North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

A record of events, activities and our work with the Q6

Thursday 3rd May 2018


The superheater header on ground outside Deviation Shed - Mark O Brien

Mark O'Brien writes: A quick update on the header. I managed to get the Q6 back outside for a couple of hours to enable removal of the header. An hour with a set of bottles, a hammer, a bar and a chock, the header was lifted down and out of the smokebox onto the floor ready for examination of the header, studs and hydraulic test of the header.


The other side of the header - Mark O Brien


Wednesday 2nd May 2018

A wet miserable morning at Grosmont yesterday but the sky cleared after lunch and the sun came out. With Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Nigel Bill, Roy Marshall, Nigel Hall, Ian Pearson, Dave Donegan and myself for what turned out to be a very frustrating day. No mice to report again, and the usual cups of tea all round, were among the highlights.

The aim of the day was to get the valves set on the Q6, for which we needed a diesel and a shunter. None were immediately available however, and, as Bill was eager to get the stove lit in the morning with the weather being so poor, work was started on completing the stove installation. So, with Bill cutting a hole in Deviation Shed roof and assistance from others, the chimney flue was mounted on top of the stove, secured by the new wall brackets, and a fire was lit for the first time. The area round the stove was nearly as warm as that at Hopetown! Ian saw white smoke coming from the shed roof - signs of Bill being elected to a new higher role? Ian was prepping the diesel No. 12139, now re-named Redcar as it was originally, ready to shunt the breakdown crane and coach out of the way, with MPD authority for Nigel Bill to act as shunter. That would then allow the diesel to be available to move the Q6 as required to enable Bill to set the valve timing but by the time Nigel Bill and Ian had removed the breakdown crane to the wheel drop road, fastened them down and returned to No 7 road in Deviation Shed to pull the Q6 outside, the plan had changed. John Furness wanted the J27 moved into Deviation Shed from the running shed so that he could complete its painting, which meant a complicated shunt to remove Lucie (0- 4- 0 VBT) and put the J27 in its place, with the Q6 on top. Sounds simple but......

As it was lunch time, we retired to the bench in Deviation Shed, and were joined by Paul Hutchinson who had brought back the Q6 brick arch formers from Carnforth and joined us for a chat and a cuppa. Steve stacked the arch formers neatly to the left of the double doors into the workshop. After lunch, while waiting for the diesel shunter, Bill, Nigel Bill, Ian and myself took the opportunity to fit the right hand side valve back into the valve steam chest so Bill could line it up, measure and scribe and pop mark it. Chris Cubitt then took over driving the shunter for us, and the Q6 was coupled to the wagon carrying the frames of Lucie . At the same time, another diesel removed a coach from the back road behind Deviation Shed which had to be moved to the running shed where it's refurbished bogies were ready to be fitted, and also make space to get Lucie into the wheeldrop. The J27 also had to be extracted from the back of the running shed behind 80136 and 76079 and brought up to the coaling plant to wait for the arrival of the Q6 ready to go back into Deviation Shed in the right order. At least I think that was planned. By the time this was achieved it was time to move Lucie and the Q6 out side. Lucie was, in the end, put on No 8 road in front of Hartland and then the Q6 was taken to couple onto the J27. However, as the Q6 was being pushed towards the J27, the leading wheels of the Q6 tender derailed at approx 3.30pm. Shed Foreman Barney Casey, Nick Simpson and a team of shed fitters were soon on the scene with the breakdown coach alongside and the lifting jacks out. By 4.45pm the tender was back on the road. Ian assisted in a little more shunting around the shed driving the class 25 and the 08 shunter, and the J27 and Q6 were finally put into Deviation Shed and the doors shut. What an afternoon!

There were some other jobs done by the team today - Nigel Hall filled and rubbed down the BR dome cover and gave it a coat of grey undercoat, and Roy, Steve and Dave brought a lot of items belonging to the J27 from the MPD, some of which are stored upstairs in the workshop and some near the bench at the back of No 8 road . Where individually identifiable they have been tagged and their location recorded on an inventory sheet, a copy of which has been given to Paul Middleton - I currently have the original which will be returned to the upstairs desk in the workshop next week. A check needs to be made of this material once the J27 is back in traffic to see what is surplus to requirements and can be scrapped.

The next working party will be on Saturday 5th May, when it is the NYMR 'Behind the Scenes' weekend. The JVs will be attending with a sales and refreshments stand on the Saturday, ready to show visitors round. Hopefully the left hand side valve can be fitted to the Q6, which will then allow the brake gear and other bits to go back on. For Tuesday, the current plan is to move the Q6 down to the MPD so that the header can be removed, and the long awaited copper ferrule might arrive to enable retubing to start - we will see!


Saturday 28th April 2018

Ian was driving on the NYMR yesterday, so Bill reports via Ian (yes it's a long reporting chain this time!) that it was a cool fine day at Grosmont yesterday with James Swainston, Nigel Bill, Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis and Bill himself.

After the usual cups of tea and chat, Trevor and Peter finished off fabricating the heavy duty brackets for supporting the flue for the stove. Holes were drilled in the wall of workshop, brackets fixed, and the flue tube hauled into position using the pull lift. However, there is still more work to do on this project before an initial steam test can be carried out and the stove be brought into service!

On the Q6 itself, the valve setting is due to be done next week, possibly on Tuesday or Wednesday, so, in preparation, both piston valves have been removed and the port widths measured. To facilitate this, the link rod between the steam reverser and the way shaft was removed and the Stephenson link position altered with a crowbar. Some of the small tubes put in the boiler last Saturday were re-positioned to allow Mark O'Brien better access for beading over the screwed copper ferrule when it arrives in the next day or two - it has been waiting for a material certificate before being despatched, but that has now apparently been received so is on its way at last. The chamfering of the flue tube holes has also been completed by the NYMR. The header remains to be removed. Mark O'Brien has been concentrating on the J27 in the last few days, but now his work on that has been largely completed he says he will get on with removing the header on Tuesday.

Nigel Bill removed the defective front safety valve from the J27 and dismantled it. Bill Dobson then measured the clearances on the seat and found it will need machining to correct them.

The next working Party will be on Wednesday, 2 May - fingers crossed, this should be the final month of the overhaul.


Wednesday 25th April 2018

A sunny and dry but rather cool day yesterday at Grosmont, with Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Roy Marshall, Nigel Hall and myself. Usual cups of tea to start with and discussions on what we were to do as we were waiting of a shunt with the 08 shunter. The tea club has now been extended to include Martin Ashburner and William Parrish from the Essex Loco Society, working on the boiler of 825 on No 8 Road.

I brought the BR style dome cover for the J27 down from upstairs which Nigel spent the rest of the day stripping down and repainting in primer. Ian oiled up all side rods, big ends and little ends and Bill lubricated the pistons. Roy cleaned the left hand con rod, which had acquired quite a bit of rust and grime over time sat on the floor of Deviation Shed. Ian spoke to Chris Cubitt about the movement of the Q6 as he was driving the 08. There was a long list of shunts to be done before the Q6, and Ian was told it would be 1 o'clock before we could have a shunt. Bill asked Ian to disconnect the drive from the steam reverser shaft to the expansion link which he did and tied the shaft up out of the way, as it was touching the intermediate axle. Hopefully this should make it easier to set the valves, but no valve setting was done as the MPD valve setter was away.

No alfresco lunch today as it was a bit too cool for sitting outside at the picnic tables, so we ate inside on the bench in Deviation Shed. Derek Shorten called in to see us during the lunch break: he is struggling to walk with arthritis in his knee joint and went for a ride out on the train to Pickering. Just after 1pm, Chris Cubitt started up the 08 "Gronk " with Josh, the diesel fitter, as shunter. After moving the crane and breakdown coach, the 08 was attached to the Q6 and, with great driving skill and communication with the shunter, it was moved very slowly to test the piston travel on both sides. These proved to be OK and lining up with the pop marks. The locomotive was then taken outside for removal of the header. After a lot of time and effort, using the telehandler with strops attached round the header and onto the tines, and in spite of a lot of help and effort from William Parrish, including use of a burning torch to heat the flange and bolts and try to break the seal, it all proved to be of no avail and we had to retire unsuccessful. The Q6 was left outside Deviation Shed and Mark O'Brien said he would have another go today once he had finished with the J27. While the Q6 was outside however, I cleaned the mechanical lubricator which was rather grubby with oil and dirt, as well as keeping an eye on progress with the J27.

Next working party will be this Saturday, 28th April.

An empty No 7 road with a dry pit - Nigel Hall

In other news, the guttering replacement on Deviation Shed has now been completed and one positive consequence has been a drying out of the pit (see Nigel Hall's photo) - the pump has not had to be used during the last three working parties. Long may it continue! On the Railway, the boiler and frames of 9F No 92134 have arrived and were moved into the running shed yesterday. It is reported to be here on the same basis as 80136 - completion (it apparently has a boiler ticket) and then running on the NYMR in return for a number of years. The B1 also returned to New Bridge yesterday following its holiday in Scotland - at least its tender was seen on a low loader heading East along the A64 near Whitwell on the Hill at about 5.45pm. In its absence, and 80136 on wash out, services were in the hands of Repton and 76079, along with the DMU.


Saturday 21st April 2018

Another glorious warm sunny day at Grosmont, with Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Ian Pearson, Dave Donegan, James Swainston, myself (I know, it wasn't Wednesday!), and, for the first time, Paul Jameson for half a day as he was on a photographers PTS course in the afternoon, then Alan Hardie in the afternoon after his training course in the morning, and Paul Swainston after lunch following his cleaning turn. First job was to brew up the usual cuppas for the team to get them motivated. No cakes today though.

Q6 elements arrive at Grosmont - Ian Pearson

Then it was all hands round the east side of Deviation Shed to unload the 24 new Q6 elements off the NYMR's Transit pickup truck which Bill and Ian had brought back from Ian Storey Engineering at Hepscott on Friday (see photo). These are now safely stacked on the footway between Nos 6 & 7 roads in Deviation Shed. Trevor spent all day making more fittings and getting the stove flue ready for erection in the near future - we are clearly not expecting the current warm weather to last! Trevor had to get another oxygen bottle from the compound as ours had run out: the empty was returned to the compound. Bill brought the LHS big end bearing up from the MPD and with me, Paul J, Dave and James, the bearing was finally fitted. Final adjustments will wait until valve setting is done, as moving the locomotive and tender backwards and forward proved too much of a challenge in the heat.

First of the small tubes being inserted into the Q6 boiler - Chris Lawson

Lunch was had alfresco at the picnic table in the lovely warm sunshine - just like being in Mallorca with steam trains passing by! After lunch it was decided to erect staging at the front of the Q6 so we could put some small tubes into the boiler. That required all hands on erecting the staging, and, as we were up and down to the MPD boiler shop for staging parts, the opportunity was taken to move all the J27 cab flooring down to the boiler shop on our return journeys. It has been stacked adjacent to the locomotive. With James inside the boiler, as he was the slim one yesterday in the absence of Rachelle, 22 small tubes were fitted into the boiler, 11 each side bottom right and left (see photos). Only 134 to go!

First 22 tubes in the boiler - Chris Lawson

On the J27 side of things, the water valve handles from the tender, from which Nigel had started to remove the remnants of taper pins last Wednesday, were drilled out by Dave Donegan. The right hand handle was fitted to the spindle and a split pin put in to secure it but was not opened out. The left hand handle is fastened to its spindle with a piece of wire at the moment, as this requires a small hole drilling in the spindle and then split pinning.

We did have a lot of visitors round the Shed today, also quite a lot of new and older JV's around the MPD learning the ropes.

The new compressor was in constant use by Piglet shot blasting Lucie's frames, and 80136 was on the 1230 'Wedding Belle' departure from Grosmont, and we gave the lucky couple a toast with our tea as the train came past the Shed.


Wednesday 18th April 2018

Cake to mark 50th anniversary of Q6 purchase by NELPG 18 April 2018 Jon Bradley Bill Dobson Ian Pearson Chris Lawson and Steve Hyman - Maurice Burns

Well, what a change in the weather! 20 degrees at Grosmont today so we needed to watch for sunburn rather than worrying about having to wrap up to keep warm. Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Jon Bradley, and Ian Pearson at the start of the day, I arrived around lunch time following a dental appointment, and Nigel Hall came in about 2pm. Chris Wakefield also joined the team for a couple of hours after his cleaning turn. So the usual cups of tea, and still no mice.

It was decided that Bill would fit all the remaining washout plugs, while everyone else would remove the tender and locomotive drawbar hooks for NDT inspection. This was going to be a lengthy job as both drawbar hooks were covered in grease and about 3 coats of paint. A collective effort was organised, with Jon and Steve removing the hooks, and Ian cleaning all the dirt off before removing the paint with a wire brush attachment on the angle grinder. Chris Wakefield carried on with the angle grinder, removing rust and paint while lunch was held alfresco in the picnic area just outside Deviation Shed.

After lunch we had a visit from Maurice Burns and his partner Mary who is a visitor guide at Tees Cottage Pumping Station in Darlington. When I arrived at Deviation Shed I brought a birthday cake to mark 50 years since the Q6 was purchased by the Group on 1 April 1968.

Everyone had a piece of cake to celebrate the event. Afterwards I took Maurice and Mary down to the MPD to have a look round the J27. Nigel was busy removing sheared taper pins from the tender water valve handles belonging to the J27. These had to be drilled out and will be refitted next week. At the end of the day, Ian having successfully NDT'd the draw hooks, they were refitted back on the engine and tender, while Bill completed fitting all washout plugs in the cab, foundation ring and smokebox.

Quite a few visitors round the Shed today although it was very noisy at times with William Parrish beading over copper rivets on the S15 boiler situated on No 8 road. Bill and Ian are going to Ian Storey's workshop at Hepscott on Friday to pick up the superheater elements for the Q6.

Hopefully they will be dropping off the old J27 smokebox wrapper at the Marske scrapyard on the way.

The next working party will be on Saturday 21st, when the big end bearing will be ready for fitting - by the end of today it needed only about half an hour or so's machining work.


Saurday 14th April 2018

Ian reports that Spring had sprung at Grosmont on Saturday, with blue skies and sunshine. Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Alan Hardie, Nigel Hall and Ian took advantage of the sunbathing weather, although the day really started on Friday afternoon with Bill and Ian loading our last consignment of small scrap tubes onto the NYMR transit. That was successfully done ready for delivery to the scrapyard on Saturday morning, as it closed at 11.30 am. Ian left Grosmont about 9.00am on Saturday and delivered the scrap to European Metal Recycling at Marske by the Sea, with the load weighing in at 0.740 tonnes, bringing in £122.10 and a total of £315.90 for the Q6 fund with the previous load.

At Grosmont there were still no mice to report, and Ian assumed the usual cuppas were consumed as he missed out yet again. Alan Hardie spent all day cleaning scale off the flue tube for our new stove chimney. Trevor was making brackets for the flue tube/chimney so it can be erected and fastened to the wall at the outside end of the workshop just above No 8 road. Should be ready just in time for the summer! Bill fitted 4 washout doors and 7 boiler plugs in the cab area. Nigel got a second coat of gloss paint on the J27 lockers and also some paint onto the underside of plates in the rear cavity of the tender which had been omitted at Hopetown. Another coat was also put onto the underside of the sump. The rear RHS vac pipe bracket was found to be only finger tight and he managed to tighten this up, albeit with some difficulty as it’s almost impossible to reach the rear bolt head with a spanner.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed with quite a few visitors round watching the consumption by everyone of their snap/bait. After lunch, Ian gave the fridge a clean out as there was a build up water and sludge in the bottom. Then he was asked to show a party of people around the whole of the MPD area. They were relatives of Kieran Murray, the Carriage and Wagon Foreman, who was not available. After taking them round the MPD area, Ian then had to make a sharp exit as he was going to the Sage at Gateshead to see "The Hollies", a great 60's band - no comment!

The elements have now been completed and successfully hydraulically tested by Mathew Storey. Bill is arranging to borrow the NYMR transit again top go and collect them, hopefully taking the J27 old smokebox wrapper to the scrapyard at Marske on the way to earn some more money.


Wednesday 11th April 2018

A grey, murky, bitterly cold day at Grosmont, with dense thick fog on the A171 and A169 roads leading to the railway. Those that made it to Grosmont were Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall ,Ian Pearson and myself, and we were joined later by two shed cleaners - Chris Wakefield and Ethan Humble. After the usual cups of tea (and again no more mice to report) we started work with Nigel painting the J27 tender lockers. The new compressor belonging to the Essex Loco Society was in action, with William Parrish and his contractor doing some riveting on the S15 boiler, but, unfortunately for Nigel, the J27 tender is opposite to the S15 boiler and it got very noisy at times - he couldn't even hear the calls for tea! Ian set up hoses ready to wash out the foundation ring. Ethan went into the boiler to remove some old copper ferrules which had got lodged between the inner and outer water space area of the foundation ring. Then he cleaned about four mud hole doors which had rusted up somewhat since last being cleaned. Ian and Chris Wakefield then set about washing out the foundation ring and removing scale which had accumulated around the mud holes. I spent some time down at the MPD assessing the progress of the J27 with Mark O'Brien (separate report to follow). I also made a brew of tea, and lunch was had in Deviation Shed . Our two cleaners then left as they had been on duty since 5am.

After lunch I assisted Ian and completed the wash out, which included Ian getting soaked from a splash back. Bill went off to the stores for some door joints, but, as there are three different sizes on the Q6, Charlie Dore brought a box full up to the shed where he and Bill fitted all the doors with joints. In the meantime I cleaned most of the remaining doors - there are two left to clean. Ian fitted two wash out doors while Bill fitted six doors.

We have been told the cutters are now completed so we should get the last of the flue chamfers cut shortly. The required copper ferrule is also reported as being ordered. Once delivered then we can start putting tubes into the boiler! The elements are also being worked on by Mathew Storey and should be ready for collection in the next week or two. The big end bearing has still not been machined because of priority having to be given to work on bearings for 80136, but it has been promised yet again for next Wednesday.


Wednesday 4th April 2018

A grey, but dry, start to the morning again at Grosmont with bursts of sunshine and then a tropical downpour in the late afternoon. Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman (until early afternoon), Jon Bradley, Nigel Hall, Bryan Orange, Luke Perry of the JVs, Ian Pearson and myself were present, plus JV Tom Noble appearing occasionally during breaks in his cleaner duties at the MPD. No mice to report again, cups of tea all round, bar Ian who was late arriving - serves him right for sleeping in!

First job was to get into the NYMR's Transit pickup, which required some muscle power, before taking it round the East side of Deviation Shed to load up the old scrap boiler tubes. So it was all hands on loading the scrap tube, with Bryan cutting some in half after Jon had borrowed a large angle grinder with a cutting disc from the MPD and set up an extension from our Shed . By the time we got the pickup loaded and tied down it was lunch time, so it was lunch in Deviation shed on the bench. There is another load to be taken to clear the Q6 scrap tubes, and we need also to take the ex-Crewe now scrap smokebox wrapper: the pickup has been booked again for next Wednesday. This work site also provided the opportunity to admire the new guttering on the East side of the Shed which the contractor had installed earlier in the week - the West side should be done next week.

After lunch, Ian and Jon set off with the scrap to Marske by the Sea, to European Metal Recycling Ltd. Their load weighed in at just over 1.14 tonnes, bringing in £193.80 for the Q6 fund. While Ian and Jon were slaving away at Marske unloading the scrap, Steve and I fitted the brake linkage between the locomotive and tender and Bill and I put up the rear part of the locomotive brake linkage. Nigel set about repairing the left hand valve spindle follower to stop the inner section turning and blocking the oil supply to the valve spindle. The repair is nearly complete but time ran out so Nigel has kindly taken it home to his workshop to finish the job off. Bill and Ian also found a job for Gordon Wells to do in his workshop at home, namely to repair the vacuum gauge brass surround which broke while being cleaned: it additionally needs 3 very small screws to secure the surround. Ian has delivered the gauge to Gordon.

Quite a bit of late running on the railway again yesterday with a land slip near Darnholm causing concern. Although it is not fouling the track, it is not far off and is being constantly monitored and trains are running by at caution. There were also reported problems on the Esk Valley line which caused delays on trains running to and from Whitby. 80136, the B1 (due to move to York on Friday for its main line rail tour trips to Whitby) and 826 Repton were in charge of trains. 76079 was on the wheeldrop during the day receiving attention to its rear set of drivers, but was moved down to the running shed at the end of the day. So not the best start to the season for the NYMR, but trains seemed to be reasonably loaded, and we had a fair number of visitors round Deviation Shed, all of whom had the donation box firmly pointed out to them!

There is now little work we can do until the NYMR gets the replacement copper ferrule for the firebox tubeplate (which will allow retubing to begin) and the machined big end bearing (promised again for next Wednesday). As a result there will be no working party this Saturday 7 April, but there will be one on Wednesday 11 April, in the expectation that the big end bearing will finally be available for fitting, and the second load of scrap needs to be loaded and delivered. The elements are still awaited from Mathew Storey, but they are not yet on the critical list


Wednesday 28th Masrch 2018

A bright, cool morning at Grosmont with a crew of only four yesterday - clearly quality over quantity! Bill Dobson and Gordon Wells were eventually joined by Ian Pearson and myself. After our usual cuppa and discussion about local and national football, cheating at cricket, failures on the NYMR at the weekend, and generally putting the world to rights, it was time to start work.

Gordon spent what was left of the morning installing a new separate switch in the cage to operate the pit pump. This is situated above the circuit breaker box and the old switch in there has been disconnected and the 'pit pump' label removed. Please use this new switch to operate the pump in future. Bill and Ian removed the left hand valve follower which was trapped by the valve rod. The follower required removing as the inner section of it was loose and needs securing with a grommet. To do this, they had to remove the front pin of the L/H back gear eccentric rod from the expansion link with the use of a strop and pull lift. The follower is now on the workshop bench for Nigel Hall to repair next Wednesday, after he made such a good job of the right hand one. The eccentric rod was reassembled back into the expansion link, but with the two fixing taper pins only loosely inserted for the time being, as it may have to be taken down to refit the follower. In the meantime I sauntered off to the MPD to see how the work on the J27 was progressing.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed, with a bit of a change to the weather as there were some very heavy hail and rain showers, alternating with bright sunshine. There were quite a few visitors taking shelter and giving the opportunity for a chat about our work and some money to go in the box. One did ask though where the front pony truck for the Q6 was as he had not seen an 0-8-0 before - clearly a GWR person! After lunch, Ian and Bill coupled up the tender to the locomotive and put in the main drawbar pin plus safety link pins, with me underneath dealing with the split pinning, although Ian put the cotter and split pin into the main drawbar pin. All tender and locomotive main and safety link pins have new split pins fitted and opened up. Bill tightened up the rear nut on the drawbar sufficiently to allow the loco to be moved, but it will require further tightening later to allow the locking plate and cotter to be fitted. These items are upstairs on the shelf with label 1406 attached. I also opened out the two remaining brake hanger split pins on the inside of the frames, and tightened up the driving wheel spring hanger nuts so they were flush with the bolts, as per all the others which had been done by Alan Hardie the previous week. A bit of housekeeping was also done during the afternoon, with all the old oily rags cleared up by Ian from around the walk ways and loco frames and taken down to MPD for lighting up, while I replaced the broken bulb in one of the small inspection lamps. The L/H big end bearing was still down at the MPD being re-metalled and machined.

On the railway, the boiler for S15 No 825 was brought down from New Bridge on a lowmac wagon hauled by the class 26 diesel Tom Clift. It is now standing behind Deviation Shed, but is due to be moved inside to stand above the Q6 on No 7 road. Further work is apparently still required on it, and the Essex Locomotive Society volunteers made numerous trips from Scarborough during the day, bringing their equipment and bits and pieces to the railway, including a very large new compressor which is now standing on Deviation Shed floor behind the long red bench by the cage. Trains were running reasonably full and to time, with 80136, 76079 and Repton in charge. Noticeable though that on the teak set it was the Thompson compartment coach which was much fuller than any of the open coaches. The B1 was in the running shed receiving attention to the rear driving wheel set, but was being weighed (again) by the end of the day.

There will be no working party on Saturday because of other commitments, but Bill said he would pop down and open up Deviation Shed for any visitors. If therefore anyone is at a loose end on Saturday and wants to spend a few hours chatting to visitors and pointing out to them the location of the donation box, they will be most welcome. You would also be able to watch the trains go by!

The next working Party will therefore be on Wednesday 4th April, when we hope the L/H big end bearing will have been returned for fitting.


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