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Restoration diary

Reports of restoration work on 50029 and 50030.

Radiator fan motor lift and overhaul news

​A major step in the restoration of 50030 is to lift the existing radiators out of the locomotive so that they can be sent for professional overhaul.  Whilst we do have some spares, our assessment of them - backed up by professional judgement - is that the radiators inside the locomotive are in far better condition.  Whilst 50029 and 50030 were in storage before RRRG purchased them the radiators were drained and the locomotive bodyshells effectively protected them from the worst of the elements.

Our plan of action for this process was as advised by experienced Class 50 restorers.  The radiator fan motor needed its ducting unbolting and lowering to the floor. The fan feed cables had to be disconnected from the bulkhead and from the clamp within the ducting. The cable can then be coiled up but not too close to the motor body as there is a risk of crushing it when the fan is lowered. The motor itself would sit on to bits of timber as the lower bearing projects out the bottom. The nuts and washers needed removing from the support housing and boxing and labelling. The motor would then be jacked up to free it from any rust where it has been sitting for many years. A board would be needed below to stop floor damage and advice was that the best place to jack was against the central bearing cover on the motor. It can then be lifted out via the unbolted roof grille. We were warned that the fan tends to snag easily with the blades and the motor body both being rather tight fits. There is a risk of damage to the mounting studs! The roof panel unbolts along the outer edges above the shutter grilles. There are also four bolts at each corner in the fan compartment. The pipe below the header tank had to be disconnected as did the four breather pipes going to the top of each radiator. These breathers were cut off as they had completely rotted over the years. In the clean air compartment the water level float switch needed removing from the header tank. There are air pipes on the cab bulkhead leading to an air tank which are vulnerable when the radiators are lifted. Also we were advised that the rubber draught trims may need removing around the rad ends. 

On the day, the work to disconnect everything prior to the lift itself everything went fine until it came to jacking up the radiator fan motor to free it from its mount.  We followed the advice given but found the motor wouldn't shift even with as much pressure as we dared put on it exerted. We then discovered that the radiator fan compartment roof wasn't bolted down and had lifted some 2 inches into the air.  Unfortunately our jack does not have a controlled release and so the only control over the drop is the weight you can exert with your body.  The 2.5 ton roof and fan motor fell down with a very loud clatter indeed.  Fortunately it seems no damage was done and the only victim was a large amount of internal rust being dislodged. After this we bolted the roof back down and tried jacking the fan up once more, still to no avail.  Once again we put as much pressure on as we dared, left it for a bit, hit the offending area with hammers, sprayed lots of WD40 onto the joint, tried adding and removing pressure, left it under pressure whilst we had our sandwiches and generally scratched our heads.  We were about to give up when I had one last go gently adding and removing pressure and suddenly the fan motor gave way and lifted up.  We then put some wooden chocks underneath the mounting flange to stop it sticking again.  Everything is now loose and ready to lift next month.

Separately to this, we recently moved a spare radiator fan to a firm of electrical contractors, for assessment prior to overhaul.  Their initial impressions, after completing visual and electrical tests on the machine, are that it is in good condition with a straightforward clean, bake and reassemble with new brushes being the work required to complete its overhaul.

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Comments 1

Guest - RogerWilkinson on Saturday, 03 December 2016 20:11

I was part of the group trying to buy and restore 46. I live in Spain now. Dominic will probably remember me from when I lived in Reading.

I was part of the group trying to buy and restore 46. I live in Spain now. Dominic will probably remember me from when I lived in Reading.
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Tuesday, 05 December 2023

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