• EMD Starter motor Question

  • Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.
Discussion of Electro-Motive locomotive products and technology, past and present. Official web site can be found here: http://www.emdiesels.com/.

Moderator: GOLDEN-ARM

  by MEC407
Yikes. Perhaps that's why Cat demanded that those old EMD operating manuals be removed from the web. I had a feeling there was more to it than just copyright. (By comparison, GE doesn't seem to mind having their manuals out there for anyone to look at.)
  by RickRackstop
The EMD engine has been modular since the beginning in 1938. I'm sure as the result of the influence of Charles Kettering of GM. For instance you can change a complete power assembly on a cold engine in an half hour including taking the lead wire readings. On a hot engine with the engineer reading the instructions from the manual can do it in 2 hours without getting too badly burned and inform the dispatcher that they will be ready for that job they are supposed to handle. Undoubtedly that works for railroads too. That's why their are so many GP7's and GP9's still around. Major repairs such as line bore after welding up the "A" frames and installing new main bearing caps, after a crankshaft failure due to broken oil pump on a McAllister tug some years ago was performed within a week by National Marine (now Marine Systems). As a stunt the Southern Pacific Railroad was supposed to have done a complete center section change out a an EMD 16 cylinder in 2 shifts.

The perfect engine design is one where everything wears out at the same time and it falls into a pile of scrap. The Clatterpiller engines are sometimes thought of as "disposable" or "single use" engines but they have too much problems with valves for that to be so. The 3600 series engines were developed to be a direct replacement for EMD's such that the coupling disc will bolt up to anything the EMD was connected to and the mounting pads and the crankshaft centerline height is the same. They even have to recommend that they change out the cylinder heads every 10,000 to 12,500 probably to prevent swallowing a valve. Crowley is building new tugs with them. I think they think that since they are paying for an engineer aboard, that he ought to have something to do except ride up in the pilot house yaking with the captain.
  by BilgeRat
Cat 3600's have all but disappeared off the Mississippi and its tributaries due to issues with warranties and the high cost of overhaul and repair. I work with two engineers that had time on 3600's and if you want to get an explosive rise out of either, all you have to say is we're building new boats powered with 3600's. kaboom...

I know of one company that had Cat refuse a warranty on a crankshaft (no oil dilution, it flat out broke) when it was one week out of warranty. Their maintenance super made a point of going through Cat's booth at the Workboat Show with a bagful of EMD literature; it didn't go unnoticed... They subsequently repowered with three 16-645's.

Talking with the port engineer for another company, he said that all their 3600's were going to go away due to the cost of parts. It took a while, but they have done it.

My experiences with Cat have not been all too good, and I really don't care for their engines very much... The information issue is pretty ridiculous in this day and age. I can get online and either directly download or request a .pdf copy of almost anybody's equipment manuals for almost anything I have on board, but not Cat. Makes me sad to see the unavailability of EMD information looming on the horizon.

  by MEC407
I've heard less-than-pleasant things about Cat's small highway engines as well. I know a few school bus drivers who are positively delighted that the Cat C7 is no longer available in new school buses. I've heard that the C7s go through injectors like they're going out of style. The new Cummins engines, on the other hand, are getting high praise from the drivers and mechanics.
  by RickRackstop
To get back to the subject of starter motors on EMD engines for awhile; Air starter motors were used on the ATL engines built for the navy in WW 2. These engines drove through an airflex clutch to a Falk reduction drive and were mostly used on LST's. This may have been the first use of the airflex clutch. Being the Navy, everything was operated manually and the handle to move the start pinion into the flywheel was located up at the front of the engine next to the layshaft handle control with a reach rod the length of the engine. Earlier marine installations like the Coast Guard cutters of 1938 were diesel electric drive and the generator had an extra coil that when energized turned the engine to start it. In 1988 the Coast Guard decided to re-power their WW 2 vintage buoy tenders with 8-645-E6 engines reusing the old generators which also started the engines in the same way. Its spooky to see the engine start to turn with no noise until the cylinders start to fire. I think the early EMD locos with the DC generators started this way. With the introduction of the AR 10 alternator this was impossible so they adopter the electric Delco starter motors already being furnished for generator sets. Marine engines continued to use Ingersol Rand air starter motors in pairs to fit the starter motor brackets.

The marine air starter motors get into problems because of the haphazard way the compressed air piping is laid out and the condensate is carried over. The other problem is that air motors need special oil. The oil company rep said that the detergent used in ordinary oils got sticky when exposed to moisture and gummed up the vanes until they stuck in the retracted position if they didn't break off.