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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:58 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:46 pm
Posts: 20
Supposedly the issue is that spring steel of the width and thickness required for the Big Boy is no longer being rolled. If that is true, it WILL be a difficult problem to overcome. To do a custom run of the proper material (assuming the tooling wasn't junked) might be a little pricey for even the mighty Union Pacific. As for The C&O 2716, I suspect that these springs are somewhat smaller and this material is still being rolled. Leaf springs are going the way of the dodo in many applications. They are almost unheard of on semi trailers now, and quite rare on the drive axle of the tractors too, although the Z leaves used in conjunction with the air bags is still a spring steel material.


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2017 10:54 am
Posts: 12
Location: Rossville, GA.
Which is why an American manufacturer of amusement devices (bumper cars and roller coasters) in Salem, OR. just bought Benz Spring (lately of Portland, OR.).
They needed a stable, secure and healthy supplier of leaf springs for their rides . . . .
so they bought the local spring factory and moved it to their plant site in Salem.
They will continue to supply the locomotive spring market.
We just had a spring from Western Maryland #1309 repaired. It had a broken top leaf.
No problem.
Other sizes of leaf material? Not so big a problem. It can be fixed.


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:11 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:46 pm
Posts: 20
Is it practical though for a mill to do a run of specific size spring steel for ONE locomotive Gary?


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:38 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:24 pm
Posts: 102
It's practical if they're being paid enough to offset the costs of such a small production run. Like the old adage goes: Anything can be restored or replaced- if enough cubic dollars are thrown at it.


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 Post subject: Re: Leaf Springs
PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:55 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1224
Location: Strasburg, PA
The issue isn't with #4014, UP has deep enough pockets to make anything happen. The problem lays with every other locomotive that uses spring leaves of a size that is no longer made. A recent perusal of steel company's stock lists revealed a shocking lack of variety in availability of 1095 and 5160 flat stock.

Making the spring is the easy part. We have done it, and in fact, we are looking into getting into the leaf spring business ourselves. Getting material of the size needed for your engine without having to get a mill run (10,000 lb. minimum in my experience) is what is going to become difficult in the coming days.

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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 1:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:27 am
Posts: 6
Word to the wise 10K pounds of steel isn't that much when your talking even 1 inch thick bar stock 2 inches wide 48 feet long is over 300 pounds a piece. So making a mill run of 10K pounds of it really isn't that hard when a truckload of steel is in the 48-50K range so it really isn't that hard to come up with enough uses for it.


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 2:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 704
ironeagle2006 wrote:
Word to the wise 10K pounds of steel isn't that much when your talking even 1 inch thick bar stock 2 inches wide 48 feet long is over 300 pounds a piece. So making a mill run of 10K pounds of it really isn't that hard when a truckload of steel is in the 48-50K range so it really isn't that hard to come up with enough uses for it.



But this is spring steel, which is a special (expensive) thing to start with, even before the manufacturing steps needed to make it into finished springs.

If this was as simple and as cheap as some want to believe, there would be leaf spring
manufacturers on every corner.


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5233
Location: southeastern USA
Making buggy whips is simple and cheap, too..... don't see them around on every corner these days.

Seriously, grades of steel usable for making springs (and other hard stuff) are probably out there. If not, one batch from a smaller custom mill isn't out of the question. Once it's rolled to some size, the process of annealing to workability, forming to size and shape and then heat treating to the right temper takes a lot of skill, but many blacksmiths can do such things in knife making for example, so the skills aren't entirely lost. I wouldn't be surprised if the old springs can be reprocessed to make usable new stock.

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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:26 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:50 pm
Posts: 2067
Location: Northern Illinois
Knife makers? Good Lord, nooooo. Those guys are all guess and by gosh. If you have steel made to a spec., send it out to a commercial heat treater. They are cheap for what they do, and have the test equipment to assure they've accomplished what they set out to do. This skill isn't "lost", it's just not used as much today.

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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 415
Location: Floyd, AR
I doubt there is any reason spring stock from the junkyard couldn't be used. It would just take more work to roll and forge it into the larger stock needed for 4014.

There may not be a leaf spring shop on every corner, but there are as many out there as are needed. There also used to be radiator shops, carburetor shops, air brake shops, foundries, and machine shops in almost every town of any size. They are more rare but the art is certainly not lost.

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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 7:28 pm
Posts: 163
Location: Northern WV
There are 7 other Big Boys displayed around the country. Perhaps one of them could be a donor for the necessary springs.

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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:53 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
Posts: 1191
Location: Chicago USA
Maybe, if it was a matter of a broken leaf here or there. But if the issue is that the springs themselves are worn out after so many years then the other 4000's springs would be just as worn.

Too bad it's not as simple as turning all the leaves to face the other way. LOL


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2017 7:29 am 

Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:27 am
Posts: 6
Here is what else still uses heavy duty leaf springs. OTR trucks they use them on the front ends and elliptical style on the back ends. OTR trailers still use springs for container chassis. There is a demand for it the trouble is everyone thinks oh no the price is going to be high for it. Spring steel is a special alloy of steel it is how it is heat treated and shaped that makes it into spring steel. All steel can be recycled as many times as needed by melting it down and reworking it. The steel mills redo scrap steel faster and cheaper than making new steel.


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 377
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Locomotive springs are still available from a few manufacturers. New springs, both complete and some leaves were needed for the Saginaw Timber No 2 at Mid-Continent. They were simply ordered. I suspect that nearly any spring maker will be able to make complete springs or individual leaves for the 4014. Ultra heavy equipment is repaired and restored all the time and springs are one of those "consumables".


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 Post subject: Re: 4014 Update
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:36 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:19 pm
Posts: 35
I'd like to know where they were "simply ordered". For years we bought springs from a shop that has already been mentioned on the West coast. The reason? Availability and quality, plain and simple. Most all "spring houses" I've contacted over the years have the same stories when shown a Baldwin spring card. "Oh those, oh yeah." "I remember them, we used to do them, but we scrapped all that tooling years ago".

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