Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Front Engine Sludge

Vertical Sentinel locomotive engines were designed to allow for water to accumulate in the crankcase sump, the lowest part of the engine itself.

The water comes from condensation and leakage in the boiler feed pump piston glands. It's dealt with by using special 'Crank case oil' which is formulated to enable water to separate out from the oil quickly and sink to the bottom below the oil itself. A drain valve is provided to enable the water to be let out periodically.
Front engine sump cover in place showing the water drain valve
I'd noticed when draining the water that it seemed to drain out intermittently as if there was something not quite right in the front engine's crank case. Additionally, the dipstick did not seem to register whenever I added some more oil.

The only way to find what was happening was to remove the crank case cover and have a look. It wasn't a difficult job but required the oil to be drained first (about 11 gallons of it!).

There was at least 1/2" of thick sludge in the sump.
Nice! Gungy viscous mess about 1/2" deep or more
I drained the sludge and put the crank case cover through the parts washer to produces something a little more serviceable.
Even nicer!
The crank case cover is sealed by a gasket containing a perforated metal coarse filter.
Coarse filter as found
I tried to remove the filter but it did not want to come off easily. I also didn't want to break the filter in case I couldn't get another. I took the easy way out by blowing compressed air through it to remove the remaining oil and any potential blockages.
Coarse filter after (it's not from a beehive!)
The cover is now back in place awaiting the oil to be replaced, hopefully without any gasket leakage!

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