Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of taps and vanes

25th March 2012

During the week, a jiffy bag arrived for Andrew containing a new set of vanes for the dmu exhauster on “Pluto” and in consequence he decided that it was time we showed our faces there. So on a misty Saturday morning, we headed north to York and the DVLR.

While Andrew started stripping out the exhauster, I opened up the battery compartment in order to access the oil separator (once a Land Rover air cleaner). For one thing, we knew that it was leaking oil from around the inlet, where he had attempted to weld a large galvanised malleable iron fitting into a thin steel tube, and as “Pluto” had seen action shunting, there was a pretty good chance that the oil level was low. And so it was, and having extracted the upper half of the separator from the loco I started to clean off the hexagonal corners of the fitting (and lumpier bits of weld) in order to slide a sleeve over it in the form of a short section of rubber hose and jubilee clips. By the time I was ready I was summoned over to aid Andrew in the delicate task of reassembling the rear casing end of the exhauster, its inner plate and the 6 tiny springs that separate them. Like all such things there is a knack to assembling it and although we had done it before, we could not remember what it was. Eventually it was all back together and in the loco, and we fired “Pluto” up. The result was extremely disappointing, it hardly sucked 6 or 7 inches of vacuum whereas the “worn” tips had at least got us to 19″ or more at idle. Andrew was not best pleased, and the exhauster came out of the loco again. The new tips have edges formed by hand, but I have to say, from close scrutiny, that I was not overly impressed at the consistency of the profile. Having paid £25 per vane, I would have expected better. Anyway, Andrew rapidly swapped the tips around (”must have got them in the wrong way”) and refitted it to “Pluto”. The result was a dramatic improvement, but we still only reached 10″.

The Farming Museum at which the DVLR is based had a Massey Ferguson tractor event on and a steady stream of visitors each with name badges were wandering around (as there were no trains running) and two Irish enthusiasts engaged us in conversation, disbelieving that Foden ever made engines and was it supercharged? We explained that it was blown as it was a 2-stroke, and they proceeded to guess “Pluto’s” weight at 50tons so we had to disappoint them. Although a pleasant interlude, Andrew was rapidly coming to regard this as a total waste of a day – so I took the exhauster out again and passed it over to him to put back the old, worn vanes as at least they kept the loco operational. At last the knack of getting it all back together was coming back to him, and once refitted, “Pluto” was again ready for DVLR service if required. Now we must ascertain whether the new vanes are at fault or whether there is some magical bedding in process that the manufacturer neglected to mention, after which it may come off again…

Sunday: Back to the familiar climes of Scunthorpe, so warm that I actually had to work without a sweater for the first time this year. But I was alone on the 03 – Andrew went over to Beverley and having repositioned it nearer the shed doors and power supply, broke out our mag-drill and set to to re-tap the 1/2″ Whitworth holes where the front and rear handrails fit. When we removed them, now about 4 years back, most of the bolts sheared and we had some trepidation how easy it would be to drill out the remains of broken bolt and re-cut the threads – or would we need to go oversize and open up the holes in the handrails? In the end it was all straightforward – if time consuming – and he went on to refit the casing handrails and return the casing doors to their positions – the grilles that finish the apertures are currently at the shotblasters, and due back this week.

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Andrew hiding coyly behind the mag drill

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Front handrail, casing handrail and one door still to go on.

So, I returned to the cab of the 03 and picked up where I left off last week, fitting the horn and train-charge control stations to the cab fronts, by drilling and tapping out M5. But unlike Andrew, I had considerable difficulty getting the boxes level as centre-marking through the box mounting hole was impossible and each time I came to put the fixing screw in, the box adopted a drunken angle. I even got so fed up that I broke off and fitted the cab light assembly just to get away from it all. Eventually, with careful use of a spirit level and sighting the centre-pop through the mounting hole, I managed to get all 4 in something like the same axis and height and connected them up with conduit, but any later restorer will be confused by the multiplicity of M5 tapped holes in close company lurking behind…

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Sorry for the clutter, but the vac brake bits are in front and the boxes under the window.

The driver’s vacuum brake valve and the two nearby dummy brackets were then installed. We used the brake valve handle as a pattern to cast two more off in aluminium as the dummies, but I must sort out the column height required and get something suitable machined up ready. As a break from the cab I wandered into the engine bay and installed the air induction plumbing, using rubber elbow and hump hose with a length of 6″ ducting left over from 14 901. It may well run this way for the Gala, but the plan is that the existing “mushroom” on the air cleaner goes and a flexible duct brings the air in from a new mushroom above the casings.

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Air induction ducting in place

I ordered the cooler group fan this week and it should be with us by the end of the month, and as the remaining pulleys and such are available it should all go together then, but to satisfy myself and feel that some progress was there, I started to assemble the pulley that will drive the charge pump, and in the process bashed my head on a sharp bit of loco. Andrew returned and together we assembled the main control panel back in the cab. Yes. Steph has her front room table back as the instrument panel and its connection board, joined by an umbilical, were put into place.

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The new cab panel

I had not told Andrew that I had arranged for full labels for the panel in traditional manner – I had intended it as a surprise when we put it in but as I hadn’t had the time to get the panel drilled and the strips mounted until Saturday night he had seen it in process. So I finished the day as I had begun it, drilling and tapping M5, this time the instrument panel surrounds to secure the panels. Next week, maybe, I’ll start pulling wires through..


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