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Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.


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Old 06-09-2008, 03:17 PM
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Default Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

hello steam lizard experts,

i'm working on a 2 1/2" x 1 3/8" x 2" steam pump for a friend. i have it torn down. the water end is the only part that needs serious work. it will be re-sleeved, piston rod made and replacement teflon pistons with o-rings made to replace the phenolic originals. the original water pistons wore a 1/64th" step in the cylinder.

my questions have to do with the steam side. after i removed the sleeve from the water end i bolted the steam side back up to try to run it. i got it to stroke each direction by using the starter pins, but can't get it to cycle/reverse on it's own. i noticed a continuous flow of air through what i'm assuming is the exhaust for the steam cylinder, shouldn't it only puff/exhaust at the end of each stroke? i put a valve on the exhaust to choke the flow and got it to stroke once and return, but that's it. i noticed there are what looks to be 2 exhaust outlets, one on either side of the cylinder, does it matter which one is used?

anyone know what would make her not run?

p.s. this is a dinky pump, what is the smallest marsh made. this is number 180011 any idea what year she was built?
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:48 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

here are a pic of what i'm working with...
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

My best guess is that your piston valve that admitted steam first to one side then the other is sticking. That would explain in part why you need to use the starter pins to keep it going; it should continue moving once you get it going.

I downloaded a bunch of vintage brochures from the American Marsh website at:

http://www.american-marsh.com

Unfortunately, the ones that describe how simplex pumps work describe the larger ones that have a valve linkage driven by the piston rod. They do not describe these small Marsh pumps, which have no outside valve gear; so I am not certain exactly how they work.

All steam pumps are full admission devices. What that means is that the valve that admits steam to one end and allow the exhaust to escape from other remains fully open until nearly the end of the stroke. The valve is then thrown suddenly to the opposite end; the remaining steam then acts as a cushion to help slow and reverse the steam piston, since there is no flywheel and crankshaft. "Lost motion" is the play in the valve mechanism that keeps the valve stationary until nearly the end of the stroke.



I am guessing the Marsh pump works in a smiliar manner to this Canton-Hughes (also Cameron) pump. Notice the little pins (T) on each end of the steam cylinder; when the piston struck these little pins, they moved and allowed steam to be admitted into little passageways (F). This steam pushed the piston valve (E) over; it in turn moved the slide valve (C) over, reversing the steam flow.

It sounds like whatever mechanism inside your pump that throws the piston valve over is sticking or not working. You can manually throw the piston valve over using the starting pins, (the Canton-Hughes/Cameron pumps used a lever on the side, which moved the internal lever (P) which moved the slide and piston valves); but the internal mechanism is not working.

I believe the two exhaust outlets you are referring to are one that directs the exhaust into the base of the pump; which then acts as a feedwater heater (the pump suction is in the base) and the other that exhausts to the outside like most steam pumps. Either one should work equally well.

I don't have hands on experience with this pump; maybe someone who does can chime in. But that is my best guess.

-James Hefner
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

Here's a cross-section I saw a while ago.

http://www.smokstak.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=3792
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Old 06-09-2008, 08:46 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

thank you,


james, this pump doesn't have the "fingers" that trip the valve the other direction to reverse the piston (i'm starting to wish it did). the piston valve moves freely. there are a bunch of small ports that redirect and admit the steam to flip the piston valve back and forth. i have chased a wire through all of the ports to make certain there is no obstruction blocking them. i've gone through my old books and they really don't get that in depth with these lizards. i guess it was considered common knowledge way back when and died off when the old timers who worked around this stuff day in and day out passed on.

as i understand it, the piston valve is balanced and centered seeking equillibrium when steam is first applied thru the throttle valve, and when you push either stater pin it throws the valve off center and moves the piston accordingly. once the piston is at the end of it's stroke it should allow steam to one of the passages applying steam to one side of the piston valve, pushing it the other direction past center and so on and so on.... this is my rudamentary potential mis-understanding of how it should operate.

i'll get some pictures posted of the steam chest and ports ect. hope they add clarification.

i noticed that a few books stated duplex pumps have neither lap or lead, are simplex pumps any different?
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:10 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

here's the photos.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:01 PM
Jim Arras Jim Arras is offline
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

Jason, I have worked on National and Union Steam pumps that I have. The Union is smaller than the one you are working on with the internal piston valve. I had the same problem, I don't remember now what it was for sure, but I think some of the passages was not opened up right. It took several times with a wire to make it thru all the holes, then the rest was just getting everything set right. Of course could be wrong, I never have worked on a Marsh pump before.

Good luck,
Jim Arras
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBoogie View Post
thank you,


james, this pump doesn't have the "fingers" that trip the valve the other direction to reverse the piston (i'm starting to wish it did). the piston valve moves freely. there are a bunch of small ports that redirect and admit the steam to flip the piston valve back and forth. i have chased a wire through all of the ports to make certain there is no obstruction blocking them. i've gone through my old books and they really don't get that in depth with these lizards. i guess it was considered common knowledge way back when and died off when the old timers who worked around this stuff day in and day out passed on.

as i understand it, the piston valve is balanced and centered seeking equillibrium when steam is first applied thru the throttle valve, and when you push either stater pin it throws the valve off center and moves the piston accordingly. once the piston is at the end of it's stroke it should allow steam to one of the passages applying steam to one side of the piston valve, pushing it the other direction past center and so on and so on.... this is my rudamentary potential mis-understanding of how it should operate.
I see that Gary K posted those pictures of the Marsh pump cutaway, and the exterior. I would like to add them to my "Steam Lizard" Photo Gallery if I could; it would be a great help to others.

I noticed you mentioned that you already wired through the passages to confirm they are open. My next though is that spool (shuttle) piston is sticking. The fact that you can get it going with the starter pins shows that it is moving; the fact that putting backpressure on the exhaust also seems to make it move makes me think it is sticking in it's bore, and not "floating" like it is supposed to.

I have seen other steam tractors with Marsh pumps; surely someone else can help?

The fact that many of these simplex pumps can be "fiddlely", and not always self-starting, is the reason duplex pumps came to be so popular. Worthington's first steam lizard was a simplex pump; some of the features on it leads me to think it was "fiddlely" and not always self-starting as well (it also had a handle for manually throwing the slide valve); and that is why he invented the duplex pump that he became famous for.

The old saying in American-Marsh literature is "Simplex, not Duplex"; and it contained reasons why simplex pumps were better than duplex. Yet in the end, American-Marsh joined Union and everyone else in mostly offering duplex pumps at a later date; only hydraulic pumps remained simplex.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBoogie View Post
i'll get some pictures posted of the steam chest and ports ect. hope they add clarification.
Thanks. I would also like to add these to my Steam Lizards Photo Gallery if I could; until this thread; I have never seen the inside of a Marsh pump.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBoogie View Post
i noticed that a few books stated duplex pumps have neither lap or lead, are simplex pumps any different?
No, simplex pumps would be the same. As I mentioned; they are full admission steam engines; the steam valve remains wide open until just before the end of the stroke; then the valve is thrown over and is then wide open on the opposite end.

It is the opposite of "cut-off" that most steam engines use; "cut-off" cuts off the flow of steam before the end of each stroke is reached. Having steam going into the cylinder near the end of the stroke only serves to try and bend the crank pin or shaft; so to conserve steam, it is cut-off before the end of the stroke. Also, the flow of steam is gradually closed and opened as the valve stays in constant motion all the time.

Steam pumps use "lost motion" to keep the steam valve stationary at wide open until the end of the stroke is approached; it is then thrown over to the opposite end. The fact that they are full admission devices is also why they have a deserved reputation for using a lot of steam; many stationary and marine applications tried to recover the exhaust and reuse it for heating.

Oh, and the boilerhouse at the Petrochemical plant I used to work for had four American Marsh fuel oil pumps with a serial number in the 1899xx range. I can only guess they were installed new when the plant was built during World War II; if that is correct; then I would guess yours was made in the late 1930s, early 1940s. I assume it has the post-1922 nameplate that reads "American-Marsh Pumps Inc.:



... and not the pre-1922 nameplate that reads "American Steam Pump Co.":



One of those fuel oil pumps and a Gardner-Denver duplex are currently denting up the back of my pickup; I hope I finally get a 2,000 lb capacity cart for my birthday this weekend that hold three of my steam pumps. No more straining my son-in-law and my back moving them around.

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Old 06-10-2008, 12:52 PM
Brad Kelley Brad Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

Jason, your Marsh has the lever to divert the exhaust into the feedwater, correct?

On Memorial day was the first time I got our Marsh pump to work well and I now have a better idea of how it runs and what we need to do to make it run better.

Quote:
it will be re-sleeved, piston rod made and replacement teflon pistons with o-rings made to replace the phenolic originals. the original water pistons wore a 1/64th" step in the cylinder.
My pump is also worn more in the center section of the water side. I have not replaced the sleeve, but I thought about trying to have it slightly bored to clean up. I originally made a new water piston out of some round solid teflon, cut o-ring grooves, and used rubber o-rings. I had some trouble getting the new piston to fit, because it was tight getting past the outside end, but was looser in the middle. When we got the pump running on air it pumped excellent and had great water pressure. But, the o-ring piston would get stuck in the end of the water cylinder at the tight spot and also after sitting for some time the o-rings would stick in the cylinder and I took the whole teflon piston out and replaced with a couple wraps of square graphite packing. The graphite packing works just fine and doesn't get stuck. You shouldn't have much problem if you replace the sleeve though, but the rubber o-rings could still stick or rot or tear.

Quote:
my questions have to do with the steam side. after i removed the sleeve from the water end i bolted the steam side back up to try to run it. i got it to stroke each direction by using the starter pins, but can't get it to cycle/reverse on it's own. i noticed a continuous flow of air through what i'm assuming is the exhaust for the steam cylinder, shouldn't it only puff/exhaust at the end of each stroke? i put a valve on the exhaust to choke the flow and got it to stroke once and return, but that's it. i noticed there are what looks to be 2 exhaust outlets, one on either side of the cylinder, does it matter which one is used?
You mentioned 2 exhaust outlets? I'm not sure what you're referring to here. The exhaust for the steam side is out the bottom hole on the exhaust diverter lever plate. My pump also has the continuously running steam out the exhaust and I assume this is either the nature of the simplex valve or the valve is worn and blowing by a little.

Quote:
anyone know what would make her not run?
Here are some tips that I've discovered. Make sure the packing glands on your starter pins are not too tight, and that the starter pins come back out after you've pushed them in. Also, the piston packing glands only need to be finger tight.

When we first tried to run our pump on air, it did terrible and was blowing air out the water intake. The best thing that helped my pump was to bypass the exhaust diverter. I made a special gasket to go behind the diverter lever plate in which I did NOT cut out the port that allows steam into the feedwater. I put it all back together and the pump ran much better, so my next task is to fix the diverter lever so that it completely switches the exhaust flow instead of leaking one way or the other. We ran the pump for feedwater on our Case all Memorial day and all this past weekend and it worked great. One other thing that helped was to throttle down the water outlet to provide some backpressure which softened the pump strokes. It was running so well that I could slow it down to switch directions about every 2 seconds or speed it up to a nice steady foot tapping speed.

I think I have some video of when we first got it running on air, and I have a neat picture from this weekend showing some water spraying from the pump. I'll try to post them later tonight.

Good luck with your pump.

Last edited by Brad Kelley; 06-10-2008 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 06-10-2008, 01:30 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

JBoogie:

The smallest MARSH pump that I know of is:
Size: B
Steam Cylinder: 2 1/2" Bore.
Water Cylinder: 1 3/8" Bore.
Stroke: 2".
Gallons/Min. 3.33.
Steam Pipe: 1/4".
Exhaust Pipe: 3/8".
Suction Pipe: 3/4".
Delivery Pipe: 1/2".
MARSH had pump sizes: B, BB, C, D, E, G, F, FF, H, I, L, M, MM, N, O, and OO.

Thanks Eric M for posting the link showing the cross-section drawing of the MARSH steam pump!

The MARSH steam pump had pretty close tolerances between the steam ports for the valve actuator's, and the distance between the spool pistons. That is, if you measured the distance from the outside edge of the "live steam port", to one of the "actuator ports." Then measured the distance from one of the spools piston to the other piston, you'll probably see where the piston rings are partially covering these port holes. (I assume this was purposely done to throttle the valve movements, that is, reduce harshness?)

The steam piston was cast in 2 pieces, and held together by the piston rod. Sometimes these castings were still a little rough where they jointed together. The reason I mention this, if someone decided to re-machine this area when overhauling the pump, it may have reduced these port opening to the point where the pump either didn't run, or it ran erratically?

If this appears to be the problem, you could place shim washers between the piston mating surfaces, until it runs correctly?

Quote:
I see that Gary K posted those pictures of the Marsh pump cutaway, and the exterior. I would like to add them to my "Steam Lizard" Photo Gallery if I could; it would be a great help to others.
Yes, by all means, help yourself!

Gary K

Last edited by Gary K; 06-10-2008 at 01:35 PM. Reason: added . . . yes, by all means . . . blah, blah!
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

james,

feel free to use my photos (any of them). i can post or email you some better ones if you'd like. happy birthday. mine was last thursday.

brad,

glad to hear your pump works. this pump does not have the diverter option like most on traction engines have. if you look at the pics i posted you can see the "exhaust" outlets on either side of the steam cylinder. these pumps must be inherently ornery, has to be the reason why you see so many on traction engines but hardly ever used.

if you plan on replacing the sleeve in your pump don't even bother with a slide hammer. what i did was weld about a 1" i.d. nut, with the hex turned down to fit the bore, inside the sleeve. then i found a bushing with about the same diameter as the casting, slipped a washer on the bolt, put the bolt thru the bushing and threaded it into the nut i welded into the sleeve, and just jacked her out. it worked great!

my dad said the o-rings may not work, if they don't i'll just take em out and see what happens.

are the seats for the starter pins critical? these look like they weren't spot faced deep enough from the factory. i will play with the packing glands and see what that does, and also run wire back thru everything....

gary k,
the steam piston on this one is one piece, drilled and pinned to the piston rod in the center. is that unusual?

thanks for all the help everyone. i'll play with it a little tonight, then i'm headed to a mini-mill in indiana to work a few down days.
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:43 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

Quote:
gary k,
the steam piston on this one is one piece, drilled and pinned to the piston rod in the center. is that unusual?
JBoogie:
I don't know if that's unusual or not? Does the piston appear to be original, that is, it hasn't been machined for wider rings, etc., which would interfere with these steam passages?

The reason I'm bringing this up, I know a fella that welded the spool piston together on a BB MARSH pump, and it wouldn't work afterwards . . . unless you kept pushing the starter pins!

Gary K
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Old 06-10-2008, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

nope, this pump is unmolested best i can tell. thanks for the heads up though.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:17 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

I looked at the picture you posted and see what you mean about no diverter option. I guess my trick won't help you.

The exhaust port on your pump is the side that you have the hose barb or nozzle installed in. The side with the plug is a condensation drain for the valve body, just like a drain on the steam chest on an engine.

Also, in your first picture, you have 2 small plugs in the side of the pump. The one on the right in the picture is actually where another drain cock should go to drain the inner end of the cylinder. I know you're running on air, but if you're oiling everything the oil could collect there and stall the piston..?

The spool piston in my pump is also 1 piece.
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Old 06-10-2008, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

I put together a quick video for Youtube demonstrating our Marsh pump.



And here's another thread that discussed the operation of the Marsh pumps on traction engines.

http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showth...497#post184497

Last edited by Brad Kelley; 06-10-2008 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

If I remember right when I was messing with Mine I didn't think much of how the water piston was designed as I didn't think it would hold packing very well... So I turned out a piece with 2 O Ring grooves to go in the place for the packing... As far as the sucess of this I haven't used it enough to know for sure how it will hold up...

All in all the Chicago Injector seems a Lot less Pidely... My Next project will probably just have 2 injectors...
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:08 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

hi all,

well i got around to playing with the pump yesterday. we have come to the conclusion that the piston valve is just too worn out, the blow-by is preventing it from functioning. the bore of the steam chest is egg shaped .002" and the piston vlave has about .008" slop in it! makes sense why it wouldn't run. we will have steam chest bored and honed and will be turning up a new piston valve. that should cure it.

while i was playing with this pump i decided to pull out a larger pump we got at auction last spring to see what it would do. put air to it and it took right off. while i was running it i decided to throw the diverter lever and it stalled for a few seconds, then i heard a thump and it blow a big old mouse nest out of the discharge!

here's some pics..........
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:06 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

On a Marsh BB pump, is there supposed to be a check valve on the water inlet pipe? I ask because when one flips the diverter valve to heat the input water, does this cause pressure in the water inlet pipe? I had my hand scalded once because the pump squirted hot water out of the inlet pipe. Maybe something else is wrong with my pump.

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Old 06-16-2008, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

I put a spring loaded vertical lift check in my water supply to the pump. I don't know what the manufacturer originally intended, but I thought it couldn't hurt. I suppose in theory the exhaust steam should create a vacuum when it hits the cold water.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: Marsh Simplex Steam Pump Troubles.

BUMP!

JBoogie,

I bought a simplex marsh pump and I am having similar problems. The starter pins work but it won't go on it's own. (Only trying it on a very small air compressor so far)

The pump is in good general good condition. But it has been sitting for a long time.

Did you get yours running?

-CB
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