Presented here is a list of things you might want to do prior to your first steam engine firing of the new year. This assumes, of course, that you're living in an area where you don't or can't run your engine year-round, and that your engine has seen a period of downtime for winter storage. The items listed are presented in no special order of importance.
Prior to the first Spring Fire Up:
- Look for and clean out any trash or critter's homes left during winter storage in the mud legs or bottom of the wet bottom boiler.
- Re-install the pop valve if it was taken off for storage or calibration.
- Re-install the pressure gauge if it was taken off for storage or calibration.
- Put any pipe unions back together that were opened for the draining of water during winter storage.
- Put in new packing on the piston rod and valve rod if you did not during the winter.
- Put in the new handhold gaskets.
- Put in a new fusible plug or reinstall the old if it checked out okay.
- Put the injectors back together if taken apart for draining of the left over water.
- Fill the mechanical lubricator with new steam oil and operate by hand to make sure it is working.
- Reinstall the governor belt if it was removed.
- Lubricate all lubrication points.
- Fill with water and check for leaks that you did not have when put up for the winter.
- If the water is warm and the weather is warm enough, this is a good time to do a hydro test.
- Fill the bunkers with new coal or wood.
- Fill the oil cans that belong to your engine.
- Make sure your shovel and pokers are on the engine.
- Make sure the try cocks are working along with the sight glass.
- Close off all open valves that were opened for winter storage.
There are many more items that one could add to this list, but each of us has their own way of getting his engine ready for the first firing of the year. Above all, be safe, pay attention to your engine and have fun.
Contact steam enthusiast Curtis Cook at: 3500 Martin Johnson Rd., Chesapeake, VA 23323-1210, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.