1340 Book Tower, Engineering: Department, Detroit 26, Michigan
The inevitable result of leaving the 'Old Steamer' standing out the year around with the stack uncovered and smoke box full of soot, is front end trouble. This trouble comes in two forms, the bottom of the smoke box rusts through and the lower segment of the front tube sheet and rivet heads waste away. Repairs to the smoke box proper will be outlined in this issue and those to the front head will follow in a later issue.
To replace the entire smoke box, we know of no better way than the method used by one engine collector who saves the barrels from discarded boilers and cuts them to the required length for the new smoke box, one barrel will in some cases make three or four complete smoke box replacements.
To remove the entire smoke box from a boiler, proceed as follows: Locate the caulking edge of the front head flange, then measure out approximately 1-1/2' to locate the position for the cut, transfer this location to the outside of the boiler. Scribe a line around the entire smoke box and check this line for parallel with a pair of dividers, placing one divider leg on the outside rivet head of the front head seam. Then with a good center punch, make punch marks along the line every three inches around the entire smoke box. These punch marks will allow you to burn straight and parallel. Next with a cutting torch proceed to burn, first filling the boiler with water to prevent the heat from the cutting transferring to the riveted head seam and causing leakage.
With the old smoke box cut out of the way you can fit the replacement section in place and secure it with several small tack welds. Then with a direct current electric arc welder proceed to weld around the entire seam. Use a coated rod. Fleetwel No. 5 manufactured by the Lincoln Company works the best for boiler repair work and should be used wherever possible. Be sure the boiler is full of water and allow plenty of time for the welding to prevent overheating the riveted seam of the front head.
In case of a full front end replacement is not warranted, the lower half can be replaced as outlined in Fig. 1. Any boiler shop can roll up a plate from scrap. If the front pedestal is not bolted to the smoke box, the plate does not need to be heavier than quarter inch.
The railroad have a good method of protecting the smoke boxes of locomotives that might well be applied to traction engines. A liner plate is bolted in the bottom of the smoke box. This plate will gradually rust out and can be easily replaced when needed. Be sure the liner fits tight to the original smoke box and before bolting in place, it would be well to coat the contacting surface with a thin coating of Rutland furnace cement. This cement will bake hard with heat and form an effective seal between the two plates.
The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that slaps the divorce court.