Merryweather Fire King - a novice build

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Chris W

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The Eppleton Hall was the Tug that my family members operated. She was sailed over to USA after being restored. Went through the Panama canal ending up in San Francisco in the maritime museum. I visited her there - quite an emotional time for me. She is now derelict once again as I understand. The museum was taken over by National Park System that did not have the finances to maintain her
I had the opportunity to steam aboard Eppleton Hall in 1975. It was quite an experience! The politics at the Museum are a problem when it comes to Eppie. She really should be back on the Tyne where she has true historic significance. I recently saw a film of tugs working taken in 1962 and there was Eppie steaming merrily along.
 

goldstar31

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I'm saddened by the possible end of the old boat. I didn't live on the coast, rather the extreme end of the tide reach off the Tyne. The Kissing Stone;).
 
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The Eppleton Hall was the Tug that my family members operated. She was sailed over to USA after being restored. Went through the Panama canal ending up in San Francisco in the maritime museum. I visited her there - quite an emotional time for me. She is now derelict once again as I understand. The museum was taken over by National Park System that did not have the finances to maintain her
Seen it, done it - a decade or more ago...
K2
 

goldstar31

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Totally off-topic, but fascinating reading. Keep it up.

Bob 🙂

So there is the story of the two Tyne Tugs 'going to was' in Norway to bring home to her birthplace HMS Kelly. And then KG5 'sneaked out' unfinished to finish off ' and 'Sink the Bismarck'
 

a41capt

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Bob Wild

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Still struggling on. Finally got the engine assembled and after ages finding the tight spots (I now have a new meaning to the term “Quantitative Easing) it now turned over relatively smoothly. First run on air would not rotate, but there was a significant downward thrust at times. I had followed the dimensions in the book for the valve mechanism, which occurred to me was a metric conversion from the original imperial drawings. Upon reflection it occurred to me that there may be minor differences. So I reduced the width of the slide valve by ten thou each side. After a lot of fiddling with the timing - bingo, it run. It needed twenty psi to get it started, but it ran like the clappers and nearly shook itself off the bench! And then disaster. The crankshaft had come loose. I had prefabricated it, cross pinned it and loctited it, but two of the joints had come loose. So off to make another. I don’t think I can retrieve it so it’s a matter of staring from scratch. I’m wondering whether to persevere with loctite or to try and silver solder it or even soft solder it. I’m a bit concerned that if I use solder that it will distort. Help please, this is driving me mad!!!!!



Bob
 
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Loctite is as good as soft solder.
But I would silver solder the metal - before final machining of the main shaft. You must have a single aligned main-shaft - or wear bearings badly. Fit a spacer between the crank webs and set the crankshaft between centres for final machining. Off-set the shaft for final machining of the crank-pin(s). That is the hard bit:- You may be able to use a drill chuck set eccentrically in a 4-jaw-chuck. - That worked for me a couple of times.
Just ideas, there are many ways "to kill this pig".
Also U-tube videos if you look.
K2
 

Bob Wild

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Thanks Steamchick. Not sure what to do. The instructions suggest using 8mm silver steel for the main shaft which is the finished size. I think I will try again with loctite and keep my fingers crossed

Bob
 

Bob Wild

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Yes I can. The previous attempt was pinned, but not very deeply. This time I will try to make them go right through to both sides of the web. Anyway I have a little time to think about it as SWMBO has insisted on me taking her on a rare trip in our caravan to the south of England !?!
 

Bob Wild

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And would you believe, I’ve found another Merryweather
AC89A19C-6D10-4BF2-A19C-87EC9E69AF32.jpeg
 

Aussie

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Any one want to play show me yours, and I’ll show you mine ?
 

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Bob Wild

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Hi Aussie. There were actually two Merryweathers in a barn at Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire UK. They were both horse driven and they each had a manual pump operated by a fireman standing on each side. There was no info about them, but they are clearly very old- sometime in the eighteenth century.
Bob
 

Aussie

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Hi Aussie. There were actually two Merryweathers in a barn at Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire UK. They were both horse driven and they each had a manual pump operated by a fireman standing on each side. There was no info about them, but they are clearly very old- sometime in the eighteenth century.
Bob
Thank you Bob. When I can visit the UK (which isn’t likely to be soon as this is day one, of a seven day lockdown, in Victoria,) each of these historic houses I visit, I find things like this. The usual response is “no idea, it’s always been there”.

And because it’s not “in the house”, there’s little to no interest in preserving, or restoring it.
 

Bob Wild

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At long last we have success. After so many attempts at getting the crankshaft made it runs. And to think that I was seriously thinking of abandoning the project and throwing it in the bin.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>


It is still a little tight and doesn’t turn as freely as I would like, but I can put up with it for now and it may improve with running. I have noticed however that the air coming from the exhaust seems to come out stronger from one cylinder than the other. I tried to set the timing so that the valves opened just before tdc. Perhaps one of you experts can advise which is better.
Bob
 

Richard Hed

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At long last we have success. After so many attempts at getting the crankshaft made it runs. And to think that I was seriously thinking of abandoning the project and throwing it in the bin.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>


It is still a little tight and doesn’t turn as freely as I would like, but I can put up with it for now and it may improve with running. I have noticed however that the air coming from the exhaust seems to come out stronger from one cylinder than the other. I tried to set the timing so that the valves opened just before tdc. Perhaps one of you experts can advise which is better.
Bob

If you plug the exhaust of the weak one, does it substantially slow it down? Could you show a more general vid of this in operation? I mean pull back some so we could view the whole engine and even move around it so we can see all sides? what happens if you detach the steam from the weak side? What happens when you detach the steam from the strong side?
 
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Possibly the valves should be set so each is centred, rather that an "end of stroke" setting?
I should guess that the "strong"exhaust is the wrong 'un. Possibly a problem of overlap? Where the valve permits inlet steam to directly pass into the exhaust as the valve moves? Can you easily remove the valve covers and double check valve port spacing? Particularly the land width between inlet and exhaust? And on the valves, check the centre space and width of the sealing land at each end of each valve? When you are sure everything matches the drawing, reset the valves at mid-stroke to be exactly correct.
Oh, a check before you disturb anything.... apply just a few psi of air to the inlet, not enough to drive the engine, and rotate the crank carefully, to determine the exhaust valve opening and closing times against the crank rotation (even make and fit a degree plate to do this, or stick a circle of card onto the flywheel, and after marking it use a protractor to measure the rotation angles for each event. You should also check that at the change point between the inlet and exhaust strokes it doesn't just blow air straight through the valve. You do need to play with this so you can feel the pressure of the air acting on pistons, without it pushing past any point where friction stops it from turning. Easier on a tight engine than a free-runner?
You may need to do this just one cylinder at a time.
Enjoy,
K2
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Enjoy,
 
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