Whats Happening ?

Steve does a ‘Time Team’.

Steve keeps busy working on removing debris and overburden along the wharf wall in preparation of rebuilding.  He  finds it compulsive and surprisingly satisfying.  Trevor and Adrian meantime,  continue trying to release the seized hoist drum.  After spending a great deal of time and applying quantities of grease and penetrating oil a small measure of movement is achieved on the clutch bands but still insufficient to allow the drum to run freely.  The replacement boom-hoist cushion-spring has still not arrived.

A new volunteer arrives to offer help with clearing mud from the lock chamber.  Bob Renton, locally known as “the Mud Man”, has considerable experience of this activity due to keeping the mooring around his 60 foot long ex-naval boat clear of mud below Bideford Long Bridge.  He  and Adrian have a long chat about possible solutions to the problem and he promises to come back within a few days and try various methods.

Missing springs and worn bands.

Having successfully lowered the boom Trevor and Norman discover that the boom-hoist cushion-spring is missing which means there is no proper adjustment to the boom hoist clutch.    Where the spring should be a number of over-sized nuts have been installed as spacers.  Not much ‘give’ in them.  This may account for why the boom has a tendency to creep up and not lower properly. The worn bands are removed so that they can be properly cleaned and a replacement spring sought.  One of David Jones’ contacts is telephoned   He thinks he has a spare spring and promises to look for it and send it as soon as he can.

Trevor and Norman examine the boom hoist clutch bands and discover that they are badly worn and the rivets holding the shoes on have come through the linings.  It does not seem sensible to replace them as they are once the cushion spring arrives and it is decided that Norman will take them away and get them re lined.

Trevor gets down and dirty (again!)

Following the input from David regarding setting up the clutch and brake bands properly, Trevor spends the day removing the driving-clutch bands, turning them over and re instating them.  The bands have worn unevenly over the years and the process of reversing them should lengthen their working life  as well as make them operate smoothly and more efficiently.

Like a new pin.

New to the area and new to the elite team of voluntary workers at Sea Lock, is Steve Blazey.  He spends the day clearing the build-up of mud in and around the tracks and undercarriage of the crane.  Having completed that task he applies a coat of oil mixed with diesel to the undercarriage to prevent further build-up and to deter rust and follows up by greasing all the boogey wheels.

This should help the vehicle to track and steer a little more easily although the tracks themselves are very worn and slack as is the main drive-chains.  There is not a lot of adjustment left to be made on these but some attention will need to be given to them soon.  The undercarriage certainly looks much better.

Safely down at last!

Trevor, Norman and Adrian are joined by David Jones, in person.  He has traveled from his home in Bridgwater to give on the spot advice as to how to release the seized boom hoist clutch.  After Norman and Trevor take the tension off various brake and clutch bands Adrian is given the task of starting the crane and engaging the main clutch.  The engine fires easily and Adrian gently and somewhat nervously engages the main clutch.  The boom behaves itself and does not move.  David tells Adrian to try lowering the boom and once again it responds accordingly.  However, once it starts to lower  it rapidly gains momentum.  The brake bands have been slackened off in order to release the seized bands and now there is nothing to stop it falling other than slamming the lowering lever into its raising position.   After some more lowering and stopping the boom is eventually brought down to being nearly horizontal as opposed to being nearly vertical at the start.  The safety pawl is engaged and the engine switched off.  The boom clutch and brake bands can now be safely worked on with no fear of the boom crashing over the top of the cab.

David lists a number of adjustments that need to be made and a few new parts that need to be acquired before the crane can be put back into operation but all is now clearly understood and achievable.  Trevor, Norman and especially Adrian are well pleased and greatly relieved