Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of oil and pumps

7th May 2012

With the last weekend before the AFRPS gala, attention once again has concentrated on D2128 - or 03 901 as it has started semi-seriously to be called - with the intention of getting it running. Indeed, a large part of Friday was taken up with touring various suppliers collecting bits and as a result, we set off for Scunthorpe on Saturday morning with a van well-loaded, including 80 litres of hydraulic oil for the transmission, 40 of engine oil for the Cummins, anti-freeze, over 20metres of hose in assorted bores and ends (my little swager is good for up to 1/2", anything bigger I get ready-made by my local supplier), various fittings, 5" bore exhaust pipe in solid and flexible, together with clamps and a bend, and so on.

The shed at Scunthorpe was full of activity - Jamie W was there on his 07 (which went off and performed a successful test run) various members were carrying out restoration work on one of the dmu trailer cars or the LMS inspection carriage, and we were no exception, as having emptied this lot out of the van we started to "hose up" the loco. Andrew squeezed into the front section and made up the suction lines from the filter to the charge pumps, then together we connected up the pre-made hoses that form the torque converter loop between converter and cooler, powershift and cooler, and the feed pipes between the charge pumps and their respective entry points. You can get some idea from this "composite" view with the radiator to the right, the bottom coolant connection to the engine (centre in blue) passing along to the starter at the left.

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I had been worrying how to get the wiring in to the 3 solenoids that control the powershift, these had been wired up by Twin Disc in manufacture but during earlier handling the wiring and solenoid covers had been damaged and in any event were inaccessible, I extracted the various parts and found the solenoids themselves were apparently unscathed and wiring up was in the end quite straightforward. Final tasks (I thought) on the electrics were to install the converter temperature protection switch and the starter contactor assembly (which is at the extreme left of the photo above).

Andrew turned his hand to creating an exhaust system. Back when I started working for Thomas Hills in the 1970s, our parent company, Rolls-Royce Motors, had a strict view. Silencers were for normally aspirated or supercharged engines, if one had a turbocharged engine, that was all the silencing one required. For the moment at least, we are adopting the Rolls-Royce doctrine. We had a turbo outlet and bend to which Andrew added a short piece of plain pipe, then, with a bit of help from Toby, modified the big cast chimney pot to accept a vertical outlet pipe with a new elbow at the bottom. Then it would only be a graceful piece of convoluted to go between..

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..see? Earlier on he had connected up the static air line to the locos tanks and started fault finding, but this was hampered by the noise of power tools being made by other volunteers and it had to be left. As others departed at "sensible hours", relative silence fell and he could trace and attend to various leaks in loose pipe connections, as well as prove that brakes and direction change was working. By now the day was getting late, so we packed up and headed home, tired but reasonably satisfied with progress.

Sunday and we returned to the fray. I had wiring to complete in the desk area, connecting horn and other switches while Andrew set too to service the power unit and fill the transmission with an initial quantity of oil. I made the final connection on the batteries and powered up the "system" for the first time and was somewhat surprised when the audible alarm in the cab promptly sounded. Not only was this the first time that this panel had seen real live electrons flowing, but it was a radically new arrangement ( I much prefer to run my locos with PLCs but Andrew had decided that this loco needed a "traditional" system - but there's little traditional about it save that there isn't a microprocessor anywhere). I easily silenced the alarm (pulling one wire off did the trick) but two of the electric gauges had swung to their top stops and the engine oil pressure light was not lit. Conscious that my omnipotence as an electrical systems designer and manufacturer was under threat, I started to trace what was wrong. The gauges turned out to be simple - I had managed to mis-read "16" and "18" printed on the multi-core cables to the engine at the cab end (a matter of sub-standard printing, obviously) and so got a few out of step. If that wasn't bad enough, the bulbs in the panel, which I thought were 30V bulbs, turned out to be 130V bulbs, which don't illuminate much at 24. By the time all this was sorted there seemed little else to do but press the button and start it cranking. Andrew insisted that he did not want the engine to fire - it had stood too long without oil to risk running it that soon, rather it was to crank for short periods until he was satisfied that oil was now reaching all places (proven by a reading on the oil pressure gauge). The moment of truth - the button was pressed - nothing. It took a while to notice (and to my chagrin, Andrew did the noticing) that the 'anti-plug' relay (that's the one which prevents a moron from destroying the starter motor by trying to crank while the engine is already running) was wired wrongly. Actually, it did sort of crank once, and I had my suspicions that the oil pressure switch (which controls the anti-plug relay) might be a bit iffy.

With the wiring reversed and the batteries given a boost, the engine cranked and after short 5-10 second bursts, pressure began to indicate on the gauge. All this had taken up the day though, and when at about 8.30pm the oil pressure switch finally died altogether, we decided to call it a day - Monday would be the day it went!

We were back over around 11.00. I did a few checks of the wiring to the stop solenoid. Sadly I had no spare oil pressure switch, so had to raid Beverley for hers. With everything connected and fuel in the tank, we had another go. To start with, no joy. Rather frustration with me from Andrew as he found a few pipe connections, which apparently were ones I'd made, had leaked oil(s), which at least proved that the charge pumps had delivered. He declared that in future he must inspect all pipework. We finally had a look at the fuel delivery line. the connection by the stop tap was leaking (one of mine, of course) and there was fuel in the filter, but nothing at the engine. We eventually got fuel through. Glenn was finishing shift and was anxious to hear how things were, so we had a lunch until he got over to us.

It was time: with Andrew on camera and me on starter button, we were ready for the grand start-up. I pressed, it cranked but after 5 or 6 seconds it was still lifeless, save a bit of smoke at the stack. We waited and tried again. This time it showed signs of life. After a few seconds, lots of smoke appeared, then a bang, flames and sparks and as several more cylinders kicked in, the rpm rose smartly. My attention however was on the oil pressure gauge, which as the engine burst into life swung straight over to the top pin (10 bar). My thumb jumped to the Stop button even as I heard Andrew yelling "Kill it!" from over the noise of the Cummins.

We took stock. We could see two immediate problems. Most obvious was that there was some sort of leak from the high pressure fuel line just above the pump that had ejected a quantity of diesel and which, in the impressive air flow from my aerofoil plastic fan, had covered everything aft for about 4 feet. A look at the oil filter on the other side confirmed our fears that the oil pressure had indeed risen to all, and more, than the gauge told. The filter bowl was slightly dislodged and a pool of oil was on the floor. We also found oil on top of the reservoir and prop-shaft - only later did we discover that there was a pressure gauge port on the transmission that was open - it is now plugged.

But to return to more pressing matters. Working conditions around, and particularly under, D2128 were now rather less than salubrious. We started up Janus No.1 and transferred the loco over to the pit road so that Andrew could drain off the lube oil and remove the oil pump, because clearly the relief valve was not doing its job. Other than making a stay from the casing top to steady the top coolant pipe (which was seen to waggle severely during cranking) there was little for me to do so I started cleaning up the hinge pins and refitting the casing doors.

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And there we have it. If we can sort the oil pump and attend to the fuel leak (without damaging the steel pipe beyond, which, with Beverley, bent and snapped from age and corrosion) add a throttle cable and finish filling the hydraulics, we would have a loco fit to haul a train - at least with another along for insurance - but we both have work for a living as well. So at this moment, I would say the odds are against D2128 being active next Saturday, but we haven't given up hope - yet.

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