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Author Topic: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues  (Read 121 times)

steamwhistle

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Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« on: July 18, 2021, 04:33:52 pm »
Hello,

While attending an antique gas and steam engine show (which also includes model steam too) this weekend, one of the exhibitors had directed me to this forum with great things to say about the group.  I've done some simple restorations to other engines.  So after a lot of reading, I've decided to take a stab at restoring an Empire No. 90 engine I purchased off eBay several years ago.  There seems to be a lot of great information and great resources to get this engine running again.

Here's the engine.

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I believe the safety valve has some issues since there's an excess of solder.  Plus there's a rattle in the boiler as if there's solder beads from a previous repair.

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Also, I believe the heater is toast.  On my meter, I get a reading of about 14.8 ohms and there seems to be some sort of a burned spot on one of the elements.  Not to mention the mica is just a crumbling mess.

So, while I continue to do some further exploring, does anyone have some suggestions for getting started?  I'm hoping it's not a basket case and it's worth restoration.

It looks like a fun project!

Thanks in advance for your time and assistance,
Jeff

steamwhistle

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Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues (cont.)
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2021, 04:36:24 pm »
Here's a photo of the heating element.  I'm going to guess I'll need to build or rebuild this one.

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Jeff

St Paul Steam

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2021, 09:14:08 pm »
It does appear the heater is blown Jeff , I'm not totally familiar with this Empire model ,as a general rule of thumb Empire boilers usually have a stud that hold the boiler in place , does this one ? I don't know the diameter of the boiler but if it doesn't have a boiler ho!d down stud & if the boiler is 2.5" in diameter And approx 6" long a Jensen belly heater may work for you. Now re:excess solder , I would probably heat it up and remove the s/v bushing and clean up the orafice (empty the rattling particles out of the boiler) & re solder the bushing back on. If you can't find a heater...a immersion rod heater could always be installed , I don't believe this is a rare plant and thus would get you up and running , might as well take it all apart strip the base and paint it a nice Empire red .
Good luck.
Bruce
St. Paul Indiana , USA

komet163b

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2021, 10:08:37 am »
Good Morning from Brooklyn...

  Sorry to hear of your burned out heater.  Both my Empire B43 and 43 suffered
this fate.  I went with cartridge heaters as a solution.  I had 200watt heaters
laying around, so I used them.  A bit weak, but they both will run fast enough
satisfy me, especially after a fix.

  The 90 is a nice and simple engine.  You can drill a hole in the boiler and
use a cartridge heater - it has been done often enough.  Instead of drilling a
hole the boiler, I would try and nestle it just below the boiler.  Try to get
a heater of 300 watts.  When you place it up against the boiler add a couple
of iron (steel) pieces up against the heater on either side so so as to help
the heater dissipate the heat.  You could also wrap the heater in a moderate
guage baling wire to do the same.  If you don't do either the naked cartridge
will overheat, burn and go...incandescent.  Been there/done that.  Or, try the
Jensen heater solution.
  I've added a video link to my 90 running.  It's a bit tricky to adjust the
trunnion spring, but you'll get it going.

https://youtu.be/TZ7GQfOcwmQ

Good Luck,
Wayne
Wayne


steamwhistle

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2021, 12:53:23 pm »
Thanks for the advise on the heater.  I've read elsewhere within the forum of folks re-building the heater by purchasing ni-chrome wire and mica sheets too.  If there's some suggestions on wire size, number of turns, etc. I may give that a try.  Otherwise, I found a 2.5" Jensen blanket heater on their parts site that I'm guessing may work.

Last evening I disassembled the boiler from the base and heater.  The whistle came off easily; however, while being very careful, one of the site glass fittings came apart.

It seems the fittings thread into the boiler?

It doesn't appear the tube from the boiler threads into the angle fitting?

I'm guessing this to can be repaired?

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Thanks in advance for being patient with a novice . . . this is really pretty fun stuff.

Jeff

komet163b

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2021, 01:11:52 pm »
  Sorry to hear of your troubles with the sightglass.  Another
common problem.

  My 90 leaks at the boiler/sightglass joint but still works
as the engine doesn't need much pressure.  The previous owner
glued it in with a silicone sealant, and while the fitting
is still loose it works.  I'll fix it when/if the leak and
'Pressure Drop' (Toots and the Maytals) gets to be too bad.

Good Luck,
Wayne

steamwhistle

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2021, 08:46:12 am »
It looks like a Jensen 2.5" heater would work, except this boiler has a stud on the bottom of the boiler.  I'm not sure drilling a hole through the Jensen would be a good thing.  ;)

Are there sources for small strip heaters for modelers or does one look for something for commercial use? 

Going to clean up the solder and attempt to fix the broken site glass fitting.  I'm hoping I can solder that too as it seems to be a nice clean break.

steamwhistle

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2021, 08:29:18 pm »
I unsoldered the safety valve and cleaned the mass of solder from the boiler - I'm guessing from a repair.  Out of the boiler came (2) nuts and a spring.  The screw I removed looks like an ordinary wood screw.

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Can anyone help with how this safety valve is supposed to be assembled and work?  It appears I have some additional parts to unsolder, separate and clean before I can re-assemble and get working again.

Scorpion2nz

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2021, 12:55:29 am »
Throw the wood screw away.

There should be a female threaded bush in boiler
A male threaded plug that screws into boiler bush.
A hole from top to bottom in threaded plug .
A pin with a flat top that fits through plug from the top .
A spring fits onto the pin underneath the plug .
A nut holds the spring in place and applies tension
A o ring or fibre washer is sometimes used between the head of the pin and top of the plug
And a fibre washer between plug and boiler bush

steamwhistle

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2021, 05:03:22 pm »
Got it.  Can the pin be simply a long brass screw?

Is there a good US source for parts like fiber washers?

Paula

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Re: Empire No. 90 Restoration - Multiple Issues
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2021, 02:26:18 pm »
Hi Jeff,

Here is a picture which shows the boiler side of the #90 safety valve, and also the boiler bushing:

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My only Empire experience has been with the B30 and B31 models, but I think there are enough similarities to the 90 to lend my comments some merit.

Your safety valve looks nearly identical in form to the B30/31, with a slightly different body. The valve stem is actually a 6-32 x 1" round-head brass machine screw, along with two 6-32 brass hex nuts. Stainless would also work. Here is a pic of a B30 stack, with integral safety valve, showing the component parts:

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The picture shows three different valve washers (the part that fits under the head of the screw), two rubber, and one a stainless/silicone rubber combination. The original ones I've seen seem to be some kind of black rubber with a cloth fiber reinforcement. The picture also shows two different springs: one is an original brass spring, and the other is a stainless one from McMaster-Carr, which can be trimmed to length as required.

I like to use the stainless/silicone rubber washer, as it seems tailor made for the application. It is stainless, which won't corrode, and the silicone rubber is rated to 400 degress F. Also, the rubber extends up thru the hole to provide a seal around the bolt. The hole is 1/8" dia. so it's a good fit with the 6-32 bolt (.136" nom. dia.):

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This washer is #91195A120 from McMaster-Carr, and costs $3.65. If you don't have an account with them, I have some extras, just send PM.

By the way, the #90 also had a stack attached to the safety valve, but like Jensen stacks, they are almost always missing. It is likewise unsual for the whistle to survive intact, like yours. You're fortunate in this regard.

Paula

 

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