
The major task of today was to refit all of the inspection plugs. This largely fell to Gilbert, with some assistance from me, and both John T and Rob joining in from time to time. Each plug hole has a tapered thread. This needs a brief clean-up to get rid of rust, using a suitable tapered tap. Each plug had already been cleaned. One was rejected because the square head had become twisted. The rest were good. A thin smear of graphite grease is applied to the thread before fitting.

The top row on the firebox and the four on top of the boiler are easy to access. Others present a challenge to the knees!

In the cab, for example, various levers get in the way;

and in the smokebox, you just have to pretend to be Houdini.

Meanwhile, Bruce was fitting split-pins to the nuts on the rods. Some of these even presented a challenge. We had to push the loco up & down a few times in order to get rods into positions that allowed access to some of the nuts.

Amazingly, it only took three of us to move the loco: Bruce, Rob and myself.

John T fitted seals to the valve cylinder front covers in anticipation of these going back on.

Rob refitted the Mason’s Valve in the cab and also oiled-up all of the rods.

Stuart had come all the way from Lancashire, just to paint the number on the front buffer beam!

Next jobs: connect loco & tender hoses; connect main drag link between loco and tender; complete the mechanical exam (by John P); warming fire (Wednesday) and steam test (Thursday).


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