Archive for June, 2007

What makes flues leak? I asked this question once, and the answer was

20070630 16:38

that the flues were not large enough to fill up the hole in flue sheet
What makes flues leak? I asked this question once, and the answer was
that the flues were not large enough to fill up the hole in flue sheet.
This struck me as being funny at first, but on second thought I
concluded it was about correct. Flues may leak from several causes, but
usually it can be traced to the carelessness of some one. You may have
noticed before this that I am inclined to blame a great many things to
carelessness. Well, by the time you have run an engine a year or two
you will conclude that I am not unjust in my suspicions. I do not blame
engineers for everything, but I do say that they are responsible for a
great many things which they endeavor to shift on to the manufacturer.
If the flues in a new boiler leak, it is evident that they were slighted
by the boiler-maker; but should they run a season or part of a season
before leaking, then it would indicate that the boiler-maker did his
duty, but the engineer did not do his. He has been building too hot a
fire to begin with, or has, been letting his fire door stand open; or he
may have overtaxed his boiler; or else he has been blowing out his
boiler when too hot; or has at some time blown out with some fire in
firebox. Now, any one of these things, repeated a few times, will make
the best of them leak. You have been advised already not to do these
things, and if you do them, or any one of them, I want to know what
better word there is to express it than ‘carelessness.’

It is now time to give some attention to the heater

20070629 16:38

It is now time to give some attention to the heater. While the heater
is no part of the pump, it is connected with it and does its work
between the two horizontal check valves. Its purpose is to heat the
water before it passes into the boiler. The water on its way from the
pump to the boiler is forced through a coil of pipes around which the
exhaust steam passes on its way from the cylinder to the exhaust nozzle
in the smokestack.

There are other things that will make your flues leak

20070629 10:38

There are other things that will make your flues leak. Pumping cold
water into a boiler with a low gauge of water will do it, if it does
nothing more serious. Pouring cold water into a hot boiler will do it.
For instance, if for any reason you should blow out your boiler while in
the field, and as you might be in a hurry to get to work, you would not
let the iron cool, before beginning to refill. I have seen an engineer
pour water into a boiler as soon as the escaping steam would admit it.
The flues cannot stand such treatment, as they are thinner than the
shell or flue sheet, and therefore cool much quicker, and in contracting
are drawn from the flue sheet, and as a matter of course must leak. A
flue, when once started to leak, seldom stops without being set up, and
one leaky flue will start others, and what are you going to do about it?
Are you going to send to a boiler shop and get a boilermaker to come out
and fix them and pay him from forty to sixty cents an hour for doing it?
I don”t know but that you must the first time, but if you are going to
make a business of making your flues leak, you had best learn how to do
it yourself. You can do it if you are not too big to get into the fire
door. You should provide yourself with a flue expander and a calking
tool, with a machinist”s hammer, (not too heavy). Take into the firebox
with you a piece of clean waste with which you will wipe off the ends of
the flues and flue sheet to remove any soot or ashes that may have
collected around them. After this is done you will force the expander
into the flues driving it well up, in order to bring the shoulder of
expander up snug against the head of the flue. Then drive the tapering
pin into the expander. By driving the pin in too far you may spread the
flue sufficient to crack it or you are more liable, by expanding too
hard, to spread the hole in flue sheet and thereby loosen other flues.
You must be careful about this. When you think you have expanded
sufficient, hit the pin a side blow in order to loosen it, and turn the
expander about one-quarter of a turn, and drive it up as before; loosen
up and continue to turn as before until you have made the entire circle
of flues. Then remove the expander, and you are ready for your header
or calking tool. It is best to expand all the flues that are leaking
before beginning with the header.

Now what a contrast there is between this engineer and a poor one, and

20070627 22:38

unfortunately there are hundreds of poor engineers running portable and
traction engines
Now what a contrast there is between this engineer and a poor one, and
unfortunately there are hundreds of poor engineers running portable and
traction engines. You will find a poor engineer very willing to talk.
This is bad habit number one. He cannot talk and have his mind on his
work. Beginners must not forget this. When I tell you how to fire an
engine you will understand how important it is, The poor engineer is
very apt to ask an outsider to stay at his engine while he goes to the
separator to talk. This is bad habit number two. Even if the outsider
is a good engineer, he does not know whether the pump is throwing more
water than is being used or whether it is throwing less. He can only
ascertain this by watching the column of water in the glass, and he
hardly knows whether to throw in fuel or not. He don”t want the steam
to go down and he don”t know at what pressure the pop valve will blow
off. There may be a box or journal that has been giving the engineer
trouble and the outsider knows nothing about it. There are a dozen
other good reasons why bad habit number two is very bad.

Another novel feature in this ‘little boiler feeder’ is that after the

20070627 04:38

steam has acted on the cylinder it can be exhausted directly into the
feed water, thus utilizing all its heat to warm the water before
entering the boiler
Another novel feature in this ‘little boiler feeder’ is that after the
steam has acted on the cylinder it can be exhausted directly into the
feed water, thus utilizing all its heat to warm the water before
entering the boiler. Now it required a certain number of heat units to
produce this steam which after doing its work gives back all its heat
again to the feed water and it would be a very interesting problem for
some of the young engineers, as well as the old ones, to determine just
what loss if any is sustained in this manner of supplying a boiler. If
you are thinking of trying an independent pump, don”t be afraid of this
one. I take particular pride in recommending anything that I have tried
myself, and know to be as recommended.

The best way to keep it clean is not to let it get dirty

20070625 22:38

The best way to keep it clean is not to let it get dirty. The place to
begin work, is with your ‘water boy,’ pursuade him to be very careful of
the water he brings you, if you can”t succeed in this, ask him to
resign.

If at any time your engine refuses to start with an open throttle,

20070624 10:38

notice your governor stem, and you will find that it has been screwed
down as far as it will go
If at any time your engine refuses to start with an open throttle,
notice your governor stem, and you will find that it has been screwed
down as far as it will go. This frequently happens with a new engine,
the stem having been screwed down for its protection in transportation.

A safety valve is exactly what its name implies, and there should be a

20070623 16:43

heavy penalty for anyone taking that power away from it
A safety valve is exactly what its name implies, and there should be a
heavy penalty for anyone taking that power away from it.

Poor oil is largely responsible for the fast going out of use of the

20070622 22:43

link reverse among the makers of traction engines
Poor oil is largely responsible for the fast going out of use of the
link reverse among the makers of traction engines. While I think it
very doubtful if this ‘reverse motion’ can be equalled by any of the
late devices. Its construction is such as to require the best grade of
cylinder oil, and without this it is very unsatisfactory, (not because
the valves of other valve-motions will do with a poorer grade of oil)
but because its construction is such that as soon as the valve becomes
dry it causes the link to jump and pound, and very soon requires
repairing. While the construction of various other devices are such,
that while the valve may be equally as dry it does not show the want of
oil so clearly as the old style link. Yet as a fact I care not what the
valve motion may be, it requires a good grade of oil.

Now the facts in this case were as follows: The old check valve in place

20070617 22:43

of the one referred to had been one known as a stem valve, or floating
valve
Now the facts in this case were as follows: The old check valve in place
of the one referred to had been one known as a stem valve, or floating
valve. This stem by some means, had broken off but it did not prevent
the valve from working. The stem, however, worked forward till it
reached the hot water check, and lodged under the valve, which prevented
this check from working and his pump refused to work, the engineer soon
found where the stem had broken off, and instead of looking for the
stem, sent to town for a new check, after putting this on the pump now
refused to work for two reasons. One was, he had not removed the broken
stem from the hot water check, and another was, that the new check was
in wrong end to. After wasting another hour or two he finally found
and-removed the stem from the hot water check, but his pump still
refused to work. And then as the boys say, ‘he laid down,’ and when I
called his attention to the new valve being in wrong, he was so
completely rattled that he made use of the above expression.