L.E. American & Feedwater?

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DianneB
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L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by DianneB » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:03 am

I have been running my L.E. American for about 6 years now and found that the crosshead pumps don't quite keep up to the requirement for makeup water. They also leaked at the packing gland but the glad nut was tucked so tightly between the crosshead and the frame that they were nearly impossible to adjust. And just to be more annoying, servicing the pumps required dismantling the crosshead to get at the pump or to get it out! The pump mounting bolts are also horribly located and trying to mount/dismount the pump takes a lot of trying and colourful language :shock: They are a pretty pump and add to the appearance of the locomotive but are one giant P.I.T.A.

I also have the tender hand pump and added an Eccentric Engineer small injector last spring - both of which work great - thanks Anthony!

This week I decided to convert the crosshead pumps to O-rings for piston rings in an attempt to reduce the maintenance and adjustment requirements but found that the pump cylinder and ram are so short that there isn't enough length to do O-ring grooves without the O-rings pulling back into the packing gland space.

Now I am uncertain which way to go. I can/could:

1) Redesign/rebuild the crosshead pumps with a longer ram & longer cylinder to better accommodate the 2" stroke. If I do that, I might as well increase the bore from 0.250" to increase the makeup water. If I redesign the crosshead pumps, I will also have to improve the mount.

2) Add a steam-operated feedwater pump. I have the materials and drawings for both the Cole's Power Models Worthington pump (which is a bit on the large side) and Bill Shield's "3/4 inch" version of the VanBrocklin duplex pump. Unfortunately I am not a very good machinist and don't have a lot of confidence in building either of these and having them work well.

3) I could add an axle pump (as long as it used a split eccentric and could be added to the middle of the lead axle). From what I have heard and seen, axle pumps have their own set of problems.

I need a reliable means of adding water while running, preferably one that has a constant deliver rate.

What are your thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc.?

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Bill Shields
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by Bill Shields » Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:33 am

Good luck with cramming an axle pump in there.

Properly done axle pumps have no more problems than any other part of a steamer...been using them for decades.

I am confused - If you added an injector...are you STILL having problems keeping up with water?

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DianneB
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by DianneB » Thu Sep 20, 2018 7:56 am

Bill Shields wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:33 am
I am confused...
Really Bill? I am often confused :wink:
If you added an injector...are you STILL having problems keeping up with water?
Not at all! Anthony's "small" injector delivers LOTS of water quickly and eats a fair amount of steam for my wee little American. I could try throttling it (more than I have) but running it wide open, it only takes 15 Seconds to bring the water up and drops the steam pressure 10 PSI.

hoppercar
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by hoppercar » Thu Sep 20, 2018 8:38 am

I made new crossheads for my American and put the pump driving lug ,and pump mounted in the outside, just for that reason, so you can get at it

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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:24 am

My chloe locomotive is heavier and has bored out cylinders. It too had a 1/4" ram, but had a 2 1/4" stroke on the crosshead pump. When the cylinders were still 1 1/4" x 2 1/4", it kept up fine. When I bored them out, it wouldn't quite put in enough water, although the boiler still made more than enough steam. I used the same crosshead pump, but reamed it and the packing nut out to 5/16" and made a 5/16" ram for it, and that fixed it. It will now deliver as much water as you can possibly need. Like you, there are times when you don't want to have to fiddle with the injector while you are out on the line, especially when trying to make a run at a long grade with a big load. The Chloe axle pump is also mounted outside the crosshead, and is really easy to get to.

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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by jessebanning » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:45 am

We use .250" water lines feeding the pumps. Each pump has a dedicated line. They are NOT Tee'd together as per original design. The rams were increased to .250" from .1875". Each pump discharges directly into boiler with .250" line. They are NOT Tee'd as per original design. The new surge chamber lost wax castings work great. The rams have O rings instead of packing. We have no problem with the pumps supplying the boiler. 1 pump when running light will fill the boiler.

When we ran at Riverside Live Steamers, we pulled 5 cars and 6 people. Both pumps worked great and had no issues. We also burn coal and run at 120 PSI.
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DianneB
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by DianneB » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:59 am

As a retired designer I always took the attitude that "if had been working for years and nobody complained, the design must have been okay" so I went back to the crosshead pumps this morning and went through them with a fine-toothed comb. I also repaired the ram I screwed up yesterday (when it slipped in the chuck).

I cut new O-ring grooves right near the end of the rams, opened the cylinder out to 0.266" and deepened the cylinder as far as I could go (so the O-rings wont hit the bottom).

I also found that the stainless ball check valves weren't seating well so the seats were cleaned up and the balls re-set with a firm tap.

I also discovered, quite by accident, that there was no "over-travel limit" and all the valves would seal in the wrong direction if there was sufficient flow! NOT GOOD but easily fixed by inserting a short piece of stainless steel spring. That could have been causing problems and sure wouldn't be good for the seals!

I will change the mounting to eliminate the small nuts in the blind corners by tapping the frame - that should eliminate the cussing LOL!

I may change out the plumbing to 1/4" this winter, as Jesse suggested.

Considering what I found, we'll give the crosshead pumps another chance.

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Dick_Morris
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by Dick_Morris » Thu Sep 20, 2018 4:44 pm

If you have a good seal at the packing on the ram, do you need the O-ring and a good seal between the ram and the bore? Shouldn't the displacement of the ram in the cylinder pump the water?

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Bill Shields
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by Bill Shields » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:10 pm

in general, you do NOT want an o-ring on the ram AND packing round the ram where it enters the body.

you will only build up pressure between and cause one to blow....or leak steadily

Kimball McGinley
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by Kimball McGinley » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:42 pm

On my 2-1/2" scale 7-1/2" gauge 0-4-0 "Marie Estelle", I simply put the axle pump on the tender instead of the Loco. I went with a smaller diameter pump than recommended since the RPM will be higher due to the smaller Tender wheel diameter.

I also like the idea that it will not be specifically locked "in-phase" with a particular part of the piston power stroke; the two cycles will align every 2 driver and 3 tender wheel revolutions.

Disclaimer; not yet operational!

James Powell
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by James Powell » Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:29 am

I tend to break out the math when solving this sort of problem...

Figure out the volume of the cylinders, and the volume of the feed pumps. Use some conservative numbers for N of the feed pump, like 50%. See if the feed pump will feed more water than the cylinders at 100% live steam fill/stroke. If the math says yes, then the pump has an n of less than 50%, and needs work. If the math says no, then your answer is there. If the answer lies between 50 & 75% n for the pump, it is likely big enough.

All the math is easy enough to do. Pi*r^2*L for the figures, use steam tables for 100 PSI to get volume of water:Steam ratio.

Porta has a lot to say for this, along with Wardale. dripping water out all over the track is bad for n. Blowing steam out is worse...and worst of all is lifting the safeties. (Spike would launch me if I manage that at my new job...quite rightly !. Bad enough on ship- we were b/s ing and the topic of a slight shortage of 14 tons of water came up...wasn't me, I looked at the chief and said- I know where it went...it isn't a leaky tube... & he left it there...2x a day we'd go and operate way outside of "normal", so occasionally mistakes were made. Last one was the start of the fire...I wasn't there for it...)

James

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DianneB
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Re: L.E. American & Feedwater?

Post by DianneB » Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:40 am

Don't know why I didn't start with that James! I certainly would have in a new design.

By the math, I should have almost twice as much water as I need.

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