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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Steamies,

I thought I'd post an update on my progress to restore my Liberty belle. It has been about 6 months since I started working on the project here and there.

Completed:
Replaced fireman's side cylinder and steam chest
Replaced all gaskets on both cylinders
Cleaned out 14 years of steam oil buildup in the cylinders

It wasn't all that much work, when I look back on it, but I just don't have time anymore to work on stuff!! Not with a newborn, anyway. However, in the last couple of weeks, I have been finding some time to work on getting things put back together and put together. Last night, I finished working on the valve gear and was able to set the timing. I reinstalled the gas tank and nozzle and the roof of the cab.

At this point, she's ready to be checked out. Do I steam her up and check for leaks or do I try to run her on shop air (a little bit tough, since I don't have direct access to shop air..)?

Last time I steamed her up, she did not run. Pressure built, no problem, but when it came time to go, she simply wouldn't. It was if the steam wasn't getting to the cylinders. After opening up the cylinder covers and finding the nasty gunk in there, I think I know why.

Comments? Fire her up? Find a way to run her on shop air first?

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi John,

Yes, I did get the drive wheels freed up. I had to set the valve timing on the new cylinder. It essentially locked the right and left side. I also discovered a loose bolt which may have further prevented the wheels from turning. After setting the valve timing (and I think I got it right), everything seemed to move smoothly without much resistance.

I guess I'll need to find some butane and fire up tomorrow when the baby is sleeping...

Are there any good sources of butane? I have used those one or two fill up cans you find in the grocery store, but bought the nozzle to go on a camp fuel cannister. Can I just use GAZ butane/propane mixed? I have some of that for my camping stove, but it is over 10 years old...

Mark
 

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Mark,
I don't know if you have any asian supermarkets in your area, but the one by me carries the butane cans. By the case they are only $1.07 each. Make sure you take some pictures when you fire it up.

George
 

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One thrust on a bicycle pump would prove whether the "motor" works and save a lot of running around getting fuel etc. and waiting for steam to come up and then waiting for it to cool down so you can find a clog or valve adjustement error.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Charles, good idea.

What kind of fitting do you recommend? I have a goodall valve, so perhaps I'll be able to make it work that way...

Thanks for the tip George, I'll look around for some.

Mark
 

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Going through the boiler is not the BEST idea, but is feasible if you understand the need to keep the pressure LOW. Don't go pumping 150 pounds of air into a boiler designed for 60!!!!! Better to have a connection to the steam line FROM the boiler TO the cylinders (and no back connection to the boiler!).

Why chance a boiler explosion from over pressurization by AIR... yes, we do (well, some of us) do pressure tests of our boilers to values above the working pressure, but that is done with an incompressible (water) medium and a failure of the boiler in that case just causes a squirt of water and not the possibility of flying shrapnel.
 

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Posted By Semper Vaporo on 05/08/2008 12:55 PM
Going through the boiler is not the BEST idea, but is feasible if you understand the need to keep the pressure LOW. Don't go pumping 150 pounds of air into a boiler designed for 60!!!!! Better to have a connection to the steam line FROM the boiler TO the cylinders (and no back connection to the boiler!).
Why chance a boiler explosion from over pressurization by AIR... yes, we do (well, some of us) do pressure tests of our boilers to values above the working pressure, but that is done with an incompressible (water) medium and a failure of the boiler in that case just causes a squirt of water and not the possibility of flying shrapnel.


Well,
gazillions of live steamers have tested their locos with a bicycle pump through the boiler on air. Unless you jump on the pump you won't create any "deadly" pressure. And as stated many times, our boilers don't explode (volume vs. speed of rupture propagation). By connecting to the boiler you also test any obstruction between boiler/throttle/cylinders.
Regards
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Charles,

I thought you were talking about using a bike pump to build air pressure in the boiler to working and then open the throttle to see if the wheels move. I re-read your post and realized that you were talking about something different. I don't really want to go disconnecting fittings that have been solid for 14 years, know what I mean? My luck, they'd end up becoming problematic, at an inopportune time.

I'll probably just do the steam up thing and when the problems arise, then I can burn my fingers and curse the steam gods yet again.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Henner,

How do you connect the bike pump to the boiler? I have a goodall valve and a good bike pump with its own pressure gauge. No need to over pressure, either. I just want to see if I have good connections.

Thanks,

Mark
 

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No, I should NOT have used the word "explosion".

BUT, I did say it was not the "BEST" method. I have done it. I used to generate the initial draft for starting the fire by connecting a filled air tank to the water inlet clack valve and opening the blower valve. This works just fine, I open the blower valve, then barely open the outlet valve of the tank until I get a good draft on the fire. By having the blower valve open first and not opening the tank valve far enough to overwhelm the blower there is never more than a few pounds of pressure in the boiler. But... I nearly damaged the locomotive's pressure gauge once by closing the blower valve BEFORE I closed the tank valve which then still had 150 lbs applied to the boiler.

As for "explosion", yes, our tiny boilers are not big enough for that fabled "Critical Crack Length"... BUT... there are fittings applied to the tank (and piping around and about on it), that could give way and shoot off in any sort of direction (shrapnel)... I HAVE seen that!

If your locomotive is buttoned up and you don't want to discombobulate it to get to a point after the boiler, then use the clack valve (Goodall) and all CAN be fine, IF you pay attention to the pressure being applied.

One thrust on the bicycle pump will produce several cycles of the pistons on the engine. But, 60 psi of nothing but air in the boiler will not run the engine for very long, so there is that ever present temptation to make a bunch of thrusts to get the engine to run for a minute or more so you can see what it is doing without huffing and puffing and chancing pulling the loco off the bench (because the hoses are too short for all the violent thrashing around you are doing working the pump). Thus you get the boiler up to 150 or more pounds before you realize you just broke the pressure gauge, collapsed the flue, ruptured a seam, shattered the sight glass or stripped the threads off a cap somewhere.

Also, the failure will not be preceded by warnings of its impending occurrence. It is not like Daddy chasing the kid, saying "I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna get you... tickle tickle tickle!" it is, rather, "Whump!", damaged, done.

Don't chance the pressure getting out of hand and it will work just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Charles,

Thanks for the advice. The Liberty Belle is really a very simple machine, no blower used as it is gas fired, and a short boiler at that (it is based on a Roundhouse Fowler, to give you an idea of the size).

We did use shop air a few years ago when I was tinkering, and the pressure gauge jumped up to about 60 psi for short periods. I am not sure if we did any damage then. Nothing indicated that we did. I will try the bike pump method, but how do I get the air in to the boiler?

The end of the bike pump has fittings for the regular bike tube and a schrader valve. If I had a spare schrader valve, I might be able to fashion something that would fit down in the goodall valve. As an alternate, I also have the squirt bottle I use to fill the boiler with water. If I emptied all the water out, I might be able to put a few pounds of pressure in the boiler, but I have no idea if that will work. Never hurts to try, I guess.

As you can guess, I didn't have a chance to try anything last night. Perhaps this afternoon. Work is done at 2:30 on Fridays, but I get early babysitting, so Luke might have to be satisfied watching.

Mark
 

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G'day Mark,

I'd bet that you have a basketball or football inflator needle somewhere. Find a plastic tube that will fit snuggly over the needle and insert into your Goodall valve (repeat applying tubes as needed). Will work!

Good luck

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Tim,

I actually don't have one of those, but there's no time like the present to get one! I might also be able to use the piece of tube from the water bottle to connect to the schrader valve port.

Thanks,

Mark
 

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Using a basketball inflator needle will make it harder to work the pump, the needle is a very small pipe. You want as large of tubing as you can get away with just to save the aching arms!
I used a tubeless tire stem, took the Schrader valve out to remove one "restriction" The outer end with the threads fits the tire pump and in the inner end I rubber-cemented at hose in that would also fit the clack valve on my boiler... basically the Goodall valve connection. ummm... taking the Schrader valve out of the stem will only work if the pump connector does not need the center pin to open its valve!
I doubt if you damaged the gauge at only 60 psi. if the gauge goes to 100 or so. If you put 150 ot 200 into it I doubt if it would register properly anymore! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/cry.gif" border=0> it might just be usefull as an indicator that you have some steam... the indication being a hissig sound and steam coming out of the seams around the glass front. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/pinch.gif" border=0>
Trying to use the pump bottle for generating pressure would work, but you will have hand cramps before too long! /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif" border=0> Consider the size of the pump... its volume. Each cycle of that pump will generate that volume of air. Now consider the volume of the cylinders you are trying to run. They are probably twice the size and are double acting and there are two of them. Thus you need two cycles of the hand pump to fill one end of one cylinder. To make the wheels rotate just one time would reaqure 8 cycles of the pump AT A MINIMUM, not counting leakage from the various fittings and "bypass" leakage around the engine's slide or piston valves and pistons in the cylinders. And that is assumming the engine runs easily and after you have pumped it enough to overcome the starting friction of the engine.
Hopefully you put some oil on the pistons when you assembled the cylinders and the valves. This will reduce the "bypass" leakage and reduce the friction of making it run. I doubt if you will hurt the engine MUCH if you are on the dry side (oil wise), but it would be advisable to maybe take the valve covers off (assuming slide valves) and put a drop or two of oil in there and let it seep down into the cylinders. If they are piston valves, I think it would be worth it to pull them out and put some oil in that way. Maybe take a cylinder cover off and put oil in that way... even turn the loco upsidedown to let oil seep back to the valve. Oil the piston and valve rods where they go through the glands too.
Another silly caveat... make sure the locomotive is either propped up off the track or sitting on rollers! I didn't the first time I tried my first Mike. I had just assembled the chassis, wheels and engine and was at the step to apply air to tune the engine. I had gotten the instructions backwards in my mind and when I put the engine in "Forward" and applied some air pressure, the thing took off in "REVERSE", ran to the end of the table and nearly ran off the end... right at the glass front of the china cabinet! if the hose had not been firmly attached... and SHORT... I would have been a wee bit more upset with myself... as it was, when the heart slowed down, I had a good laugh at myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Charles and all,

I might have been a little early saying this engine was complete. I seem to have a bind in the running gear when everything is tightened up. So much so that the valve gear does not seem to want to move. I am working on it. Some oil of the valve stem, etc.. I'll post more when it is working..

mark
 

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Just a note... when you notice the binding... is the engine propped up on blocks or is it sitting on rails (or on a surface)? There quite often will be binding if the wheels are allowed to dangle on the suspension. Some locos can run fine if the wheels are not supported in the normal working position, and others will exhibit a bind due to an axle or axles not being in line with the others and the centerline of the piston, etc. and that can be misleading that something is wrong.

On the other hand, if there is a bind of some sort with the engine supported on its wheels then, first, make sure all the wheels are at the same level and there is no hangup in the suspension, then look for possibly "out of quarter" wheel sets (or at least one set that is different than the others). Make sure the axles are all parallel to each other and perpendicular to the chassis. Make sure the main rods (from the piston to the drive pin) are not too long nor too short and cause the piston to bump one end of the cylinder. Make sure the side rods (from wheel to wheel) are the same length from one bearing to the next as the distance between the respective axles. I have heard of an engine where the distance from axle 1 to axle 2 was different than the distance from 2 to 3, but it was a very slight and almost unnoticeable difference and if the side rods were put on backwards (flipped end for end) then it would exhibit a binding in rotation.

There are dozens of things that CAN cause binding and finding them can be a head scratching experience. You may have to dissassemble the rods and other connections and check one piece at a time and then two at a time to see if there is an interaction. Then the fun begins as you try to decide which of the two is wrong and that is where you can be lead down the garden path to the wrong conclusions very easily. For example, you might decide that one side rod is the wrong lenght when it is really an axle that is not at the same elevation as the others or possibly canted sideways a degree or two. Many things can produce the same symptom and find the real culpret can be difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Charles,

Didn't think there was enough play in the wheels to bind the linkage. The bind appears when then steam chests are tightened up, so it appears that the cylinders are not quite parallel. I will try putting it on the track and running the reverser again. The binding is definetly in the steam chest. When I get some more time, I will report back.

Mark
 
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