Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Boiler Bolted!

Although Sentinel 7109's boiler was lowered into place about nine months ago (Friday 14th October 2011), it had only been fixed with two out of the ten bolts required. In the meantime, due to rain and winter exposure, those and the remaining nicely cleaned up bolts had gone rusty so a re-clean-up was needed to finish the job.

The vertical boiler has four fixing brackets at the front, rear, left and right sides. Starting with the rear, the sides and finally the front, access becomes steadily more tortuous!

Rear bracket with the boiler-maker's plate above
Previously, I'd thought the bolts should be fed up from below with nuts above - because they fitted into the holes that way! However, Norman (the fountain of all knowledge at Midsomer Norton Station) persuaded me that the bolts had previously been fed down from above before the boiler was removed.

Having aggressively wire-brush-cleaned the bolts and holes well and applied graphite grease, I found I was facing an interference or at least very tight fit - the sort that works better, the bigger the hammer!

When there isn't much space to work in, swinging a big hammer is an art form to behold - one that Norman had mastered a long time ago but has so far eluded me! Still, when you have a master of an art, why not make the best use of him! So I did and thanks to Norman and my spanner wielding self, the boiler is now very firmly bolted down.

Left hand bracket
Right hand bracket
Compared to the left hand bracket photo, the plate in the rear of the photo has a piece carved out of it to allow the curved main steam feed pipe to pass from the regulator valve assembly round the boiler to beneath the water tank and to the engines at the front.
The pipe can be seen in the cab doorway.
Photo courtesy of the Sentinel Drivers' Club
but heavily doctored for the cab detail
A new curved pipe is to be fabricated as the old one was badly corroded. This is a difficult task as the pipe has to curve in three dimensions. It will be made by Mendip Steam Restorations, our boiler repairer.
Front bracket from above - not too accessible!
Front bracket from below (somewhere near the rear axle!)
See what I mean!
Front bracket from below - with the rear axle showing
The two larger pipes are the water feeds from the two engine-mounted boiler feed pumps; the small pipe is the oil feed from the mechanical lubricator.
The Front fixing in grey is just above the axle - much
easier to get at without a boiler in the way!
After spending the day grovelling about under Sentinel 7109, next morning, I woke feeling as if I'd been thoroughly beaten up; I don't think I'll do this sort of thing too often!

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