STEAM:

It's Terminal, It's Incurable!


| July/August 1999



Badly corroded cylinder

Badly corroded cylinder before boring. 32 HP Reeves.

c/o Tree House Farm, 1425 Everett Lane, Hopkinsville, Kentucky 42240

I tell people to be careful about getting into steam. It is terminal and incurable.

It has been a year and a half since I bought a 32 HP Reeves double simple #4246 that used to be at the Reynolds Museum in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The boiler is a U.S. boiler and therefore a lap seam, but this does not bother me. It is in excellent condition and I keep it here on the farm.

This winter (fall) at the end of October, I thought I would tear into this engine and get all the piping and bearing work done and have it ready to paint, come spring. Things like new water tanks and all the stuff that normally goes into getting an engine all fixed up, so long as the boiler is excellent and needs NO work. There were no surprises in the boiler, and my 30-minute inspection that I made after a 2,200 mile drive proved to be accurate. Then I went to take the heads off the cylinders and my heart sank to my toes!

Both cylinders were over half full of mouse droppings and urine. A good 60 to 70 years of it, near as I could tell. When the debris was cleared I had pits covering several two to three square inch areas that were up to a quarter of an inch deep. Of course they were on the bottom of the cylinders; the tops were just like new.