Kombrink's American

Where users can chronicle their builds. Start one thread and continue to add on to it.

Moderators: Harold_V, WJH, hwboivin3

Post Reply
User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:27 pm

Or the relocating of the Dry Creek and Western to Alabama.

Before I start, in my own defense, I will say this engine was not purchased to be another project. Pontiacguy, Fender and a few others, made the point that I should find an engine to run while I continue to build the Rust Bucket. This made good sense as the Rust Bucket is going into its third year and I have come to realize there is no quick building of a locomotive. Time and Money do not seem to work out like you plan. So, this is all their fault…

So needing a running engine, I recently purchased a pair of engines and a car from Larry Kombrink’s estate. Larry’s railway was the Dry Creek and Western which was located near Georgetown Colorado. It was a short track line with a couple of 25 foot radius curves. This radius, needless to say, put a restriction on the DC&W equipment size. Larry’s Daughter, who had graciously offered to sell me the equipment, is in the process of remodeling his cabin and sadly one of the things going is the track. So the part of the DC&W is moving to MSLS in Tennessee with an 0-4-0 project going with Fender to Eagle Point. The engines are an American and a 25 Tonner, both of which have not been run in twenty five years. The car is a 50 ton gondola.

This is not a build along project per say. This is more of a, bring it back to life, discussion on what it takes to bring older engines out of retirement and back into service. No input will be considered the pirating of a thread and all inputs are criticism are welcome.

Having only seen the American once in 25 years, I did not have any delusions that we would simply be able to hose it off and fire it up. My plan is to clean it up, inspect, and get it out on the track with the least amount of time and work. I am going to try to balance my time between the American and the Rust Bucket.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Thu Jun 11, 2015 8:49 pm

To Date:

While Fender was on a vacation trip to Colorado, he was kind enough to make a side trip to the mountains above Denver and pick up the engines and car. Needless to say Fender’s wife, who was stuck in the car with the engines for the return trip to Alabama, has a special place in Heaven for putting up with him and a total stranger from Alabama.
IMG_0170.JPG
I should mention they were also dealing with storms and rain. I met them on the highway in Tennessee to transfer the engines to my pickup.




After getting them home, the first thing to tackle was the RRSC GE 25 Tonner. This engine was Larry’s workhorse. He used it for everything from hauling tools to rocks in the 50 ton gondola. It had been in outside storage in a barn. His daughter doesn't believe it was cranked after 1991 when Larry retired.
IMG_0175.JPG
I pulled the fiberglass cowl off to find a electric start, 3.5 hp. cast iron Clinton coupled up to an Eaton 6 transmission. This Clinton 494 engine was not produced after 1964 according to the internet. RRSC no longer produces this engine in gas, only battery powered
DSC_3319.JPG
Checked the fluids, added gas and pulled the rope. Started on the third pull. Really it did. Runs rough and leaks gas. Lights work but horn missing.

Two days later running smoother but still leaking. After a new starter battery and slowing the leak, we ran it around the track at MSLS pulling two people on two riding cars for a little over an hour. It ran better as the day went.

Things to do.

1. New Carburetor kit on the way as the gaskets and O-rings are all dried up and leak. Scary that you can still order this kit on line. If this fails a new Carburetor is also available.
2. Oil change in the engine and gear box.
3. New petcock and fuel line to the tank.
4. New horn.
5. New paint
6. Safety Chains

So enough about the gas burner and on to the American.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

Cary Stewart
Posts: 463
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:54 pm

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Cary Stewart » Fri Jun 12, 2015 6:30 pm

Hi Charlie,
RRSC did not exist in 196X. I believe they opened their doors in 1970 or 1971. The Yard Goat did not appear for some years after that. I suspect that the engine is not original RRSC. Most of RRSC non steam locos had Kohler engines including the YG. However, If the engine is running well and that Eaton trany is still OK then have fun. Cary

User avatar
PSeyfrit
Posts: 106
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:20 pm

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by PSeyfrit » Fri Jun 12, 2015 7:26 pm

Ah Charlie, what's one or two more pieces of iron taking up space in the shop? (Says the man with a boiler, a frame, and other parts that used to be a locomotive littering the basement floor.)
Paul
Maryland
Club website http://calslivesteam.org

User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:26 pm

RRSC did not exist in 196X. I believe they opened their doors in 1970 or 1971. The Yard Goat did not appear for some years after that. I suspect that the engine is not original RRSC. Most of RRSC non steam locos had Kohler engines including the YG. However, If the engine is running well and that Eaton trany is still OK then have fun. Cary
Hey Cary, The more I look at this thing I believe you are right. Also, Pontiacguy mentioned them coming with Kohler engines.

Today I picked up a Carb kit, carb cleaner, new fuel hose. Ordered a petcock for the tank as they were out of stock. Amazing you can still get parts for a engine that old. Of course when you think of it, I am 61, have replacement knee and eye lenses.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:46 pm

Quick History on the American (as I know it)

I met Larry Kombrink when I was stationed in Denver doing a three year tour on recruiting duty. I taught him RC submarines and he introduced me to live steam. The American was the first engine I ever operated. This was in 1986 to 1989. After leaving Colorado for North Carolina I would call him and we kept up or friendship over the years. In 2012 I was able to get back and spend a few days with him. His health had failed by then and we mostly talked trains, and the women in our lives.

Larry fell under "Unforgettable Character". Having said that I know that there are those out there that did not like the man at all as he could be as caustic as sulfuric acid when you did not agree with him. He was also notorious for telling you if he thought your were an idiot and did not like you. If you are one of these guys, I understand. I would not like to hear about it here and I am sure his daughter would not care to read any uncalled for comments.

So. To the American.

How it looked 25 years ago
Larry on train.jpg
How I looked 25 years ago (young kid in the USMC T Shirt)
Charlie and ARmand with track.jpg
Charlie and ARmand with track.jpg (13.65 KiB) Viewed 4454 times
This was somewhere prior to 1989 as I left Colorado shortly there after.

In 2012 I went for a visit. While there I pulled out the American and took photos for my own projects. It had been under the stairs for 20 years and was encased in oil and dust. Larry had moved on to other engines and had always planned on this going to his daughter. This last year she decided that, as she no longer had room for it, that her dad would have been ok with me purchasing it.
DSC_0112.jpg
DSC_0058.jpg
Our agreement is that I will not change the engines looks or numbers. Fair deal.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Fri Jun 12, 2015 9:56 pm

Put it on a roll around table and started to clean with steel wool, brushes and rags. Two cans of Gunk Engine Cleaner cam in handy. I am trying not to remove anything that is not required except to clean and inspect at this point
DSC_3329.jpg
DSC_3328.jpg
DSC_3323.jpg


After cleaning and oiling for five days I needed some motivation so I hooked it up to an air compressor to see what would happen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx8dLbY4AuY



Before going any farther called Pontiacguy and set up a day at the track to do a boiler test.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

User avatar
Fender
Posts: 2441
Joined: Wed May 02, 2007 8:33 pm
Location: Chattanooga TN

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Fender » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:40 am

I hauled it all the way from CO to TN, and didn't notice the Russia iron jacket because it was so grimy! Like my grandson, it cleans up nicely!
Dan Watson

User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Sat Jun 13, 2015 6:40 am

The boiler inspection, which had me on pins and needles, happened this last Saturday. A friend from Maryland and I hauled it to MSLS where Scott Reedy and Greg Glos guided me thru the checks.

The boiler checked out fine but of course the piping had its issues. Primarily the throttle and the check valve to the oiler.
IMG_0174.JPG
While we were there we ran the 25 Tonner, which has now been named Daisy.

The next task is the throttle rebuild then the Oiler.
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

jcbrock
Posts: 288
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 7:50 pm
Location: Oregon

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by jcbrock » Sat Jun 13, 2015 8:17 am

Looks great Charlie. With the passed boiler inspection you should be on track soon.
John Brock

Bill C
Posts: 216
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:14 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Bill C » Sat Jun 13, 2015 2:49 pm

Charlie,

Congratulations on your progress in breathing new life into the American, it is a beautiful engine. I am looking forward to following your progress, please keep posting photos and videos.

I'd like to ask a question about one of the transport vehicles in your photos. I have a GMC Yukon XL and am thinking it might be capable of being a transport vehicle for my Allen Mogul (whenever I get it done). Is that Fender's Suburban/Yukon in one of the photos? Does it have a slide-out tray the holds the engines? Any details will be very helpful.

Semper Fi,

Bill C.

User avatar
Pipescs
Posts: 1800
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:16 pm
Location: Lester Alabama

Re: Kombrink's American

Post by Pipescs » Sat Jun 13, 2015 3:59 pm

Is that Fender's Suburban/Yukon in one of the photos? Does it have a slide-out tray the holds the engines? Any details will be very helpful.
Jump in Dan....

Third time I have started this. I keep loosing the site and all my babbling.

The throttle Larry used is a simple slide valve he made to put directly on the back head. The steam comes in the front, turns ninety degrees upward, then down thru the throttle block which has a small triangular opening.
DSC_3388.jpg
When I got it off there was a lot of scoring, which tells me it was running dry for a while.
DSC_3376.jpg
Looking back the few times I ran it at Larry's, I do not remember him oiling anything. We simply took it out and ran it around the track.

Fixing it was easy using wet six hundred grit paper on the surface plate to polish out the scratches in the brass. The slide valve was heavily pitted but cleaned up ok.

Once I had it back together I oiled it up and ran the engine on the air compressor to see if it had any blow by.

The oil pump was buried under the right running board so I removed it and the steam powered water pump that will get worked on later.
DSC_3385.jpg
The inside of it looked like the Dismal Swamp. Taking the running board off also showed me more stuff to clean up. Took most of my time in the shop last night to clean it out and get it primed with oil. Still working on cleaning the frame in that area.

I disconnected it from the linkage and manually pumped two tanks of steam oil thru it. Then started connecting lines to it until I had oil pumping all the way back to the cab. It has green paint on it that I will deal with later, but for right now will simply clean it off.

Next is the Water Pumps ( Three of them)
Charlie Pipes
USMC Retired

Current Projects:

2.5 Baldwin 2-4-2/2-4-4/0-4-4 Conversion (What ever)
Little Engines American Restoration
Bobber Caboose

Post Reply