On the weekend of April 30th and May 1st the C&C crew was at it again working on #18. This weekend was about finishing the installation of the rods, continuing the electrical work, and plumbing as well. Charlie was on hand to lead the charge on installing the main rods. The main rods connect the piston and crosshead to the crank pin on the second set of drivers to move the locomotive. The 18 was rolled out of the tent on our panel track, with help from a fork lift and some muscle the rods were brought into place. After install of the main rods you have to check the clearance between the piston and the front and rear cylinder heads when the driver is at the 9 and 3 o’clock positions.(or when the piston is at the end of stroke) This is to ensure that the piston does not hit the cylinder heads. There is approx 1/4″ clearance between the head and the piston in the left cylinder on both ends. The right side however has 9/32″ clearance on the rear, but 0″ on the front. This is a problem, to remedy this is was decided to grind down some excess braze on the front of the piston and machine an 1/8″ off the back of the cylinder head. Combined this should give us the approx 1/4″ clearance we are looking for. Once the head is back we can double-check this, then adjust the lateral rings and do final fit of the rods.
Below is a link to a video made by our very own cinematographer Ed Fleming.
Electrically wiring progressed into the cab fairly well. The right side is completed, but the left side still needs work. We will need a proper fuse installed and new twist lock connection for the tender.
We were successful in airing up the locomotive to 40 lbs, however the air compressor on site is not up to the task. Rather than kill our only onsite air compressor, we stopped filling. We were able to tighten up many leaks with just 40lbs. In addition one more gauge line for the brake cylinder pressure needs to be installed. A larger air compressor will be needed to properly test the air system as well as completing the rest of the plumbing.
Better late than never. Over the weekend of November 21st and 22nd we gathered in Independence to continue the restoration of SP #18. On this weekend we continued the tedious work on the plumbing and various other detail work. Lots of little things left to do, but all the little things add up.
We reinstalled large sections of the air lines, like the cooling pipes on the sides of the air reservoir tanks.
The new air equalizer tank was also bolted on under the engineer side running board and new straps to hold it on had to be fabricated. Several fittings all over the engine got anti-seize added and tightened up. While this was going on work was continuing in the cab. At the last work session the new boiler jacketing was installed in the cab. With that done we reinstalled the water glasses, hydrostatic lubricator, and a few other pieces of plumbing, hopefully for the last time.
Other small but important tasks completed included installing the wood flooring on the firemans side of the cab, measurements were taken for spiral wound gaskets for injectors and water glasses, the headlight was bolted on, and the sand dome was assembled and the top cover was added.
One very critical job was measuring the center to center lengths on the drivers, then finding the center of the piston stroke and the extreme ends of stroke.
It was discovered before we removed the drivers in 2012 that they were spaced differently than the SP spec sheet called for. The reason for this was not known at the time, and when we reinstalled the drivers we trammed them according to the spec sheet. However in October while working on the rod brass we discovered that both of the main rods are 1/4″ shorter than originally called for. Because of the available material on the small end of the rods, this difference in rod lengths is to significant to safely make up by offsetting the rod brass and holes. We could make new main rods, expensive, so instead we will make accommodations just like the SP did, by moving the drivers forward in the frame 1/4″.