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Will Putt Putt Run Again?

Chris AW

Registered
In November I acquired a steam 'tractor' that used to run at the Sycamore Illinois show. It looks custom built. It has a 20" diameter Orr & Sembower boiler built in 1925. The engine is a 3 x 3 E. H. Wachs with a 1/2" Gardner governor. Paul Woodworth, the Gardner expert found the records for the governor and said it was shipped on 6-1-1923 to the E. H. Wachs Co. in Chicago by the CB&Q R R for $12.00. So, I'm pretty sure the governor is original. It also has a 1 1/4" single chime whistle and a 3/8" Penberthy injector. My hope is to bring it back to life. Step one is for the State to come inspect the boiler.

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AndyG

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/13/2014
In November I acquired a steam 'tractor' that used to run at the Sycamore Illinois show. It looks custom built. It has a 20" diameter Orr & Sembower boiler built in 1925. The engine is a 3 x 3 E. H. Wachs with a 1/2" Gardner governor. Paul Woodworth, the Gardner expert found the records for the governor and said it was shipped on 6-1-1923 to the E. H. Wachs Co. in Chicago by the CB&Q R R for $12.00. So, I'm pretty sure the governor is original. It also has a 1 1/4" single chime whistle and a 3/8" Penberthy injector. My hope is to bring it back to life. Step one is for the State to come inspect the boiler.

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Neat find! The first step is for YOU to inspect it. I would leave the state out of it until you think that it is ready to run. If you don't have the knowledge or tools needed to inspect your boiler I'm sure that we can find some local steam guys to help you out.
 

Pete LaBelle

Registered
Last Subscription Date
11/15/2013
In November I acquired a steam 'tractor' that used to run at the Sycamore Illinois show. It looks custom built. It has a 20" diameter Orr & Sembower boiler built in 1925. The engine is a 3 x 3 E. H. Wachs with a 1/2" Gardner governor. Paul Woodworth, the Gardner expert found the records for the governor and said it was shipped on 6-1-1923 to the E. H. Wachs Co. in Chicago by the CB&Q R R for $12.00. So, I'm pretty sure the governor is original. It also has a 1 1/4" single chime whistle and a 3/8" Penberthy injector. My hope is to bring it back to life. Step one is for the State to come inspect the boiler.

View attachment 378115
As others have indicated, find some local steam guys and have them look over the boiler first. Discuss the best plan on getting the boiler up to certifiable condition & appearance, THEN contact your local inspector. Most inspectors these days are not familliar with riveted boilers and sometimes scares them. Get the boiler, and all the piping, up to your local standards, and invite him to "verify" your work, not find problems that will lead to more problems on your end. Showing that you understand your rig & have everything up to speed adds a lot of credibility to your first inspection.

Looks like a good foundation of a rig. I like the spoked rims. Adds some degree of authenticity to the appearance.

Be prepared for some work, and a lot of fun too ! : )

Pete
 

Odin

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
O&S made good boilers. Make sure you clean out the mud ring on that, they would often get packed with mud and grit all around the outside of the firebox. Plan on getting hold of a pressure washer, some sheet metal strips you can bend into scraping tools, and anything you can find to let you see or feel your way around the mud ring to get all the crud out for inspections and annual cleanings.
 

Chris AW

Registered
I got the boiler all cleaned out. The State came and inspected and wants new tubes, a couple fittings replaced, and a fusible plug added. They're going to come back and check the tube sheet thickness after the tubes are out. If they are thick enough, we'll get going on repairs.

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AndyG

Registered
Last Subscription Date
01/13/2014
What is wrong with the tubes that are in it? What does the CODE REQUIRE for a fusible plug in this boiler?
 

Chris AW

Registered
The tubes were pretty thin and quite corroded. I planned to replace them anyway. One had a a pinhole leak found during the hydro test.

I don’t know what the code says about a fusible plug, but my state says I must have one or it doesn’t get certified.
 

Tom Runty

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/12/2019
In vertical boilers like this you will need a fire side fusible plug, not a water side one that we use in locomotive boilers. I'm told it gets mounted in one of the tubes, but I don't know how this is done.
 

sawiley

Registered
Most vertical boilers have a hand hole in the barrel a foot or so above the lower tube sheet. The tube nearest the hand hole is drilled and tapped for the fusible plug, which is then screwed in through the hand hole, with the head in the water space, and the plug protruding slightly into the tube.
 

George Hoffman

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
04/28/2018
Chris the fusible plug may be inside a pipe plug. On our donkey boiler it is about a foot below the bottom of the water glass behind a 11/4" plug. When you retube you have to prepare a tube for the plug . If you are using 12 guage tubes you can't just drill and tap. You will probably require a 1/2 inch plug . You place a piece of new tube in the boiler where the plug is going to be. Then thru the boiler hole mark the spot on the tube. take the tube out then drill a 3/8 hole in the spot. heat around the hole to red then using a tapered punch enlarge the hole forming a lip on the inside of the tube. Then slightly flatten an area around the hole being carefull not to bulge the tube as it has to slide thru the tube sheet, Then tap the hole for the plug . This gives 2 or 3 good threads so that you don't have a leaky plug. Then install as above.
Good luck Cheers.
 

Sam Shublom

Sponsor
Last Subscription Date
07/14/2019
Chris,

Glad to see you are making progress on your engine. Home built rubber tired rigs like this used to be very common at the steam shows. They, along with scale model traction engines, were a sort of ancillary part of the early post war steam preservation movement and were very popular attractions at the various reunions. It seems you don't see them around as much as you used to and I am glad to see veterans like this return to steam. When I was at Mount Pleasant last year I was set up next to a guy who was exhibiting an outfit very similar to yours. It was built by his grandfather and he had many memories of it from forty years ago. I think that is pretty neat considering his grandfather no doubt built it to relive the steam memories he had from forty years prior to that.

The spoked wheels really look good and I am sure it will paint and polish up nicely.

Good luck with the rest of your restoration.

Sam
 

Chris AW

Registered
I took off the cast iron base and reduced the height of the collar that the grates sit on. My goal is to provide more grate area. I may add a thin shield against the rivets to still provide a little protection for them.
 

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