Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of wires and pipes

15th April 2012

To celebrate the end of Andrew’s week long Easter holiday, he scheduled a further 3-day working weekend. Actually it would have been 3.5 days but I had the van in for a bit of TLC and didn’t get it back until Friday morning. So we loaded up, and headed on a tour of suppliers, collecting various bits before meandering around to Scunthorpe. The 03 was still inside and awaiting our attention.

Amongst the various pieces that we had just collected were both starter and 25-way multicore cables, so I cracked on laying them on the traywork, the former from battery switch to starter motor and the latter from the planned connection box all the way back to the instrument panel. Andrew started by trying to refit the left hand air receiver, removed ages ago in order to access the casing frame bolts carefully rendered inaccessible by its presence. Yet although it had come out from the same location, and was held by the same straps, it refused to go back into the same place despite judicious use of a jack and various bars and podgers. In the end, the two of us convinced it to return with only minor injuries to ourselves. I trimmed the new top coolant pipe to length and installed it at the radiator end and Andrew went on mount the header for the fuel filter and prepare a number of joints for assorted flanges on the coolant system: but he was feeling a little jaded and we packed up about half five, detouring on the way back to collect said flanges to which my friendly fabricator had finished welding bits of pipe and had left out for us as he went home.

Saturday, and fairly early we set off for Rowsley, but with a diversion to Chesterfield in order to acquire a suitable length of flexible 6″ ducting for the 03’s air intake. Andrew wanted to get straight on to Libby and paint the front of the fuel tank, in the hope it would be dry in good time should any returning steam loco puts its smokebox inside the shed and thus instantly change the humidity of the interior. I set up and prepared the guts of the 03’s engine connection box. That finished Andrew asked me to look at the installation of the cooler group again. Now, I have spent an hour or three on the CAD at home trying to work out how best to fix it in and not really got anywhere. Andrew had however brought with us a pair of vaguely triangular profiles we had bought several years ago as mounts for the cooler now fitted to the 03, so on a whim I decided to try a different form of CAD – chalk-aided design. With a series of doodles and calcs on the front running plate, it turned out to be exceptionally easy and the plates were duly marked up and drilled as the afternoon wore on. The installation will have to wait until the welder returns from Scunthorpe, but then the matrix needs a good pressure wash first, anyway.

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The ex Poole Harbour cooler matrix with mounting profile on top

Sunday, and as soon as the Chinese Grand Prix had finished we set off again for Scunthorpe. By now Andrew’s jaded state from Friday had translated into a full-blown common cold. While I trimmed the new air duct to length and fitted it from air cleaner to external mushroom, Andrew sprayed the mounting plate for my connection box, and while it was drying I started terminating 19 of the 25 wires into the box (the other six are spares) ready to mount it later.

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The new air inlet duct comes down from the top. The filter (left) is fitted to the new bracket (after I had hit my head on it)

Somewhere around here we received a phone call from the DVLR with the unwelcome news that Pluto was sulking and refusing emit any smoke, let alone start and run. We went through all the various possibilities but it sounds like it might have a fuel pump problem. Yet another conflicting demand on our time!

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The engine wiring box at the end of the multi-core cable

With the welder deployed, Andrew enquired where I envisaged mounting the by-pass oil filter and then disagreed strongly with my proposal. Well, it was his loco and his welder so I invited him to find somewhere better. He did, on the other side of the loco where I later proceeded to strike my head on it 4 times whilst laying out trunking to feed electrical gubbins on that side. A similar change of plan occurred when we came to site the gear detection unit underneath the desk. My plan, for simplicity, saw it at the end of the control linkage taking its drive directly from the left hand side gear control lever Andrew opted for moving it towards the centre of the loco and providing it with its own lever welded to the cross-shaft.

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A couple of pieces of tube are needed to join the engine to the powershift cooler - underneath is all complete

After a break for lunch I started assembling the lower section of the cooling system with the recently collected flanges for top and bottom of the powershift cooler while Andrew added the bracket for the suction filter for the transmission oil and made a start on the plumbing for the oil from the reservoir. We had realised a while ago that accessing the radiator for filling in the usual way was going to be difficult as it was virtually under the flange of the chimney pot. By the same token, spotting where the water level was was going to be tricky. Then a flash of inspiration had occurred – on the left hand side of the rad we had a spare top port (as it had been intended for a vee form engine) and a redundant bottom drain port (as the lowest part of the cooling system is under the powershift cooler and I’ve put a drain there). Thus Andrew started a convoluted piece of pipework which comes out from the rad, throws a branch for a clear plastic pipe to go to the bottom port as a sight gauge, then turns back over the radiator heading for a large plated aperture in the front of the casing which we can use as a coolant fill point. All being well, this time next week we’ll have water in the cooling system to see if it leaks anywhere! By late afternoon Andrew’s streaming nose and similar symptoms were again getting the better of him, and after I had finished terminating the cab end of the multi-core cable, we started to pack away. On Tuesday I am off to South Wales to collect the propshaft – the last of the major lumps that D2128 is lacking. Yes, I know I could find a supplier for propshafts nearer than Glamorganshire, but I’ve been dealing with this guy for 20 years this year and yes, I am a creature of habit.

More in this category: Of wanderings and doings »

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