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Restoring a steam engine

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Novice10/11/2010 11:25:41
15 forum posts
1 photos
Recently I was given a 1-cylinder steam engine that had been used for instruction I think.
The cylinder and steamchest have a  cut-out so you can see how it works.
The thing had been in a neighbours front garden for several years and is a bit rusty now. This means nothing can be moved now.
I only could take of the chestcover.
The whole thing is sprayed with WD-40 for several times (soaking wet), but nothing helps to make things move.
Can anyone out there give suggestions in order to me help me to get things removed so the parts can be taken to a grit-shop.
Like to put some photos but don't know how this works.
They are in a file in my PC
Richard Parsons10/11/2010 12:05:47
645 forum posts
33 photos


Hi Jan

Try chucking the whole thing an a bucket of diesel oil and leaving it for a few days. This used to work with ancient motorbike engines {JAPs etc}

Les Jones 110/11/2010 12:15:18
1962 forum posts
133 photos
Hi Jan,
                 To include pictures in a post you first have to upload them to "My photos"  (To do this clock on "My photos" near the top left of the web page.) Once you have them there you can add them to a  post by clicking on the "Insert image" button. (Next to right button at the top of the box where you enter the text .)
Novice10/11/2010 13:32:35
15 forum posts
1 photos
Herewith some of my photos.
Thanks Les
It does work

NJH10/11/2010 14:41:20
2300 forum posts
139 photos
Hi Jan
How big is this beastie? If that's a bike wheel in the background then dumping it all in a bucket doesn't seem a viable option!
Novice10/11/2010 15:09:31
15 forum posts
1 photos
Hi Norman,
it is a bike wheel at  the background!!
The thing is 60 cm high, 40 cm depth en 25 cm width.
And it is HEAVY
Peter G. Shaw10/11/2010 15:14:07
873 forum posts
36 photos
My suggestion would be to use any or all of penetrating fluid/diesel/heat from a blowlamp/plenty of welly from tools. Main problem is that using tools may well break something as it does look rather corroded.
I think this would be a long term project, perhaps applying diesel or penetrating fluid over a long period of time, weeks even, followed by heat from the blowlamp and gentle persuasion with tools.
Heat from the blowlamp does work, but it does tend to be rather spread out. A better bet might be to find someone, a friendly garage perhaps, who would be prepared to use an oxy-acetylene torch: these tend to be much more concentrated and hotter. Don't forget, that's how your garage man undoes rusted up parts on your car!
Possibly I would look at replacing some of the smaller parts.
Good luck, you'll need it.
Peter G. Shaw

Gordon W10/11/2010 16:29:03
1962 forum posts
Looks interesting. Will agree with soaking in diesel, for as long as it takes, use old bath, sink, cut down plastic tub,etc. every now and then tap bits with hammer, it will eventually free, then take off steel bits and use electrolosis. You will most likely need to make some parts if you want it to run.
Nicholas Farr10/11/2010 19:28:59
1626 forum posts
832 photos
Hi Jan, WD40 is good stuff, penetrating agents are far better. Follow this link for an ideal type of fluid. You should be able to find local engineering supplyers for this.
There are of course many good makes of industial penetrating fluid around, Plus Gas used to be a good one, but I don't know if it is still available.
Regards Nick.
David Clark 110/11/2010 19:37:08
3357 forum posts
112 photos
10 articles
Hi There
I saw Plusgas in a local hardware shop about 3 months ago.
First time in over 30 years.
regards David
Steve Garnett10/11/2010 19:40:39
837 forum posts
27 photos
A supplier of Plus Gas wasn't difficult to find - here

Edited By Steve Garnett on 10/11/2010 19:42:07

V8Eng10/11/2010 21:50:05
1091 forum posts
15 photos
Some years ago I helped a friend in restoring older cars, stuff that looked this bad often needed more than penetrating fluids, heat (awful fumes), nut splitters, etc, usually came into play.
Lots of it was along the line of Peters comments.
Good luck with an interesting project, look forward to seeing photos when it's finished.
Another supplier of Plus Gas.

Edited By V8Eng on 10/11/2010 21:58:14

ady10/11/2010 23:53:04
612 forum posts
50 photos
I've held back because I think he's an ebay seller dood.
Got anything you've done before?
I have input if you have output, sir.
(and gawd knows this project needs it.)

Edited By ady on 11/11/2010 00:03:10

russell11/11/2010 01:50:55
140 forum posts
three suggestions:
a mix of kerosene and diesel is supposed to be a very good penetrating agent (like Penetrene, not sure if that is an Aus product only or more widely known)
Secondly, often used by vintage type restorers, is molasses in water - very slow (think weeks) but gentle - removes rust back to clean metal. Need a big bucket (bin?), and soak. I used a few cups to 5 galls water.
thirdly, look up electrolytic derusting. Basically electroplating in reverse, with a steel or stainless steel anode, and your item as the cathode, in a water with a few spoons of a salt - i use caustic soda, cos that helps with paint and grease as well, but washing soda is also used.
Ian S C11/11/2010 07:23:45
6783 forum posts
224 photos
I would agree with Russell on the electrolytic method, but I would recomend using washing soda instead of caustic, cos caustic removes skin quicker than it removes paint. Washing soda will remove most paints that I'v tryed it on.
I'd start at the top of the engine. Get a big plastic bucket, something to put the bucket under to suspend the engine in the bucket, set up for the electrolytic process. It may take a day or two, pull it out and disassemble as much as you can, then dunk it in a bit further. It would pay to chip off the lose rust, and you may find a nut splitter very handy. The nuts are proberbly old type Whitworth (big ones), on reassembly try and use the same size. Some say that milk is a good rust remover, or maybe Coke a Cola.Ian S C
Mike11/11/2010 09:35:28
713 forum posts
6 photos
A pal who was an instrument mechanic used to swear by Coca-Cola for getting obstinate gunk out of delicate mechanisms, and I have used it for getting seized screws out of gun actions. It needs a really long soak, and I doubt its practicality for Novice's formidable project.
Bogstandard11/11/2010 10:42:45
263 forum posts
For something large to soak it in, your local council supplies them free of charge.
Wheelie bins.
One of the half sized ones should be perfect.
Page 3 (no, not the Sun) seems to be the most appropriate.


Edited By Bogstandard on 11/11/2010 10:53:59

Ian S C11/11/2010 11:12:01
6783 forum posts
224 photos
Mike, The Cola is just a hi-tec vertion of the citric acid method. Your best place to get citric acid is the local home brew shop, its a white poweder. Large plastic bucket of water, mix in the citric acid, the amout is not critical. You can leave things in for a few days, after soaking scrub in fresh clean water. Ian S C
Howard Jones11/11/2010 11:25:47
70 forum posts
112 photos
this sounds really down market so will probably be frowned upon.
if you fill a big plastic tub most of the way up with clean water and then crush up a dozen ripe lemons and put the pulp and juice into the water, skins and all and swirl it around.
then drop in the rusty bits and about a week later they will be rust free.
of course the rust has pitted the surface so you wont get new surfaces.
a wire brush, a rinse off and some light oil to prevent further corrosion or do the drying off and paint the item.
check the items each day, some will clean up quicker than a week. it works.
Keith Long11/11/2010 11:35:21
764 forum posts
10 photos

Another product you might look at, and should be available at more sensible cost than some as well, is "brick acid" as used in th building trade to clean mortar splashes/stains off brickwork. I think some is "muriatic" acid while other brands may be based on phosphoric possibly with hydrochloric. Have a chat with your local builders merchant. As the stuff is sold for use on large areas of brickwork on site sensible ppe (pvc gloves and goggles) should be sufficient and disposal pretty easy.

From other advice I've seen, the recommendation with "Coke" is to go for the cheap own brands rather than proper Coca-Cola.


Edited By Keith Long on 11/11/2010 11:36:04

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