I HATE Hand Hole Covers

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Centurion
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by Centurion » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:31 am

gondolier88 wrote:It's a matter of what quality of water is used when steaming, whether the boiler is left with water in or emptied over winter and how many hours steaming the boiler does- it has nothing at all to do with personal opinion on whether it's a pain or not- having a blow-out on an inspection hatch can and has killed steamboaters in the not so distant past, they need looking after!

Suggestions of soaking gaskets in hot/warm water and gluing them on are, to be frank, a little scary given the context.

Most (not all) inspection gasket manufacturers stipulate they are to be installed dry (no compound). If they were installed wet and warm and then left to go dry they can cause pitting on the land they seal on, they can also shrink- shrinkage isn't too much of an issue if good practice is followed and they are torque'd up incrementally on first steaming up until tight as they can be (again, some manufacturers stipulate a torque setting on rubber based ones) and checked once cold. A pin-hole leak on one of these can cause big safety issues if left and expensive repairs too.

If you don't notice crud collecting at the base of the boiler and you always blow-down hot and leave the boiler vented with a low-temp. heat source to air the boiler then your boiler inspector may be able to advise you on allowable non-service periods of inspection gaskets.

A pain or not, they provide just about the best way of inspecting the bottom of a boiler on a fixed shell boiler.

Greg
Wow. Another great post and food for more consideration. Some thoughts on your comments:

1 - Last year, I tried soaking Topog-e gaskets in boiling water to make them easier to work with. They were just as stiff hot as they were at room temperature.

2 - Your comment on regular gasket inspection was validated by me this year. One of the oval covers I removed had a corroded raised gasket positioning surface bad enough to allow a gasket to be forced inward by the pressure to a point where it could leak or, worse case, blow out. I had a new gasket positioning plate welded to the cover. I will now be removing all the hand hole covers to make sure no others have the same problem.

3 - You mentioned my boiler inspector recommending inspection intervals for hand hole gaskets.
Inspections are not required at my location so I have no boiler inspector. If this hasn't been discussed previously, I would sure be interested in input and recommendations on how often this should be done.
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fredrosse
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by fredrosse » Tue Jun 05, 2018 5:12 am

Tri-Sodium Phosphate water treatment at Ph9-Ph11, very good to keep corrosion down, and to make mud rather than hard scale internal to the boiler.

The Tri-Sodium Phosphate stays in the boiler water, and will not get into the steam line unless there is carry-over of saturated water with the steam. A VFT boiler, with some hot tubes above the water level, will typically give some small amount of superheat, so ideally there is no carry-over at all. The Tri-Sodium Phosphate only needs to be replaced when it is lost in blowdown water, I use about a teaspoon or tablespoon of it per steaming day.

I don't know if there would be any issues with Aluminum pistons, but certainly no issues with iron pistons, steel, and chrome plated rods, bronze slide valves, etc.
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by DetroiTug » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:16 pm

Fred,

TSP will attack aluminum, pitting etc. That is one of the caveats with our steamcars with aluminum water tanks, we cannot put TSP directly in to the tank. Causes thick Crystaline oxidation which flakes off and fouls pump checks.

-Ron
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by TahoeSteam » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:35 pm

I also agree with checking them regularly. I've seen cracked and severely deformed gaskets after only one steaming and at a lowly 90psi.
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DetroiTug
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by DetroiTug » Tue Jun 05, 2018 4:30 pm

After reading all of this, I'm thinking handhole covers are not such a good thing to have and a large pipe plug is easier to get along with and safer. (If it can be removed :) )
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by fredrosse » Wed Jun 06, 2018 2:26 am

With the relatively low cost of a TV borescope ($10 or less, and the prices keep going down) the need for hand hole access is becoming less important.
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Re: I HATE Hand Hole Covers

Post by barts » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:29 am

I use a plumbing fiber optic bore scope - works really well in all sorts of hard to reach places. I would agree that pipe inspection ports are to be much preferred; on most small water tube boilers, it's all you're going to get anyway.

Regarding adhesive, it depends on the manufacturer. Different gasket makes have different recommendations; several suggest a light use of 3M77 in a few areas can make installation much easier for vertically oriented gaskets. Others insist nothing is to be used, others recommend adhesive.

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