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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My K28, like most model steam engines, tends to get quite juicy with oil splatters after an hour or two of steaming. Recently, when Larry Green and I were steaming, a friend who had a brand new Accucraft C19 came over to give it a test run. The C19 has a spark arrestor screen on the smoke stack and I noticed that oil seemed to be puddling on the top screen and dripping back down into the smoke box. He didn't run the engine a lot and I didn't get a real sense of how much it suffered from oil spatter.

So, for those of you who have C19s, does the spark arrestor screen cut down on oil splatters? If so, does it make enough of a difference to justify making a spark arrestor screen for my K28?

Llyn
 

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Hi Llyn, when I ran my Accucraft Open Cab Shay it was the same, with spitting and gurgling, so after much thought I modified the lubricator.
On the Accucraft and I think the Aster locos the pipe goes along the side of the lubricator and takes great gulps of oil.
Another version of the lubricator has the steam pipe going through the lubricator a la Roundhouse locos.
I then modified my Open-Cab Shay's lubricator to that type and it slowed the usage of oil and stopped most of the spitting and gurgling. I would get two/ three runs out of one topup of steam oil.
I wrote up an article on it for Steam in the Garden magazine some years ago now.
I also removed the wire gauze from on top of the stack as it would, as you said, gunge up and stop the steam from escaping.
Hope this helps Llyn.
 

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Llyn,
I have an Accucraft spark arrestor for my K-27. It reduces, but does not eliminate splatter. One down side is that the screen clogs after two runs. So, I don't tighten the set screws making it quickly removable for cleaning. I didn't see the part in the Accucraft Online Store, but it's probably still available. I don't know if the diameter of the top of the K-28 stack is the same as the K-27 or not. You can see the thing in this picture:

 

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Last year while watching someone prepare a live steamer, I had a drop of lubricating oil spat in my eye. Although it didn’t hurt, this floating blind spot was annoying. Rubbing the eye only dispersed the drop into several, more annoying smaller spots. It took about a week before the spots broke down into a gray film of oil, and a month before everything was absorbed. Resistance is futile, it will be absorbed!

If you don’t wear glasses, I would recommend safety glasses when firing up your steamers. Spectators keep your distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
John,
You mention going over to a Roundhouse-type lubricator. I have a Roundhouse Lady Anne and the steam tube goes through the center as you described and it gobbles oil every bit as fast as my K28. I gather from your posting that you converted yours to center-feed yourself and must have done something a bit differently (better) than on the lubricator I have here. Do you recall which month edition your article was in?

Carl,
I figured that a screen would not eliminate splatter; but, might subdue it a bit which seems to be your experience. If one were planning to do a lot of running, it might be necessary to have two or three on hand in order to put fresh ones on as they clog up. I expect that a good soak in diswashing detergent should clean them out. I'm still inclined to give spark arrestors a try. I have photos of the ones used on the Durango and Silverton and on the Cumbres and Toltec to serve as a design guide.

Paul,
I've worn glasses since my early teen years and they have saved my sight several times over. Your description of what an oil spatter can do is instructive. Thanks for the safety heads-up.

Llyn
 

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Too much oil out the loco front end means too much oil out of the back end - the lubricator. The amount of oil out of the lubricator is controlled by the size of the hole in the steam pipe at the lubricator. If the existing hole is too large a diameter the simplest way of shrinking the diameter is to put something in the hole - like body puddy - ok, that's extreme and not very manageable in the size/space involved. So what about a piece of wire? Give it a try. Bend the wire (maybe 3/4" or so long) it so it hooks on the steam pipe hole and maybe 1/2" down the inside of the luricator, enough to crab with tweezers. First use very small drill bits to test the steam pipe hole and find the diameter. Then try a wire say 1/3 the steam pipe hole diameter. If there is no more excess oil out the loco front end great your done. If not enlarge the wire diameter a little an try again... and so on. I'd give you numbers but it's been too long since I did my last one to remember (notes, well taking them was once good intentions.)

If you'e skeptical of shrinking the space (diameter) of the hole for steam & steam oil mixing (atomizing), I have a friend who shrank the space to .001 of an inch. Worked great, has worked for years and never any problems with too much oil or too little steam oil.

Al this assumes you use a high/good grade of REAL Steam Oil.
 

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Hi Lynn

I have been duplicating John's lubricator modification for the Accucraft Lubricators since his article came out in STIG. The most recent one I did was on the AC-12, which involved replacing the piping with new 1/8" ID to alolow for better steam flow. The piping was drilled with a new singular hole (.002mm) or in otherwords, a pin hole facing upwards to allow the emulsification that pushes the oil up to travel just that bit further and reduce the amount of oil allowed into the pipe.

The results were nothing short of spectacular. Although the capicty of the lubricator was not increased any, the runtime on the same amount of oil was increasecd to 3x or more. On the way the OEM line was run, the lubricator was emptied within 30 minutes or less of running. On the new line, the oil longevity was increased to over 2.5 hours. This is without any further metering or other forms of restricting device. I had the uptmost faith in not changing the oil after each of the three 45 minute runs that were made over this past weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi Ryan,

In your post, you speak of making a hole 0.002 mm diameter. That would be 0.000078 inches diameter which would be mighty tiny, indeed. Do you really drill a 0.002mm hole when you do the conversion?

Llyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Chris,

The simplicity of your approach is quite appealing. Since the steam tube is soldered into the side of the lubricator any wire I insert will have to go in horizontally. I guess that the only way to gauge the hole size is to buy several sizes of wire, bend the end of each sample and probe the hole to see which will fill the hole and then back off. Doesn't look as if there is any way to probe the hole with a drill bit. Or, am I missing something?

Llyn
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi Carl,

Do you use Brakkleen for general locomotive cleaning? Or, do you resrve it for special tasks such as cleaning the spark arrestors?

Llyn
 

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Llyn,

.002 was a rough approximation. I actually use the tip of a very fine airbrush needle (draws hairline sized lines) after filling the pipe down to a thin sliver of copper foil. I can give you a exact drill size when I get the engine out of the box tomorrow.
 

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Llyn, the article was in SitG #88 Jul/Aug 2006.
I find that there has to be an air pocket on top of the oil to make it work correctly. In fact I've gone to the trouble to counter drill the screw-on cap to a depth of approx 1/8" to make sure that I can't overfill the lubricators on my loco's.
My theory of operation: While running the pulses in the steam line force some steam into the lubricator which compresses the air pocket and allows the steam into the lubricator, which then condenses and lifts the oil up.
When there is a slight drop in pressure in the steam line due to a valve closing, the air pocket expands and forces a drop of oil out into the steam line.
I've found that I get as much fun fiddling with my steam loco's as I get from actually running them.
Does this mean I'm a masochist? /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi John,

Is the counterbore in the cap something you do only if you've made the changes described in your SITG article? My K28 steam oil reservoir is already pretty well drained out after a one hour run. I don't think I want to coax the steam oil to move any faster than it is now.

Masochist? Never!! Tinkering IS part of the fun!

Llyn
 

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Posted By llynrice on 05/27/2008 6:23 PM
Hi Chris,
The simplicity of your approach is quite appealing. Since the steam tube is soldered into the side of the lubricator any wire I insert will have to go in horizontally. I guess that the only way to gauge the hole size is to buy several sizes of wire, bend the end of each sample and probe the hole to see which will fill the hole and then back off. Doesn't look as if there is any way to probe the hole with a drill bit. Or, am I missing something?
Llyn




The wire in the steam pipe hole method is all about simplicity and avoiding the work of removing the stock side mounted pipe, driling a through hole, soldering a through pipe and drilling the through pipe.

How to - hopefully filling in needed info: (boy a picture would sure be easier.)
With the lubricator cap off, a very small drill bit can be inserted, at an angle, into the steam pipe hole with the shaft of the drill laying against the lubricator top side opposite the steam pipe hole. The shallow angle will not make a great deal of difference in finding the approximate size of the steam pipe hole. Try different diameter drill bits until you fine the closest to the actual diameter of the hole.

Cut a 3/4"-1.0" piece of wire (or longer if you/it feels more comfortable) 1/3-1/2 the diameter of the steam pipe hole. Bend the wire about 1/4-5/16" from one end. Make the bend sharp, the goal is the radius is the steam pipe wall thickness. Now bend the short end of the wire ~90 degrees to the long side of the wire. I always insert the wire into the hole in the steam pipe so the wire is pointing in the direction of steam flow - it just seems more natural that way.

You can make the wire as long as you like on either end which may give you more confidence in its workability (staying in place) although I've never had any trouble with just a short piece of wire.

Using a pair of tweezers, grip the wire on the long side just below the bend. With the wire long side pointed down into the lubricator slip the short end into the steam pipe hole. Fill the lubricator with steam oil, but not above the level of the steam pipe hole. Replace the cap and fire her up.

If there is no more excess oil out the loco front end great your done. If not enlarge the wire diameter a little an try again... and so on. I'd give you numbers but it's been too long since I did my last one to remember (notes, well taking them was once good intentions.)
 

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I hope you folk remember that your engine is SUPPOSED to USE oil. If you have lots of oil left over then you are risking damage to the valve faces, Piston rings/sides, cylinder walls and various seals. Granted, using "too much" oil is wasteful and possibly troubling to clean up, but oil and rags are lots cheaper and less labor intensive than replacement cylinders and reworking surfaces and seals.
 

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Llyn,
I only use Brakkleen for special occasions, like getting surface absolutely clean before using Locktite or JB Weld. It's too powerful and expensive for general cleaning. Sometimes it removes paint, so you must be careful. The only paint on Accucraft locos that I noticed it effects, is the black coating applied to the brass knuckle couplers. By the way, there are two versions. The Brakkleen in the green (?) can is safe for plastics.
 

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Based on the runnning time, oil utilization and the visual of emulsified oil coming out of a slightly open drain cock I would conclude that the reduction in the size of oil pickup hole seems to be a better alternative than the stock oil configuration that would used up the oil sooner than the total run time for the cab forward thereby causing potential impact on the critical moving parts.
 

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An observation from one who has been running Gauge1 live steam since 1961, the vast majority of engines lubricate way way too much. I have been running an Aster Schools for 27 years and it runs for over an hour without refilling the lubricator. I would say it has about 500 real miles on it and all I have done is replace the graphite yarn piston packing twice.
Chris Scott has it absolutely right with restricting the flow, when you look at the top of the stack/chimney of your engine there should be just a trace of oil film. If you've got oil snot around it you're lubricating way too much, with that sort of discharge your engine is emptying the lubricator in the first five minutes of a run.
Over lubrication is not only wasteful, it's also extremely anti-social for fellow steamers. How many of you have seen the diabolical state the tracks at Diamondhead get into with engines slipping because of so much oil thrown around? Bear in mind that saturated steam is a pretty good lubricant too, and that's what many of you unknowingly are using!

David M-K
Ottawa
 
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