Author Topic: RLE questions!  (Read 19594 times)

Offline Manorfarmdenton

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RLE questions!
« on: January 23, 2016, 04:49:36 PM »
A while ago I bought on ebay a set of RLE castings with some photo copied drawings, and with the cold weather have finally got round to making a start on them.  Straight away I realised the drawings were so illegible I couldn't read a lot of the dimensions, but JasonB came to the rescue with a better set - and a link to this forum.  Thanks Jason!

One or two things are puzzling me though. 

1.  The drawings suggest adding 1/4" to some dimension if higher compression is required.  Which dimension is this?  I guess its the con rod, but as the drawings are in sections it isn't easy to tell.
2.  My base casting hasn't got any provision for holding-down bolts where it sits on the baseboard or whatever.  Is this usual?
3.  The literature mentions making the rings 5 thou oversize before machining the piston.  I'm not that familiar with ring practice as I bought ready-made ones for my Red Wings, but doesn't that mean they will be distorted out of round when gapped correctly and inserted in a 5 thou smaller bore?  Or am I thinking too much?
4.  The amount of overhang on the exhaust valve push rod is horrible - has anyone else reduced it somehow?  I'm thinking of using a flat bar as in the Red Wings, and adding some cast support nearer the cam.
5.  Has anyone used oilite bushes for the mains?  I'm thinking I can just about work 9/16" OD ones if I make my own bearing caps and squeeze the timing gear back towards the bore a bit.  Is that daft?

Thanks for reading this!  Any input gratefully accepted.  John.
John Fearnley

Online Jasonb

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2016, 05:11:11 PM »
Good to see you found your way here John, Hopefully Graham will be along with some words of wisdom, but in the meantime.

2. You could simply drill and tap the bottom edge of teh base casting and screw up through your base into these holes but its not really how most engines of this type are mounted. If it were me I think I would mill out 4 slots say 5/8 x 5/16 and drill and tap the bottom of the slot. Now mill up a bit of 5/8x 5/16, drill one end 1/4" and round off. At teh other end drill and CSK for a screw. You can now add a bit of JB Weld and scre wthe feer to the base.





3. I make my rings a snug fit in the bore before parting off then spread them to heat treat

5. I have done a couple of hit & miss engines that came with oilite bushes supplied and they seem to work fine, they were the flanged type and the flange went on the inside of the bearing housing and up against the crankwebs. Length of bearing trimmed to a few thou longer than the bearing housing to gibe gear/flywheel clearance.

1 & $ I'll come back to you.

J

Offline Manorfarmdenton

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2016, 05:30:30 PM »
Thanks Jason - good suggestion.  I was wondering about an alternative method, to make up some mounting lugs that fit over the profile of the base casting, and clamp it down that way.  As much as anything I was curious as to why my casting hasn't got lugs when all the photos I have seen show them.  I wonder if I have a very early set?

Oh no - heat treating rings?  That's a bit of an alchemist's trick for an old agricultural bloke like me!  I'm wondering whether to chicken out and but some Red Wing ones as they are so successful in my other two engines!

John.
John Fearnley

Online Jasonb

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2016, 05:50:27 PM »
If you can do what you have done on that Best Steamer then rings should be a breeze.

The cylinder end should be quite easy to add lugs as the angle flattens out, crank end may need a bit more thinking about. Did similar on the 1/3rd scale galloway as they don't cast the lugs on the big model.








Offline Alyn Foundry

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2016, 05:57:19 PM »
A while ago I bought on ebay a set of RLE castings with some photo copied drawings, and with the cold weather have finally got round to making a start on them.  Straight away I realised the drawings were so illegible I couldn't read a lot of the dimensions, but JasonB came to the rescue with a better set - and a link to this forum.  Thanks Jason!

One or two things are puzzling me though. 

1.  The drawings suggest adding 1/4" to some dimension if higher compression is required.  Which dimension is this?  I guess its the con rod, but as the drawings are in sections it isn't easy to tell.
2.  My base casting hasn't got any provision for holding-down bolts where it sits on the baseboard or whatever.  Is this usual?
3.  The literature mentions making the rings 5 thou oversize before machining the piston.  I'm not that familiar with ring practice as I bought ready-made ones for my Red Wings, but doesn't that mean they will be distorted out of round when gapped correctly and inserted in a 5 thou smaller bore?  Or am I thinking too much?
4.  The amount of overhang on the exhaust valve push rod is horrible - has anyone else reduced it somehow?  I'm thinking of using a flat bar as in the Red Wings, and adding some cast support nearer the cam.
5.  Has anyone used oilite bushes for the mains?  I'm thinking I can just about work 9/16" OD ones if I make my own bearing caps and squeeze the timing gear back towards the bore a bit.  Is that daft?

Thanks for reading this!  Any input gratefully accepted.  John.

Hello John.

To answer your second post, yes you do have an early kit. I remade the sub base with mounting lugs after customer feedback.  BTW did your kit come with its Brass plate? The number stamped would tell me the year of manufacture.

You can add an extra 1/4 " to the con rod or to the piston yoke, I favour the yoke but that little bit extra makes a huge difference to the running.

Hmmm. Re the rings, we were also learning back then, now, like Jason we would make them to size, crack them open and using a small gas blowtorch heat them until they softened.

I'm not quite sure of the overhang issue, could you explain what you mean?

There are a couple of lovely built RLE's in the customer gallery at my website, both have used a flat pushrod.

The RLE was designed as a simple build project that worked but the emphasis was to let the builders ingenuity come to play. That's why there are so many different finished engine's out there.

Kind regards, Graham.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 06:18:38 PM by Alyn Foundry »

Offline Alyn Foundry

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2016, 06:37:48 PM »
Hello again.

I'm now on the same page !!

You're writing about the length from cam follower to the support bracket.

All I can say is that it works. I used 3/16" Dia Silver steel silver soldered into the Brass follower shoe, this shoe was elongated to stop the rod from rotating.

As stated in my previous post there's nothing stopping you from adding a frontal support or going for a rectangular pushrod either.

Re piston rings.

I have discovered Viton. The latest " O " rings are now capable of withstanding 200 Deg C well over the working temperature of the engine. I have refitted my Gardner model with just one it works really well, and to coin a phrase " They're cheap as chips " !!    You just need to bore the cylinder to exactly the right diameter for the stock sizes.

Kind regards, Graham.

Offline Manorfarmdenton

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2016, 11:35:20 AM »
Jason - thanks for the compliment, but I doubt that I'm up to making the lugs as well as you did the ones in the photo.  Superb!  Did you hold them down in any way or just rely on the main holding-down studs?  Presumably the white areas are filler of some sort used to dress the castings?  It certainly appears to blend in the lugs very nicely.

Graham - thank you for replying.  Its great to hear answers straight from the horse's mouth (forgive the expression!). 

Yes I have the brass plate and the number is 122.

Thanks for the Viton suggestion, which sounds sensible.  I think I'll stick to cast rings though.  Any suggestions about how far to wedge them open and how hot to heat them please?  Do I quench them after heating?

Apologies if the comment about the push rod overhang sounded like a criticism!  It wasn't intended, and I have to say that the quality of the castings is superb!

A confession!  My bore has finished up 3 thou oversize.  As my Bantam hasn't any easy way to mount things on the cross slide I machined the outer dimension of the liner using a length of silver steel in the chuck, a tight fit in the cast hole in the middle.  I then machined a holder for the liner from a length of 4" round I had in the workshop, making it a tight fit on the rings the hopper will sit on.  Then the boring was done with a conventional indexable boring tool.  BUT when I got the end I could see to just under 1.250" I demounted it and checked the other end and it was .003" smaller"  - no doubt due to the poor old Bantam having been abused over the 20 years I have had it!  By the time I had corrected the discrepancy and honed it to within .0005 of parallel it was 3 though bigger than it ought to be!  Hence my wanting to make appropriately-sized rings!  Having said all that, one of my Red Wings ended up over 2 thou oversize but has excellent compression using their standard rings.

Thanks for the help.
John.
John Fearnley

Online Jasonb

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2016, 01:32:15 PM »
I bedded them in with a little JB weld and then use bodyfiller to blend things in. On the cylinder end you could probably just plunge down with a slot drill almost like you were spot facing and just bond in a thick "washer". I'll mock something up and take a photo.

On rings that size I would spread them about 1/8" then heat to red heat and hold them at that temp for about 5mins then allow them to cool slowly. I don't bother with making jigs, just a bit of scrap material to spread them - so long as you heat them evenly they won't go egg shaped. Three rings being cooked here



I usually make a spare or two



Split them with cutters, cut from the sides and they should split straight across



« Last Edit: January 24, 2016, 01:35:58 PM by Jasonb »

Offline Manorfarmdenton

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2016, 02:30:53 PM »
Slot drill and thick washer shouldn't be beyond my capabilities.

Thanks for the advice re. heating the rings.  That sounds straightforward enough.  I'll give it a go tomorrow.

John.
John Fearnley

Offline Alyn Foundry

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2016, 02:41:26 PM »
Hello John.

There's no need for apologies you were making an observation. Customer feedback was very important to us so we could improve our products.

Engine number 122, very early, 19th RLE kit.
You won't have the base carburettor you will have the very thin rim silencer castings.

Your bore taper is to be expected not so much your lathe but the single ended boring bar always has some whip. ;)

After many years of ring making we hit on a 90 X 90 thou ring in a 90 X 100 thou deep groove, this size worked well for all three engines ( RLE Robinson and Gardner )
At first we cut the rings open but found too much material was being lost, this might explain the 5 thou oversize mentioned in the early text.  ;)

We then found that cracking them open was the best way followed by annealing. To anneal you place your rings on a 1/8" thick piece of Steel, pull the ring apart and slip it onto the Steel so the ring stands up vertically. With a medium size blowtorch gently heat from either side of the gap working upwards to the top centre. As the colour starts to reach Orange they will suddenly relax and usually fall sideways. They're done!! Leave them to cool naturally, don't quench as they'll become brittle.

Finally, take the cool rings and gently lap the side faces on a medium oilstone. This ensures removal of any bulges caused by cracking and gives a razor sharp edge. It also ensures a really snug fit in the groove.

As a " by the way " I might have a Mk 2 sub base kicking around and I also have other spare castings available for customers here, but no full kits left.

Looking forward to a build log here at MEM ?

Kind regards, Graham.

Offline michaelr

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2016, 03:32:27 PM »
John. I have built the RLE it's a engine that you can do your own thing with, I fitted a extra timing gear to make it easier to adjust the sensor (Magnet ) for the ignition, the push rod is 3/16" square rod, and the inlet and exhaust valves are changed around from what the drawing shows, I also changed the standard carburettor for a Lunkenhiemer mixer made from castings, I also fitted a alloy piston with cast iron rings.
All in the RLE is a good simple practical engine ( And for Graham the casting No is 419 )

Mike.

Offline Manorfarmdenton

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2016, 05:04:41 PM »
Graham, once again thanks for the input.  Re the silencer, I thought the castings appeared to have thin rims, and as far as the carburettor is concerned like Mike I'm thinking I'll buy Lunkenheimer castings from Forest Classics as I have had good results with my Red Wings.   Re. the sub base, I'll look at my casting tomorrow to see whether Jason's method of adding lugs looks feasible.  If not I'll be in touch!  As far as a build log is concerned, I'm very amateurish compared with a lot of the forum members.  I reckon some of my attempts at model-making would be a source of amusement!  I'm a lot more at home with welding together lumps of steel that have to be shaped with a gas cutter and moved by forklift, and drilling 2" holes in them.

Mike, what a nice job!  Thanks for posting the photos.  You'll see above, I had the same idea about using a Lunkenheimer mixer.  I think I see some sort of bushes for the mains too?  I hadn't thought about the electrical pick-up yet but perhaps I should, after seeing your extra timing gear.  I'm a bit hazy about how that helps?  In fact I'm hazy about what circuit to use a magnetic switch (is that a Hall sensor?) with, but think I should adapt the Red Wings to that system too, as the little pick-up pins very quickly wear I find.  There always seems to be sparking visible there.

Kind regards,
John.
John Fearnley

Online Jasonb

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2016, 05:15:35 PM »
We like amusement here :) especially with pictures particularly if you slipped a few of the Best in as well.

Having seen Mikes engine I think my first suggestion of cutting a slot and screwing in the lug from below would be the best to get the same look.

Here are a couple of photos that would certainly work at the cylinder end of the base.

From the side your base looks much like this



Plunging down with a 1/2" cutter and then drilling your mopunting hole will leave your casting with a counterbored hole, though you will have metal between my two feet.




Turn up a thick washer and loctite or JB weld into place, all load will be pulling it down into the counterbore so it won't go anywhere



Blend in with body filler and add your nut, though square headed coachscrews would look good



But if you can weld then whynot just knock upo a new base with mounting lugs, couple I have done below





J
« Last Edit: January 24, 2016, 05:21:43 PM by Jasonb »

Offline Alyn Foundry

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2016, 05:17:21 PM »
Hello Mike.

That's a nicely built engine, I can see a few mod's !   ;)

Kit Number 419 one of the last, I'm not exactly sure because I have mislaid the RLE daybook.  :-[

Here is a video of a good friend of mine's RLE.


What's really strange is that in the last month two RLE kits have surfaced both being very early and yet you're showing one of the last, all fully built, curious !!

Kind regards, Graham.

Offline Manorfarmdenton

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Re: RLE questions!
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2016, 06:23:49 PM »
Jason,  yes I hadn't thought of welding one up, but I'll have look at my base first as your other suggestion looks good.  Re providing amusement, perhaps I'll take a few photos.  A good laugh is supposed to be good for you isn't it?

Mike, I have just seen your Centaur thread.  A lovely job you did on that too!  Funnily enough if I hadn't seen the RLE castings on ebay last year I had decided to go for a Centaur from Reeves.  It reminds me a lot of a full-sized 27hp Lister Blackstone oil engine I had a few years ago.

Graham,  I like the little mag on the engine in the vid - thanks for the link.  Re kits surfacing after years, you may be interested to know that, according to the invoice that was included with the badly photocopied drawings, the kit was sold to a gentleman in Gwynedd in October 1988 for 72.00 including gears and brass plate!  He made a good profit when he sold it to me on ebay, but he did sit on it for 27-odd years!  Oh, and your signature is on the receipt - I'd better hang on to it in case its worth money  :)

Kind regards,
John.
John Fearnley