Restoring a MEG steam 'Wendy'

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Harlock
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Restoring a MEG steam 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:09 am

Happy new year everyone!

With the Chloe completed and a resounding success (I ran the pants off of it during the fall with little trouble after a few 'teething' meets) my father and I decided on a second project, something to have in addition to the Chloe that is bigger and more comfortable to operate, and would pull a lot more for times when hauling a good size train around is desirable.

The other major idea behind acquiring a second engine is to prolong the life of the Chloe by alternating between the two as long as we have them both. A larger engine would be more suitable for very large tracks such as Maricopa Live Steamers and Train Mountain, while the Chloe would visit smaller home and club tracks.

For a while I had thought that either a Keith Watson Lil' Lima / Lil' Mogul or a MEG Steam Wendy would be the ideal big scale, simple engine that you can sit on upright. I had run a friend's Wendy and found it very enjoyable to run and very comfortable.

MEG Steam, a Canadian company, went out of business in the early 2000s, but not before maybe a dozen or so Wendys and Uncle Sams were built. (the two are virtually identical in Chassis, with different cab, tank and tender features.) The MEGs feature a simple frame made out of two pieces of rectangular steel stock welded to square tube spacers / spreaders. The valve gear is Hackworth. The boilers are marine boilers with no water legs and a semi-circular firebox that is surrounded 360 degrees by water. In short, as simple and easy to build as possible, but when completed look reasonably like a real European style industrial locomotive if built to plan. They are also powerful haulers. There are many variations, three of which were featured in a live steam article in the recent past.

During the late 1990s, a member of Golden Gate Live Steamers purchased plans and castings for what would become the third Wendy built. At the time, the early cylinder castings from MEG had problems with air voids, so Gene Allen cylinders were used for this one and proved to be a good replacement. Before the engine could be completed, and for reasons I do not recall, it was sold to my friend Jeff Badger, who completed it and sold it as a quick turn project.

Jeff gave it side tanks and a single-truck tender cart with additional water available in the tender, plus a heavy duty welded steel flat car body with a wood boxcar shell built on top of it, to serve as a propane tender. Jeff pioneered the use of a weed burner as a propane burner for these engines, which were originally designed to fire on coal. A number of MEG owners have since copied Jeff's approach with great success. The propane burner and coal grates / ash pan can be swapped out with about 15 minutes worth of work when set up correctly.

This engine then passed through two owners before it came to us, and during that time was I have to say it was fairly neglected. The result is that 10 years on, the hackworth slide is worn out and all the plumbing and accessories needed an overhaul, and the whole thing cosmetically needs some TLC (new cab, tank, a few other things.) The upside is that the engine was kept well oiled and put away dry, so the cylinders and slide valves etc. are in excellent shape and the boiler is great shape. For a less than a princely sum, we became the next owners of the MEG Steam 'Wendy' I had originally run and enjoyed.

Our lesson learned with the Chloe went into the purchase of this engine. When we originally bought a used Chloe off of Discover Live Steam sight unseen, we had intended it to be a short term project much like this one. Refinish all the cosmetics and plumbing and get it out there. The old Chloe turned out to be mechanically unserviceable and and we scrapped it. Three years later we rolled out a brand new engine that only used the drivers, cylinders and a few other castings from the old engine. It was a great learning experience and we got to build an entire new engine from the ground up, but not what we had originally intended. After having done that, we are not eager to do it again so quickly.

The lesson is, never buy any locomotive sight unseen. ;) This new engine I had experience with and knew exactly what was wrong with it and what was right with it, so I could make an informed offer. We are now on our way to refurbishing it with the goal of having it out of the shop sometime in 2011.

Here is a picture of the Wendy as it existed just before we acquired it, with the side tanks and somewhat thin looking plantation cab.
Attachments
08-08-08_BCWRR-NG08-7900.jpg
08-08-08_BCWRR-NG08-7903.jpg
Last edited by Harlock on Sat May 12, 2012 10:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Harlock
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:12 am

And here is a rendering of what I intend for it to look like when completed. Valve gear and other already built pieces are missing from this rendering - I have only modeled basic parts and things that are being replaced.

This is nominally a 4" scale engine, hence the outsized bell, headlight, etc. Only now the bell will sit directly on the tank rather than on top of a sand dome, where it stuck up way too high. The headlight becomes the same dark green as everything else.

More details about the new cab in a post below.

A future improvement will be to give it a real two truck tender rather than a dolly, but this reflects what is on there now.
Attachments
10-11-26_Meg.JPG
4-view.jpg
Four view.
Last edited by Harlock on Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:11 am, edited 3 times in total.
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:21 am

In October of 2010, I picked up the Meg from its resting place at Bitter Creek and brought it to my father's shop. When we unloaded the propane tender car, the ultra-thin boxcar body that had been rebuilt several times in the past simply fell apart from the stress of the move. We had already planned on replacing it with a more ventilated and sturdy stock car shell, so we weren't at all put out. The car chassis by comparison is heavy welded square tube and could survive an airplane running over it, like the old vacuum commercial.

The plumbing was a mish mash of random hardware store fittings - out the door it goes! We got most of it torn down the same weekend.
Attachments
10-08-21_MEG-tear-down-7106.jpg
Shoddy plumbing mess...bye bye!
10-08-21_MEG-tear-down-7111.jpg
Most of the critical stuff is in good shape!
10-08-21_MEG-tear-down-7093.jpg
self disassembling box car.
10-08-21_MEG-tear-down-7090.jpg
Picking up
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Harlock
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:23 am

The first order of business, and a light task to start was to make new wood buffer beams and re-paint the associated hardware. Here is the front of the engine after a re-do.
Attachments
IMG_1447.JPG
IMG_1446.JPG
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 5:59 am

The next major task was to call upon my father's cabinet-grade woodworking abilities and produce a beautiful new oak cab complete with working windows.

To this end I designed a new cab in solidworks, patterning it after the cab on Jack Bodenmann's large scale #9 locomotive, which is basically a gussied up Baldwin standard cab.

I designed and printed a full size drawing set and turned it over to the master. Over the late fall a new cab began to take shape. Here are some low res previews of some of the drawing pages.

The interesting thing is that I now have a sort of 'cab-o-matic' object in SW. I can change any of the major dimensions, and most everything will follow suit. So I can make the cab 26" instead of 20" wide, or 15" deep instead of 13" deep, or taller or shorter and it will rebuild and follow, because I made all the dependencies very carefully. If anyone wants a custom grand scales cab drawing, shoot me an email.

The important thing with this cab is that it be proportionate despite its odd overall dimensions. It is a tall cab that is very short from front to back, due to the unfortunate placement of the steam dome on the boiler farther back than it should be, and my desire to have the dome cover centered correctly over the dome and sit squarely on the saddle tank before the rivet line. (on the Uncle Sam, the cab swallows the dome entirely and there is no dome cover.) And the saddle tank has to be mostly centered over the wheels to keep a good balance, although it is to the rear a little because the engine is very front heavy by default. And the front of the tank lines up with the front of the boiler / smokebox edge.

By carefully modifying the dimensions and thickness of the cab lines, it can be made to look very good, just like Jack's, which has a similar tall/skinny problem.
Attachments
cab_v01c-3.jpg
cab_v01c-2.jpg
cab_v01c-1.jpg
Last edited by Harlock on Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:02 am

And here is the cab in progress. It is stained with 'Golden Oak'.
Attachments
IMG_1436.JPG
IMG_1441.JPG
IMG_1445.JPG
IMG_1486.JPG
IMG_1484.JPG
IMG_1485.JPG
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:10 am

Recent additions include the windows, which are made from a different wood but will be painted the same dark green as the metal roof as a highlight. I rolled the steel roof in a large metal roller, rounded the edges off and it is now off to the powder coat shop. Everything metal that needs paint will be powder coated as much as possible. I found it to be far more durable than regular paint, and on a large scale engine the rounded edges that powder coating produces does not show up enough to matter.
Attachments
Win_4_resize.jpg
Last edited by Harlock on Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Goose » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:16 am

Hello Mike,

I'm glad, that this engine found a good new home.

I once had thought about buying it for running, when I'm over in the US, but as I saw it running 2009 at BC&W, I was happy, that I didn't bought it. I was very disappointed to hear it running and nobody took care about the bad sound of the bad sounds, which gave me the impression of a worn out running gear. And also it looked good from a couple of foot away, a close look showed me, that it needed a lot of work (and you did the first with the new wooden buffer beam.
Also, I liked the design with the rectangular water tanks, you engine will look as good as the Cloe, when finished.

Please, keep us informed.

And a Happy New Year too.
Greetings from Germany
Hubert The Goose
http://www.7-plus-ngm.org/pcr
http://www.7-plus-ngm.org

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Harlock
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:25 am

Goose,

Yes upon closer look you saw all the issues it had, it was not an engine you could just buy and run without the teardown that we are doing. When it is done it will look as clean and the plumbing will be as nice as the Chloe.

Fortunately that 'clank clank clank' was merely a worn slide, which is easy to fix. (which is all the more frustrating that it wasn't.)

Check out this video I put together some time ago of two Wendys double heading - another one Jeff acquired and sold more recently, and the side tank Wendy I now have.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIWQvjSEY6s be sure to set it to 480p for good quality.

You can see the difference between a well running Wendy and the clank clank of the worn out Wendy.

Plus one of Jeff's trademark Backhead BBQ moments. :)
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:37 am

One more interesting thing that came up is that mounted on one of the side tanks was an old Stuart water pump. Jeff said this pump was built by his great uncle Perry Wheeler who was a machinist for the Santa Fe in San Bernardino.

Jeff claimed that it worked, but the valve seats had been re-machined by someone who didn't know what they were doing, and were damaged and leaked like the dickens. I have a feeling this happened between the time Jeff had it and now. It might have worked but not very well towards the end. We cleaned it up and re-worked it and it should now be ready to go. Since it's the wrong scale for that engine, we are just putting it on a display stand for now with a little water reservoir so it can be run for demonstration.

A scratched on signature indicates it was built in 1967! The same kit is still available from Stuart and we obtained a copy of the drawings to check it over.
Attachments
IMG_1426.JPG
The pump next to our Tiny Power engine.
IMG_1418.JPG
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Harlock » Sat Jan 01, 2011 6:51 am

One last thing before I knock off for New Years...here is an antique 4" Crosby steam gauge for the Wendy. It will be a beautiful centerpiece for an attractive new cab layout.
Attachments
rk63j4ip.jpg
rouir4w5.jpg
San Lorezo Flume & Lumber Co. #2 - "Felton"
Live Steam Photography and more - www.mikemassee.com
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Goose
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Re: New year, new project...restoring a 'Wendy'

Postby Goose » Sat Jan 01, 2011 7:00 am

Thank's Mike for the link to the video.

Yes, Jeff's Wendy runs like a suisse clock, compared to the leading engine.
Also, your video brings back old memories and add's a lot more pressure to the wish to return "home" for me.

The steam-gauge will look absolute great in the new cab, similar to the gauge in Jack's big engine.

And for the pizza, we did something similar at one of the Sinsheim Indoor shows. A member of our group had build a 3" scale barbeque for charcoal, and we barbequed some sausages.
Attachments
grill3.jpg
A 3" scale barbeque with scale sausages
Greetings from Germany
Hubert The Goose
http://www.7-plus-ngm.org/pcr
http://www.7-plus-ngm.org


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