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Liberty Belle rebuild complete

4548 Views 21 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  markoles
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.

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?

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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.

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.
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