730 Gets a Boiler

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ccvstmr
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730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:27 am

Okay, have procrastinate long enough. Had an idea in the back of the ole noggin to share my experience with a boiler replacement project. I'll chronicle as much of the ordeal as possible and include photos (always have plenty of photos...except the ones I didn't get) to augment the discussion. Hope you enjoy the ride. You're welcome to ask questions and/or share comments along the way.

Background
Have noted some of this in some previous posts, but bears repeating to form a perspective. The Rutland 730 was originally out-shopped in 1995 by the late Pete Bialecki. In November 1999, a fellow club member called me to say Pete was going to sell the Rutland and wanted to put an ad in the club monthly publication. When Pete called and asked if he could put an ad in the For Sale section, I said..."SOLD - How much do you want for it?" See, there are benefits to being club recording secretary and newsletter editor. I found out what was coming up for sale before others! Chalk this up to being in the right place at the right time.

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photo from Oct. 2002

Saw Pete run the Rutland, an Allen Ten Wheeler at the local club many times. Was a good looking locomotive. Best part, was a manageable size. Pete needed the proceeds from this loco sale to purchase "loco jewelry" for the other two steam locos he was working on. Not only that, his wife said he couldn't have (3) locomotives!

Pete built the locomotive and boiler. In 2005, one of three steel superheater flues started leaking. That flue was plugged and operation continued. Wasn't long before a 2nd superheater flue leaked. Made the decision to take the loco out of service. Attempted to undercut the welded-in flues in the fire box and compromised the rear flue sheet. The boiler was taken to a club member who was a certified boiler welder. The rear flue sheet was replaced along with all the flues. Flues were silver soldered in place. Copper bushings were installed where the larger superheater flues in the front flue sheet where the (3) large superheater flues were located. Loco operation continued.

The Incident
In August 2017, The Steam Channel asked if they could borrow the Rutland for a prop as part of a video comparing different kinds of locomotive fuels. At the end of the video taping, the Rutland was fired up. Filled the boiler, lit the fire and "kicked the tires". As the pressure started to build, noticed the propane fire was burning orange! Yellow flames indicate fuel rich combustion. Had never seen an orange flame. The loco was shut down and the boiler drained.

The following weekend was Labor Day weekend. Had some family visiting the train club. Tried firing the Rutland again. This time, water was seen running out of the firebox. THIS NOT BE GOOD! The boiler was drained again. One or two weeks later, a club boiler inspectors conducted a boiler hyrdo test. Mind you...the Rutland was tested in May 2017 and passed the hydro test. Not this time...and it was only 4 months later.

Indications were some kind of boiler failure, but didn't know specifically what was wrong. Members asked if that was the end of the Rutland. HECK NO! We'll get the boiler repaired or replaced and get back on the rails! The Rutland is too much fun to put on a shelf to collect dust.

Next time...I'll get into the locomotive disassembly. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:33 pm

Time to get Dirty...

With the locomotive down, the tender was drained, sponged out and pressure purged for any water left in the lines. Loco and tender were disconnected and the tender left in the club engine house. The loco was transported to KRC...or Shop #1. I don't have the facilities here at home to work on the loco. Getting the loco down to the basement shop area would not be easy...getting the loco back up to street level would be another issue. Then again...don't believe the wife would welcome dragging a loco thru the house...twice.

Took 3 hours to remove the cab, plumbing and other details from the boiler. At that point, the boiler could be disconnected from the smoke box and lifted off the frame. With the boiler up on blocks, the boiler bands and metal boiler jacket came off.

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The Rutland was built to simulate a tapered boiler. 2" wide fiberglass insulation was wrapped around the barrel and then boiler paste was mixed and added to the rear half of the boiler to build up the diameter and create the tapered boiler look. The taper was for show only. From previous boiler repairs, fiberglass insulation was replaced at the front of the boiler and covered over with aluminized adhesive tape to hold in place. To get down to bare metal, the insulation was removed. The insulation around the firebox area came off like removing a cast from an arm or leg. Here's the first look at the boiler, totally void of insulation since it was originally built some 23+ years prior.

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There's no denying...there was some surface rust. In particular around the sides below the steam dome. There is what I would call...surface pitting...and nothing I figured would compromise the integrity of the boiler barrel. At least, not for another 25 or 50 years. You could still see the mill finish in the area surrounding the firebox. So when people get overly concerned about boiler insulation holding water/moisture against the steel...it's going to happen, I won't discount that...but I won't lose any sleep over that either.

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Next step...plug all the boiler openings: check valves, safety valves, blow down valves, etc. Wanted to pressurize the boiler to "house air pressure" which was about 90 psi. With the boiler on its side and pressurized, I could hear the air hissing in the firebox. I could FEEL the air blowing...just couldn't tell where the leaks were (yet). Prepared the best leak checker around...soap solution. Worked every time for leaks large and small. Brushed the solution on the firebox surfaces...and was amazed/surprised how the arch sheet foamed up.

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By the time the above photo was taken, much of the crown sheet "suds" had already dissipated. No doubt, there were several pinholes in the crown sheet. There were suds around some of the flues, but I was more concerned about the crown sheet.

Okay...what's the next step? I'll pick up here next time. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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Fender
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by Fender » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:23 pm

If the boiler was run at Pete’s track in North Ft. Myers, I bet you will find a lot of “stalactites and stalagmites” inside. The untreated water there was infamous for the calcium deposits it produced.
Dan Watson

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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:17 pm

ccvstmr wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:33 pm
Getting the loco down to the basement shop area would not be easy...getting the loco back up to street level would be another issue. Then again...don't believe the wife would welcome dragging a loco thru the house...twice.
In fact, your wife would probably be boiling mad. :D
—————————————————————————————————
I'm an old guy. What's your excuse? ☻

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:29 pm

Dan...no, the Rutland never ran at Pete's Buckingham Central in FL. He sold the loco to me before he moved South. I did get the Rutland down to FL for several of the Winter meets in Feb. 2016. That would have been the only time the boiler was exposed to FL water. As a follow up...have heard that boilers for Pete's Hudson and Niagara both had to be replaced. What's interesting...the Rutland boiler was the oldest of the three boiler...and lasted the longest. Care? Water? Water treatment? Too many variables to isolate the real reason.

BDD...before I got married, was already involved with this hobby. Owned a baby Bridgeport Mill. Kept that at another shop. When asked why I didn't move that to my townhouse...the response was "No way to get the mill down to the basement shop." What did I get in return? "Put the mill in the living room...it'll end up in the basement!" That obviously didn't happen. Besides, the HO train room was below the living room.

Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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Fender
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by Fender » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:17 pm

Carl, if I had to choose between “Care? Water? Water treatment?”, I would guess all three. Buckingham Central was a great railroad, but the water there was really “hard” on boilers!
Dan Watson

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:25 pm

Dan...when I get to the end of this epistle...I'll go back and show some pix of the original Rutland boiler. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:51 pm

What's the next step?

With the crown sheet perforated or micro-perforated, there was no way the old firebox was going back into service. Decided to contact Ridge Locomotive Works/Marty Knox. RLW was the closest boiler builder. Described the boiler status. Marty wanted to see the boiler before making any recommendations. Marty was most gracious to meet with me at his shop on a Saturday. Was a 6 hour drive, each direction, from Chicago to Freeland, MI with a one hour time change.

Upon our arrival, the old boiler was put on a work bench. Marty grabbed a hammer and center punch...and proceeded to punch the crown sheet. Didn't take much effort to drive the punch thru the crown sheet. After some discussion...it was decision time. Two alternatives were offered...1) rebuild the old boiler on a time and material basis, or 2) get a new boiler. Not knowing the condition of the boiler barrel or exterior firebox flat sheets after 25 years, didn't want to repair the old boiler only to have something else fail sometime thereafter. The decision was made to get a new boiler and start the clock over regarding boiler life.

Marty explained some of his boiler design features and recommendations which included (but not limited to):
- wider water legs,
- keyhole fire box,
- water leg inspection/cleaning ports, and more.
It was expected the new boiler would be as much of a "drop in" boiler as possible.

In turn, I provided my own list of boiler ideas and criteria (in no particular order):
- wanted the crown sheet "peaked" along the loco center line to shed water when the loco was down and drained...this was already included as part of the RLW 2 half fire box type construction...that was welded down the center.
- wanted the throttle valve removable...when the boiler was re-flued in 2005, the dry pipe was threaded into the throttle valve and silver soldered into the front flue sheet. In fact, we cut the dry pipe in Marty's shop so I could bring the throttle valve back for surface grinding and return to RLW.
- provisions needed in the steam dome mounting flange to support the Rutland slide-valve type throttle.
- front flue sheet to be recessed slightly more to allow for a "T" steam connection to both cylinders without obstructing the rear of the stack base.
- wanted to reuse the original throttle packing gland...therefore needed a mounting hole drilled and tapped parallel to the top of the boiler.

There were several other requirements. Turns out, many of those were "buyer responsibility". The old boiler was left in RLW care if/when dimensions were needed...but to be returned when the new boiler was ready for pick up. I wanted to "dissect" the old boiler to see for myself what happens to a 23 year old boiler. Before leaving Ridge...a deposit was put down for a new boiler with delivery expected in 12 months...or sooner. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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Fender
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by Fender » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:36 am

Thanks, Carl. Will be interested to see the results of your dissection.
Dan Watson

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:07 pm

Hold Everything!

As we continue, I was in the waiting mode. No sense calling to see how the new boiler was coming along. Doesn't do any good to pester the supplier. I trusted Ride Loco Works to provide updates when work started on the new boiler. HOWEVER...in May 2018, was not expecting a call from Marty asking what the ID dimensions were of my smoke box?

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Took some measurements (top to bottom, side to side) and responded...nominally 8". This meant the leading edge of the boiler barrel could be no larger than 8" as well. This is not normal pipe size. Would appear Mr. Bialecki got a hold of a piece of DOM pipe to make the boiler barrel. DOM is sized based on the OD.

Okay, Marty had to make one step backwards (at least) before moving ahead. As progress got started in earnest, Marty provided photos of the parts 'n pieces for the new boiler as well as some of the welded assemblies. The next several fabrication photos are courtesy of Ridge Locomotive Works (thank you Marty):

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Here's a great view of the interior firebox sheet halves. The two pieces had not been welded yet, but there was a slight peak in steel along the center line to allow water to shed to the side water legs when the boiler is drained.

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Fire box assembly getting welded to the boiler barrel.

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Fire box view from the underside.

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As requested, provisions to mount the throttle valve inside the steam dome mounting flange for removal were satisfied AND there was a pipe union (with special tool included) to loosen the union nut to extract the throttle valve assembly if/when necessary.

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Returned to the Chicago area with the throttle assembly in hand. Took the throttle to HDS - shop #2...Honest Dave's shop (as work progressed on loco re-assembly, would eventually move the Rutland to HDS's shop). HDS has enough shop equipment to make any of us drool. Not only is HDS well equipped, comes with a knowledgeable owner and someone well versed in machining practices AND metallurgy.

HDS put the stainless steel throttle body on the surface grinder and trued up the top surface. Also took the aluminum bronze slide valve (dissimilar metals for slide valve application) and ran that under the grinding wheel as well. The throttle body, slide valve and reach rod with packing gland were returned to Ridge via USPS (yes, the throttle assembly DID make it back to RLW).

Mid July 2018, Marty contacted me to say the boiler had been completed, pressure tested (and passed) and was ready for pick up. Arrangements were made to travel back to Ridge end of July for inspection, pick up and final pay off. Marty presented me with documents of his stress calculations and the boiler pressure test. Didn't see a need to repeat the hydro test. After that, it was 6 hours back to the Chi town area.

Next time, I'll get into the boiler mounting and more. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:02 am

Time to get busy...

Have no idea where early Aug. 2018 went. The local club had their annual meet mid month. Safe bet I was busy getting other things prepared and therefore, set the Rutland work aside until the meet was over. After that, it was time to knuckle down and get the loco back together.

1st task...make sure the boiler would fit the frame...

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Found there was a slight gap between the top half of the split smoke box, but wasn't overly concerned about this as the boiler would eventually be insulated and air infiltration minimized (if not eliminated).

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At the other end, had to ensure the cab would fit...

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The cab fit...but was obvious some filing in the cab front wall would be needed to clear an insulated and jacketed boiler. Will come back to this later on.

2nd task...clean the frame. Now it was time to remove 23 years of accumulated grease, oil, grime, grit and any other growth from the frame...not to mention remove any flaked finish from the original frame painting. Had no intention of reducing the loco to a pile of nuts and bolts for this process. Sometimes, it's best to leave things assembled as is. Fortunately, KRC - shop #1 has an overhead bridge crane which was an asset for hoisting the frame over a trough.

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Paint thinner, spray bottle and brush were used for the cleaning process. A little scrubbing helped loosen the grundge (some would say I'm good at agitation!). More paint thinner was sprayed to wash off the loose dirt. The drippings and dirt all went into the trough. While still suspended, the backs of the drivers were masked using cardboard with cut outs for the drivers and other obstructions.

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Decided the frame should not be the focal point of the locomotive...that would be left to the boiler jacket. Used Rustoleum satin canyon black paint for the frame. Sprayed the frame and other hardware located between the frames (hence the reason for masking). Used a brush to get into nooks and crannies outside the frame and places where the spray paint couldn't effectively reach.

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With the frame painting completed, believed the new paint job should last the loco for at least 15-20 years. Next time, will start looking at some mechanical work. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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ccvstmr
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Re: 730 Gets a Boiler

Post by ccvstmr » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:03 am

Excuse me...I got the floor!

With the frame cleaned and painted, it was time to move on. Next up, the cab floor needed some attention. During the 23 year period since original fabrication...the hydraulic flow control valve for propane fuel control was replaced, the brake stand was relocated to make room for the Clippard linear regulator under the cab floor, brake pressure gauges were added (reservoir and brake pipe) and there were a few plumbing changes.

The cab floor was sand blasted to remove the old paint and rusted areas from water exposure. This really showed off the "Swiss cheese" look...

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The cab floor was taken to the TIG welder who graciously offered to fill the voids as indicated. Some polishing, blasting and Bondo filling prepared the surface prior to painting (Rustoleum satin canyon black once again). A uni-bit was used to enlarge some of the plumbing holes. This, to avoid soldering plumbing on the loco itself. Once the holes were large enough to pass a union fitting thru the floor...problem resolved.

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The brake stand was never mounted "nicely". The screw heads were mounted cock-eyed. This was an opportunity to take one step back before moving forward. The brake stand was mounted to a plate and passed by a mill cutter to create flat areas for the screw heads. The exposed brass was sanded and polished to remove the tool marks...

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The brake stand was sand blasted (I blast almost ALL metal work prior to painting...gives the paint more "bite" on the metal. Paint was satin black. If the piece being worked on is delicate...I try to glass bead blast that instead. Glass bead blasting is not as aggressive on the metal as a Black Beauty grit.). The brake lever and brake stand cap were polished and clear coated. When assembled. Here was the final product...

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Here's the rest of the air brake hardware: stand, pressure regulator, pressure gauges and manifolds. Would later find a leak on the air reservoir side of the "air circuit". How? Because the air compressor would cycle periodically. There were two reasons for the leak: 1) a non-Clippard tubing barb was used with Clippard polyurethane tubing. The barb was replaced with a Clippard barb, and 2) the barb fitting was not tight in the fabricated 3-way manifold. The new barb was re-seated with medium strength Loctite (blue).

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At this point, the Rutland was moved to HDS - shop #2. TIG welding services were needed next. Was better to have the locomotive close to the welder. Work on the boiler would resume there with the next steps to attach the jacket support rings and standoffs for the handrail mounts. Stay tuned. Carl B.
Life is like a sewer...what you get out of it depends on what you put into it!
I don't walk on water...I just learned where some of the stepping stones are!
I love mankind...it's some of the people I can't stand!

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