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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:56 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
Let me see if I can clear this up.

Diesel works great, but it sounds like you tried it once, on one engine, and it didn't work for you. It sounds like you haven't been taught by somebody with experience using it, and like you never got to practice using it. Nobody I've ever seen was instantly good at using that stuff, or was smart enough to know everything without having a senior man help him.

What's good fuel ??? I like diesel because it's clean, stable, consistant and available. I like heavy refined oil better because it has a lot more kick to it. Simple.

Obviuosly, there's more people than ever burning trash in the firebox. I'm still waiting for somebody to say "Sammy, you just don't know what you're missing. Life began for us firemen when they did away with Bunker C."

If you're happy and your train is happy burning recycled glop, that's great. You can heat it to the flash point if you want to, and it's fine with me, too. I'm NOT naming names for you, because I get the feeling you're more interested in arguing than in learning anything about how to fire diesel. My friends don't need me to start arguments in their name, if that's OK with you.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:58 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
Yea, Don,

I guess we'll never know. But ignorance is bliss, I'm happy to say.

Maybe I'm ego tripping, but since I get good results firing diesel, how bad do I need advice from somebody who doesn't ??? The one huge advantage to using it at Texas State was that everything in the park except the chainsaws, weedwackers, and motorboats, burned the same fuel.

Again, not trying to be a weisenheimer here, there IS one thing you said that I'm not quite getting. That is that burning diesel resulted in broken staybolts. To the best of my limited knowlege, staybolts break around mud burns, or if there is a sudden shock, like dumping cold water on an overheated crown sheet. I don't understand what difference the fuel makes.

Something else I never heard of: LUMP OIL ???

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:04 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2165
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
Yeah, LUMP OIL. Pretty common up here in the Northeast. They sometimes make diamonds out of the stuff.

Howard P.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:06 pm
Posts: 2165
Location: Thomaston & White Plains
RE: Diesel fuel in steam locomotive tenders, just as a matter of historical pricing information, the going rate for a tender-full (or at least 3/4 of a tank's worth) of diesel fuel at Lehigh Valley's Bethlehem Engine Terminal fuel rack in the Fall of 1975 was four bottles of Four Roses. The stuff boiled water pretty well in FEC 148. The diesel fuel stuff, not the Four Roses.

Howard P.
Statute of Limitations, NJ

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Last edited by Howard P. on Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:14 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:19 am
Posts: 5251
Location: southeastern USA
I'm intimately familiar with 17, Steve's engine. She's like a lot of very small switching locomotives, designed to move a shitload of cars at walking speed from over here to over there within a yard or industrial site, in this case a shipyard. Taking 4 cars out on the road, which was the original train, was a good load, but the growing draw of visitors with steam power required the additional capacity of an additional car (good problem to have, nice reason to have it). Now, we use a lot more steam less expansively hauling 5 cars. IF she had a bigger boiler and more grate area it would be a different story, but she is what she is.

The firebox was pretty crowded with 4 cars, I don't think you can climb up the line with a clear stack any more with 5. We're pushing her capacity to burn as much as we can, and it wasn't that great to start with. There's been some twiddling with the nozzle, etc, but what she really needs is a redesign of the combustion system and installation of one that will burn better, hotter and cleaner. Going to diesel under these circumstances is a nonstarter - we'd need to go to a fuel oil with more BTUs, perhaps if we ran waste with 25-50% #6 would be a good way to start........ less BTUs would be impossible for our operating circumstances.

But the real situation is she's just not enough boiler for the cylinders in her working situation with 5 cars out on the railroad. Ffestiniog uses much smaller power hauling a lot of cars with a vaporizing light oil system which force-fires very well, but at the expense of renewing the fireboxes every few years at overhaul. This isn't the road we want to travel, so....... Cliffside 110 is the answer. Much more boiler and slightly more cylinder will do very nicely, thanks, once we get her up and running, which is a factor of fund raising which is another subject for another thread.

Again: it's the whole situation, not one size fits all. For Steve's situation, he's absolutely right. Applying it to everybody's is absolutely wrong.

dave

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
I'll take your word for the lump oil bit, but what IS it ??? I'm not from the Northeast, I really have no idea what you mean.

In fact, if SPILLS are no problem, I'm downright curious. I haven't told anybody what happens if you mess up firing diesel yet...

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:01 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 710
Steve DeGaetano wrote:
QJdriver wrote:
I'm not going to argue with you, but if you check it out, you'll find out that lots of big steam engines burn diesel.
Can you name one?

I have it on good authority that for the last 15 years, 4449, 844, and 3985(when it was operational) have all burned reclaimed waste oil. The only time diesel would be used was in an emergency.



In the case of the UP engines, you are partially correct. In the mid-1980's UP did a lot of lab tests and established their own internal spec for steam locomotives. Yes, used lube oil from their various diesel shops is usually the base stock. But that is where the "reclaimed waste oil" part goes away.

This used oil is then re-refined. All heavy metals, junk, trash, water, foreign fluids and dinosaur bones are removed. The result is adjusted for flash point, sulfur, and ash content and viscosity. Each load is sampled and tested to keep the suppliers honest. In fact, they only used 2 or 3 trustworthy suppliers systemwide.

As a result of the success of this spec, a number of other operators adopted it. It is very close to a #5 spec in terms of BTU content and flash point.

Big locomotives do not fire well or steam well on diesel fuel, thus it doesn't get used in big locomotives, especially those that are going to see high speeds and or heavy loads
EXCEPT in an emergency situation (it's all you can find to get to the next point where
you can get the right fuel), or somebody has decided he's smarter than the locomotive designers and builders and the labs and decades of test results and real-world experience. As happened 2 or 3 years ago to 844, with predicted results.

Diesel costs more, makes gaskets leak, gets vaporous if it gets too warm, and/or tries to ignite inside the burner. Much more fuel is required, as is forcing the fire. Uneven heating from the small hotspots produced by diesel can and will warp side sheets and rear flue sheets and cause flues and staybolts to leak. Note that this applies mostly to BIG engines. 2-8-0s and such can burn diesel with little difficulty.

Anybody who thinks diesel fuel will work just as well as #5 in a large locomotive
has obviously never fired a large locomotive with diesel, or had to repair one afterward, OR did so only under very light demand, such a sitting on display someplace.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:11 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 710
QJdriver wrote:
I'll take your word for the lump oil bit, but what IS it ??? I'm not from the Northeast, I really have no idea what you mean.

In fact, if SPILLS are no problem, I'm downright curious. I haven't told anybody what happens if you mess up firing diesel yet...



Ever hear of COAL?


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:15 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 3:37 pm
Posts: 1055
Location: Pacific, MO
I'm not sure I can explain it any clearer why we DID NOT use diesel in 1522. Perhaps if I typed slower.
Next thing on the agenda. I did not say anything about broken staybolts.
I finished my statement by saying if you burn No. 2 and think you're happy with it, I'm happy for you.
If you want to burn Tequila, Chanel No. 5 or skunk urine, I'm happy for you.
1522 OUT!


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:26 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
Well, excuse me !!!

If anybody near central Colorado wants to show me how great their waste oil fires, and ESPECIALLY if they have trouble firing with diesel, please call me. (303) 822-8802

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 4:33 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:54 am
Posts: 794
Location: NJ
Since Howard let the proverbial cat out of the bag, I was babysitting the 148 the night before a later trip on the CNJ. We backed her through the barn at Raritan, and spotted her at the sand tower. (There was another hose there as well...) The next morning the fuel oil dealer that was supposed to top off the tank was surprised at how little fuel he pumped. She ran just fine, nine CNJ coaches, some still with air conditioning, at 60 MPH or so.

I do remember earlier days with the 148 at Black River, when sometimes the first train out on Saturday was diesel powered, because we were still draining water, antifreeze, ATF out of the "drain oil" they were using.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:10 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 710
QJdriver wrote:
Well, excuse me !!!

If anybody near central Colorado wants to show me how great their waste oil fires, and ESPECIALLY if they have trouble firing with diesel, please call me. (303) 822-8802



Paraphrasing an old country ditty:

"If your phone still ain't ringin', it means it's nobody who fired UP 844 or 3985
on diesel or on REAL fuel with faster, heavier trains than you can imagine, at least prior to 2011."

There are people out there and on here who've done both. And everyone is laughing at the mere idea. We're not talking about 25 mph teakettles here. We're talking about a 300 psi 4-8-4 that could and did run 80 mph all day long with 20 cars, and a 280 psi 4-6-6-4 that handled 143 cars at 60 mph without breaking a sweat.


Last edited by Lincoln Penn on Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:48 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
I'm laughing at the idea that you can get diesel to ignite inside the burner, with no oxygen.

I never claimed to have worked on a hog big enough to have arch tubes, or combustion chamber. Since you know all about it, please feel free to tell us all, all about it, including all these trains bigger and faster than anything I could possibly imagine. Don't forget to explain to me about all the damage diesel did to all these engines that never burned it, either. And while you're at it, how do you get hot spots with low BTU fuel ??? Just wondering, I'm no rocket scientist after all.

If I ain't waiting around for your call, maybe it's because I have business of my own to mind.

I'm also signing off. I have nothing useful to contribute. I concede that you won the pissing contest. Congratulations.

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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:14 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 710
QJdriver wrote:
I'm laughing at the idea that you can get diesel to ignite inside the burner, with no oxygen.

I never claimed to have worked on a hog big enough to have arch tubes, or combustion chamber. Since you know all about it, please feel free to tell us all, all about it, including all these trains bigger and faster than anything I could possibly imagine. Don't forget to explain to me about all the damage diesel did to all these engines that never burned it, either. And while you're at it, how do you get hot spots with low BTU fuel ??? Just wondering, I'm no rocket scientist after all.

If I ain't waiting around for your call, maybe it's because I have business of my own to mind.

I'm also signing off. I have nothing useful to contribute. I copncede that you won the pissing contest. Congratulations.


It burns just inside the edge of the burner. Been there, seen that.

I did tell you all about it. As Foghorn Leghorn would say, "Pay, I say, pay attention, son."

You get hot spots from diesel fuel because it is a concentrated fire; it's not spread out like atomized #5 or #6. That makes intensely hot spots in the immediate vicinity of the fireball. That means the side sheets next to that fireball are very hot, while the other sheets in the firebox, further away from that fireball, remain relatively cool.

I'm talking about fireboxes that are the size of a living room. The hot parts of the side sheets expand and flex more than the colder parts can. The result is leaking (NOT broken) staybolts, detectable wrinkles in the sheets, and the same occurs at the back tube sheet, where the hotter parts of the fire cause the sheet to move more than the
relatively cooler parts. In that case, the flues will leak where the transition happens.

You can't fool mother nature. Something has to give. And it will.

Tooling around on a 4-6-0 or something similar at slow speeds, lower boiler pressure, and lighter trailing loads is a completely different animal. It can probably be done on
something like that, assuming there is a reason to.

Size matters. What works well on an 0-2-0T with 5 square feet of firepan area
doesn't tranlsate very well to a 4-6-6-4 with over 130 sq. feet of firepan or more.


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 Post subject: Re: Trash in Firebox
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 448
Location: Byers, Colorado
I swore I'd sign off, and it's a very good idea.

In the first place, when I offered my assistance, I was talking about the dozens of steam engines in this state of Colorado, and all but maybe two are of a size I've worked on. I WASN'T SETTING MYSELF UP AS AN EXAMPLE TO UP. This had nothing to do with UP. I've always looked up to those guys.

I've seen fire just inside the mouth of the burner, too, when the fire wasn't fixed right. As far as hot spots go, I don't understand the fireball on the burner unless it's an idle fire. When I have to dump in lots of low BTU diesel, I have to bump erverything up, lots of times we get fire back in the cab, it spreads real good. It also acts a lot like heavy oil does when you warm it up enough to feed and atomize right.

But, I've never fired an engine big enough to park an SUV in the firebox. I called around a bit, just to make sure I'm not crazy, and I have it on good authority that not everybody agrees with you, however, not to mention any names.

Also, I was paying attention enough to finally figure out that it is possible to go back in the thread and edit your posts, too, to try and change the course of a "discussion" after one has already had his moment of everybody's time here, and make it look like you said something else after the fact. This is getting just too damn childish for me.

I am interested if anybody in my area can introduce me to this great recycled fuel. I might learn something. I am also happy to help if anybody needs help to fire diesel. Lots of folks report a little bit of bad experiences. I've had a lot of good experiences. Maybe I can help. (303) 822-8802

SIGNING OFF, and I really mean it this time. My apologies for wasting anybody's time. Everybody take care and WORK SAFE, whatever fuel you're burning..

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Sammy KIng


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