Wilesco steam fire engine D305
Trying to get an old toy to work againPublished on September 08, 2023.
Somewhere around twenty years ago, when I was still a small child, I got a Wilesco D305 steam fire engine for christmas. It's now finally back in my possession, so of course I had to try it out. My friend Igor and his daugther volunteered to help 🚂
Unfortunately it didn't work too well. We got it to actually drive for about 30sec, but that was pretty much the best we could make it do.
I think it's a combination of negative factors:
- The main shaft of the flywheel is slightly bent, causing increased resistance to turning as well as misalignment of gears.
- The piston and cylinder are not moving totally freely, even after oiling everything.
- The main valve is leaking and very wobbly.
- The safety valve o-ring is worn out and loose.
- The whistle is leaking.
- The whole kettle is full of scale and probably oxidized. Lots of green-white slug came out of the outlet pipe at first.
- The fuel is probably not new and may have sucked in some moisture from the air, reducing the intensity of the fire.
- A part of the chimney is missing. Maybe this results in insuficcient airflow to the fire? The fire seemed too weak after inserting it below the kettle, burning more intensely outside the firebox.
- Maybe the soot from past firings on the kettle is reducing thermal conduction?
- The gears are not properly touching when trying to drive the pump.
- The pump is leaking and does not produce any pressure or flow.
So not much steam is produced in the first place. Then some of it is lost in the leaking valves. And finally the machine itself is hard to move. So even with the most intense fire we managed to create there's really not much pressure / steam produced. And even in the short time where the whistle sounded like there was good pressure, it still was not enough to run it properly.
Fortunately Wilesco still exists. And as you would expect from a small and old company like this, they also have a big set of replacement parts. Also my grandfather was actually a "licensed" Wilesco repairman and seller. So he had quite a big collection of their machines, toys and replacement parts. Some replacement parts actually were part of the things I managed to get from the house last month.
I have a bunch of generic parts like gaskets, but unfortunately no complete safety valve with a matching thread. And also I don't yet have the required brazing/soldering skills to do work like replacing the main valve. So I'm not quite sure how to proceed with this at the moment. For now it will have to go to the healing bench.