Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Achilles Report No54: Last Minute Work...

Hi guys. I thought it was perhaps about time to give another "Achilles" update. The loco is now, as I write, very nearly finished. I've done most mechanical and cosmetic jobs, some of which required some extra fettling as you will read. Since the last report the engine has had the valve gear refitted. This took a little bit of extra time in order to reset the trunnion bearings correctly, as they now have new brasses. However, following two evenings of drinking tea and playing around, both sides of the valve gear were successfully refitted. Regular readers will know that during the first initial refitting of the coupling rods, it was found that they were rubbing on the wheel centre faces and balances. This should not happen. Upon inspection we decided that the best possible route with this problem was to fit spacers as, by drawing, the brasses should push the rod away from the wheel slightly. As the new brasses (made last winter) were made to the tolerances of the old brasses rather than to drawing, they don't push the rods away anymore than the old ones did. So, with spacers fitted, the valve gear sat nicely. It all turned over OK on the bench, meaning that the rear wheel quartering was fine, as very much hoped!...
This was the stage a few weeks ago: smokebox finished, cladding on, valve gear on and manifold replaced...
Regular readers will also know that the whistle valve on "Achilles" leaked steam like there was no tomorrow. When you pressed it in order to blow the whistle it gave the cab more of a steam clean than it did steam to the whistle! Therefore, I decided that it was best to remove it and, if it could not be easily repaired, replace it. In the end it was much easier just to get a new valve from Reeves which arrived looking smart and with a nice wooden handle to boot. The old valve used to be really sharp and would easily cut you when using the handpump. The new one is much nicer and hopefully it will work OK when the loco steams. With the new whistle valve on the manifold I also refitted the pressure gauge which has, as you can see, had an encounter with the Brasso. When Mum saw it I think she thought it was a new one!...
Last week I was working on refitting, or at least trialling, the refitting of the tanks. With the R/H valve gear completed and most pipework refitted, the tank went on easily. The R/H cylinder cover was also refitted as was the front running board. Apart from the missing black tank top, this is pretty much how she will look. I think she looks pretty smart if I do say so myself! The grey smokebox certainly would not have been my first choice but, needs must, as you all know how much trouble I had with it! The new paint has settled nicely and I can only hope that it remains on when I steam the bloody thing!...
"Looking Nice in Blue"
This was the scene this week. The other tank has been replaced, along with the serviced handpump and all of the relevant pipework. Eddie kindly helped with servicing the pump as a half-stripped thread on the delivery side cost me a couple of days work. Regular readers will know that I was hoping to have the loco on her first running in turn at Ryton on Friday May 9th but, when the horror of the stripped thread struck on the Wednesday, it just stopped the job. Ahh well, no sense in rushing after all this time! Anyway, today, as I write, both tanks are on and I've refitted the L/H nameplate. Yes, she has the same nameplates. I'm not sure if they 'go' in red at the minute, but both of them are showing signs of losing the red to bare metal colour which may suit her better so we'll see how that progresses. For now I feel she should keep the old plates as they've been with her since the start. Here she is this afternoon, almost done and with a new steam chest gasket on the L/H side too...
"So Close!"
Now, with all of the piping up done and almost everything ready to go we are set to steam her BUT, and this is one of those kick yourself in the mouth situations where you could easily get annoyed. So, I could steam her, BUT, she has a valve gear problem. When I rolled her along the floor the other night to check for tight spots she had two occasional collision points. One was the bottom of the expansion link which was a pin not sitting correctly, so easily sorted. The second is quite serious. The loco has always suffered with very small clearance behind her crossheads to allow the leading crank pin and coupling rod face on each side to pass. On tight bends, you could barely see daylight behind the crossheads. Before I had the engine the problem was overcome by milling an extra spot off the back of each crosshead slip. However, with brand new crossheads fitted last year, I don't want to lose any strength by doing this. The problem has been worsened by the very necessary spacers and unfortunately we can't therefore do much about it without making a big change. So, in traditional fashion, smaller spacers (around 0.4mm as opposed to the 0.7mm's that are on now) will be made and fitted and the back of the rods polished to set them back another 0.3mm so that she will have spaced rods but the actual front faces of the rods will be no nearer the crossheads than they were last year. And, as we all know, last year the engine ran very well so wasn't hindered at all. This should take me another week or two to get round to doing and completing but then, probably a fortnight Friday, I'll steam her! Best Regards, Sam...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're nearly there Sam! Can't wait to see Achilles in steam again.
Emma-claire.

Sam Brandist said...

She isn't far off now. The rear wheelset is back out for some fettling and the valve gear was taken off in a frenzy tonight ready to sort the clearance problem. Test steam next Friday hopefully. Also in talks for a sister for her as well!:) Cheers

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another blog entry in the making there. Look forward to reading about it all, especially the possible new loco?
Emma-claire.

simon said...

yeah be good to see her running again,as only seen it on static display