Paul Butler overhauls Pearse Hunslet No 14

The locomotive was last steamed on the 18th of November 2018.

In November 2018 my Pearse Hunslet No 14 after 18 years of sterling service started to misbehave. I noticed neat steam oil started to appear on surfaces when the body was removed, and also a reduction in her power output. I put her to one side with the intention of getting her looked at to make good the problems.

I had other locos to use and No 14 got put on the back burner whilst I steamed others. I even bought more locos as No 14 lay dormant in her case. In early 2023 I got No 14 out of here box and thought, "I’m going to have a go at this", even though it seemed a bit daunting! I took a few photos at different angles of fittings and positions of rods/cranks etc.

The cylinders had to be removed and I was advised by Andy Cooper to do one side at a time.

First I removed the body and front and back pony trucks then some fittings in the cab, the gas burner and some pipe work with the pressure gauge on etc. All parts were labeled and placed in small sealed plastic bags. After removing the banjo bolt on the lubricator for the steam pipe that goes down the gas flue and the nut between the cylinders the boiler was then removed from the frames.

I think after this I put her away in her box for a couple of months as other things were going on i.e. prostate cancer, holidays and a grandchild! 

Eventually I got her out again and started to look at the left hand side to see what the minimum (motion etc) I could remove to get the LH cylinder off. I found out by just removing 6 bolts/screws


arrowed in blue, I could remove the cross head & bracket & linkage all in one go. This just left 2 nuts inside the frame to remove the cylinder.

The picture above shows the connections between the 2 cylinders. The pipe with the 2 collars on is the main steam pipe and the other is for the exhaust.

This picture shows 2 of the old 0 rings as I pulled the LH cylinder off.

I had then to source 4 small M3 x 1 black Viton 0 rings for the steam & exhaust pipes and 2 x 12mm ID 1.5mm section red Nitrile 0 rings for the pistons. Andy Cooper kindly supplied 2 for the pipes on the cylinder and I sourced some more from Mike @ Chuffed 2 Bits Ltd.

This picture shows 2 new black ones fitted and a new red one on the piston all ready for fitting together.

Some new gasket paper was obtained from York motor factors, templates made, cut out and fitted.

This picture shows the loco minus its boiler and the LH side cylinder has been fitted as you can see the new black 0 ring on the steam pipe through the square hole. The crosshead bracket and rods were then connected back up. The same procedure was then used for the right hand side. Andy supplied and we fitted 2 new 5mm x 1 fibre washers on the safety valves (one is a dummy valve) as they had perished after 23 years. The boiler and some pipes were descaled with 40/60 white vinegar & water. The boiler was then fitted along with the cab fittings.

I fitted a new on/off switch and harness as it was full of steam oil. It has the original 40 meg radio gear which I am reluctant to change because it still works very well.

The loco was then placed on blocks and steamed up and to my amazement everything went round as it should have and with no timing issues! That just left the front & rear pony wheels and cow catchers to be fitted, plus the bodywork.

Having no garden layout (as yet) I took No 14 along with some stock to York Model Engineers on Sunday 22nd October and steamed her up. It was her first run on rails since 2018! I must say she ran beautifully and I was pleased I had a go at overhauling her.

Many thanks to Andy Cooper for supplying information and parts! (Parts have been sourced and given back) and Mike Darby at Chuffed2Bits.

Paul Butler.

October 2023































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