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Diesel Service Updates

Diesel Service Report – July 18, 2020

By July 18, 2020January 26th, 2022No Comments

Diesel Service, July 18th, 2020

SF560 (Fairbanks Morse 1956, H12-44M)

During the week, John Salvini continued cleaning the engine blower. He finished cleaning and wiping down the input to the blower and then worked on the output cavity of the blower. The input area to the blower was very coated with oily dirt. The output side was relatively clean, which may be a good omen for hinting that the blower seals are probably not damaged.

However, when he pulled off the access plate to inspect the output side of the blower, he found an identical access plate inside the blower. Someone apparently had removed the plate a long time ago, placed it inside the blower so it wouldn’t get lost. Later they couldn’t remember where they placed it, so they found another one and bolted it on. The access plate is made from steel and the blower housing is made of aluminum. Obviously, the steel plate bounced around in that cavity but couldn’t really hurt anything. The white marks in the picture show where one edge of the “lost” plate rubbed for a long time.

In this picture (right), you can look deep into the Diesel engine and see where the compressed air from the blower enters the engine block, ready to push out remaining exhaust gases and leaving fresh air in the cylinders for the next power cycle.

A deal is in the works for trading our frozen fuel injection pumps to a private company in exchange for identical pumps that were recently removed from an operational engine. If this parts exchange works as we hope it will, our injection fuel pump issues may be solved.

The injection nozzles pose a different problem. They are very obsolete, and no one has parts to repair them. We will clean and test them for fuel pattern spray, but the reality is that we will have to use them as they are. We will continue to hunt for replacement nozzles or parts for them but for now, our plan is to reuse them regardless of their condition.

USAF 1601

Tim Johnson spent part of his day working on a storage flat car, covering exposed journal bearing surfaces on the two truck combos that were removed from the locomotive. These two combos consist of the wheel sets and gear boxes, which are in excellent condition, along with two failed traction motors.  The traction motor armature covers were also replaced to keep critters from making homes inside.

Frank Kunsaitis and Carl Pickus cleaned out the truck center bowls and opened plugged oiling lines leading to the center bowls. The hard steel wear discs in the bottom of the bowl were in particularly good shape. However, it was apparent that new style plastic anti-friction lubrication plates had also been installed a long time ago and they were totally worn out. New plastic discs have been located and will be purchased.

In the picture (right), the rear wall of the center bowl ring is split and shows a hole in the middle of the split. That is the hole that was plugged and is how lubricating oil was supposed to get into the center plate bowl. Because no oil could pass into the bowl area, the bowl was totally dry when the truck was removed from under the locomotive. As a result, there was significant scuffing on the vertical ring walls and the mating portion of the ring which is attached under the locomotive. Proper lubricant will be added prior to the trucks being rolled back under the locomotive.

We are now waiting for parts from WABTEC. Brake cylinder packing cups and return springs are on order. It appears that there may be up to a two-month delay obtaining those parts.


During the refurbishment process, it was noted that there were large dried chunks of oil and dirt on top of the Diesel engine in the area between the two banks of cylinders. This is commonly called the V area. It wasn’t clear why those large chunks of dirt were in there and we were trying to understand  what a Cast U deck EMC engine was all about.

During that portion of the project, ten years ago, this picture (left) was taken It shows how the exhaust risers come out of the V area of the engine and route the exhaust gasses upward into the muffler. Note the big chunks of “stuff” down in the very bottom. Little did we know at the time that we would be back in that area trying to understand where a major oil leak is coming from.

Now when the engine is operated, lots of oil accumulates in that area and it is obvious that it has been doing that for an awfully long time. The chunks are left over from years of leaking oil mixing with dirt. That area doesn’t have a drain, so everything is captured there until it evaporates or is cleaned up.

Frank has tried to locate the source of the oil leak but hasn’t had any success yet. One consideration is to work with our spare engine and remove the exhaust risers and manifold to see if something makes sense as to where the oil is coming from. Its very difficult to access that area in the locomotive and to do so, portions of the hood will need to be removed.

The risers shown above, feed into the bottom of the exhaust muffler which is shown right. Note that the bottom of the of the muffler shows bolts to attach to the risers. That’s assuming that the later style of risers were being used. But in our case, the risers on our locomotive are original 1939’s and were not modified. Further proof that we have a very original locomotive.

 Tim then spent the rest of his day covering open holes on the “new to us” spare engine for 1006. He placed wooden coverings over the blower intake and exhaust stack. He then cut square wooden plates and bolted them over the open fittings that were left after the engine was removed from the scrapped SW1 in Kansas City.

The spare engine that we have for this locomotive has an Electro Motive Corporation name plate on it. It says it is a 6-567B3. We know what the 6-567B stands for but have no clue what the number 3 stands for. If any of you have any real good EMD/EMC experts to consult, we would like to know. For one, Preston Cook does not know, and he is one of the most foremost experts on the subject.

The name plate also shows that the engine serial number is 644. Based on the engine number in our 1939 locomotive, we know that 644 had to belong to an engine built earlier in 1939. Preston was asked about this and he knows of no list that correlates engine serial numbers to locomotive build numbers. His guess is that if such a list does exist, that it is owned by Progress Rail and that data isn’t available to the public. But what we really would like to know, is what the 3 stands for in the model number.

Locomotive Arm Rests

Tom Platten continues to hunt for the correct material and fabricate arm rests for the cab crews in locomotives. He has been working on the arm rests for USAF 7441 and will now be fabricating two for SP1006. Ray Ballash was able to identify where some of the correct material was located at the museum and Tom verified that it is the heavy duty Naugahyde that he has been searching for.

Load Bank

Work continues as we refurbish a locomotive load bank for the museum. Frank installed the short copper bus bars that are part of the grid resistor electrical connections.

The electrical power from the main generator in a locomotive feeds into the load bank. That electrical current is then split into three identical series strings of dynamic grid braking resistors. The load bank is designed to handle 2000 amps of current which means each of the three series banks of grids will have up to 667 amps flowing through it. That means that all the electrical connections must be very robust.

Each of the copper bars shown in the picture must handle 667 amps maximum. There are charts that show how much current copper bus bars can handle. These bus bars are ¼” thick by 2” wide. That size copper can handle about 720 amps.

In other portions of the wiring, current will be either 1333 amps or up to 2000 amps. All the wiring and connections must be properly sized to handle these currents.

The major problem that we haven’t solved yet, is where to obtain the cables that connect the load bank to the locomotives. Typically, these cables are 50-foot-long. For lower power locomotives, it may take just two cables, one negative and one positive. But for higher powers, it may take four cables, two positive and two negative. If single cables are used for the very highest currents, then the cables become so heavy that they are difficult to use. It is common practice by the railroads to use smaller cables and double them up if necessary.


Dave Althaus

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