Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of the countdown

20th March 2011

Deadlines have a habit of concentrating the mind. I mean, we knew that 14 901 was due out about the end of March, but with that air of not being quite sure when, comes that easy-going sensation that says that it’s close, but not that close. Then Andrew gets the snippet that John Antell is delivering a steam loco to Peak Rail on April 1st and is leaving with 14 901 for Gwili - and no, it is not a wind-up. Ah, that means two weekends to get all the outstanding jobs completed (and one of those the dreaded last weekend of the month). The comfortable sensation goes away and is replaced by one of considerable alarm.

So first we need the bits to get the revised air filter system completed, amongst all those other things. And for that we require 6″ ducting, two 6″ elbows and clips. My regular supplier (of elbows and the like) has ceased trading, but their phone number in Stevenage is re-directed to a firm who turn out to be in Aberdeen, and quote 7 days. Not good enough. I waste more time on ‘net and phone and eventually pin down elbows and clips to a firm in Wetherby, who have them in stock but who insist on a £50 minimum order over the phone and won’t take credit cards. It turns out though that they will accept a lesser order for cash at the door, so it shapes up that Friday is a run-around day. First stop is Scunthorpe, where I cancel the steelworks vehicle pass for the Land Rover and obtain one instead for the van, before popping in to the AFRPS area to check a couple of things on the 03’s-to-be engine and uplifting a vac/air proportional valve. Then it’s back along the M180 and up to Wetherby, collect elbows and clips, and back down to Leeds to collect the 14’s wiper blades that have been awaiting my return for a couple of weeks. Back to Sheffield and I just miss the fabricators, but the electrical suppliers have the glands for the footpedals – or rather, ones that they think ought to do. By now it is 4pm, and I have just enough time to dash down to the ducting suppliers and purchase 3metres of 6″ spiral ducting, and discover that I can’t get a 3m length in the van…

Saturday: Andrew is away at the girl friend’s again, so Steph and I head over to Rowsley for 10.00. To our surprise, 14 901 is much in the same place but has been out shunting – nothing wrong in that but unexpected, and worrying given the smoke and such off the battery switch last Sunday. A few minutes later two guys from the East Lancs arrive. Andrew lent them some parts from D9500 to copy for D9531 in the height of the snow last year and they have brought these back, and I have had two forged bits made for them and the vac/air valve to exchange. On their last visit the weather precluded a proper tour, so I gave them a quick guide to 14 901 and fired it up, yes, smoke from battery switch and all. Once they had gone, Steph and I resumed fitting the last of the windows surrounds, and it is very much on the final straight with that with only 3 left to varnish and fit.

It’s not that I’m camera-shy, just that she knows my best side…

But the air cleaner was the major target for the weekend. I fitted the first of the rubber elbows to the new air cleaner enclosure – gratified that it did in fact clear the casing top – and then started to take stock of the turbo end – after all, I had a 6″ elbow for it but no idea what diameters were actually there. I had always assumed that this was a genuine R-R genset-standard air filter, but had never looked that closely. As I attempted to release the air cleaner from its elbow, I found that the holding bolts had their heads within the air cleaner element, so that had to be removed to access them. But it became apparent over the next few minutes that the air cleaner was not removable – the bolts that held it together had their heads welded at one end, so the element itself had to be lifted up to clear them, but before that it struck the underside of the casings. Nothing for it but to unbolt the whole thing from the side of the turbo.

What good is an air cleaner that you couldn't service in situ?

Closer examination showed holes in the underside of the air cleaner whereby air could pass, unfiltered, into the engine, thanks to a crack and gob-welding. I’m afraid I have been in this industry too long not to get irritated by people who install equipment without a thought for how to service or renew it later. I appraised Andrew of what we needed to do Sunday and moved on to take a close look at the battery switch, disconnected the batteries and stripped the faulty connection. The deadmans pedal glands “which ought to do” were of course completely unsuitable, so I drilled out the neccessary holes for the cables but could go no further. Steph and I headed home.

Sunday: Andrew arrived back and we headed over to Rowsley, with the promise of Terry to assist later. I dealt with the battery switch, while Andrew chiselled off the roofing screws that held the blanking lates in the places where we intended re-instating the vents – 4 on the engine casing and 4 on the rear.  He then rubbed the exposed areas down and gave them a coat of red-oxide primer (from Wickes and NOT recommended!) while I laid out the second deadmans’ pedal cable inside the desk. As Terry still hadn’t appeared, Andrew also looked at the handbrake linkage, and having confirmed a report that the nut was bottoming just as the blocks applied, adjusted the turnbuckle to ensure that it does now engage with only 2 or 3 turns.

Andrew gets the holes to line up

Terry appeared and was given his orders. Take the turbo inlet elbow, fill the four holes that once held the genset air filter (’cos they were on 6″ centres) and weld to it a short length of 6″ spiral ducting. This was not my preferred option, but time is against us, and welding very thin (c. 1mm) walled tubing to an 6mm thick flange isn’t the easiest of jobs, but Terry achieved it. While he was doing this, the primer had dried and between us Andrew and I cleaned out the vent holes so that all lined up and with copious quantities of sealant, set too to fit the ventilators.

Front four fitted

With Terry and the turbo inlet elbow back, some judicious measurements were taken, the ducting shortened, and the second rubber elbow was fitted at a height and alignment that should point at the air cleaner. With that fitted, we trimmed off the longer length of ducting and encouraged it in, finally fitting and retaining the new air filter element. Of course, we wanted to see if it all worked, so with batteries reconnected it was started up (”Look! No smoke!”) and naturally we couldn’t resist seeing if the suction would clamp a piece of thin paper to the external grille. The answer: not at idle, but by 1000rpm, yeah, it held. The engine note had changed slightly too: all in all, highly satisfying. Terry went off and returned with celebratory cups of tea and a Kit-kats.

Turbo end being assembled by Andrew and Terry

New air filter and the old, inadequate one

Air filter in its enclosure behind the door

The turbo end (yes the temp gauge is duff)

Looking along to the air filter enclosure


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