Shay - Painting
The Trucks & Frames
Nelson Riedel Nelson@NelsonsLocomotive.com
Initial:2/23/04 Last Revised: 06/06/2004
Painting of the locomotive trucks and frame are described in this
page. The tender truck and frame were painted using the
same process. The tender frame is much smaller so less effort was
required to fit it in the oven for curing. The current plan is to powder coat the entire
locomotive. The photos show some of the techniques I used to do
the powder coating. A similar process can be used if one is
spray painting everything --- except one has to wait for the paint to dry
|Stripping The Locomotive: The engine had
already been removed to make the rear boiler clamps. I
decided to start on the rear truck. The axel pump is on
the rear truck so it seemed best to pull the cab, cab floor and
the under floor water pipes at this point. The photo shows
the locomotive with the rear truck off and the back up on wood
blocks ----- sort of reminded me of some cars I've
|This is some of the parts on the end of one of the
benches. Even though I made all the parts, it's been a long
time --- sure hope I can figure out where everything goes.
|Painting A Truck: The is the middle truck (rear
truck on the locomotive) with the hoses from the axel pump visible
in the photo. Everything on the truck except the brass part
of the pump and the left side aluminum bearing blocks will be
|The truck was only partially disassembled. The side
frames, spring planks, axels and brake beams were not taken
apart. The parts were sprayed with
degreaser, washed in hot soapy water and then cleaned in the
pickling solution. The photo shows most the truck parts (
less the axels) in the crock pot. There were left in the
solution about a half hour on each end and then washed off.
The pickling solution seem to be loosing strength so I dumped
it and made a fresh pot using a can of Sparex No 1. Wow, what a
difference; the old pot must have got down to 25% of
original strength. (I found Thompson
Enamel carries cans of both Sparex No1 and Sparex No 2 for
$4.99 a can.) After the change, most pieces are
cleaned in a hot solution in about 10 minutes.
|After the pickling, the parts were washed thoroughly. Parts that
had cracks or cavities where oil residue might collect (axels,
spring planks, side frames & brake beams) were heated to drive
the residue to the surface. All the parts were then bead
blasted. The photo shows the parts after blasting.
Only one of the universal joints was disassembled at a time to
avoid mixing up the parts.
|This photo shows some of the parts in the paint closet just
before spraying. The parts are hanging from an
oven rack. The hangers are made from 17 gauge electric
fence wire. All the wires are connected together so that the
spray system ground needs to be connected to only one
The ends of the axels, the wheel surface and the pump cam were
masked using regular masking tape.
|This shows the parts after the powder was sprayed.
|The rack with parts was then transferred to the oven.
|This shows the parts after curing. The masking tape
was removed while the parts were still very hot. The tape
comes off easily but leaves a sticky residue. The residue is
easily removed with mineral spirits after the parts cool to just
the part is allowed to cool with the tape in place, it becomes
baked on and must be scraped off.
|This shows the painted parts for one truck. This time the line
shaft is included. The line shaft collars
and spacers were painted but the stainless shaft was not panted.
The blind holes in the pedestals and bottom spring plank filled
with abrasive during blasting. A tap drill and
tap was run into these holes before assembly.
This is the reassembled universal and slip joints. (Both
these joints are from the middle truck and don't normally don't fit
together; one mounts to each end of the line shaft.)
The right side of the truck
And the left side.
Axel Pump: I did a test firing a couple weeks before this
painting project. Mark Mihalyi had come from near Pittsburgh
to assist. It was about 15 degrees outside which probably says something
about our mental capacity. After steam was up the
locomotive ran on the test stand for about a half hour. The throttle
was then closed to allow steam pressure to build so that the whistle could
be adjusted. (The whistle didn't sound very good ---- problem was
that it was so cold that the steam condensed and the whistle merely
spit. After it got hot, it sounded better. Hope it works OK in
warm weather.) The throttle was opened again after the whistle
test (about ten minutes later) but the wheels turned very hard and there
was a screeching sound. First thought was that the brakes had hung
up. Brakes were checked and found to be OK. It sounded like a
bearing someplace. We decided to turn off the fire,
drain the boiler, wheel it inside and go to lunch. After we warmed
up a bit we played with the line shafts and found that the noise was
coming from the axel pump. I was thinking about that pump on the way
to lunch and it finally dawned on me that water freezes at 32 degrees
------ and it was 15 degrees. The pump had been idle for about 10 minutes and the pipes
and tender had been in the cold for over an hour. Maybe the pump
output pipe froze up. That would certainly make the pump
stiff. After I returned from lunch (about four hours later
---- there was much to discuss at lunch) the pump turned freely and
made no noise.
I was anxious to examine the pump to see if the screeching was due
to metal on metal rubbing and determine any damage. There were some
minor scrapes on the piston and pump bore but suspect those were made
during fabrication and not a result of the freeze up. Maybe the
screeching was due to water being forced past the O-Ring. The
O-Ring looked OK, but was replaced
|Heat Wave - A Good Time To Do Frame: The weather forecast was for
sunny and 50 degrees so I decided to do the main frame since it must be
blasted outside. The pile of parts in the corner
grew even bigger. Sure hope I can put it back
|Little supports were made for the frame to position it in the
oven. The rods take the place of the truck pivots
and are retained by the 5/16" screws. Note that the frame
really sticks out of the oven.
|I tried the oven extension and found a slight gap ---- but close
enough. (The tender frame fit in the oven plus
extension easily with no gap.)
|The frame was taken outside and blasted. The pressurized
blaster works really well. She wanted some fill dirt
on that bank so did her a favor. The white stuff
in the background is snow.
It was perfectly still so the powder was also applied outside
---- saved a big mess in the basement since the frame won't fit in
my little painting closet..
|Kids- don't try this at home!
My son helped carry the frame inside and position it in the
oven. The gap between the oven and extension was covered with
heavy duty aluminum foil secured with the universal
I baked it for about 90 minutes. The temperature made it
to about 350 degrees
|The finished frame ---- looks great.
|Finishing Up: The front truck was powder coated using the process described
above. Boy am I glad that's done; don't think I can face another
brake shoe. Before attaching the trucks to the frame all the parts that fit under the frame
such as the brake levers and brackets and the brake cylinder were powder
coated and installed. Photo shows some of the brake and
sill parts just after powder was sprayed on them.
|This shows the parts after curing. I'd opened the oven to
remove the masking tape while the parts were still hot.
That's the brake cylinder on the right.
|The brake cylinder looks great but doesn't show up very well
with the black I beam in the background.
| The front sill was finished using the
same techniques as the rear sill on the tender.
Next photos show the finished trucks and frame. Hope I don't have
to take them apart for at least a decade.
The boiler is next --- after that
it'll be all down hill.