Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of hoses and ANPRs

2nd December 2012

Lummy, hardly into December and immediately the temperature plummets. It's back to two sweaters to keep my ageing, decrepit frame warm, and the woolly hat to stop the few remaining brain cells from going hypothermic.

On Tuesday we had an independent engineer in to Rowsley to inspect "Jack". He arrived before we got there, so had to watch as with "Charlie", Andrew and I shunted Jack out of the loco line and over to the ash pit road. (It wasn't raining otherwise we'd have squeezed in the shed). The inspection was thorough, and found several more defects of which we were unaware, but the biggest concern was when, having lugged a pair of brand new batteries up into the loco we cranked it. Firstly though, we knew there was something wrong with the way the electrics worked. Remember, Jack, James, Charlie and Tom all went through Thomas Hills' at Kilnhurst in the mid 1970s, and consequently are all wired to exactly the same system. This provides a "stop loop" to the "run relay" that passes through the oil pressure switch and the converter temperature switch. The relay in turn feeds the fuel solenoid such that over-temperature in the converter or loss of oil pressure breaks the loop and shuts the engine down. To get the engine to start, a timer relay makes a temporary bridge across the loop but this only begins when you press the button to crank. On Jack however, we could clearly hear the fuel solenoid pull in as soon as the run switch (a domestic light switch that wasn't on the loco when it left us) was operated. We cranked the engine but the noises of mechanical distress we could hear in June were all too obvious and from my vantage point in the cab it was apparent that either the oil pressure gauge is broken or the engine is not making any oil pressure at all during cranking. It smoked but wouldn't start which was probably for the best. We stopped to prevent any further damage occurring and did some electrical checks. After five minutes I inspected the electrical junction box on top of the converter and found that wire 9 (feed to oil pressure switch) has been moved to feed wire 5 (fuel solenoid) thus enabling the engine to run without oil pressure. It was NOT like that when it went to Hollycombe.

After we had shunted Jack back and the engineer departed to compile his report, we moved over to Tom and I changed another valve without too much confidence that it would do the trick. And it didn't, but after some colourful language Andrew decided to go through the plumbing while I contented myself with a mild migraine. As a result of his observations, and the fact that the diagram we were using is one I acquired years ago with some of the modern port number conventions added, he had one of those eureka moments when it became obvious that some twit had reconnected another valve in the system with its output ports crossed. And, no, before you jump to conclusions, the twit was not me. With the valve reversed, Tom suddenly started de-clutching and reversing quite happily and I was granted the honour of giving it a few runs up and down solo. We would have taken it over and done some some real shunting if only there had been some to do - Tom needs to have a decent bit of heat in the block to ensure all the rings are free and reduce a little of the smoke and breathing we see at present. See for yourself in the video....

We popped in again late Friday afternoon, by chance catching a steam loco being unloaded and were tactfully asked by Jackie Statham to get a move on with "Libby" as the shed space is needed for another top secret arrival. Down at the shed a loaned 7/8UNF tap was to hand and we tapped out the hole in the top of the rad on Tom so that we can get it plugged properly. Hopefully we'll introduce some antifreeze in it next time.

Saturday at last and we headed north as foretold last week, but diverting in to my oil supplier in West Yorkshire for some SAE30 for Pluto and Tom. A little after noon we arrived at the DVLR, where D9523 and the Ruston 165 were top-and-tailing the first of the season's Santa trains.

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Andrew got started first with the battery charger and had problems in getting the batteries to take charge - they only indicated 7 or 8 volts yet are not very old. I got out the new filter head and the drill and determined the best place for the new fuel filter. Drilling the holes in the cross-stretcher of what had once been the battery tray was a trifle difficult and one hole ended up a little out and had to be filed, but eventually it was in place and I made up two hoses in 3/8 from lift pump to header and header back to the fuel pump. They are deliberately slightly long as the engine is flex-mounted and the filter fixed. A third hose in 1/4 takes any leaking fuel from the lift pump back to the fuel return line.

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With these made we primed the fuel through, filled the sump with fresh SAE30 and prepared to crank the engine. (Not to run it yet, as we had first to fill the galleries and the new oil filter). But alas, we got about two turns out of the batteries when they gave up. That was a bit of a game-stopper. We disconnected the batteries and lifted them out to take home for a thorough charging, but had a natter first with the DVLR crew about the vicissitudes of the planning application for their new loco shed. York Planning Department has suddenly panicked that erecting a shed at Murton will increase the flow of rainwater into the nearby Beck and thus contribute to flooding in York. An expert has had to be consulted to do the maths and arrive at any mitigation measures that may be required.

As we headed back to Derbyshire, we de-toured again to Paul Wainwright's where two 1/2BSP to M12 (fine) adaptors were sat in a plastic bag behind a flower pot.

Sunday, and after scraping the frost off the van we headed north again then east to Scunthorpe. When we last were at Scunthorpe the ANPR security system had recognised us and admitted us without question, today the barrier refused to budge and a Security guard came over. We assured him we were registered and it had worked last time and he let us through. He didn't seem surprised.

Down at the AFRPS shed we again teamed up for a couple of tasks but then went our separate ways. Andrew had me to do some static tests on Beverley's voltage regulator and I concluded that I had a high res joint on D- and that was all that was wrong - I'll clean and remake it when next Andrew wants to run the engine. Today he was planning some painting (although the shed temperature was less than optimal) and I wandered back to the 03.

There are so many jobs to do on D2128 it was difficult to know where to begin, but as I have been itching to get the power bulge over the compressor under way (and if we didn't get some primer on it soon, it would start to rust) I made a start on that. Owing to the lad who fabricated it not reading the drawing, this enclosure had a bottom to it which I had not intended but was no bad thing as it made the edge stiffer, but the diamond pattern on the running plate would allow moisture to get in a attack it, so having marked where it sat I first ground it as smooth as possible before moving on to get the piano hinge, vented door and budget lock installed and the outer part drilled ready to mount. Not having brought the M6 taps meant that I could not properly mount it, but Andrew had promised to apply primer later in the day so it would have had to come off anyway, but once in position I marked the old upper door and trimmed it back ready.

Back at the gearbox I fitted the two new adaptors from yesterday evening and added the electrical sensors, that will in due course detect which way the gearbox is set and hence whether we will be going forwards or backwards. Working back forwards I added an extension pipe so that the fluid inlet to the converter could be connected, and then, very bravely (i.e.from underneath), removed the plug in the bottom of the converter to install a proper drain tap for future use. Fortunately there was only half a pint or so of oil on top of the plug when it came out!

One of the interesting bits of info I get in the running of both Andrew's sites and Weekendrails is the "search strings" people have googled with and thus come to our sites. Some arrive in crisp, one or two word searches, though others seem to think you should ask a fully formed question lacking only a please and thank you. To the gentleman (I assume) who searched for "how to change the oil pressure relief valve spring on a 14 Cummins" and added hopefully "you tube" I hope you found something of interest, and if you are still around, read on. I am not normally one who takes a view that I know better than the manufacturer (like the engineer at a steelworks who decided to save fuel by injecting water into the manifolds of his Rolls-Royce C8S's, like had been done with petrol engines during the war. It didn't work.) but the excess oil pressure on D2128's Cummins is one case where we are taking further action. During the week I had received a specially turned adaptor from 7/8 UNS to 1/2 BSP ( and if you are an old hand with this blog you will, know I am talking Unified Special, beloved of sump plugs and in this case, a plug on the side of the timing case forrard of the oil pump) which will enable us to add a check valve (with a spring set to open at 65psi) to flow oil back to sump. My last job of the day was to set this up with a new hose, although it will not be fitted finally until we have a correct size Dowty to seal the new adaptor to the timing case. Just how effective it will be remains to be seen when, late this year or early next, we get to start D2128 up again. For although we are not far off, we have agreed that some of the jobs we circumvented last May - like the direction sensors and maybe the handbrake - should be finished before we have another crack at it, and when we do, we shall monitor the oil pressure closely and if necessary, experiment further. Of course, the oil pressure switch in this case is in circuit and reads pressure direct from the drillings that go into the main bearings, so if we over-cook it the engine will not come to any harm.

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As we left the steelworks, the ANPR recognised us and let us out. Last time the system was down and the barrier stuck up, and we speculated that it might not know we had left. Today it had refused to let us in, but gladly let us out. Of course, if we were already here, then why would it want to let us back in? Years ago I was at Stanley Tools, faced with a system that unleashed hundreds of packing notes to send stuff that we didn't have, and where the order backlog showed on the stock reports as a minus value. I had the temerity to ask the Data Processing Staff whether the computer knew the difference between positive and negative numbers - and of course the program read, 'if not zero, allocate to orders...'     So officer, you want to know where I was on the night of November 29th? Easy, I have a cast-iron alibi - I have been with my van at Scunthorpe steelworks for the last fortnight....


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