Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Glandular Fervour

I haven't use the word 'fervour' in the heading lightly. It means 'intense and passionate feeling' or 'intense heat'. Getting these piston rod glands right has been a learning curve and a half for me and fraught with continual failures for months.

Bearing in mind that Joyce has four cylinders, and hence four steamy piston rod glands, I had done my ninth packing replacement by April 2018. With snow and freezing conditions abounding at the start of March, these repairs had not been a lot of fun and hugely frustrating.

When Joyce ran in May, I thought I had got things sorted. I had found a way to get the packing compressed 'just the right amount'. So, with a feeling of achievement, we did 8 runs on the 6/7th May expecting no further problems.
Frayed remains of 20 layers
As the photo shows, after two days running, the five layers of packing in each cylinder were reduced to a pile of shredded fibres, two layers at best per gland.

At this stage, I was feeling pretty low. Whilst I acknowledge that Joyce's piston rod surfaces are not as smooth as they really should be, they don't feel abrasive.
As such, I can only conclude that the advice I was given to use Beldam's Pilotpack 4010 was ill-founded. Bearing in mind the authoritative source, I felt I had to persist; however, I feel badly let down, have wasted over £400, had to cancel a S&D steaming weekend and had nine months of worry. Not pleased.

Pilotpack 4010 ticks all the boxes for temperature and pressure specifications. What it is incapable of doing is holding together its fibrous construction in this reciprocating situation despite my considerable efforts to adhere to the manufacturer's (flawed) instructions.

I am making progress with another form of solid packing which is behaving much better (so far) - I'd be foolish to say I am completely confident after this bad experience but keep your fingers crossed.

My advice, based on this experience, is that Pilotpack 4010 is not suited to this application. Click here for an illustration.
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