Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

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doublereefed
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Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by doublereefed » Fri Dec 27, 2019 7:28 pm

Greetings,

This situation has me stumped. I removed the axle pump from this smokebox saddle casting and it is full of something. I removed the plate that is the pilot truck pivot and lo and behold it is full of some sort of crumbly material. Maybe it's ash... but it doesn't seem like it. Also, using probes and bright lights in the dark it doesn't look like there's a passage in the floor of the smokebox down into this area. The exhaust T and steam feed lines are in there, and the axle pump body passes through it. Would this be some sort of packing for insulation? It's gray... but also white, can be compressed a bit like clay, but then falls apart.

Any thoughts on what this is? Is there a best practice related to that cavity?

Thanks,

-Richard
cavity - 1.jpeg
cavity - 2.jpeg

Bill C
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by Bill C » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:26 pm

I’d be real careful breathing around that, concerned it might be asbestos based material added to keep heat in the pipes.

The plans do not call for anything to be placed in that area, but I’ve heard (somewhere) of folks putting lead shot pellets to add weight for better tracking or traction.

White gray and crumbly has me worried. Be careful and good luck!

Bill

doublereefed
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by doublereefed » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:43 pm

Bill... that makes sense. The cavity was packed full. I will don my mask, soak it with water and then pull/scrape it all out of there. Thanks for the reply.

Rwilliams
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by Rwilliams » Sat Dec 28, 2019 1:15 pm

The mystery material could be a mixture of powdered white lead and linseed oil that was installed to add weight and insulate the saddle casting. Today both products are hard to find but still very useful if one has a supply secreted away. Often times it can be found at estate sales where the sellers have no clue what they found in the back of old cabinets.

Recently I was rebuilding the bonnet of a steam turret supply valve for a steamer at the museum. Upon removal of the stem from the bonnet, the packing was like I had never seen before and was the same color as the creamy white color observed leaking from the top of the packing nut before the valve was disassembled. The smell of the linseed oil gave indication of what was going on. A simple lead test kit told the rest of the story. For some reason instead of packing the stem with normal graphite string packing, they got creative and used a mixture of white lead and linseed oil. Just goes to show that the professionals assigned to maintain steamers in the past were not very professional. I often find poor practices during my repairs which indicate the experts did not know what they were doing.

A lead test kit will certainly let you know if the unknown product contains lead.

Glenn Brooks
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sat Dec 28, 2019 2:38 pm

Richard,

How old is your loco? Asbestos can be crumbly as you describe, but it is usually an off white color. Texture can be all over the board, but from my limited experience, not grey. The grey matter in your photo does looks a bit like insulation roofers used to blow into atics. Early on this stuff did contain asbestos, but since the 60’s manufacturers substituted mica for the asbestos. So basically harmless, except for inhaling small mineral fibers into your lungs. So, makes sense the builder could have scooped a couple of handfuls of the stuff out of his actic to insulate the casting. Now, why they did that at all is another story.

Glenn
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Motive power : 1902 A.S.Campbell 4-4-0 American - 12 5/8" gauge, 1955 Ottaway 4-4-0 American 12" gauge

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squandt
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by squandt » Sun Dec 29, 2019 10:03 am

Looks like the stuff that was packed around boilers on Navy ships years ago.It was a form of rockwool that was put on the outside of the boiler before the jacket was closed up after a retube.Very messy to use, but it kept the outside of the boiler cooler that if it was not there.
stay on the shine side of the rail

blff cty lcmtv wrks
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by blff cty lcmtv wrks » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:42 pm

once, I found the cavity on my engine was full of steam oil.

Pontiacguy1
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by Pontiacguy1 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:27 am

I had one that I worked on once that the saddle cavity had been poured full of what looked like plaster of paris! It was a mess, and I had to dig all that stuff out of there. They had put everything together, tightened it up, and then just poured the cavity full and let it set up. When I got the thing out and saw how they had built the saddle, it could have been done to clog up all the leaks around the edges where it was welded together and fitted (loosely).

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NP317
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by NP317 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:24 am

When I built my Allen Ten Wheeler I left the saddle cavity open, with the ability to drain out past the bottom plate if needed.
It has been working perfectly for many years...
RussN

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rudd
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by rudd » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:05 pm

In 12" = 1'-0" scale, we had a little Porter 0-4-0T at the museum - I mean TINY for standard gauge. That area was packed full of what I now believe was used moulding sand. It was really hard to dig out. The smokebox was open to the cavity for the steam & exhaust piping, so the sand was probably the easy way to seal it off and reduce the volume of the smokebox/saddle combination.

Image

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Dick_Morris
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by Dick_Morris » Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:38 pm

used moulding sand.
A core that the foundry was too lazy to remove after the casting was poured?

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rudd
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Re: Allen Mogul: Packing in saddle assembly?

Post by rudd » Tue Dec 31, 2019 3:39 pm

Dick_Morris wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:38 pm
used moulding sand.
A core that the foundry was too lazy to remove after the casting was poured?
Possibly, but this casting had a steel plate bolted onto the bottom that was the whole size of the saddle, and the sand was packed around the steam/exhaust pipes.
The sand was tight against the steel plate and the pipes.

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