Accucraft Ruby - Steaming issues

The mechanic

The mechanic

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I have recently acquired an old Ruby that has seen some service. The boiler lights reasonably but the flame is a little "ragged". With 80ml of water in the boiler, it takes around 15 mins to get 40psi on the gauge (by which time the gas is getting low). I suppose this is to be expected? and as others have detailed on this forum, can be corrected by fitting replacement jets etc.

However, the main problem comes when the engine is put in gear (forward or reverse, it makes no difference) and regulator is opened, as what amounts to a deluge of oily "sludge" is forced up the chimney via the exhaust, which slumps back into the smokebox and douses the burner, extinguishing the flame. At first, I thought that this could be me over-filling the boiler causing excessive priming (there is no blow-down valve) but the stream of "sludge" is constant no matter what the boiler water level is. If the engine is run with the smokebox door open, the stream of wet sludge trickling down the blastpipe is very impressive (if you get what I mean?)

From the above, it seems that the lubricator is "over-oiling" but there does not appear to be any way of controlling oil/steam mix.

I am used to UK Accucraft locomotives such as Ragleth and Lawley, which are superheated. However, this Ruby is not superheated and I think this is where some of the problem stems from as the "wet" steam and oil mix is leading to serious flooding of the smokebox.

Has anyone else out there had this issue with a Ruby, and what can I do to remedy it?

your comments and recommendations are eagerly anticipated

David
 
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Paul M

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The flame problem sounds like a blocked jet, my Lynn had a similar problem until a nice Gent cleared it for me. If the jet is blocked it reduces the amount of gas in the burner, so it won't burn hot enough. It could also be why the oil is not clearing properly. Try giving everything a good clean.
 
The mechanic

The mechanic

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Thanks Paul, it's on the "to do" list!
 
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Paul M

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Don't poke anything into to jet, that would make things worse and damage it. Sorry if it's teaching your mother to etcetc
 
The mechanic

The mechanic

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Wouldn't dream of it!
 
tac foley

tac foley

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Remove the jet, carefully hold the BACK end [the threaded portion] against the filler on your gas can, and press, allowing the jet of gas to clear out the aperture.

Let us know how you get on.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

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The broaching on some Chinese produced locos' gas jets can be a bit hit & miss. Might be an idea to replace the jet altogether. My US & UK sourced Accucraft locos have all had theirs replaced as a matter of course by one of their service agents - Chuffed2Bits. I think the term - "Ronson #5" - comes to mind. You may have to check its threading/holder though as the Ruby is a loco intended for the US market distributors.

Given its age a boiler wash out might be in order - somebody might have been filling it with tap water, in a "hard" water area and limescale may have impared the boiler's and attendant pipework's performace. Again, as it is old, perhaps some new piston seals and attention to the piston valves might be in order. Ask Accucraft UK if they can source a service kit for it, everything must go through them even if it is a US market product. There is a US based dealer, the train department, that carry spares of that nature.I think the older Rubys were considered a little under powered and a larger cylinder upgrade kit was produced to fit them. Max

The Train Department - Small Scale Live Steam Locomotives and Steam Accessories - Home › ...
Live Steam Locomotives and Steam Accessories - Accucraft Replacement O-Rings - The Train Department
 
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funandtrains

funandtrains

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I would say as above replace the jet with a better quality one and make sure you are using the thicker grade steam oil.
 
tac foley

tac foley

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The correct grade of steam oil for Accucraft live steam models is ISO 460.

Anything of lesser viscosity would disappear almost instantly - as you are finding out.
 
funandtrains

funandtrains

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The correct grade of steam oil for Accucraft live steam models is ISO 460.

Anything of lesser viscosity would disappear almost instantly - as you are finding out.
I find it quite frustrating that often suppliers don't say what grade the oil is on the bottle.
 
tac foley

tac foley

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Post deleterated.
 
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funandtrains

funandtrains

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They DO if you buy it from a reputable dealer - it's no use the label simply reading 'steam oil'. They are actually required by law to state the viscosity, just like buying motor oil and so on. Chuffed2bits, Locobox - any of our usual suspects sell steam oil of the correct grade.

I recall that Roundhouse models seem to require a different grade, but I'm not sure on that one - perhaps it's just a rumour.
Tac, I'm not sure about that being the law as some makes still just say steam oil, Regner is one of them. Roundhouse I think use 220 grade. To confuse things more I think some of the Accucraft models also use 220 and others 460.
 
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tac foley

tac foley

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Azoy!!!! Colour me corrected.
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

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The bottle of ISO 460 Accucraft steam oil given to me by Chuffed2Bit about 7 years back - product #AP-28203 says, "Used on all Accucraft live steam models". I was told it was the only one I should ever use. It does have the image of an old time US loco and its distinctive cow catcher on the bottle.

Now, it was supplied after I took my recalcitrant 3cyl Shay for some rectification work by Mike Darby. He had diagnosed that I had used a grade of steam oil that had gunked up the Shay's superheater. My Shay has the adjustable oiler fitted. That suspect steam oil came from a certain well known retailer, with a loco, when I got my first live steamer some 13 years ago - a Roundhouse Lady Anne. I still have some and am now loath to touch it. I looks somewhat thicker and darker than the Accucraft ISO 460 and has no ISO rating marked .

I also have for some reason a stock Roundhouse's ISO 220. That had been sold to me by another well known retailer as the "only steam oil you should use/need" when I bought my Darjeeling 0-4-0. They were aware I owned Accucraft products too. Should that by its lower ISO rating be less viscous than the Accucraft item. Or shouldn't it ? I think I have I got the whole ISO thing arse about face ? I need some advice here. I'm very confused o_O

Now, the Ruby in question, as stated, does not have a superheater. Perhaps it is not so choosy as to which steam oil is used and can tolerate, or may even welcome a different grade ? Max
 
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The mechanic

The mechanic

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Ah gentlemen! I think you may have the answer to the over-oiling problem!
I have used ISO 220 on my Accucraft locos since acquiring them last year, on the advice of retailers.
I was told that ISO 220 would be fine. However, ISO 460 is thicker ( think water compared to jam, throw both on a window at the same time and place and the 220, being less viscous will reach the bottom first!! QED).

I am an automotive industry professional and teach this sort of stuff on a daily basis. The more I think about it, the more sense it is beginning to make.

Thinking about it, I have noted that the lubricators on my Ragleth and Lawley only last for one boiler fill and require topping up once the gas expires. I would bet that ISO 460 would last a while longer?

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to date.

Firstly, I am going to get hold of some ISO 460 steam oil and try Ruby again.

I will also look at replacing the gas jet as suggested

I will let you good people know how I get on in due course

Best Regards

David
 
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Paul M

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I've actually just contacted Accucraft about this, they definitely recommend 460. I've a bottle of 220 which is for Roundhouse
 
The mechanic

The mechanic

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There is a very good article on the Roundhouse technical website which explains the differences and why Roundhouse specify ISO 220 for their locos. Apparently it prevents internal carbonisation of the superheater after prolonged running.

Thanks everyone once again

Will let you know how things pan out

David
 
maxi-model

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
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Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
There is a very good article on the Roundhouse technical website which explains the differences and why Roundhouse specify ISO 220 for their locos. Apparently it prevents internal carbonisation of the superheater after prolonged running.
Very interesting, thanks for posting this David - This may explain why my RH Lady Anne, when bought new some 13 years or so ago, was supplied with the thick "goop" that i mentioned and am now loath to touch. It seems that was conventional wisdom then and I think some of that "wisdom" is still hanging around the hobby.

It probably explains some of the disappointing performance I have experienced with one or two Accucraft locos prior to switching to their own brand 460 ISO grade oil for standard use. Now I'm wondering if a more widespread switch to the 220 ISO grade, that I have in stock for the more recently (ok about 7/8 years ago) RH 0-4-0 Darj', might be in order.

The problem for me is how does one access various assorted superheater pipes to check and see if there's a need to clear them, and how, without getting into a lot of laborious fernickety work (or expensive trips to a service agent) ? Max