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Diesel Service Updates

Diesel Service Report – May 15, 2022

By May 15, 2022June 16th, 2022No Comments

Diesel Service Report, May 15, 2022

John Salvini and Richard Berk have finished their work on the SF560 Opposed Piston Diesel engine and are now focusing on maintenance issues associated with the other locomotives. These are some of the on-going issues that they have been addressing.

SF108 (EMD FP45)

The locomotive was restored about four years ago and has been in frequent use for museum functions plus our Run One program. We have known from day one that the Diesel engine is worn but still functional. The problem is that the wear in the engine allows liquid oil droplets to be expelled out the exhaust stack. That oil settles all over the top of the locomotive and down the sides. If the locomotive were operated under full load conditions, like it would be in real railroad use, the exhaust system would stay hot and clean. In our operation the engine never reaches full load, so the loose oil builds up in the exhaust manifold.

To solve that, John and Richard operate the locomotive in “self-loading” mode. During that mode, the electrical power is dissipated in the dynamic braking grid resistors and the Diesel engine can be run at full load. That cleans up the loose oil problem in about 15 minutes of hot loading. There is no affordable solution for us other than to operate the engine at full load to clean it up. That approach works great and is a good answer for the museum.

SF108 is a favorite locomotive in the Run-One program. It rents for $350 for an hour of operation and everyone that runs it, falls in love with how it runs and how beautifully it has been restored.

SP3100 (GE U25B)

This locomotive is the only one of its model still operational, as far as we know. It works perfectly, and having a 4 cycle Diesel engine, it runs clean. But there is a nagging oil leak somewhere around the water pump area but the exact source hasn’t be located yet.

SP1006 (EMC SW1), UP942 (EMD E8), and SF108

The load regulators on all three locomotives have oil leaks. The regulators control how much field current is fed to the main generators as different power levels are selected for the Diesel engines. John located the leaks and Richard has ordered the correct seals for all the regulators. These are common failure items, so Richard ordered a couple of spare seals for each of the regulators. SF108 also has a leaking seal in the Diesel engine crankcase drain line. A new seal has been ordered for it also.

SF560 Restoration Project (Fairbanks Morse H12-44M)

The trucks have been removed from under the locomotive and the brake rigging has been removed from the trucks. Our experience with rebuilding the trucks from SP1006, taught us what to look for regarding wear and tear associated with the trucks. So far, everything on the trucks looks great except for issues with the brake rigging.

The first effort was to steam clean the hard concrete material off of the brake assemblies. This (right) shows Frank operating our new steam cleaner.

After the cleaning, Carl Pickus, Frank Kunsaitis, and Corey Wylde disassembled one set of brake rigging and found severe wear in some of the bushings. They also found half or more of the straddle bars bent or severely worn.

Carl will take the remaining brake rigging assemblies to his shop for disassembly, cleaning, and repair. Once he has them disassembled, we will know what parts to purchase. Fortunately, the Hadady Company specializes in providing parts for locomotive trucks so there won’t be an issue buying what we need.

Frank steam cleaned the second truck and has now repacked all eight journal boxes and serviced them, and the support bearing cellars, with fresh journal oil. As far as we know, all the axle journals are in excellent shape.

Tom Platten has been spending days needle gunning and wire wheel cleaning the trucks, getting them ready for primer paint.

Tim Johnson and Bob Bray have been working refurbishing the duplex brake cylinders. One is finished, one is disassembled, and the other two will be easy to do since the trucks are out from under the locomotive.

The fuel tank sight glasses have been removed, cleaned, and reinstalled. There are four sight glasses. All of the glasses and brass housings were in good shape. New gaskets were installed, and the mounting bolts carefully tightened in the correct pattern. We are now ready to pump fuel back into the fuel tank.

The water separator/dirt cleaner on the output of the main air reservoir tanks has been removed for cleaning. It was about half full of water and the drain plug was frozen. The whole unit will be bead blasted, primered, and painted. The drain plug will be removed, cleaned, and reinstalled using an anti-seize compound so that the unit can be easily drained after it is back in use.

– Dave Althaus

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