Sunday, April 26, 2015

Grid Box Replacement

As reported last week, we found one of the grid boxes on the 319 was defective.  So this week, Frank and I went out to the 321 with a golf cart and the necessary tools and removed the corresponding box from that car.  We also mounted one that had been swapped out a couple of years ago so it doesn't get lost -- hanging it under the car in the correct position is the best way to store it.  Then, back in the barn, we removed the defective box and installed the replacement.   When done, it looks like this.  We installed new nuts and bolts in the clamps that hold the electrical connections.   That took most of the day.  We didn't get a chance to make an electrical test, though.
Man, these boxes are so much heavier than they used to be.  The first time I did this job was back about 1981, when the 309 had a box burn out during service, and I replaced it with one from the 318.  I remember thinking at the time that the process turned out to be easier than expected, and I did it myself in a matter of about two hours.  Something must have gone wrong, but I haven't figured out what.

I also painted the rope guard and tack molding on one end of the car black, picked up tools, moved the scaffold, and miscellaneous tasks.  And I started planning how to mount the roll sign box on the front of the 150.  It will look great!

Speaking of looking great, the car cleaners came by yesterday and cleaned the 319 and 308 for revenue service.  They included Jeff Fryman, Steve Jirsa, John Myhre, Mike M., and Fred Ash, and maybe others I've missed.  In any case, thanks for doing this, it helps a lot!

Frank adds...

I spent the day helping out my father, so I didn't really work on anything other than the grid box project as outlined above.  But I did manage to snap a couple of photos, including the picture below of our newly-upgraded electric golf cart.  Yes, the resistance grids may seem to be overkill, but what if we need to do a lot of low-speed towing with this thing?
And on a more serious note, I stopped by to observe recent progress in Barn 4.  Norm and Jeff are working on Michigan Electric 28, taking apart the front end in preparation for replacing some badly deteriorated framing members.  The side sill under the left side baggage door is shown below; this sill will need evidently to be replaced or heavily rebuilt from the bolster forward and work is already being done to stabilize and support this corner of the car prior to removal of the current channel.  I neglected to get a photo of the new steel end beam being test fitted to 'L' car 1024 (or is it 24 now?) just a few feet forward of the 28, but the work Tim is putting in on this car is impressive as always.


Anonymous said...

Randall and all,
I remember reading about the arrival of Michigan 328 in the Rail & Wire; they talked about how good the metal was in the car. That is one prediction that did not pan out. That car body has kept several people for a decade or more at the museum; starting with a pair of new bolsters!

Ted Miles
IRM Member

Anonymous said...

So grid boxes seem to be a common problem, and you've reported over the years several change-outs. At some point the "spares" will be exhausted, and then what? Can they be repaired. I assume some grids can be bypassed, but not knowing exactly how they work, I don't know the limits. Are the grid boxes on the newer electric traction vehicles compatible? (ie present day CTA)

L. Wells

Randall Hicks said...

Lee: It is certainly possible to repair grid boxes, and we have done so several times over the years. If you search the blog for "grid box" and scan down you'll see several pictures of boxes in various states of assembly. In this case, since we already had an identical box available, swapping it out was the easier way to go. And grid elements can indeed be bypassed as a temporary fix, but we prefer not to rely on that for too long, of course.

Joel Ahrendt said...

We can still get plates cast if it comes to that. In fact, we had new plates cast for the Sand Springs 68 and West Towns 141. We, fortunately, have a lot of spare ones for our regular service cars. And we don't generally burn up the plates, so we aren't really replacing them as often as you might think.