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Diesel Service Updates

Diesel Service Report – October 2, 2022

By October 2, 2022October 12th, 2022No Comments

Diesel Service Report, October 2, 2022

RunOne Program

Our RunOne program at the museum continues to have excellent results. SF108 appears to be the favorite of Railfans wanting to operate locomotives. But UP942, SP3100, and even SP1006 are often selected for use. The prices have recently increased slightly to help offset the increase in fuel prices, but it doesn’t appear to have slowed down the RunOne reservations. This program really helps pay for our total years fuel cost. The RunOne operation has been on-going for many years now and has proven itself to be a real winner for the museum.

SF560 Fairbanks Morse Locomotive Restoration

The trucks were pulled out from under the locomotive several months ago. After they were cleaned, one traction motor and wheel assembly were replaced. The brake cylinders were repacked, and all the brake rigging was removed for inspection and rebuilding.

When the brake rigging was removed, severe worn and bent parts were found. Some spare parts were on hand, and some were able to be reworked to be usable again. But a few parts had to be purchased. We are now in the process of reinstalling the brake assemblies.

The brake system for one truck has been installed other than for minor adjustments. The process is under way installing the brake system on the second truck.

Tom Platten continues his unrelenting task of cleaning the underside of the locomotive frame. He is almost at the point of having nothing left to remove that is within reach. The next task after that will be to determine how we treat those cleaned areas so that paint will stick them. As they are now, the thick dirt and crud is gone but the surfaces are still oily and that will need to be cleaned before painting. We have a high-pressure sprayer, but the locomotive body is inside the building so water would make a mess. Maybe the only other option is to rent a frozen CO2 blaster to remove the residue or just wipe the areas down with a good solvent. That has still to be determined.

Richard Berk and John Salvini have been working on the locomotive fuel system ensuring that the injection fuel pumps stay free, and the plungers don’t freeze up again like they did before. So far all but one seems to be OK. The one that seems to be sticking will most likely free up as soon as the engine is started. But in the process of working on the fuel system, they noticed that the fuel pressure seemed to bog down for some reason. They removed the main fuel lift pump and disassembled it. They found everything very dirty inside and the armature commutator segments have worn down as far as possible. The inside of the motor was cleaned up, new brushes installed, and bearings repacked. The motor may not last very long but again it may since it won’t be used very often at the museum. If it fails, we will remove the existing pump and replaced it with a regular EMD style fuel pump. Those are readily available and will be supportable for many years.

This (right) shows the backside of the fuel pump and the missing cover plate. It’s also obvious the mess that we still must deal with in the engine compartment. There is a lot of cleaning and painting to do.

The brake assemblies for the truck consists of several parts that need to be assembled. Some can be bolted directly onto the truck frame, but others need to be preassembled before they can be reattached. Carl Pickus spent numerous hours straightening many of the old parts, but the long black bars are new replacements. The original ones could not be salvaged. The problem is that the two large, assembled items must be inserted into the truck from underneath. To do that, one end of the truck must be lifted and placed on safety blocks.

Once one end of the truck is on safety blocks, the brake parts can be slid underneath and pulled upward in place using the deck crane. Of course, it takes two cranes to do this. As a safety feature, the large crane is left attached to the truck while work is being done under it. And of course, the steel blocks are bearing the full weight of that end of the truck.

Once the wheels are on blocks, then the parts can be slid underneath and pulled upwards. Its very awkward to do.

After the parts are pulled upwards in the middle of the truck and pinned in place, then the rest of the parts can be reassembled on the out-board brake hangars.

When finally assembled, the parts then hold the brake shoes in place when properly adjusted. If only it were as simple to do as it is to describe it. Obviously, it isn’t easy. Bushings are worn out, bolts are worn thin, pieces are bent, items previously used were the wrong ones, etc, etc. But its still fun to see the progress.

When the project started, we thought that $40,000 would be close to covering the cost of the project. Now we have about $30,000 in the fund and will need to raise the additional money in the next few months. Thanks to everyone that helped fund this project. It appears that the project is still on-track for painting early next year. And of course, the other big cost is the replacement of all the windows. I don’t recall if it was mentioned previously, but when we bought the locomotive in 1984, all the windows were intact. The locomotive was parked on Middleton siding for many years and the local kids used ballast rocks to knock out every one of the windows. Now we must install all of them new. I honestly don’t have firm numbers for the painting and new windows so there is risk that the $40,000 won’t cover everything we have left to do. We should know more in December or so.

– Dave Althaus

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