| July/August 1987

R 2 Ellsworth, Wisconsin.

Gary Schacht plowing at Edgar, Wisconsin show. Gary isn't afraid to use his engine. If it gets dirty, he just cleans it up!

The following represents my opinions and methods that work good for me.

The biggest enemy of the steam traction engine is corrosion and rust. Many people simply open the drain and walk away and do not return until spring. This often leaves up to one inch of water and large amounts of scale, sludge and other material in the boiler. This invites rust and corrosion while the boiler is in storage. Many people do not remove hand hole plates due to the difficulty in getting them to stop leaking again.

I use molded rubber hand hole gaskets, available from most industrial supply houses. These gaskets seal well, don't have to be scraped off boiler surfaces, may even be reused if not damaged and are well worth the small price. A leak is especially bad in the smoke box area where water combines with ashes. A little time spent in cleaning the boiler each fall will result in extra years of service.

Remove all ashes and soot, tubes should be cleaned, all ashes and soot removed from fire box, smoke box and ash pan. The boiler should be drained, all hand holes removed and all scale and sediment washed out. A high pressure washer works good for this or a hose with a long piece of tubing attached will do. In extreme cases it may be necessary to dislodge and rake out the material. After the boiler is clean, pieces of rag should be placed in each hand hole, poked into the low area allowing the end to hang out. Capillary action will draw water into the rag and will run off the outer end and/or evaporate. In a day or two the boiler will be completely dry and rags can be removed.