Repairing some fire-damaged engines

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Senior Member
Jan 3, 2010
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Last month I met a man at a local vintage machinery rally with a collection of various steam engines running on compressed air. I saw that some of them were very worn and sloppy and offered to help him get them to run better, and gave him my details. Around a week later, I got something of an SOS call. While driving home to Ballarat, his trailer which contained his model display caught fire, causing major damage to everything on board. In the intervening period, he had been able to repair some engines himself, however there are some that require more extensive work to get them running again, which I have gladly taken on.

So, without further ado, here are the engines in question as received:

First up is this Marklin which I believe is quite an early model as the engine frame and flywheel are cast iron. It looks like it originally had a boiler feed pump, as there is a 3-way valve next to the bottom sight glass fitting, and two unused mounting holes on the engine frame casting behind the crankshaft. If anyone has a complete example of this particular model, I would like to hear from you as I will be needing some reference photos for when I'm making new parts, so that I can make them look similar to what the originals would have looked like. The owner has told me that he wants this engine running within 6 months if possible.

This 'bitza' engine was a real mess even before the fire, obviously a home build slapped together with whatever bits happened to be lying around, but a very poor one at that. Work on this one will be more about trying to do a better job of it than the original builder did rather than repairs as such, but I do see the makings of a decent engine in this.

By comparison, rebuilding this Wilesco M56 accessory plate seems like a walk in the park. Just a matter of making new supports for the lineshaft and grinder, and getting everything cleaned up and painted. If the owner wants the circular saw, he can simply go and get the stand-alone version, called the M53, remove it from its lower pedestal, and attach it with the screws that are still there.

This scratch built steam crane looks quite bad, but I reckon a new base, new piston and some boiler work will have it running again (hopefully)

Obviously the hardest-hit casualty, a Mamod roller, or rather what's left of it. This one's so bad that even I'm pondering whether it's a lost cause! Don't worry though, I don't give up that easily. It might even come out of the works as a unique custom build.

So that's about it. I'll keep you posted on how the work is progressing. I might actually start new threads for each of them, or at least for the Marklin.
Hope he had insurance on his trailer and contents.
What a shame to have those old pieces burn. Sir, if you can restore them my hat's off to you for being such a kind gentleman to this man. I'm sure he was devastated when it happened.

Jim in Pa

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