Restoration Scrapbook

We acquired the #4 from a railyard in Utah. Here is what it looked like. We shipped it to San Francisco on a flat car and unloaded it. The first thing we did was a hydrotest and we found the boiler was basically sound, but with the anticipated problems of a 75-year old locomotive. Then we removed the flues from the boiler and turned our attention to the frame and cylinders. That's when we found the hole in the steam delivery port in the cylinder casting.

The locomotive on San Francisco rails for first time in 65 years.

Sporting a short-lived coat of latex paint, the #4 rests at GGRM after arrival.

Steve and Reggie remove the 2" flues from the front of the smokebox.

<<close up photo of hole in casting to be posted here...>>

Knocking away the rust revealed the cylinder problem. This section of metal was once 1" thick. Carbon from the exaust soot in the smokebox makes for a very dangerous problem when rain water turns it into a metal eating acid. (If you've got a steam engine in your town park, make sure the smokestack gets covered to prevent this happening)

This was serious cause of concern, the locomotive could not run unless this was repaired. Two different processes would be tried in the next few years, but in order to get to the repair a full teardown was called for. The boiler would have to be removed from the from the frame.

Removing main pin from crosshead: Jack Hogan swings a sledge while Cris Hart holds a flatter (1/2" thick copper plate) against the pin. In the end, the crosshead would have to be separated from the piston rod in a press.

Cris, Marshall and Deborah removing the front of the smokebox.

Engine conisting of boiler on frame. Running boards are still attached. A short trip down the track to the shipyard crane and back again....

Now that the boiler has been removed, the frame would be rolled into the GGRM shop building.

Cylinder Repair Plan A

Our initial repair to the rusted cylinder casting was to preheat and braze to the old cast iron. Here an electrical heating system is applied to provide a base working temperature for the welder. These pictures show these steps:

Applying heating pads--the Industrial heating equipment donated

Patch before Brazing

Paul Kapunia with torch & brazing rod. The cylinder has insulation over it to stabilize the temperature and retain heat.

This repair failed a water pressure test and the brazing was ground off. We believe the carbon contamination to the metal and poor quality of the cast iron prevented an effective seal from being made.

Cylinder Repair Plan B

With the brazing not taking to the cast iron we decided to remove the rusted area and cut into fresh metal and machine a matching piece. This would prove successful, it just took some time to design and implement:

Irv Stevenson takes a final cut on the cylinder saddle - finishing a new a flat face to seal the steam pipe against in September 1999.

The steam is delivered to the cylinders through the top of the saddle, and new pipes will be fabricated to match the parts Irv made. Here we have a Bridgeport milling machine head fixed to a bracket designed for this repair. A special cutting head that feeds outward was attached to the Bridgeport.

Restoration progresses as switch engine goes back together!

In 2002 volunteers finished the frame with gloss black paint and returned it to the inside of our shop. In 2003 we purchased new springs, cast new shoes and wedges, painted the driving wheels and most importantly completed the task of tramming the engine - a measuring process that assures the engine runs well on track. This followed welding repairs to the frame -- donated by All Metals Welding-- and the driving wheels repair -- by Koffler Electric and the Golden Gate Railroad Museum Volunteers efforts over the last few years.

Professional prep and paint job - an all-volunteer effort. The frame weighs in at just under 20,000 pounds. It sits here on stands facing the railroad track where it was disassembled.

This wheel that's chucked in this lathe is nearly five feet across and weights nearly two tonnes. Here the left #2 journal is being turned smooth where it had gouges and grooves. The bearing surfaces on all of the #4's three axles were turned here at Koffler Electric in San Leandro. Their lathe is normally used to turn shafts of electrical generators for power plants. Thanks to Koffler Electric for donating a substantial portion of the work.

Upcoming Work

In 2009 we have a finally place to put the engine back together after 5 years of storage.

The first job is to fit the new shoes and wedges to the axle boxes and make decisions on crown brass machining, replacement or babbitt. This means jacking the locomotive frame up to allow the drivers to be rolled on a low rail positioned under the frame. Springs and equalizing components need bushings replaced in some places. Prepainting all these parts will be nice.

Tender water tank: This water tank, damaged on the outside by fire in the 1960s when in the scrapyard, rusted through from the inside, will need new sides and bottom. The top, steps and trim should be salvageable.

New Cab: Also damaged by the fire in scrapyard, with two feet cut off the back overhang, and mostly replacement pieces, this is a candidate for replacement. A new roof is already made and the rest can be constructed of flat plate, with an interior wood finish, 2 doors that open onto the running boards, and sliding windows.

The boiler: The first question often asked is when we're going to repair the boiler. There are two stages of boiler work sheets and flues. Flues will have a 15 year period before replacement under FRA Rules. Major repair to the boiler includes fabrication and installation of a firebox flue sheet. When there is an certain opportunity to run the engine then the flue work would commence.