Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of a petulant Planet

15th July 2012

I hold Andrew entirely responsible. As we drove back from Scunthorpe last weekend, he remarked that we hadn't heard anything about "Pluto" and hoped that the Derwent Valley were making good use of it. And two days later, guess what happens: we get a e-mail from Vince at the DVLR to say that Pluto had been started ready for service on Sunday and promptly developed a major oil leak.

I wouldn't have minded, save that Andrew was going away to his girlfriend's on Saturday and I was anticipating a day doing something 'entirely different'. I could see that it would be me that would have to investigate.

As the week wore on I sought out news of the transmission for the 03. As at Friday the powershift part had been reassembled with a couple of replacement bearings, and the converter was part done. With a bit of luck it might be on test around the middle of next week - though Andrew can't see when he can take a day off work in his now crowded schedule of loco testing. Gary Hibbs kindly passed me a drawing of the casing door for 03s (saves me measuring one up and with my propensity for not understanding my own writing, getting it wrong) and I ordered up the aluminium profiles for the two we need to renew.

On Saturday I spent some time on paperwork issues and after an early lunch, set off for York. When we installed the Foden FD6 in "Pluto", about 7 years ago, the oil filter canister was damaged and we decided to fit instead a Fleetguard spin on filter and head. Although the old filter had a surprisingly large number of little setscrews holding the head to the canister, I thought little of it until we first started the engine and heard a rather strange noise. We stopped the engine immediately and found a large pool of oil - the top of the filter (the bit wot screws on) was still in situ but the barrel was now at an angle to it, and would have come completely off had it not come into contact with the side frame. We changed the filter the following week and the loco repeated the party-piece.

I had the name of a knowledgeable engineer at Fleetguard, so rang him. Apart from tactfully telling me that I had not really picked the right filter for the engine, he went on to explain that the standard filter was good to 300psi, but after that the two parts, crimped together in manufacture, were liable to separate. At this point I consulted the engine manual and realised that unlike almost every other sane (4 stroke) engine manufacturer, Foden filtered the oil before passing it through the relief valve, and the design of filter that had been on before was a medium pressure one. We resolved the issue by adding a relief valve between pump and filter that if the pressure reached about 250 or so, by-passed the filter temporarily. With that sorted (early 2006) Pluto gave no more trouble, and indeed, although Chatham claimed to have serviced the loco we had a sneaky feeling that the same filter was still on it when it went to Castle Hedingham and we changed it there.

Arriving at Murton I glanced into the engine bay and sure enough, the filter barrel was at an angle to the top. Getting it off was reasonably simple, though after 3 attempts at screwing the new filter in I managed to get the loco moved forward a few feet to where I could slide underneath. The DVLR are planning a shed - I hope they include a real live pit.

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With the filter on and secure I checked the dipstick and found the oil barely touching. In the end I added 20 litres to bring it up to max, allowing a little extra for slope and empty filter, so concluded we had been lucky that they had spotted the oil leak before any serious damage occurred. I then cranked the engine for some time with the throttle lever pressed to 'stop', not allowing it to fire until I had seen oil pressure on the gauge. When I did get it to run, it was hunting badly which Vince confirmed had been the case when it ran a few weeks ago. After checking with Andrew I bled the governor and it settled down again and so I let it run a while to recharge the batteries. Pluto should be out in traffic next Sunday (22nd) and we'll hear how it behaved.

Sunday, and Andrew re-appeared ready to charge off to Rowsley. During the week, "Tom" and Drewry 72229 had been shunted across to the shed - the former so we could jack it on a firm surface and the latter for a underside inspection to check it fit to run in the Warring 40s event. With the steam loco out the way, we started the Drewry and brought Tom over to track 1, where it stuck half out of the shed. The fact that the roller shutter was up meant that several members of the public tried to enter by passing along the side of the loco and ignoring the big red sign saying "No admittance". We evicted them as politely as possible. But there again, two others who had asked questions thanked us and called us "Lads" - only going to show how many passengers are overdue for a trip to Specsavers.

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First job was to remove the heavy "torpedo" transmission cooler and having set up a Hydralite under the engine flywheel housing to take the weight, undo the bolts holding the Mk1 engine mount and swap it for the Mk2, assembled and primed last week. All the holes actually lined up and this was relatively straightforward. Next the torpedo was fitted to the new bracket. When we dropped this in at Telford we had used only 2 bolts instead of 4, which I now realised was because we only had had 2 in stock. Andrew went off to scavenge 2 more, and by the time he returned, I was underneath the loco trying to find one of those...

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Anyway, all 4 were eventually fitted, and two taper washers added at the cab end in order to make the front coolant connection line up - indeed, Andrew had brought a short off-cut of 2" silicon and this was slid on while we had the chance.

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Emboldened, we dug out the torque converter pipes from the cab, cleaned them up and made new joints and bolted them on, followed by the clutch cylinder and its bracket. By now however it was getting late in the afternoon, and the "kettle" would be returning to shed, so after the exam had been completed on the Drewry, I started it up and we shunted the two of them over out the way.

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