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Old 04-25-2020, 04:50 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default K28 problem

I have a friend that has a K28 col fired which has bee sitting on his mantle for close to two years.

Now the pistons are frozen in the cylinders. What is the best way to free than up so he can run it/
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:20 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Penetrating oil into the cylinders? Does it have cylinder drain cocks?
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Old 04-25-2020, 07:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Take the front cylinder covers off, they are easy to get at only a few screws, and have look at the pistons and the bore.
I just ran a loco that hasn't ran for 20 years and it was stiff to move but it did move before it was steamed and once hot with steam oil reaching the cylinders it was fine. So something here is not right if it is locked solid so inspection is needed, Maybe there is grit in the system and clagged up the piston to bore clearance or maybe heavy steam oil has hardened?
When the covers are off and it looks OK you can apply some light oil and see what moves, also you can remove the pistons for further inspection if needed. On it's first steam open the cylinder cocks to clear any muck, old oil and get warmth into the cylinder assembly's before running.
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Old 05-04-2020, 11:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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A follow up on the frozen cylinders. I helped my friend take his front cylinder heads off and found the left piston and the cylinder in front of it heavily coated with calcium deposits. The woes of not using distilled water. We thought we could partially remove the rear cylinder heads, actually just slid them back on the piston rods, but this a big chore since the crosshead guides need to be removed with them along with running boards, connecting rods , etc.. This precluded examining the rear of the cylinders and we just assumed they were probably similar to the front.

We tried to use a hardwood stick to clean it up the front side; absolutely no success. The calcification would not budge and no solvents, oils, etc. would touch it. I called Torry Krutzke about this and he said that he found a similar situation with a coal fired K-27 locomotive that he repaired for a customer. He suggested that we stand the loco in a bucket, with foam in the bottom, on the cab end and put ACF 50 anticorrosion in the front of the cylinders and let the loco stand at least overnight. ACF 50 is an aircraft corrosion inhibiter/neutralizer that can be purchased in a spray can. Torry said it could be ordered in our area from "Pilot's HQ."

After sitting for a day or so soaking the front end of the cylinders we were easily able to remove the "white crap" from the front side with a small dowel and a popsicle stick. We then used the dowel and a small hammer to lightly tap the pistons from the front end of the cylinders, first one side then the other, and low and behold they broke free. Turning the wheels revealed that there were stiff spots when the pistons tried to approach the rear of the cylinders and the wheels would not fully turn over; another call to Torry.

The rear of the cylinders were then treated with the ACF-50, following Torry’s advice, by disconnecting the steam line from the throttle and, with the lubricator valve shut off, using the aerosol can and the application straw to force ACF-50 down the steam line to the cylinders. This needed, according to Torry, to be done with the johnson bar in forward or reverse, not neutral, and while spraying the ACF-50 down the steam line turning, rocking, the drive wheels forwards and backwards with the cylinder drains open. This allowed the cylinders to suck the fluid into the rear cylinder spaces and the steam chests. Again, afterwards, we stood the loco on its end, this time the front and let it sit.

The next day we returned to the project. Rocking the wheels back and forth we were able to get them to turn completely around. Attaching the front cylinder covers, we then, using a small syringe and a piece of silicone tubing attaching it to the steam line at the throttle, flooded the cylinders with 30 weight oil as we turned the wheels. With things fairly freed up and supporting the loco with wood blocks front and back and the throttle reconnected we ran it on air from a compressor. Low and behold, after about 5-10 minutes and a lot of oil with some crud ejected up the stack from the exhaust the loco ran as smooth as ever.

We really want to thank Torry or all the advice and support. Especially the tip he gave us about ACF-50. That stuff really worked.
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Old 05-12-2020, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Huzzah!

Nice work resurrecting that steamer!
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Old 05-12-2020, 10:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Glad you sorted that all out successfully, well done.
Thanks for letting us know the end of the story, always nice to have.
In normal use at the end of a run, I would assume that the cylinders would not have any water in them and a nice oily film from the steam oil during use.
I wonder what happened here?
David leech, Delta, Canada
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks David and Sparky for the positive responses, I was very glad to help my friend out with the taking apart and putting back part of it. But the ACF-50 is what did the trick and to that I owe thanks to Torry. He has helped me out a lot over the years, especially with the coal fired K27 I bought from him, one of those he produced through his Pikes Peak Loco Works.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:18 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Torry is a great guy. He was a lot of help fixing up the coal fired K27 that we bought used.
Winn Erdman Steamaholic 291
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the very nice words. I was pleased you would think of me with helping you out.


You've got a great loco in part due to ACF-50. I used it to clean up the pumps and check valves on your loco before you received it. It works wonders on corrosion and calcification; especially on aluminum on airplanes and boats as well as other equipment.

In my capacity as an A&P and Aircraft Inspector I use it all the time around the hangar at the airport. In fact have used it a lot to clean and protect aileron cable turnbuckles on Beechcrafts recently. There was a major maintenance alert for aileron cables failing recently because of corrosion.

Last edited by fkrutzke; 05-15-2020 at 07:55 PM.
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