Fordson Barton Pump and Robertson Rescue Stretcher tested

Over the last few days, John and I have been doing a lot of work at the Farm. The big push to get the Barton Pump running before John returns to sea on Monday.

We stripped down, cleaned, greased, repacked, painted and re-assembled the 4-way outlet control, which allows both off, both on, left on and right on.

Fitting the radiator and radiator grille took some doing, as there is very little clearance between the tinware and the radiator, and there is the piping to squeeze in. After about the 5th go at putting the rad and grille in we got it to all fit. The thermostat and electric fan were fitted and tested – very nice and quiet. And after the fan has run for a while, you can start the engine and get 20A charge on tickover. Lovely. And I think the ignition timing is about right as well now.

So we then fitted the pump and all the plumbing and gauges, although it is slightly modified: with the electric fan, we decided not to have the total-loss cooling taking water off the pump, but to retain a sealed antifreeze system independent of the pump. However, we did end up with a spare brass drain valve. The manual throttle lever on the pump was re-commissioned – the first time since the SU carburettor was fitted, as there was no lever on the carb for the cable to attach to.

This afternoon we did some testing. Michael wanted to try the Neil Robertson rescue stretcher, so he was strapped in, then then raised (just) off the ground using a block and tackle. I must say, it was tempting to leave him there…. 😉

Then we tested the pump. First step – fill the tank from the hose. After a few seconds, water came pouring out onto the floor – the outlet to the pump had come adrift when I was putting it back into place at the front. Never mind, we’ll try lifting water from an old barrel. We were getting good suction from the engine manifold, but it just would not raise any vacuum. None whatsoever. Not even a bit. So we then tried flooding the pump with a hosepipe, and all the water just poured out a half-inch drain hole at the bottom! So the drain valve wasn’t spare after all.

Take 2. The pump primed beautifully, and raised some pressure although we didn’t really trust the gauges. We got a good jet from a branch plugged straight into the outlet. Michael pointed out that the fan hadn’t come on, and the temperature was rising. “We’ll look at that later”. Bad move. We pumped for a few more moments to empty the drum, and the engine boiled over quite spectacularly. Antifreeze went everywhere, including in the cab, as we hadn’t fitted the windscreen. In fact there were a couple of Leprechauns in the electrics, as the tail lights came on all by them selves. Game over.

So a few loose ends to tidy up another day, but on the whole, a very successful few days work.

About lowdhamstation

I am a director of a small (and very technical) business, a committed Christian, a Reader (and preacher) in my local village church, husband to my dear Frances, am interested in heritage railways, and heritage fire engines. I currently run a group that displays wartime and early post-war fire engines at 1940s re-enacting events and steam engine rallies. O yes, and vintage cars and motorbikes, and we live in a Victorian railway station.
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