Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of Pluto and D2128

29th April 2012

As the time ticks away towards the AFRPS Gala, the progress on D2128 has been steady and pressured: Andrew and I are both agreed that we will be much relieved when it is all over - whether D2128 gets to run in it or not!

But the first action of the week was Tuesday, when I ran up to the DVLR at Murton to check out what was up with "Pluto". A small team were at work painting the outside of the "Observation Car" ready for its trip to the NRM 'event', so I was able to get in and investigate. My first attempt at cranking, like the report of ten days earlier, was of absolutely no smoke or other sign of life. I checked whether the throttle linkage might be loose on the pump shaft (you stop the engine on Pluto in effect by pushing the speed control down past the idle point) and then cracked one of the fuel lines on top of the pump to see if it was delivering. When I cranked it again I found that I could not operate start and lean out far enough to see the fuel element inside the casings, but there was smoke at the exhaust pipe. I went back to the fuel pump, disconnected the fuel line from its injector, and swung it out to the side where I could see it clearly, and tried again. This time not only did the engine fire and run (on 5 out of 6) but after a moments hesitation the injector pipe I was watching proceeded to fire small globs of fuel at rapid intervals. I stopped the engine and refitted it, afterwards running the engine for 10 minutes or so to ensure the batteries had recovered. If only every breakdown was that easy to fix! What was it? I'm not sure. I would say it was a slug of air in the fuel system but the DVLR staff assure me they had bled it through and I have no reason to doubt them. Had the rack stuck in 'no fuel' and my attentions released it? Perhaps - but maybe it was just pleased to see me. We'll find out if it happens again!

Tuesday night Andrew and I dashed over to Scunthorpe, and sorted out some doors. An 03's doors have steel hinge pins bolted to the casing frame, and although the door itself is aluminium, the other hinge part is also steel. In consequence,. although most of the doors came apart when we first stripped it years ago, and their hinges are currently sat in a bucket full of diesel in the cab, four doors were not so co-operative and their hinge pins are still attached. Andrew wanted to bring them back with the idea of applying WD40 or heat or both and get them freed off ready to refit.

We were out again on Friday night, this time over to Rowsley to collect some odds and sods from the stores van - mostly 1" pipe and fittings.

And so to Saturday. Andrew loaded the van and we arrived at Scunthorpe in time to find Glenn and Tony about to take the AFRPS's "Janus No.1" out on some errand. My first task was to collect the disc brake from the stores van and start assembling it to the free end of the prop shaft with the countersunk UNF bolts that had arrived during the week. Andrew then gave me a hand to lift the whole thing up and get the larger bolts through the original gearbox flange and hey presto, we have a complete driveline. This disc caused some interest incidentally and I had to show the brake calliper to prove I wasn't attempting some late-running April fool.

I had taken out the swager and a number of fittings and hose, so putting the wiring to one side started to complete the less obvious but essential work of making up the smaller bore connections - the fuel feed line from tank to filter and a temporary one thence to the fuel pump,. oil lines to and from the by-pass filter, the feed in to the hydraulic oil suction filter and delivery line from pump to converter with its excess pressure line back to tank. Unfortunately I did not have enough hose to make up the return line from cooler to tank, but that won't take long. Andrew meantime had cleaned out the tapped holes around the thermostat and reassembled it, enabling the top coolant connection to be fitted. He also fitted up supports for the hoses that will run down the side of the loco, the flange outlet for the oil from the powershift and made up the (Mk2) bracket to carry the brake calliper, before turning his attention to re-making those bits for the air system that had to be removed to make way for important lumps earlier. By early evening we took the plunge, moved the loco along to the water hose and filled the cooling system with water, Andrew marking on the sight gauge line where the level was, once we'd attended to the obvious leaks. Then we packed up and headed home.

Sunday weather turned out just as forecast, wet, cold windy. The coolant level had dropped a little, but not much. Andrew resumed work on the remaining air connections, I made up one more hose before returning to the electrical system. All the wires around the engine bay are now terminated apart from a few bits, of which the powershift control valves will be the most troublesome, being both inaccessible and damaged during earlier handling. The compressor cylinder head having returned from attention at commendable speed, was refitted and the delivery connection completed - a power bulge will be needed here where the compressor could come outside the casing line as belts stretch. In fact, the 'basic' air system - compressor to tanks, to desk and to essential controls like brakes and directional change is now complete - and we will resume static air testing next weekend. As the day wore on it was time to measure up remaining hoses (those which I cannot make with my little swager) and list remaining fittings, etc, still required and anything else we have hitherto overlooked. For next weekend - a 3 day one - is the last weekend before the Gala and we are hoping to start the loco up which means, amongst other things, filling up with rather a lot of oils and seeing if it will take power and move. [Hoping, did I say? If it is to work a train the following weekend one may take it as being rather essential!] That, as yet, we have made no effort on manufacturing even a rudimentary exhaust system is neither here nor there, but to finish the afternoon off, Andrew got up on top and drilled the cab front to take the two air horns that now grace this now-unique 03.

Sadly, no pictures this week, as I managed to leave the camera behind and didn't feel that the results that might come from my camera-phone worth the trouble - anyway, apart from seeing the gearbox end of the propshaft, you'd have to be sharp-eyed to see the numerous but small differences that have been made.

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