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Monday, June 27. 2011
Polishing up on the polishing... Posted by James Kolanowski in Diesel Department at 23:52
About three weeks ago we brought the Nebraska Zephyr into the Diesel Shop to begin a very long process of cleaning, buffing and polishing her stainless steel siding. Many, many years of road grime, a lot of cast iron brake shoe dust, and dust from sitting idle in Barn 9 have really collected and just won't come off with a simple washing with a pressure washer. The first few days were spent finding the right materials, wheels, rouge and the best methods for cutting and polishing the current sandpaper feel of the stainless.
Nebraska Zephyr car "Juno" before cleaning and polishing, although the dirt and grime doesn't show up that well in this photo.
The flat panels are a bit different. There is no way we'll have time to get the finish we would like with the machines, so we start with stainless wool, clean the surface with side to side movements only, and then finish off with P21S polishing soap. Again, all of it is by hand.
The curves from the letter board up the roof were a little more difficult at first as the corrugation is pretty narrow. On top of that, there is a lot more dirt caked in them from there being a lot more horizontal surface area. The quickest way through the dirt was folded up scotch bright pads and more stainless wool. The same method is being used on the area curving down to the belly pans.
So far the Venus, Vesta, and most of Minerva are completed, Juno has been started. Sometime in the next day or two the train will be wyed since it doesn't fit in the shop, let alone the building, and the last two cars will hopefully be completed by the middle to end of next week. Riley, Chris, Pete, Colton, Charlie, Eric, Kevin, the other Kevin, and Jeron have all been pretty busy moving this along quickly. Thank you all for the hard work.
We'll post another update in a week or so, along with progress updates of other projects in the shop.
Tuesday, March 15. 2011
GB&W 2407 progress Posted by James Kolanowski in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 841 at 01:29
The progress on 2407 continues as a lot of people volunteer their time. We are likely just a few weeks away from being able to start its 2,400HP engine for the first time in over 15 years. About a week ago, Jeron Glander and I finished cleaning out the bottom of the oil filter box of sludge and debris, and installed new oil filters. This past Saturday, Scott Nauer and I cleared track 22 so the Cleveland PCC could be moved out to make room for the next painting project. Once the PCC was moved, we moved the 2407 out of the way so the NSL 714, the next to get a paint job, could go all the way east. We spotted the 2407 after the 714, that way we can move the Alligator in and out as needed without interfering with the work on 714.
On Sunday we had Roger Broms, Jim West, Warren Lloyd and myself. The main tasks were to free up the last of the injection pumps that were stuck and drain more contaminated fuel and refill the tank partially. We started on the fuel injection pumps, Warren checked all the ones on the engineers side and made sure they were all still free as they were the last time. There were 4 on the firemans side that were still stuck, or were very sticky to move. The method was to simply work the rack in and out on each, using a block of wood to tap it in, and a bar to slide it back out. Eventually they would move by hand and then after more lubricating and exercise they would return to no fuel with its own return spring as it should. After a few hours of this, we broke for lunch.
After lunch we drained another 50 gallons of fuel out of the tank and pumped it into a 55 gallon drum. We spend a little time finding a way to break into the tank to see how much fuel was actually in it. After finding a cover over a 1.5" hole, we found there was about 4 or 5 inches of fuel left in it which we later found out to be about 250 gallons. We began to transfer about 300 gallons of fuel from the 5383 into the 2407. The 5383 and a few other locos had been filled the day before as we decided to stock pile a truck load of fuel for the year while prices were somewhat reasonable. Jim West removed the fuel gauges to see if they were complete and working, both of them had been painted over some time ago. One side had the float rod broken, and the other was complete and working, but it had been sandblasted and painted over, so the glass will need to be changed. Its temporarily back in place without its glass. We spent some time on the fuel pump and relief valve. The way its plumbed is causing some issues with priming the system, we are gonna make a few changes to where the bypass dumps to so this problem can be resolved. We are also looking into changing the fuel filter element to one that is common with other locos that we run.
The last few items that we need to work on next time are to add some oil to the engine, during prelubing it is running a little low. We'll need to change the fuel filter type and replumb the fuel relief bypass valve directly to the tank via the existing return lines. We can then move it outside to try to start and idle in order to do some running checks. There is still a long way to go to make it operational, but just getting it started will be one huge accomplishment for everyone.
Sunday, March 13. 2011
The late GB&W 2407 update Posted by James Kolanowski in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 841 at 23:12
Here is a very late update on the progress on GB&W 2407 from February 12th, I had drafted it before I went on vacation for a couple of weeks and forgot to publish it. We had a pretty large group out Saturday afternoon, including Frank DeVries, Marcus Ruef, Warren Lloyd, Kyle Merkel, Kevin Hennessy, Greg Ceurvorst, Dave Fullarton, Jeron Glander, Jim West, Dan Currens, Rich Schauer, and myself. The main tasks were to get the rest of the water system tight. The previous weekend and during the week we had made a number of repairs, but did not have a chance to water it again. The electrical system, governor, and air compressor were also worked on.
Dan Currens started by digging into the electrical system, verifying everything was connected and functioning properly in the cabinet, and with the governor and such. Kyle and Jim worked on refilling the governor and pump with oil. We will have to flush the system again at a later date. There was some minor raccoon damage, but the majority of the electrical system was in pretty good shape.
Meanwhile Dave and Kevin were working on checking all the injection pumps, seeing which ones were free and which were sticking. They found a bunch that were very tight and began working on lubricating and freeing them up. Warren, Kyle and Rich joined in as well.
Frank and Marcus made a gasket to replace the leaking one on a cover on the air compressor, and then changed the oil in the compressor. We started watering again to verify the latest repairs and was very surprised at how well it was holding water. We did mark a few more water elbows that we had not marked the last time, along with some additional pipe couplings. Frank noticed a crack on a low pressure cylinder liner that was leaking water. There were a number of other leaks in this area the last time, so we didn't notice it. We are looking into some ways to fix this without changing the liner as it looks like the only damage is this area on the outside of the water jacket.
Greg joined Marcus and Frank, and they made some more gaskets to replace the leaking ones along with some hoses on a few of the water elbows on the engineers side after draining the water. They made enough for all the ones that were leaking on both sides. Warren replaced two of them on one side of the loco while Marcus and Frank replaced a few on the engineers side. While draining, we noticed that the compressor and water cooled intercooler on the compressor did not have a drain as the pipe that should have gone to the main drain valve was removed and plugged. This was done sometime when it was on the railroad, and is probably why there were water problems on the compressor. We'll have to thoroughly check out the intercooler as well.
It was a very productive day and I'd like to thank everyone that helped out to move this project much further along. Be sure to visit the Photo Gallery of the current work going on. Also, donations to the RSD15 are still needed and appreciated.
Wednesday, February 9. 2011
Tuesday nights work on the Green Bay and Western 2407 was to fix more leaks on some of the water pipes. Jeron Glander, Dave Fullarton, and myself arrived about 6:30pm and spent about four hours working on it. We started in the cramped quarters of the radiator room, using the porto-power to move one of the main water pipes around, bending a mounting bracket straight again and getting 3 main points of the pipe to line up properly. After a lot of adjusting, the sleeve fit perfectly. Then Jeron and Dave wire wheeled the surfaces of the pipe where the rubber gaskets of the coupling will seal and then reassembled the coupling and tightened up all the clamps.
After that I removed a small 1/2 x 8 inch pipe that was cracked, removed the reducing bushing that had the broken portion of the pipe stuck in it, removed the broken portion and replaced with a new pipe. Naturally, it has to be in one of the worst spots to reach, between the oil cooler and main water pipe, blocked by the drive shaft and eddy current clutch and guards, but we were able to squeeze in there and get it done.
Dave did some vacuuming of some debris on the floor before he and Jeron moved on to the engine to start taking off some water elbows between the head and block. There are a number of gaskets on the engine and air compressor that are dried and split and just need to be replaced.
I have created a photo gallery of the mechanical work as it progresses. There are also a few photos of the cab and the fogged and bad windows that need to be replaced. These will all have to be replaced with FRA glazing, donations to the RSD15 would be greatly appreciated and will assist in the costs of the restoration.
Monday, January 31. 2011
Green Bay & Western 2407 progress Posted by James Kolanowski in Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 841 at 03:59
Originally Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe 841, this Alco RSD-15 was moved into the diesel shop early last year for some mechanical work. Progress over the summer was very slow due to many other ongoing projects and was mainly limited to cleanup of the cab, nose, and engine room. More recently, however, we have made a lot of progress. First, a little bit of history: Several years ago, the years start to run together so I'm guessing in 2000, we attempted to turn over the 16 cylinder engine for the first time at IRM and found that it was seized. We had no idea how good or bad it was, we knew that barring, nor trying to turn it over with its own starters would not work, it was certainly solid state. The stack was uncovered when we inspected and picked the unit back in 1995 in Green Bay, but all of the units there did not have covers, just a bit of tape and wire where the plastic covers used to be before the sun's UV had gotten to them. We figured it was a few years of rainwater and snow getting into the stack and going through the turbo into the engine. A few years later from first trying to turn it, we had started to poor some Kroil (the oil that creeps) into all of the cylinders by taking the relief plugs out and at first using a finger pump oil can, and later using a pressurized garden sprayer. This was done by the gallons a couple times a year over the span of a few years.
Moving on to the most recent work... On Tuesday night, Jeron G, Colton V, and myself finished a little more cleanup around the engine to prevent dirt, racoon crap, and paint chips from getting into the engine when we had covers open. Over the past couple of weeks, or maybe its been months...the time does start to run together...we've been talking about how to go about freeing up the engine and many different ways to do it. What we ended up with on Thursday and Friday nights was Charlie S and I making some adapters so that we could take a quick connect air fitting to a 1/2" pipe and kinda force it to thread into the plugs of the relief holes in the heads. We went through each cylinder and checked the position of the rods to pick a few cylinders that would give the most leverage on the crankshaft by pumping compressed air into the cylinders using the pistons to turn the crankshaft. We noted which ones would give us the correct rotation by air pressure and by leverage with a jack or porto-power in its given position. By Friday night, we had emptied 8 cans of PB spray into the 16 cylinders and had all the adapters in place, hoses all setup and tested. On a few cylinders we had to pull the rocker arms to close the valves. We called it a night at about 4am.
Saturday afternoon Charlie started to take off the air intake box from the front of the turbo. There isn't much room in this area of the loco, air, oil and water pipes are everywhere, and this box is what connects the intake filters to the turbo, and the intake filters have their own mount which is all blocked by other stuff, not an easy task. We figured the turbo was probably stuck too, and that was the easiest way to get to it. Meanwhile I started to get some 12 ton bottle jacks ready, we charged up the 4 cylinders we picked from the night before with air. After some playing around I found best way to wedge the bottle jacks was between the edge of the crankcase inspection holes against the 3/4" steel, and the bottom center of the rod bearing cap. A little bit of pumping on the jack, just to the point of almost needing two hands on the handle, there was a slight woosh of air and the jack crashed down on the screen in the crankcase. It actually moved, just a few degrees, but it actually moved. The next two hours was spent doing the same thing, moving a couple bottle jacks between a few holes since you could only turn it about 20-25 degrees per hole given the reach of the jack. We removed air from the cylinders as they got to the point where it would work against us. When we made it about 230 degrees around, we put air back on two cylinders, it took a couple pumps with the jack before the air pushed it around on it own nearly 100 degrees to almost BDC on those pistons.
A few others had arrived by this time including Warren L, Eric Z, Jim W, and Colton V. They dragged over the long heavy jumper cables and hooked them up between the 33C on the next track and the 2407. We turned the proper switches on, hit the start button, and watched the start contactors arc and bounce. The next step was to clean up the tips, on the second try, we hit the start button, and watched the lights go dim on the 33. The batteries weren't there enough anymore to get that big Alco engine to turn. After pondering what other options we had being all the way deep into the shop, not near any other locos with batteries, we checked the voltage on the big welder next to us and decided that may do the trick. The guys dragged over the other set of jumper cables and we wired that up along with the batteries in the 33C. The third try, we hit the start button, and heard the tone of the welder change, and that was about it. We only had the welder set at about 200 amps, so we turned it up to about 375 and gave it another try. We hit the start button, and the 16 cylinder engine started to turn slowly, picking up a little momentum after the first couple turns. After begin seized for more than 15 years, the Alligator was actually cranking itself over.
After that happiness and excitement, we turned our attention to a couple of stuck valves, freed those up, and then to the stuck turbo. Eric and Charlie dove into that, getting access to both ends and getting rust and debris cleaned out and then getting some penetrating oil between the blades and housing. We called it a night before 10:00pm for once to get dinner and a good night sleep for a good start time the next morning.
The goal for Sunday was to get the turbo freed and get the cooling system put back together and get it watered. There were a few large couplings that had been disconnected in the GB&W days. Roger B, Scott N, Pete P, and Warren L started working on those while Eric Z started digging into the turbo. Kyle M and myself cleaned all the screens in the oil pan and put the plugs back in the heads. Jeron G joined us right after lunch. Jim W set us up with the water hoses and we started filling with water. Overall it went pretty well, however, there were a few leaks that have to be dealt with, one coupling that goes into the oil cooler will need to be cleaned and reseated, a pipe on the air compressor was leaking where it slipped out of the compression fitting, several seals on the compressor, engine heads, and water manifold over the engine will need work. They are old and dry and just need to be replaced, and will be dealt with over the coming weeks. The turbo on the other hand is fighting us every step of the way. The exhaust inlet end was reassembled and left with penetrating oil to soak in between the blades and body, we'll come back to that another day.
The progress that was made by everyone this weekend was great, far beyond where I thought we would be by the end of the weekend, I can't thank you all enough for the effort that you all put in. Several huge steps were completed with getting the engine to turn and having it hold water. It is very possible that the 2407 may be part of the operating fleet by the end of the year, perhaps sooner depending on what it takes to resolve the turbo issue. We also need to thoroughly inspect the remainder of the electrical system, replace all the cab glass, as well as complete some other items, donations would certainly be welcomed to assist in the costs of these items.
Monday, November 29. 2010
CNW 6847 progress, November 27, 2010 Posted by James Kolanowski in Diesel Department at 10:28
Earlier in the week on Monday morning, Dave Diamond drove the wheelset that was removed from 6847 along with the new motor to a shop just outside of Chicago. They pressed off the wheels and gear, machined the bearing surfaces on the axle, and pressed the gear and wheels back onto the axle and reassembled the combo with new support bearings. Initially there was over .350" of lateral between the old motor and wheels, which is out of tolerance. After the machining and pressing the gear into the correct place and after reassembly with the new motor and bearings, the lateral was .079" where it should be. Dave Diamond helped us out again and picked up the combo on Wednesday morning and unloaded it in the steam shop under the overhead crane.
Saturday morning, Roger Broms, Dan Currens and myself arrived and started to do some other prep work including replacing a broken bolt on the nose pack, and then compressing it to be reinstalled once the motor is back in the truck. The nose pack is basically a rubber pad sandwiched between two thick bars of steel, which supports the nose end of the motor against the truck frame. We also mounted the blower duct and roller bearing boxes and then moved the motor to the drop table.
The Steam Department volunteers helped us out again as well by getting the drop table ready to go and helping get some tools and supplies, as well as operating the crane to stage the combo on the drop table for the installation. The 8537 was used to push the 6847 onto the drop table, centering the #5 axle over the table. The position of the pedestals was marked on the table, and then the table was lowered a bit and moved to the west side of the pit. The centerline for the wheels were marked and then the combo was placed with the nose of the motor blocked up.
The table was lowered and moved back to the east side of the pit under the loco, and raised back up stopping occasionally to check clearances and to line up the roller boxes with the pedestals. We had to push the firemans side wheel over just a bit with a bottle jack to get it to line up exactly in the pedestals, then raised up some more. Eventually the motor nose supports lined up with those on the truck frame and we slid in the support pack and pinned it in, lowered a bit to remove the blocking under the motor, and then continued to raise the table until the springs seated properly over the roller boxes. The table was clamped back into place and the loco was moved back into the shop.
We then put the pedestal cross bars back on, remounted the brake shoes and shock absorbers, released the bolts holding tension on the rubber nose pack, hooked up the traction motor leads and inspected a few other items. After all that, we moved the loco back outside and Jim West helped move the 428 and Shay back into the steam shop.
There is a gallery setup with some random photos during the process of changing the combo, http://www.irm.org/gallery/diesel-november2010, they are mostly in order from the prep work, to removing the wheelset and old motor, to installing the new motor and wheelset. Thanks to everyone that helped during the entire process. Next year when the weather is warmer, we'll test everything out operationally and CNW 6847 will be back in service again.
Tuesday, November 23. 2010
Diesel Shop News, November 21, 2010 Posted by James Kolanowski in Diesel Department at 03:12
The main goal for the afternoon was to get the wheelset, traction motor and other accessories from the 6847 loaded onto the truck and tied down so they could be taken to a machine shop near Chicago. Kevin Hennessy and I loaded the wheelset, TM and a pallet with the gear cases and a box with the support bearings. Kyle Merkel and I tied everything down with chains and ratchet binders. Rod Turner moved the CE4 a bit further into barn 6 so we could park the truck inside overnight in case it rained. Dave Diamond drove the parts towards the city early Monday morning. With some luck, we should be able to pick up a fully assembled combo on Wednesday morning and reinstall on Saturday.
Kyle and I then moved into the shop and started to disassemble the front lower pilot of CB&Q 9255 as it had been bent up a little bit from a derailment a while ago. We unbolted the bottom plate and then the firemans side supports. Steve Lewkowycz joined Kyle to complete the engineers side. All the parts were moved to the back of the shop ready to be straightened out. While they were there, they drained the loco for the winter as this weeks weather forecast is calling for below freezing temperatures for several nights in a row.
Dan Mulvihill and Bob Sundelin were testing some spot welded wires/pins that will be used to hold down the insulation on the M-35 above the windows. It was a short day, but a productive one.
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