The Willans Project
When the Puls brothers closed their museum in Douglas in Western Victoria they donated the Willans engine to the club. Collecting it involved removing, then later replacing, the roof off the shed that had been built around the engine. We had to wait until the ground dried enough to take the weight of the crane and trucks without causing too much damage. A group of members stayed on the property for a few days to disassemble the engine into components light enough to lift out with the hired crane. They were then loaded on a truck for transport to Melbourne. A second expedition was needed later to bring back what could not be fitted on the first semi load and a lot of ancilliary items such as the alternator and air bottles.
Back at the club the restoration began in earnest. Frank Gough and the diesel team completely dis-assembled, de-rusted, cleaned and primed every component.
Stalled Awaiting Funds
Countless hours have gone into the restoration of the engine but the aim is to have it operational which means at several expensive steps are required to acheive this aim. The fault that ended its working life was the failure of the centre cylinder big end bearing and the crankshaft had to take a trip to Singapore to find an engineering workshop with equipment large enough to grind the bearing.
Now that it has returned the next expensive step is the engine foundations which are projected to require up to 70 cubic meters of concrete. Work on this has begun with piers to support the foundation sunk 5 metres down to solid supporting mud stone.
Any donations to assist would be gratefully received.