Fox River Trolley Museum

Grinding, Welding, Plasma cutting, Holy cow 4451

January 25, 2019 7:19 PM | Jeff Bennett (Administrator)

The L2, SE door has significant rot issues. Before we took the door off the car, it was bound in place pretty severely. Once we got it down, this is what we had to start out with. A good two inches of the door, just simply gone.

So we cut out all the rot, and got down to good metal. Then rebuilt the inner support structure.

Once the inner supports were rebuilt, the door was re-skinned on both sides. 

The sensitive edge was removed to address rust and rot under it. The lower track guide, that can be seen here in yellow, was salvaged from 4000 door we had in stock. The one that was supposed to be on the car was no where to be found. With some scaling and grinding, this guide fit the bill nicely.

Still some more grinding and filling to do on this door. Just this door alone we probably have 30 hours in. And this sucker is heavy. Three guys to lift and turn as the work was going from one side to the other.


The first NEW METAL panels are laid !!! 

While the door above was being massaged, the welder went inside. One person has the plasma cutter set up and was making each panel to custom fit, while another was inside welding them in place. The system was working quite well, and we plan to continue it tomorrow.

It's -7 outside, and as many of you know, about the same temperature in the barn. When the temps get below zero, propane tanks will not release their full potential, and as the temps drop even lower, you may be lucky to get half a tank out. Soooooo, we upped our game, and had three more  100 lb tanks delivered. (175 lbs when full, hence the crane)

With the three tanks we had, and three more, we now have 6 tanks manifolded together, to fuel our construction heater. It keeps the car a little warmer, and for the lucky guys doing inside car work, they get warm tootsies.

View from the plow truck. It has been interesting keeping the snow under control to gain access to the barn.... As you can see the dumpster has not been emptied. The garbage truck is too scared to go done the hill at the entrance.... 

Jeff was not one with warm tootsies...

While one crew was working on installing new floor panels, and one guy was working on the L2 door, two others were continuing to cut out the major rotted floor sections.  All the sections that we are removing in the main part of the car are out.

All the air pipes that come up through the floor are being carefully removed, labeled and remade this weekend. So the problem of pipes rusting through where they meet the floor will not happen in the future. Some of the pipes were one bump away from leaking, so all new piping through the new floor will be nice.

We are taking the opportunity to clean the undercarriage while we have it exposed. 

I would just like to note, you can see the whole crew is always wearing respirators, and eye protection. If the job involves other potential hazards like this one did, the worker suits up full body, wears full safety goggles, and hearing protection. Personal Protection Equipment is a must in the car department. 

Also you may note that four chemical fire extinguishers are at an arms reach inside the car, and one at each end outside the car. A water charged (anti freeze mixed) extinguisher is also on hand. 

We are running a safe restoration all the way around here folks. 

The bench seat arm rests are being stripped down to clean metal

All the electrical access box covers (advertisement holders) were removed, and wall / panels underneath have been sanded down 

This one still needs a little attention, but it's getting there.

Snowing like crazy and -3, and we had a full crew of 4+ people everyday this week! No Snow Day for FRTM !!!

Moving right along to the motorman areas, you can see the flooring is severely rotted. The air piping and other mechanicals coming up through the floor are all in poor condition at what used to be metal.

So out they come... Just like that... Ya right ! Hours and hours have gone into carefully tagging each and every wire, pipe, connector, clamp, etc so that reassembly will be possible.

Both motorman compartments are being just about fully stripped so the base structure can be repaired. Then as they are reinstalled, new piping can go to them, as well as bad switches and loose components on the walls being addressed. The Motorman windows have come out as well to repair rot damage.

All things considered, we had a fantastic week in the barn working on 4451. Some of us are still waiting to regain feeling in our extremities however..... That "Hot Hot Hot Chocolate" ain't lookin so bad right about now.

The weekend will be seeing more time on the floor install, and next week, back on the horse, so stay tuned!

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