The restoration of the power unit ex-50008 Thunderer which was purchased by RRRG for use in 50030 is now almost complete. This has involved removing all sixteen cylinder heads and either overhauling them or replacing them with overhauled heads, then removing all sixteen pistons and con rods before replacing both big and small end bearings, piston rings and if necessary pistons to effectively return the power unit to "zero hours" status. Even with highly dedicated volunteer labour this has been a lengthy process but is now well into the "home straight".
Dave Rolfe has concentrated on an external overhaul of the unit, cleaning and painting especially auxiliary items such as water rails (blue) and oil feed pipes (pink). This will enable us to identify potential problems such as oil leaks when the unit is in service inside 50030. Ian Kemp, RRRG's mechanical team leader, and his fellow dedicated volunteer Peter Carter have been refitting the auxiliary pipework to the unit. This has now reached the stage of refitting the lower cooling water rails.
In common with other Class 50 owners we have decided to manufacture our own gaskets as this is much cheaper than buying ready-made items. Ian and Pete were busy today cutting out and fitting the water rail gaskets to one side of the power unit before refitting and attaching one of the water rails. This is not an easy task because the casting of the engine block makes accessing the fastening nuts very difficult! The corresponding water rail on the other side will be refitted in due course.
The tasks remaining to complete the overhaul of the diesel engine part of the power unit are to complete the refitting of oil and cooling water feed pipes and to test and overhaul the Woodward engine governor if necessary. We also need to source a set of braided hoses which feed cooling water to the turbos - these were either missing or rotten when we bought the power unit. The main generator attached to the engine is in good condition and will be detached and overhauled separately nearer the time the unit is ready to be installed inside 50030.
The power unit currently in 50030 is also practically complete and serviceable. We did start an overhaul of this power unit before the Thunderer power unit came on the market and it is turn intended for use in 50029, to replace the power unit in that locomotive which suffered a serious seizure that was the cause of 50029's BR withdrawal in 1992. An exchange of main generators is possible, to mate the good generator on 50029's damaged block with the good block attached to the main generator with flashover damage that is currently in 50030 - however this is a decision some time in the future.
On 29th June a long-running sub-project within the electrical restoration of 50030 took a substantial step forward. I got the proper reverser (Class 50 specification) fitted into Repulse, with help from Dave Rolfe, Peter Carter and Ian Kemp as it's so damned heavy. We had to jiggle it about to get it to fit properly, but did it in the end. I attached the divert cables at the rear, but didn't have time to do the auxilaries at the front as I showed two visitors round Repulse. We are always happy to show enthusiasts around our project so if you want to take a look inside our locomotives then get in touch with us either via the website or our Facebook pages and we will do our best to accommodate you.
Also on this date Dave, Ian and Pete also continued sorting fuel and water pipework recovered from 50030's power unit to replace damaged sections on the ex-50008 unit. This unit is destined for use in 50030 when complete - the existing power unit in Repulse was in acceptable condition when we acquired the loco, but has high engine hours and as part of our policy of overhauling our 50s to a very high standard in order to give them a long and trouble-free career in preservation we decided to overhaul one power unit totally. The existing unit in Repulse will be re-used inside 50029 because the engine in Renown has serious problems following the seizure which ended the loco's BR career. We don't know for sure but are aware of the possibility that the unit in 50029 may only be usable as a source of spares. Power unit work can be one of the most gruelling of the practical restoration projects as the same task often has to be done at least sixteen times, sometimes even 32 or 64 times!
On 14th July I attached the reverser auxiliary contact wiring after showing another visitor round Repulse. Meanwhile, Ian, Pete and Dave fitted the fuel feed and return pipes to the ex-50008 power unit that they had previously salvaged from the power unit inside Repulse.
Work over the weekend of 29-30 June involved stripping and painting the last of the louvre mechanisms for the radiators in 50030, hopefully to be refitted in 2-3 weeks. Photos to follow.
Sarah and I attended site and again met on site by Dave who I now think lives on site full-time as he is always there :-)
Dave continued with clearing and tidying the container a job that when he started thought would take a morning ended up taking three days. Once this was completed he continued with the refurbishment of the radiator grilles. The process takes such a long take as each element is being stripped back to bare metal, prior to priming and painting, and as BR's policy appears to have been apply new paint onto the old there are numerous layers of paint and a rainbow of colours.
Sarah & I continued with the assessments of the KV10's. Starting with the best we are checking and cleaning contacts and replacing unserviceable parts. We have finished one complete unit having to re-terminate a couple of broken cables connections and replace a couple of components. The next best KV10 selected had sound looking components but the cable terminations at the top of the unit looked a little rusted and three of them sheared off when attempts were made to loosen them even after liberal application of WD40 (other lubricants are available lol). Therefore we had to loosen of the paxolin board from the body of the KV10 and using recovered termination studs from other scraped units these were replaced but this is not easy as unless you disconnect cables going from one side of the unit to the other side the board only gives finger width space.
Our next visit to site to continue with work on the KV10's will be in a few weeks as we will be participating in a railtour with EE Type1's and a couple of galas where it's hoped to sample a certain Mr Spracklen's 50026.