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Souschef's switch engine project
Old 01-22-2017, 12:09 AM   #1
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Souschef's switch engine project

I helped the start of the restoration of a 23 ton switch engine donated to our Railroad Society. It had sat in the Bay ASrea for 40 years, and is in rough shape
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Switch Engine
Old 08-02-2017, 11:43 PM   #2
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Switch Engine

Just got back from our railroad society board meeting. We were gifted a 23 ton switch engine that had been up in the Bay Area idle for many years.
It needs a lot of TLC, and my copilot and I presented a plan to get it up and running. They were thrilled that someone volunteered to do it.
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File Type: jpg IMG_5900.jpg (644.9 KB, 83 views)
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Old 11-06-2017, 03:05 PM   #3
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Started work on the 23ton switch engine. Removed the exhaust and muffler to gain access to the top of the engine. Next step is to pull the injectors and put some oil in each cylinder to break pistons free.
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Souschef's switch engine project
Old 11-08-2017, 09:30 PM   #4
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Souschef's switch engine project

Today was a banner day for us. We are trying to get an old switch engine working, and we finally got to examine the diesel engine that drives it. I was afraid the thing would be all rusted and corroded, but when we pulled the valve covers, it was like the engine was new. Not a trace of rust, sludge, or anything.
Next step is to pull the injectors and have them cleaned and re calibrated. Plan to do that next Monday
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Old 11-08-2017, 10:49 PM   #5
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Today was a banner day for us. We are trying to get an old switch engine working......
Do these have an electric starter or a pony engine?
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Old 11-09-2017, 12:03 AM   #6
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Do these have an electric starter or a pony engine?
It has an electric starter and starter solenoid
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:49 AM   #7
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Today was very important in the Switch Engine project. We were able to pull all 6 injectors with the help of a slide hammer. Each one was put into a numbered ziplock bag to make sure we got them back where they belonged.
Then came the moment of truth, We were able to manually turn the engine, so we knew the pistons were not frozen.
We will take the injectors to the dealer tomorrow to get them cleaned and re-calibrated.
Then we will stop a local brewery to get our growlers filled
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:52 AM   #8
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Today was very important in the Switch Engine project. )
Thank you for the update. I'm getting more interested by the day learning your progress. I also like the accompanying pictures - which definitely are worth a 1,000 words for someone like me.

Being a newbie here, I apologize in advance if this request is out of line. But, I think it would be great to see this project as its own thread. That way, we could follow project progress sequentially instead of having updates being interspersed with other posts.

[MOD EDIT] The project now has its own thread. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:27 PM   #9
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[MOD EDIT] The project now has its own thread. Thanks for the suggestion.

Thank you!
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:36 PM   #10
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That's pretty cool! Are you guys affiliated with the Fillmore & Western railway?
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:44 PM   #11
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Definitely deserves it's own thread! Subscribed!

At some point, I plan to research the very early diesel engines. It would seem that making injectors to handle those high pressures, and survive right in the combustion chamber would have been quite a feat with the tools and materials of the time.

The gasoline engines OTOH were quite crude, some just had a sort of evaporation pan and controlled drip of gasoline rather than an actual carburetor.

-ERD50
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:44 PM   #12
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What year is that? I see the engine is a Cummins, what size? It appears to have an alternator, so that would indicate maybe 60's timeframe? Or could have been updated to the alternator along the years of service.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:50 PM   #13
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Thanks for splitting the thread out. I really had never noticed a switch engine before, even though I'd been around switch yards.
I worked around old diesels in sawmills so it's interesting to me. Since you've been posting I noticed my neighbor has a small one of these. It's narrow gauge, he said he does a couple of deals every year.

I didn't ask who his clients are, I assumed amusement parks or mining.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:51 PM   #14
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Awesome project! I'm definitely going to follow the progress of your rebuild.
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Old 11-15-2017, 07:00 PM   #15
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You have a following now - keep the updates coming!
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:33 PM   #16
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That's pretty cool! Are you guys affiliated with the Fillmore & Western railway?
Yes, Our Railroad society is based in Fillmore, and we volunteer on the F&W as car attendants.
We will be starting the Christmas tree trains in a week or two
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:35 PM   #17
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What year is that? I see the engine is a Cummins, what size? It appears to have an alternator, so that would indicate maybe 60's time frame? Or could have been updated to the alternator along the years of service.
The original engine was from 1941. It was replaced with a Cummins NHC-250 after 1974. The alternator is jury rigged with a 32 volt regulator to charge the batteries.
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Old 11-21-2017, 07:41 PM   #18
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eBay has really been my friend on this project. We saved a bundle of money on the filters. I even bought a new ignition switch because someone lost the keys to the one in the cab
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:05 PM   #19
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Here's a website that has helped me out immensely when I was rebuilding a generator that was decades old. There are some real old timers with interests in all kinds of antique engines and accessories on here that can be of help to you, if needed.

https://www.smokstak.com/forum/index.php
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Old 11-21-2017, 09:54 PM   #20
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Cool!! Don't let Cummins snucker you into fabricating parts. They wouldn't even provide detailed statements for their maintenance on our generator engine and when DH opened it up he found a 20 yo air filter - the one from the factory. Ebco(sp) made the engine for our Cummins Generator.

You can always reach out to Oregon Rail Heritage Center :: Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation , there are several RR retired mechanics who hang around there.

Now if you are interested in Lionel model trains from about 46-55 have I got a collection for you.
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