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Displacement Lubricator with just one pipe!

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Stephen Rowley27/06/2017 23:30:37
57 forum posts
14 photos

Some months ago I collected an 0-4-2 GWR tank locomotive from 2 friends who had bought it the year before. As they did not know how to steam the loco it sat on a display track in the hallway. When I arrived I looked at the loco and the son tells me it has seized up solid. The son had hit it with a hammer but could not free it up. They asked me if I would take it home and fix it for them then come back and show them how to drive it.

After removing the cover off the steam chest and filling the cylinder with oil and leaving it for 3 months as I had become very ill.

When I returned to the loco it was free.

I pushed the loco up and down my test track and then lit a fire in the fire box and within 20min I had 90psi. I had checked the displacement lubricator was 3/4 full of oil. I ran the loco up and down 3 or 4 times then put my finger in the chimney to look for oil and it was dry. I took the top of the tank then opened the regulator a little and the oil came up a little. I was not happy so I dropped the fire and got the loco back on the bench. I know little of displacement lubricators so I read all I could find. I then removed the side tank cover so I could see the displacement tank and I can only find one pipe to it and that come from the blast pipe in the smoke box. From all I have read there should be 2 pipes or am I missing something?

I will add the pictures to my album


Tomfilery28/06/2017 08:16:14
119 forum posts
4 photos


The more usual (in small scale locos - you didn't mention the scale or gauge of this one) is for 2 pipes (or more accurately, one through pipe), so that the steam passes through the lubricator, however, some lubricators do use only one.

If you Google "dead leg lubricator", you'll find an explanation. The pipe shouldn't have any U bends in it and should angle roughly downwards from the lubricator along it's length, apparently.

I made one for one of my 16mm scale locos and it didn't work well, so I went back to the conventional "through pipe" type.

Regards Tom

Henry Artist28/06/2017 08:21:07
68 forum posts
46 photos

A little bit more information would be helpful.

Is the locomotive a commercial model or scratch-built?

What gauge is it?

Normally a displacement lubricator is connected to the steam pipe leading to the cylinders.

One pipe connecting a displacement lubricator to the steam line is not uncommon. Such an arrangement exists on my Maxitrak Allchin. It can also be found with "dead end" lubricators sold by Stuart, PMR, Bengs Modellbau, etc.

julian atkins28/06/2017 10:23:38
1224 forum posts
353 photos

Hi Steve,

From your pics in your album your friends appear to have bought a Winsons/Modelworks 5"g GWR 14XX tank loco.

I would have said from one of your pics that the steam oil delivery pipe goes into the main steam pipe in the base of the smokebox, the steam pipe being forward of the blastpipe .

The displacement tank is quite hideous and spoils the loco, and ought to be removed IMHO.

This type of simple displacement lubricator is quite unsuitable for a 5"g loco, and should be replaced anyway.

There must be room for a conventional displacement tank under the cab? In one case I made the rear right hand sand box a displacement tank.

You either need to fit a mechanical lubricator, or a proper hydrostatic sight feed displacement lubricator with a steam feed to the base of the displacement tank via a steam valve on the turret/manifold and an outlet pipe from the top of the tank to the sight glass and then onto the main steam pipe.

The steam oil delivery pipe on your example also looks very small. I use 3/32" dia thinwall copper tube.



Stephen Rowley28/06/2017 11:02:19
57 forum posts
14 photos

The loco is 5in gauge and a commercial build but, I do not know who built it, I will call the owner this evening to find out.

I can not see how a dead leg or dead end lubricator could work in this situation.

The only pipe goes to the end of the blast pipe in the smoke box.

I think the only sensible way of fixing this is to replace the whole thing with a mechanical lubricator driven by the cross head and connected to the steam chest.

Stephen Rowley28/06/2017 11:12:07
57 forum posts
14 photos

"I would have said from one of your pics that the steam oil delivery pipe goes into the main steam pipe in the base of the smokebox, the steam pipe being forward of the blastpipe "

In this incarnation the steam pipe from the super heater is the far one. The delivery pipe from the tank goes into the blast pipe, honest.


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