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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines, Steam Boats

Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance


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  #1  
Old 05-23-2008, 03:17 PM
Dave S Dave S is offline
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Default Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Were making new piston rods and perhaps new pistons for an Avery, 6" Diameter.
Was going to make the rods out of regular cold drawn steel (feels about the same hardness that came out of there and is1.125" Dia) and peen the piston ends over just as they were originally.

Then I had a thought to go back to the idea of making the rods out of stainless steel. Would have to thread the piston end and use a thin locknut for that though if there is even clearance with the head or recess it a bit.

Any thoughts on the idea or piston rod material in general?

Piston clearance is about .045 with the 99% of the wear in the cylinder.

Many ways to do it..Everyone does things a little different
I appreciate your thoughts in advance!
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Old 05-23-2008, 03:35 PM
Mark L. Jordan Mark L. Jordan is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Do NOT use stainless steel. It will eventually become ragged, no matter how well it is machined and polished, and will constantly pull the rod packing out and leak.

I'd suggest regular carbon steel, and with possibly a chrome plate finish. Many folks have found this acceptable.

Mark
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Old 05-23-2008, 03:48 PM
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Ken Majeski Ken Majeski is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Well.... I put a stainless rod in my 24 Minnie in 1985 and as far as I know it's still just Fine. I've had a stainless rod from the Local JY in my Case since I got it running in 1994 and it's still Fine. And Nope Niether has drug the packing out... But if it ran out of Cylinder oil it could be a different story...

But on the Next one I will use either Hydrolic cylinder rod stock or a good grade of steel and have it Chromed....
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Old 05-23-2008, 04:09 PM
Tom Runty Tom Runty is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Dave,

Talk to Paul about stainless rods - he doesn't think much of them. When we redid mine, I had it ground and chromed. Steve Wright knew somebody who did it, and it turned out great. But Paul should also know where they can be done.

Also used chromed steel for the valve rod - it's right up there with reseating a governor or rebuilding the throttle valve as the greatest thing to do since sliced bread.

Tom R.
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:19 PM
K D Redd K D Redd is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

I do not know ditally about steam but for a piston rod why not go to a shop that rebuilds hydraulic cylinders and buy the piston rod they use. It is already cromed.

Kent
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Old 05-23-2008, 10:24 PM
JMathews JMathews is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

I used cromr rod in the minne, it worked fine. The pistion was tapered and pined it went back just as the origonal, after ten years in service there was never a problem. I did a half scale last year with a crome pistion rod and a stainless valve rod (that was what we had handy) it has been in service over a year and no problems.
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Old 05-23-2008, 11:17 PM
Brad Kelley Brad Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Check with your local hydraulic cylinder repair shop. They can probably provide you with chrome plated steel rods, and probably can do the work for you if necessary. I was going to replace the rod on my Case, but the local hydraulic shop said they could send out the old rod still installed in the piston and have it built up, ground, and chrome plated. It turned out great, and cost less than $150. Here's how it looked when it came back:

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Old 05-24-2008, 12:34 AM
Dave S Dave S is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Hey Tom & All,
Thanks for the info. I don't really favor stainless for this application either but Paul went back & forth on the idea and said "try it" last time so I thought I would sound y'all out.

Forgot to mention chrome in my post. I know Paul said you had good success with yours Tom andI like it. I think Paul said his or another NS was flaking chrome off a little from 4140 material that he turned and had plated.

I have to replace one rod so I will just make two instead of doing a buildup/grind/polish which looks nice.

On these rods I need to single-point the threads (1-1/8 - 8) for the crosshead on the lathe then turn the piston end down a little, press it in & beat on it and it should be good.

I'll check w/ my suppliers on plain steel & pre-chromed & polished hyd. cylinder rod & see what they say.

Might turn out new pistons out of cast too..we will see.
The valve rods too at some point but they are pretty good.

And Tom, you are right. The Gov. is getting attention too as we speak.

Thanks for the input, pictures and all of that everyone.

Getting exciting.

Details like What paint to use is on the boiler another question.
That engine looked brand new for at least 15 or more years with that expensive stuff I used the first time without ever touching it. Uncle Bill & I used to paint that Case all the time with cheap paint..what a pain...
We shall see!

Dave
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Old 05-25-2008, 11:57 PM
Teeth Talk Teeth Talk is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

We have replaced the valve rods on several Averys with stainless, and they work and hold up very well. I am not sure if that would be the best for piston rods. I agree with most everyone above that chromed steel would probably be the ticket.

Cody
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:01 AM
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greysteam24hp greysteam24hp is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Piston rod should have a certain type of stressed relief steel. I don't remember what grade steel.
I have seen a Greyhound engine piston rod made out of bronze/brass. It had on it hard work over many years since new
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Old 05-26-2008, 01:14 AM
Eric M. Eric M. is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

One of our members here (Steamrguy) had the piston rod of his 1920 20 horse Minneapolis made out of 17-4 PH stainless. It's been fine for many years now.
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:45 PM
LAKnox LAKnox is offline
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Default Re: Piston Rod Material And Piston Clearance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave S View Post
Were making new piston rods and perhaps new pistons for an Avery, 6" Diameter.
Was going to make the rods out of regular cold drawn steel (feels about the same hardness that came out of there and is1.125" Dia) and peen the piston ends over just as they were originally.

Then I had a thought to go back to the idea of making the rods out of stainless steel. Would have to thread the piston end and use a thin locknut for that though if there is even clearance with the head or recess it a bit.

Any thoughts on the idea or piston rod material in general?

Piston clearance is about .045 with the 99% of the wear in the cylinder.

Many ways to do it..Everyone does things a little different
I appreciate your thoughts in advance!
The Clapp and Jones fire pumper in Woodland CA went through 2 or 3 original-style brass/bronze piston rods and seals in very short order after it was restored (in less than 2 years, IIRC). They switched to SS and never looked back.

Lyle
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