January Update – 2022
Since the previous update where we showed the coupling rods now fitted to the loco after adjustments, the next stage of the reassembly has now been completed. With the fitment of coupling rods and eccentric return cranks, we were able to take the measurements for the big end bearings to be machined to + clearance.
The big end bearings had previously been re-metalled and were awaiting final machining. The machining was completed and last weekend, the big ends were test fitted to the crank pin journals. They were found to be turning freely by hand clamped together. So they were fitted to the rod ends and the connecting rods were fitted to the locomotive.
One little end bearing required shimming of the wedge to allow for the bearing halves to fully tighten up. The big end bearings were then shimmed to allow the bearing halves to be closed. Next weekend the plan is to bring the locomotive onto the pit for adjustment of axlebox wedges and some other tidy up jobs. In this process we will also check the piston/cylinder clearances and adjust piston strokes (shiming of big ends) if required.
In addition to these works we were also able to make some repairs to the Guard Irons. The purpose of the Guard Irons are to prevent a derailment or damage to wheels if any obstruction were to be on the rail head (and get underneath the cow catcher). K163’s Guard Irons were bent (probably involved in a collision at some stage in its history) and were not directly over the rail head. The brackets and bolts that hold the Guard Irons in place were removed, Irons straightened (heat and brute force) and then rescued. Another little job ticked off the list of general maintenance tasks we have.
With the continued support of the general public and our volunteer project team, we hope to have the locomotive in steam later in January. As always, thanks to our very generous supporters, with your assistance we have now passed the $10,000 mark via our GoFundme campaign which help’s the Preservation Society immensely.