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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2008 12:58 pm
Posts: 1200
Location: Chicago USA
It would probably be helpful to know if it was in working order when stored. If it was, then maybe getting it (and various other parts) unstuck, cleaned, and lubricated as required could be all that's needed. Maybe other things will then show up like seals failing and there maybe some things that could be obvious even now or don't fail until it's fired up like belts, hoses, fuel lines, etc.

But it seems like if it was functional before then it could run again.

Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:49 pm 

Joined: Mon May 24, 2010 10:22 am
Posts: 442
When unsticking multi-cylinder engines it's a good idea to clean out the crankcase before pouring in the magic potion.

That way you can tell which cylinders are dripping and which ones are not.

Hint: the non-dripping cylinders are probably the stuck ones.

-Hudson


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:53 pm 
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Posts: 1393
If you find that you are unable to free up the engine, and have to remove cylinders and install replacements, consider contacting these people as a source of used parts. They normally do not work with locomotives, but they have scrapped a number of CAT D17000 engines from power generating and irrigation applications and may have some usable salvaged parts available. They have a couple photos of groups of D17000 engines displayed on their website, and I recognize that the photos were definitely taken at their location. At least it is worth checking if you need parts. General Disclaimer - I have not done any parts purchase transactions with them, I am just aware that they have often have some very old Caterpillar parts on hand:

General Gear and Machine Company
733 Desert Wind Road
Boise, Idaho 83716

Phone: 208-342-8911

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Advice from the multitude costs nothing and is often worth just that. (EMD-1945)


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:57 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 04, 2008 9:42 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Clinton Michigan
I've found a lot of help on our D17000 engines from our CAT dealer and talking with diesel mechanics that deal with trucks, large farm equipment, or large road equipment -- Usually a lot of diesel mechanics around your county road commission! They are a source of information that can be tapped and most will try to help or stear you in the right direction.

Also suggest that you get the CORRECT D17000 parts books for your particular engines. Look for those serial numbers. There are GE 44's that have had their older engines replaced with later D17000's and it makes a difference when you are looking for parts. Don't take it as gospel that the parts on your engine are correct until you look for the numbers and match it up with the books or the CAT dealer can give you a replacement number!

Don't be discouraged as there are always places that can make parts -- look at all the work that the steam guys put into their locomotives. Just because it's a D17000 doesn't mean it's the end of the world.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:15 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:11 pm
Posts: 345
Given the state of Nifty tools becoming more available. A good local auto mechanic should have a bore scope. Snap on has some really nice ones that are fairly affordable. Under 300 dollars. They have very small ends and good picture quality. Maybe you find someone with one to come out and take a "look".
Injector holes, intake, exhaust anywhere and everywhere you can take a peak. If you can get into the cylinders look for a white build up around the top of the pistons. If you have a good amount of this build up, you might as well pull the heads.
While you have a scope there pull the rocker covers, see what you can see. Rust is not a good sign. Is the inside of the exhaust manifold full of rust and signs of water? Again not a good thing.
The side topics of swapping engines. A gear box for reduction is not as simple as it first sounds. Getting a strong enough gear box can be pricey. Ask the people at Knoxville locomotive works. It can be done but it does take work. One problem is most old generators are single bearing design. If you have this style you will need to support the end that would couple to the gear box. Quite a bit of work.
Depending on the work that the locomotive would be used for there are several options using new stuff. Tier 4i just drove the cost up quite a bit making the use of new engines very pricey.
If you can't get the engine freed up I would start beating the "bush" Somewhere out there is someone with a running take out. If money is tight the internet will be your best friend in finding something priced right.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:05 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 806
Location: NJ
Just out of curiosity, is the 70 ton main generator single bearing or double? I was talking to a gent from down South maybe fifteen years ago, and he was telling me about how easy it was to put truck engines in 70Ts. It got me to thinking about using the engine AND transmission, maybe with a trans cooler. Just leave it in the right gear to get the correct speeds on the generator; sounds very much like what Knoxville does with the MTU and marine gearbox. Having a double bearing generator would surely make it easier.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:28 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 5:11 pm
Posts: 345
The tranny idea sounds like a interesting fix. The big problem would be a single bearing generator's armature's weight would destroy the output shaft bushing on the tranny. That would be interesting to see done though. Resourceful to say the least.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:29 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:31 pm
Posts: 237
Jack A. Siffert wrote:
Given the state of Nifty tools becoming more available. A good local auto mechanic should have a bore scope. Snap on has some really nice ones that are fairly affordable. Under 300 dollars. They have very small ends and good picture quality. Maybe you find someone with one to come out and take a "look".



I have a Milwaukee Spector 360 Inspection Camera and can attest to how useful it can be to searching inside a engine...... I think I paid around $260.00 and some change for it at Northern Tool.

Tim W.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:49 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1263
Location: Strasburg, PA
From our own experience, it is likely that the source of moisture into the cylinders is from cracked cylinder heads. The D-17000 cylinder head design suffered from having a very narrow ligament between the valve seats which is prone to cracking into the cooling water space directly above. Combine this with the engines going out of production some sixty years ago, and support from CAT ending decades ago as well, and you start to enter an untenable parts availability situation.

We have attempted to repair the standard crack without success, any weld or braze repair will include the valve seats as well, and doesn’t correct the basic problem that causes the crack to form in the first place.

We recently had a possible source of heads from a 44 tonner that was being scrapped, only to find that the sample head that was sent to us was, you guessed it, cracked. That was pretty much the last straw for our 44 tonner. We used our last three good heads (of dozens used over the years) a year or two ago to replace cracked ones, only to find after a few more months of operation that we had other cracked heads leaking coolant into their cylinders, with no way to repair or replace them. If we went to the trouble and expense of making a pattern to have more heads cast and machined, we would only be perpetuating the same problems with new heads cracking just like the originals.

Several years ago, we looked into re-powering with Cummins engines, and found a supplier with a ready designed kit consisting of a Cummins engine, and a reduction gear box, ready to bolt onto the standard 44 tonner generator. Rather pricy. That would take care of one problem, leaving us with all of the others that go with trying to run a sixty four year old diesel that is not supported by any manufacturer at all.

Sorry to be so gloomy. Good luck with your project.

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 9:58 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8465
Location: Baltimore, MD
Two suggestions re: bore scopes:

1) you may be able to borrow one (and its operator) from a garage or shop that has one, if there's non-profit status involved with the line.

2) If you can't find someone to borrow one from, you can rent them. May have to go to a bigger city, or beat the bushes a bit, but "borescope rental" does produce some positive results on your favorite Internet search engines.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:01 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8465
Location: Baltimore, MD
Kelly Anderson wrote:
That was pretty much the last straw for our 44 tonner.


So does this mean Strasburg's 33 is permanently retired, which explains the acquisition of the ex-NYC/Lewisburg & Buffalo Creek 8618?

Gee, I bet the chaps at the Walkersville Southern are having second thoughts about having acquired the PRR 9339 from South Carolina......


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:49 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:14 pm
Posts: 460
Location: Essex, Connecticut, USA
Dear jjs_fnw:
First, a quick answer to your original question: Many years ago (prior to becoming solvent), Valley Railroad had a similar problem (albeit with a Cummins engine) and was successful removing a stuck piston, honing the cylinder liner, renewing the rings and getting our locomotive No. 0901 running again. Indeed, it was in use last weekend. So, your idea is a good one, and ought to work (if that is all that is wrong).
Second, many years ago we had a GE44 tonner and had the same issues with ours as Kelly described. We sold ours to a volunteer organization that has kept it running for many years. Of course, their expectations for reliability and maintenance costs varied from ours (read: they don't have a schedule to adhear to and budgets to meet).
Third, if you get your 44 tonner running again, run it on a regular basis, don't leave it sit idle for months at a time. The worst thing to do to these old things is to let them sit.
Good luck!
J.David


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:32 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1263
Location: Strasburg, PA
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Kelly Anderson wrote:
That was pretty much the last straw for our 44 tonner.

So does this mean Strasburg's 33 is permanently retired, which explains the acquisition of the ex-NYC/Lewisburg & Buffalo Creek 8613?

It looks like she is retired, though she was used for a compressed air supply for track work a week or two ago.

#8618’s purchase coincided with the renaissance of freight work here, not #9331’s retirement (just as well, with the volume of 286,000 lb cars coming in, if not for #8618, #9331 would be a killed dead burned out hulk right now, not simply retired).

#9331’s future is unclear at this time. There are no plans to disable her in any way at this time, though we are making her stored spare parts available for sale on an “as is, where is” basis.

_________________
"It was not easy to convince Allnutt. All his shop training had given him a profound prejudice against inexact work, experimental work, hit-or-miss work."
C. S. Forester

Strasburg Rail Road Mechanical Department


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:50 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 806
Location: NJ
Going back to the truck engine and transmission, thats why I was asking about the second bearing. If there were two bearings on the generator, an adaptor plate, a truck drive shaft and universals could be used. Of course, there most likely be other issues elsewhere on the locomotive. The fellow down South only started to tell me about his conversions gave me the sketchiest information, then said he thought he should get a patent on his idea-

BTW, after the hurricanes hit the Gulf several years ago, there was a run on GE 581 main generators, as well as 752 traction motors. I was told that some outfits were adding a second bearing to 581 generators, and using them as large DC motors on drill rigs.


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 Post subject: Re: Engine repair GE 44 tonner
PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5284
Location: southeastern USA
OK, from what I'm reading here, we as an industry have a significant number of D17000 blocks with bad heads, and none of the parts are supported apart from repairs that don't last on the heads and dumb luck about finding something when we need it that isn't entirely worn out yet. Liners and bearings.....within the capability of many of us. Good heads of robust design not only aren't available, they never were........only now we can't even get new bad ones any longer.

Clearly if we want to keep classic centercabs running, we must perfect something sustainable that can be afforded by museum and tourist lines as a replacement.

So, back to ideas and brainstorming: can we can configure a fabricated bearing housing and outrigger type support for the generator shaft and rewind the generator for higher RPM to match a new, popular and affordably supportable diesel motor? I understand the bearing and support thing....but need somebody with electrical knowledge more than I've got to answer the rewinding question.

If not that, what would it take to drop in an of the shelf genset and reconfigure the rest of the electrical system to make use of it? can we just rectify the AC into DC and adjust the resistors? Would it be sensible to control the AC with something like VFDs then rectiify before going to the motors? Is there an AC traction motor retrofit that could replace the old DC in the same truck?

Critter graveyards just don't make a lot of sense if we can figure out a way to avoid them. I know we have brains here to make it happen, just not if we have the cooperative will.

dave

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Andrea Hairston


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