Southern Pacific #18 Restoration – August 2013

 

Over the weekend of August 28-29 we were back at it in Independence. On the top of the list of projects was to set up Marty Westland’s custom made valve surfacer. Some times its not about how much money you can spend to fix something, but simply to have the creativity and the resources to do the fix. Marty Westland came through for us with some creativity. His machine started life as an industrial size radial arm saw, most likely from the Kennecot Corp. in Ely, NV. Marty had aquired, cleaned and modified the the column and arm of the saw to mount on the side of the valve chest. On Saturday, Forest Newman and Doug Mull spent all day getting the rig mounted.

Forest Newman looks over the grinder.

Forest Newman looks over the grinder.

After some final adjustments to the height and swing of the machine, Marty mounted the grinder and off He and Forest went grinding a few thousands at a time. With the valve surface almost 1/4″ out of square it took about half the day to get it ground down flat.

 

Marty grinding away.

Marty grinding away.

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Nearly finished

Nearly finished

Marty and Forest after a job well done.

Marty and Forest after a job well done.

After a few polishing passes, it was time to start lapping. By the end of the day on Monday, Marty had the rebuilt valve over 3/4 of the way lapped into the ground surface and complete. In September we should be ready to fully assemble the right side valve and piston.

While Marty and Forest were on the right, the rest of us were installing the left side piston.

Left piston with new rings going in.

Left piston with new rings going in.

Cylinder head going on.

Cylinder head going on.

Some of the other things we worked on included doing a final clean up on both the front and the rear tube sheets. We actually put a couple of the new tubes in to see how they looked, but we didn’t roll them into place. We also removed the fuisible plugs out of the firebox. These are a special plug that melts out if the water level is too low. Looking ahead, we should be ready to start intalling the tubes in the not to distant future.

Also on the agenda was the removal of the final small bit of wood flooring under the firebox door. The floor will be reinstalled in September. Scott Shaffer was also able to finish lapping the steam pipe seats in the smokebox, this has been a long time project that is nice to have complete. Finally, the cab is now back in Independence and all done except for some final window work, paint and wiring. Tom and Betty Dews really did a nice job on it. For now we will cover it up until we can move the engine and put it back on.

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With all that work we were also able to meet with the County officials on our engine house site at the Eastern California Museum. Although not finalized yet, they are very supportive of the concept and we look forward to meeting again in September to complete some details. Check back on the website for drawings and pictures of our plan to be added in the near future. Thanks for your support!