We were recently contacted by a locomotive operator who’d had the foresight to ensure they had spares on hand in case they were required in the event of a failure or for use during planned maintenance.
These parts had been stored away when they were in top condition, and they asked us to inspect them to assess their integrity and suitability for use as swing set components.
On the face of it, it seemed like a straightforward confirmation of condition.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t.
Here are some of the issues we found;
- The cylinder liners were covered in rust
- There was surface rust inside on the bottom section below the ring belt
- After bead blasting and cleaning the outer surface of the liner we could see that it’s beginning to erode due to no preservative having been flushed through the system after use
- The cylinder heads also show that no anti-freeze or preserve was used when testing, so the water jacket is rusty
Not all storage is equal, and most storage provisions available to operators are in the wrong environment for the type of components and the engines we deal with.
This was evident in the condition of these parts.
Poor storage conditions and omission of certain pre-storage steps had taken once ready components and caused rusting and degradation.
We will of course be inspecting these as usual, including crack detection, but there will be more time involved as remedial works will be needed and replacements could be required.
The takeaway here is, if you have any parts, a donor engine or components that need to be stored, they must be properly flushed through, treated with lubricant and wrapped individually before being stored in a damp-free environment.