Restoration Notes: A Day in the Life of a Railway Museum.

Friday, November 27, 1998

M.177ís Distributor Cap is found, a report from Bryan Reese

I went down to Travel Town on the Friday after Thanksgiving to take advantage of the holiday and get a little work in on the Winton engine. I worked some more on the fuel piping for the carburetor, and then decided to install the flywheel bolts on the end of the crankshaft. Doing this would mean that I could finally apply the cover that goes around the crankshaft flange and oil slinger.

The bolts for the flywheel are specially made with a shoulder on them that is machined for a very tight fit in the holes in the flange. What's more, the only position that has clearance to put the bolt through is at the top. This means I had to insert the top bolt and then rotate the crankshaft so the next hole in line was on top.

Because of that tight fitting shoulder, I had to use the bolt's own nuts to draw the bolts down. The problem was, there was only about an inch of thread on the bolt. This necessitated using a spacer. At first I tried using a pipe fitting, but this was only partly satisfactory. I decided I needed washers. In the boxcar is a large selection of used hardware. This is because we replaced a lot of the nuts and bolts and other fasteners with new. Sorting through the boxes, trays and cans I finally decided to take the two-pound coffee can I was looking through and dump it out on the floor for more detailed inspection.

M.177's Distributor Cap Greg Ramsey cleans M.177's Flywheel When I did, out of the bottom of the can, covered with sand, was a distributor cap. In fact, it was THE distributor cap! You remember the one that I believed was gone forever and was thinking in quiet desperation that we were never going to find a replacement?

So it looks like we're out of the woods, at least in the distributor department. The cap looks like it might be usable by itself, and it is possible to run the engine with just one cap (but at reduced performance). If we can find the right vendor, there should be no problem making copies.

On Saturday, Greg Ramsey spent most of the day cleaning off M.177's flywheel (see picture) and uncovered important timing marks. I spent the day finishing up the fuel piping and dumping out more coffee cans.

Bryan Reese

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Copyright 1998. The Southern California Scenic Railway Association.