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 Post subject: Diesel Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:02 am 

Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:04 pm
Posts: 30
I've been working as a diesel mechanic for about 8 months now at a leasing/rental company. I've been wondering what it was like to work on trains since that was the original reason I went to tech school. I mostly work on tractors (semis) and box trucks, if that helps any.

Since this is a broad subject, I'll add questions to help sort out my curiosity, although anything would be of interest!

1. If you've worked on both trucks (or cars) and trains, how would you compare them?

2. Is there a certain procedure for pulling a locomotive into a shop? Trucks are usually driven or towed in and wheels chalked. A lock-out/tag-out pouch is placed on the driver side door with the keys placed inside for safety reasons.

3. Is there a set preventative maintenance inspection procedure and how often is it?

4. Are there any scheduled repairs/filter changes not performed during a PM?

5. What are some of the common issues that appear? (leaks, part failure, etc.)

6. Anyone have any good stories to share?

Thanks for the help! :)

 Post subject: Re: Diesel Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 9:05 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:36 pm
Posts: 197
My suggestion to you would be to find a local operating museum preferably one that runs excursions with their own power and volunteer.

I think you will find that locomotive maintenece is quite a bit different then truck fleet maintenece. Most PMs and such are set up around a 92 day schedule regardless of how many miles that is. Of course there are other checks that are done more frequently.

"What smells like Lube Oil and Diesel? Oh It's just my Locomotive Breath"

 Post subject: Re: Diesel Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:43 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 378
Location: Danbury, CT
I am not a mechanic, but I have assisted with inspections, preventative maintenance, and repairs on locomotives. I’m an engineer and I will answer what I can. I would encourage those more knowledgeable than myself to chime in as well. Inspections are performed every 92, 365, and 1104 days. Each of those inspections require certain tasks be completed, such as filter changes, etc. If a locomotive can’t be run into the shop under its own power, it can be place there by another locomotive. Once in the shop and stopped, the hand brake is set and tested and wheel chocks or chains may be set place. Blue flag protection (worker protection that prevents movement of or coupling to) is set in place prior to the start of the inspection or work.

I hope this answers a few of your questions. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you are relatively close to a museum or preservation group that operates locomotives and if you have the time, I’d encourage you to get involved. You’ll get your questions answered and they’ll get some more help. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of an organization that complained of having too many volunteers.

Randy Patterson

 Post subject: Re: Diesel Maintenance
PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:53 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 11:22 am
Posts: 92
Location: Northeast Pa.
In addition to the diesel prime mover you also have allot of other things that need to be checked and changed. Such as the air compressor, HEP (if equipped), brushes in the electric motors, wheel measurements, and air valves that may be defective or out of date. Most places will have a checklist that you have to initial or sign off as you complete each task.

 Post subject: Re: Diesel Maintenance
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:08 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:24 am
Posts: 276
Location: H2O-town, CT
I'm more into the repair and maintance side. Keep in mind that there's MUCH more to a locomotive than a vehicle. They are basically generators on wheels. The diesel engine (prime mover) is only a part of what make's them work and there's a lot more that has to be maintained and worked on. The electrical and traction systems along with the air.

Part of the 92 day inspections are to make sure parts are within FRA allowable wear limits. Coupler height, coupler swing, sand nozzle height, pilot height, pedestal wear, wheel wear (flange height, flange thickness, wheel thickness). The "chassis" on a locomotive is isolated and that needs to be checked for stray voltage. A proper, thorough inspection will be a full day.

Working on them the parts and fastners are much bigger and larger torques. While trucks are bigger than cars these are even bigger than trucks. For heavy repairs 1" drive stuff is used commonly.


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