It was a clear morning and a cold wind blew out of the north sweeping the shadows of the left side of 2921 with a chill. February 28th, Lawrence Dale, Warren Lambrich, George Maier, my boy, William and I had traveled to Modesto to begin the work of remediating and re-evaluating the locomotive. By the time William and I arrived, early on that Friday morning, Lawrence and crew had been joined by Mr. Mike Harris, BNSF Equipment Supervisor, Valley Div., and had already begun working on the tender. Taking advantage of the sun drenched side of the locomotive, till things warmed up a bit, we set about to pamper our lady in waiting.
Every wheel on the engine and tender had signs of oil weeping from their journals as water had displaced existing oil, causing it to drip out from the splash guards and onto the wheels and rails. It was clear that the presence of water would be verified!
The first order of business was to focus on the tender. We pulled the plugs and drained the journals and brake cylinders of water and contaminated oil. Sure enough, every journal and brake cylinder had plenty of water present. Next we pulled the bearing caps off of each axle to expose the bearings for inspection. Using an ordinary type garden sprayer, we flushed out each bearing with diesel fuel using the pressure of the sprayer to force fuel throughout all of the bearing surfaces as best we could. During this process, we jacked up each tender axle and rotated it in both directions while we flushed and refilled them with new roller bearing oil. When we were satisfied that we had done all that we were able, the bearing caps were replaced and the journals topped off with oil. We did not find any evidence of any water damage to the bearing surfaces and each axle rolled easily. It is safe to conclude then, that the tender axles are now as good as when the engine was placed in the park.
Similarly, after we finished working on the tender brake cylinders, they worked as good as when they were in service. We pulled the tender cylinder pistons (8 each) and, using the air compressor that the city provided, blew out the brake pipe clearing it of water and moisture. The cylinders were then cleaned and honed before applying a liberal dose of grease. We had acquired new 8" packing cups for the tender brake cylinders and replaced the old ones, greased the pistons and put them back together again. Once the tender cylinders were buttoned back up, we hooked up the air compressor to the brake pipe and put he air to them. They worked just fine!
Friday saw work on the tender completed. The city of Modesto had cooperated in their usual helpful manner. They even had to remove part of the chain link fencing that surrounded the locomotive. The right side rods were right up against the fence and access was impossible, so the city removed the fencing so we could get better access.
The city also provided 50gals. of roller bearing oil, 50gals. of diesel fuel, two 50gal. drums to dump the contaminated oil and fuel in, and a few tools to hone the cylinders and to pump the oil with. Lawrence Dale provided a 5gal. bucket of grease, eight 8" packing cups, (compliments of the Westinghouse Air Brake Co.) and a couple of car jacks. Mike Harris provided the oak blocks and a tool for oiling the side rods. Later that day, Frank Cottle joined the effort after he got off work. He is an engineer on the M&ET RR and saw us at work during his tour of duty and decide to pitch in. He has been very helpful during the previous efforts.
With the fencing now down on the right side of the locomotive and the arrival of Dan Echeto, Saturday saw us tackling the engine axles. Danny was the person who examined the driver axles previously, when we did the initial evaluation, and his experience would be valuable in comparing the present vs. past condition of the bearing surfaces.
Danny and my Boy William, crawled under the chassis and began draining the driver axles while the rest of us began working on the trailing truck axles and brake cylinders. All of the engine journals were handled the same way as on the tender. The trailing truck axle caps were removed after draining, the bearings examined and flushed out with diesel fuel. Much more care had to exercised in the flushing process to insure a complete saturation and cleaning because we were unable to jack the trailing truck axles and rotate them as we did on the tender.
Water was found in every thing we looked at! 13.5 gals of water were drained from all of the driver axles alone. What saved the journals for the most part was the fact very little water actually reached the bearings after settling out forcing the oil to float on top. However, in the words of Dan Echeto. "...The appearance of the driver axles and interior surfaces of the driving boxes was not significantly different than that observed during our pre-flood inspection". The pilot truck was also handled in the same manner.
The brake cylinders on the trailing truck were opened, cleaned, honed and re-greased. The pistons were examined and the original packing cups cleaned and put back on (#1 left side had some crease damage to it, but reused), then bolted back up after attempting to blow out the lines. We did not attempt to examine the main driver brake cylinders because of their peculiar location and impossible accessibility. Lawrence Dale has sought a donation of the full set of packing cups for the locomotive from the Westinghouse Air Brake Co. but they were not received in time to be applied to the engine. We hope that these will be applied to the engine someday before it is removed from the park.
Thus, all of the 32 axle housings and 12 of the 16 brake cylinders were gone through and the effects of the flooding remediated. Still, there was more work to do!
On Saturday, Mike Harris brought out a tool he used to insert new roller bearing oil into the side rod roller bearing housings. He injected oil into all of the side rod pins, except for the #1 left side crank pin, which is hidden behind the cross head guide and was inaccessible. He also forced oil into the valve gear needle bearings to insure that any water present might be purged.
Other items were inspected as well, though little could be done with the areas we looked into. We tried to drain the air side of the cross compound air pumps because the water did reach to the piston rods, though it did not reach the steam side of the air pumps. Water continually dripped from just the low pressure sides, after we pulled the plugs, but we were never able to get a complete drainage.
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