Weekend Rails

what we do for our kids

Of specs and drills for free

22nd January 2012

I have spent that last few weeks struggling with close-up work because having lost of pair of glasses, the replacement pair I got from the opticians seemed to be “long range” rather than “close range” and I insist that this has been my problem in reading measurements when marking out tank tops. I went back to the opticians on Monday and after checking their records they admitted that I was indeed correct and the wrong spec had been ordered.

A new pair arrived two days later without charge. So this weekend I was looking forward to being able to see what I was doing properly. The pump for my hose swaging machine was refilled by the local agent (the manufacturer thoughtfully uses the filling plug as a pivot for the handle clip and neglects to mark in any way what its primary purpose is – how was I supposed to remember when I haven’t had any problems with it in over 5 years?).

You may also recall the on-going saga of my Makita drill, the one that has a heartfelt urge to be a hammer drill when all I want it to be is a rotary. When it returned from the local agents, they copied me the paperwork from Makita wherein they stated that if I continued using the drill in this manner, it was likely to fail again. I took exception to this, so wrote back, quoting this blog, and enquiring in what way they felt I was misusing it. On Friday Mr Makita phoned, being under the impression that I was using it daily for diamond coring. I told them I hadn’t bought any diamonds since Steph’s engagement ring and it was only used for drilling mild steel. He went away to check with his supervisor and a while later I was asked to wrap the drill up, have it ready for Parcelforce on Monday as they would like to exchange it for a newer, better, Makita with their compliments. I await tomorrow’s delivery with baited breath and will hopefully be singing Makita’s praises in next week’s instalment.

So Saturday we headed up to the DVLR at York, stopping off on the way to purchase a couple of new batteries. We had agreed a fair division of labour – I was to get Pluto’s batteries changed while Andrew removed the exhauster, opened it up, reversed the blades and put it all together again. And it all went together fairly well but I got finished first and ended up lending him a hand when reassembling the exhauster threatened to need at least 3 hands to control 3 plates and half-a-dozen tiny springs at the same time. “Pluto” was started up and immediately sucked far harder than it had done last time, something like 19″ at idle which, given the speed range over which the unit must operate, was about as good as we could expect. Andrew went to report to Vince M., and came back with the quote of the week, when Vince invited us to “go and suck off that carriage”. We obliged with similar results. The only marring element was a slight oil weep from where the delivery line enters our oil separator (aka Land Rover air cleaner) that we think we will need to improve. We set off for home in much higher spirits, especially as it started to rain just as we’d hit the road.

Sunday: It was planned to be Beverley’s day but as we arrived at Scunthorpe, we agreed that Andrew would pursue a few bits of work on the 03 while I caught up with the outstanding issues on Bev. The wind was strong and gusting, and the noise as it coursed through the roof sheets of the shed sounded like the buzzing of a giant vexed bee, and more than once I expected the sheets to take off in the direction of Cleethorpes. I swaged the hoses of the new hydraulic transmission lines we’d left last week and moved on to the battery cable, forming a new one with the hydraulic cable crimper. Andrew meanwhile, was lurking within the tent, fitting a couple of new hydraulic hoses around the converter cooler and the auxiliary drive shaft with three of the 4 pulleys that will come off it, and cursing me for making him shave a little off the key.

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It's going to be quite busy once all the belts go in

I in contrast had the task of filing the holes in Beverley’s hydraulic tank top until, after a lot of trial and error, the screws all went in. The cooling system was filled with water and the new tank with hydraulic oil, Andrew wrapped things up outside and with some trepidation, he pressed the switch to crank Bev’s engine. Of course, nothing happened. Well not quite true, a few funny noises came from various places but nothing much from the engine. Repeated tests identified a rattling sound from the starter contactor, and tests with the voltmeter lead us to suspect that one of our batteries, the one with the ominous bulges in the casing walls, was collapsing as soon as called on to crank. They were dragged off and the batteries recovered from Pluto fitted in place and given a few minutes of boost.

It was my turn to operate the starter and after a couple of seconds of cranking, the engine fired, which was a trifle surprising as the fuel system should have been completely dry. But run it did and after blowing all manner of smoke and soot out, settled down but with a hunt from 500-750 rpm. After a couple of minutes the converter reservoir oil level was heading rapidly down the scale and Andrew called a halt while we topped it up with the remainder of our supply. I already suspected that the 40 litres was not really going to be sufficient (it might just about fill the system but won’t leave any for the reservoir) and we restarted and ran for a few more minutes before the oil level again disappeared out the bottom of the sight glass. We saw a few leaks of air and fuel to sort, but in general terms Andrew pronounced himself very happy with things, and although the hunting is still there (but considerably less than when it was last run, several years ago) and still remains something of a mystery, it is much more controllable and may be steadied once the converter clutch is engaged.

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Bev is back in action at last

I celebrated with a cup of coffee from my flask. With more oil and a day’s further fault finding, Beverley should be fully operable – I hope.

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