Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of fans

1st April 2012

Dead on schedule on Monday morning the “big green parcel machine” that is Tuffnells rolled up outside Briddon Towers and their man staggered up our drive with a large, flat-ish and relatively light parcel – D2128’s cooler group fan had arrived from Breeza. After Andrew declared that he would be taking Friday off from work to crack on with things at Scunthorpe, I thought I had better plan the same. After all, unless I had an exceedingly good reason, disappearing off in the van and leaving him with few tools and only his “I don’t want anything dirty in the back of this” Golf to get him there would have been foolhardy.

Of course, with petrol stations dry or besieged with motorists desperate to follow government advice and keep their tanks filled to the very brim, it might have been academic, but as it happened I got back Thursday night with enough fuel to get me to Scunthorpe at least, so the plans stayed. But first thing Friday we had some errands to run – first to the shotblasters to collect the grilles and front from Beverley, then the fabricators, the electrical factors and finally the nut and bolt suppliers. On the way past our local Total we realised that it had diesel and was not overrun with other motorists, so tanked up enough to get through the weekend. Scunthorpe was finally reached at about two.

We split our efforts, Andrew concentrating on Beverley for reasons that will become clear in a couple of weeks or so, leaving me to my own devices on D2128. The fabricators had provided us with the first parts of the coolant lines, so I assembled the first section of the lower one from the radiator and check that it (roughly) lined up with the hole in the stretcher that Terry cut a month ago. It did, and if only Andrew had got around to ordering the various silicon connections earlier I might have had the second piece, complete with drain valve, but alas, that will have to be next week’s bit. I then started changing all the grease nipples on the chassis. I prefer the hexagonal ’slide on’ nipple to the older “tit” type with which D2128 was equipped – though it was obvious that none of these have been intimate with a grease gun in years. Indeed, the exhauster mounting was sited over a block of four, and no way would you be able to get a gun onto the old type, but I had allowed clearance to access the hexagons. I changed over a dozen, covering the hornguides and brake weighshaft – only noticing later that that there were a dozen more almost obscured by dirt on the brake hangers.

Andrew did join me however, to assemble the radiator fan shaft to the frame assembly, and we had to spend some time with emery cloth taking the shaft down a thou or two until it gracefully slid through the bearings and I could assemble the drive pulley on the outer end and the fan flange on the inner.

Saturday: Rather earlier we headed off to Rowsley. Partly this was to get the welder loaded and over to Scunthorpe on Sunday, but first we found ourselves assisting in unloading a traction engine cylinder block from a Toyota pick-up. It was coming in for some sub-contract machining, and I only mention this because it belongs to a gentleman building a replica Fowler from scratch. The cylinder block, complete with polished end covers and brass side sheets, is 100% brand new from patterns he made himself.

Anyway, we set the welder up and started work over by Libby. I had got some matching profiles that I had intended to have holes that were clearance in one and right for tapping in the other, but summat went awry and they had clearance in both, so I chopped the heads off some bolts and Andrew plug welded them into the holes, and the added the others to the brackets on the hydraulic oil tank. This tank is not one of mine – rather it came off a scrapped EE Stephenson 0-6-0DH, for EE like me, preferred to run many of its converters on “real” oil. With the bracketry sorted, we offered the tank up to the fuel tank and decided where it would go, cleaned the tank and attacked the pads on and finally finished welded it all together.

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Repositioned tank and new brackets on Libby

After checking it all fitted OK, Andrew cleaned and primed it all while I recovered the batteries from the Drewry (to be redeployed on Beverley which is currently carrying the batteries intended for D2128). Another bracket was assembled, and the jockey pulley and its pivot shaft cleaned up and assembled ready for Sunday, then we collected everything together and headed home, but not before I had been approached by a regular reader- nay ‘fan’ – of this blog, blatantly flattered and asked to contribute a regular piece on Andrew’s loco for Peak Express.

Sunday: By 09.30 we were on the road back to Scunthorpe. First job was to unload the welder, set it up and weld the pivot shaft into the rad iator fan assembly.. Lengths of M12 and M16 studding were chopped up to make jacking screws for the rad fan and compressor bases, then Andrew disappeared off to Beverley with a list of tasks including fitting the grilles, changing the brake block pins from NCB nylocs to proper nuts and split pins and changing the fuel injector return lines back to the original steel assembly which may – we hope – cure the engine’s tendency to hunt.

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Beverley - now with added grilles!

For me, I started with the fan surround, then unpacked the fan from its box, assembled it to the fan shaft and having ensconced myself in the front of the loco, Andrew passed me the assembly and I installed it to the loco. Of course we could not resist a quick spin, and I am pleased to say it spun smoothly, without clipping the surrounds and pushing a pleasant cool, breeze into our faces.

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Radiator fan assembly and cowl all in place

Later on went the jockey pulley and hopefully next week it’ll all be belted up. Next the charge pump was finally bolted in and working down the loco I fitted in the starter motor and the new air intake mushroom into the casing top. Andrew is changing the oil filter on Beverley to a later Cummins type, so releasing the by-pass filter assembly to use on D2128 (which has a different arrangement where the main filter comes off the oil cooler) – I pondered where to locate it but haven’t quite figured it out yet. Another batch of grease nipple changing about wrapped things up – I didn’t quite get round to pulling wires through as I’d hoped, but that exciting prospect draws ever closer.

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