Tag Archives: atlas-imperial

2010 Week 6 in Review

This week I had to give up and put a slow bell on the reversing mechanism until I find a piston shaft and hub. Just as a precaution, I visited the Dominion to see if they have a Westinghouse reversing mechanism. Maybe they can help engineer the one for the Maris Pearl1.

A Thanks for Shilshoal Marina

Also this week, we took the Maris Pearl to the Shilshoal fuel dock where we used their bilge pump-out service – a very economical way to get rid of oily bilge waste. Thanks, folks – we hope to keep using this service for years to come.

A visit to Brady’s Atlas-Imperials

I visited Brady on Whidbey Island to take a look at his two Atlas-Imperial diesels. He has a three-cylinder model we estimate as from about 1923 – making it one of the three oldest Atlas Imperial diesels that I know of. Even better, it will run again: very little stands in the way of Brady reassembling the engine and running it.

His four-cylinder needs a bit more work, but can be parted out if it’s found to be beyond rehabilitation:

This first meeting was a great chance to take inventory and document progress on the engines, especially the three-cylinder that Brady’s working on. OTM Inc will be cheering on, encouraging and bothering him throughout the project, it’s that great.

For the rest of you with never-ending projects, consider employing OTM Inc to be the monkey on your back in case your wife is not enough: we have reasonable hourly, weekly, or long-term rates!

Olympic Display

While coming back from Whidbey Island, I noticed that the ferry had a display set up of the ferry Olympic‘s steering gear:


More Diving with Sterling

Sterling Marine Services Llc and I dove at the Center for Wooden Boats again to put more barrels under their docks.

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2010 Week 5 in Review

Of course everyone heard how committed our president is to saving the antique diesels engines in his State of the Union address, right? Okay, I guess I didn’t, either – but keep sending those notes to him reminding him that good maintenance programs employ more people and for a longer period of time than issuing free engines to replace the heavy duties.

Needed: piston shaft and hub!

This week at OTM Inc, we pulled our hair out trying to find the piston shaft and hub for the Enterprise DMQ reversing mechanism. We’ve been calling everyone desperately, searching and going through miles of microfilm for drawings, but keep coming up empty.

Anyone reading have any information on a Westinghouse reversing mechanism? Please let us know!

Another research trip to Ederer

We went back to Ederer Crane Company (first time was back in Week 52) to look through their records from the Washington Iron Works, and spent a long afternoon looking at even more microfilm of technical drawings and blueprints.

We had a mission, thought: the Catalyst wants to fine-tune their fuel-valve motion and some of the inconsistencies are due to the cam nose so OTM Inc hit the books – or at least the research databases – to find the original specifications.

Washington Iron Works has a simple but hard-to-decipher way of keeping track of their records. Each engine has hundreds of components, each of which has a separate technical drawing or drawings to illustrate its specifications. In order to find the drawings of the cam nose, we looked at the Catalyst‘s original manufacturer card, which gave us a Key List number: 21649-AF. All the key lists are recorded in the microfilm now kept by Ederer, so we looked through the rolls of microfilm to find Key List 21649-AF, which is for 8-1/2″ x 10″ diesels. Each Key List is a list of all the technical drawing numbers for the parts used in that kind of engine, so among all the other drawings it listed, it had Fuel Pump valve motion Drawing #22525-AO, so I pulled that up and took a look. Drawing #22525-AO then said to look at Fuel Cam Nose part number DV-759 on Drawing #8892-AE. Unfortunately, we had to call it a day before I found Drawing #8892-AE.

Incidentally, owner Bill said that the part number on the fuel cam nose on the boat is #DV-2974. Huh. Another head-scratcher is that Drawing #22525-AO is dated June 7, 1933 – but the Catalyst‘s engine was delivered in May 1932. Well, part of research is finding more questions than you answer, so we’ll just keep working on it.

While searching, though, I found a fuel cam nose part #DV-3948 on Drawing number 19754-AH, dated 1930. This drawing also states that the cam nose is for a 10″ stroke diesel, sooo this might be close enough to work from. Also, let the record show I said the cam nose had two angles and the drawing clearly shows two angles.

The Pennsy Barge Collective

A friend in New York is planning on fixing up an antique barge out in New York. He and some friends have started the Pennsy Barge Collective to salvage and restore the old Pennsylvania Railroad barge #399. The group has managed to purchase this last and lovely specimen at its present location in the New York State Canal system dry dock on the Erie Canal, and according to them it’s the last wood-and-steel railroad barge.

If you dare contribute, send your monies to:

Pennsy Barge Collective, Inc.
PO Box 1055
Port Ewen, NY 12466-1055

The Ever

I talk about the Ready all the time here, but this week I was introduced to her sister ship Ever over the phone this week.

I was looking through the Boats and Harbors and saw a tugboat for sale that look just like the Ready, so I called. The tugs were built in 1941 for Gulf Marine, then both tugs were sold to a Bollenger company called Ever-Ready Towing, who did not like how tippy they were, so they got wing tanks welded on.

Ever-Ready Towing used the Ever and the Ready until the seventies, when the current owner bought the Ever. He gutted the whole boat to make a cruiser out of it, and the original Atlas-Imperial went to the Smithsonian in the early 80s.

Sounds like the Ever is a nice tugboat-turned-cruiser like the Ready, but sadly without the heavy duty. If you’re interested, call Fred at (252) 338-1001.

A visit from Ms. Jack Tar

Kim from Jack Tar Magazine stopped by this week. She’s cooking on the Lady Washington during their winter engine refit and was in town for a bit. It was great to see Kim and catch up on some of the waterfront gossip that doesn’t make it to the various blogs.

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2010 Week 4 in Review

Valve-grinding: a team effort

This week, I finished cleaning all the valves for the Thea Foss. Engineer Ron ground the valves and observed that “the first one is fun and the rest of the 24 are boring,” which I definitely agree with. Then Vince came out of retirement and over the mountains to grind the seats, and we had a nice team to get the job done efficiently.

A visit to the Cape Cross

Later this week, I visited the crew of the Enterprise-powered fish tender Cape Cross. The engine’s running well and best of all, the boat is gainfully employed.

Dry-suit repairs

After last week‘s brush with carotid sinus reflux, diver Duane helped me replace the neck seal in my dry suit. Apparently adding a latex neck seal to a neoprene suit is pretty common, and it’s an easy process. First, I coated the sealing area with AquaSeal and let it cure, then I put another coat on to adhere the latex. Then I trimmed it and put one more bead of AquaSeal on edges, and the suit was ready to go.

Giving the CWB a lift

On Saturday, I worked with Sterling Marine Services Llc to level out some of the floating docks at the Center for Wooden Boats by installing some new barrels. Once we got we got a system down, it went really fast. Sterling Marine Services Llc has posted more about it in their brand-new blog here.

Repairs and updates on the Island Champion

I visited the Island Champion this week to isolate the overboard through-hull fixture from the engine. This is an area of excessive stray voltage, which induces electrolysis in the surrounding planks and makes them rot out a lot faster – according to our resources, it’s like nail sickness from increased alkalinity.

I installed piece of hose to separate the engine from the through-hull fitting, which disrupts (in theory) the electrical current running between them:

This should hopefully stop the electrolysis and save the hull timber a little longer.

Also, boat buyers take note: the Island Champion is not for sale anymore.

To bond or not to bond

This brings up the age old-argument: “to bond or not to bond.”

To bond, or not to bond: that is the question:
Whether less noble metals should suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous corrosion,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And insulate them. To dielectric: to isolate;
No more; and by isolate to say we end
The corrosion and the thousand natural shocks
That hulls are heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To dielectric, to isolate;

On the subject of galvanic corrosion: the way I read it, impressed current is best but anodes are easier and more common. If using anodes, quantity and placement are very important to get right and bonding or isolating is addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Some fittings below the waterline, if isolated, can take a long time to degrade, while others will need to be wired to the anode using a resistance-free electrical circuit with heavy-gauge wire, good connections, and keeping it out of the bilge water. When working with mili-volts, a loose connection is no connection: the mili-volt will not jump a gap. I think it is this sloppy wiring that causes bias in our maritime tradesmen.

More important than the bonding and anoding, boats and equipment should be inspected and repaired regularly – and repairs should be made before small problems are catastrophic. It pains me to hear folks argue about bonding while the boat is sinking. While limiting galvanic activity is important – keep it in perspective!

Update on the Maris Pearl

Meanwhile on the Maris Pearl, we’re down to just looking for the shaft that attaches to the piston in the reversing mechanism and the camshaft gear.

Who’s got one? Any drawings? Anything? Help?

Work begins on the Arthur Foss

The Northwest Seaport started their “Stop the Leaks” project on the Arthur Foss; it sounds like the first step was to take off the big rubber fender on the bow. They took a lot of pictures of it – and better yet, wrote a blog about it! Check it out here!


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2010 Week 3 in Review

More work on the Maris Pearl

I’m still working on the Maris Pearl‘s reversing mechanism, trying to track down parts for it. I’ve been working with suppliers and calling collectors and engine owners I know who have spares. The Westinghouse controls rarely need attention, so there’s not a lot of information available on these units. It’s taken some extra time to search it out.

Winter Work on the Thea Foss

The Thea Foss‘s twin Atlas-Imperials are getting some attention this winter. The boat’s engineer worked with Dan to remove all the valves, start valves, and injectors out of both engines, then I spent a lot of time this week disassembling and cleaning everything.

As you remember, this process involves disassembling them each, putting them in a solvent bath, flushing the water jackets, sand blasting and another solvent bath, flapper the guide, and wire-wheel the stems.

2010 M4 Party

The big annual art and music event that OTM helps sponsor now has a not-for-profit fiscal sponsor, so make your donations out to Shunpike, with M4 mentioned as the program.

This year’s show will be the 10th annual, on May 1st. The steering committee is planning furiously, and it’ll be even bigger and better than last year (always our goal).

Working on the bow thruster

We got the new parts and tools to fix my good customer’s bow thruster, but still got caught inadequately prepared. I had to run out in the middle of the job to get more parts.

I also had a problem with my dry suit: the neck seal was too tight. Apparently, this can cause Carotid Sinus Reflex, when your neck seal presses against the carotid artery and makes your brain think your blood pressure is too high and lower your pulse rate to compensate.

The symptoms can include nervousness and a shortness of breath, which at the time I attributed to being out of practice from not diving enough. While it is true I am a little out of practice, the nervousness and shortness of breath were actually due to the neck seal. I’ll replace this before next week, in time to dive next Saturday at the CWB.

Despite all this, we still got the bow thruster fixed right up.

Boats for sale

The Pacific Sunrise is for sale. It’s a sweet boat with an Atlas-Imperial 6HM1125 diesel, and is going for $75,000.

The Island Champion is also for sale. She’s a great boat with a Fairbanks-Morse 35F14 diesel.

Bonus! Mention this ad and get a free OTM Inc T-shirt with your purchase!

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2009 Week 49 in Review

New corporate vehicle

OTM Inc got a new truck this week after the old Ford Courier exploded. The new OTM-mobile, a Chevy S-10, has more power and big wheels to fix your heavy-duty faster. It also has working lights, windshield wipers, a heater, and tire tread, all unlike the Courier.

More work on the Maris Pearl

Spent more time cleaning and painting cleaning and painting on the Maris Pearl.

Engineer on the Thea for a night

Every year the Thea Foss‘s crew gets a night out on the lake as guests on their own boat. They put together a relief crew for this night, which provides the dual benefit of ensuring that the Thea has a relief crew that’s “Always Ready.”

It was a great night out on the lake and I can never get enough of the twin Atlas-Imperials – even with their 200 oil points each.

Jensen Motor Boat Party

Jensen Motor Boat Company is an institution of great carpentry and ridiculous sea stories. Once again, I’m very pleased to be invited to the holiday party where there is no end to the wine or food.

I got there a little late but made it in plenty of time for a great party. Thanks, guys!

Museums are not a public service

I know they look like libraries, but most museums are private institutions. They receive tax benefits because they provide community benefits, but this does not mean that they must provide specific services or that individuals are entitled to make demands of a museum. This seems to be a frequent cause of misunderstanding, especially in the old boat community, and I believe it’s important to make some distinctions and clear up those misunderstandings.

Museums benefit communities in many specific ways, one example being by providing educational opportunities, and this grants them tax benefits to support the services they provide. Individuals supposedly benefit the community by getting married and having kids and so they receive tax benefits to support that service. Now, while both institutions are exempt from taxes, this money is essentially being taken from those of us who are not entitled to tax breaks and use the community services. It’s therefore just as unreasonable to demand that a museum “save” your crappy old boat as it is for me to demand that your kid mow my lawn.

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2009 Week 38 in Review

Last weekend was the Wooden Boat Show in Port Townsend. Old Tacoma Marine representatives spent some time listening to the pop pop pop of the Elmore‘s exhaust – keep that Atlas running!

A visit to the train museum

On Saturday, I took a trip out to Mineral, Washington to see if they still had an old Atlas-Imperial on display. No joy – they scrapped it last year. Another great old Atlas bites the dust.  They did have a bare engine block from an Atlas 668, though:

On a positive note, it looked like the train museum is doing well. They had an amazing geared locomotive – the Rayonier #2 – in the shop, and there were a few old locomotives with steam up out in the yard.

Check out the list of remaining steam locomotives in Washington State they linked to, and the one for the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, too.

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2009 Week 37 in review

Business as Usual

This week, we are back in the shop cleaning, reading the Local Agency Guidelines Manual for the Lightship #83 project, and working on the website some more.

We’re working hard to get pages about all the known remaining Washington Iron Works and Atlas-Imperial diesel engines up on the web. Don’t worry diesel fans – we’ll get to the Fairbanks-Morse and Enterprise sections next.

I didn’t make it to the Tugboat Races in Olympia this year, but I heard the Maris Pearl did very well – it looked like first to me, but we’ll have to review the photo. The Donald R was there in style – we love that Washington.

New tugboat book released

I also got news that Jessica DuLong (owner of the Gowanus Bay) has finished her book and it’s being released this week. She’s been writing it for years and I went out and ordered a copy of it from Elliott Bay Books as soon as I heard. It should be here in a few days – I’ll report back after I read it.

My River Chronicles by Jessica DuLong

Heavy-duties for sale

To all you Tugboat Dreamers: don’t forget that the J S Polhemus, Oswell Foss and Quail are still for sale.

Keep up with what’s for sale and what’s been sold at OTM Inc’s For Sale Listings.

Heavy-duty sounds through the ages

Engine collector Jim Walsh sent us a nice quote about heavy-duties: “I don’t really work on the engine, I just start it up and listen to it like a phonograph.” We at OTM Inc agree: the heavy-duties sure do sound nice – though we may not be getting the authentic symphony.

Dan told me that Dave Updike, his boss in the 1970s and the Godfather of heavy-duties, said the diesels don’t sound like they did way back when. Modern diesel fuel has a higher cetane than the old stuff, and you can’t even get number two diesel anymore. According to Dave, the thicker fuel makes a deeper thump and a lower “chuf chuf chuf” from the stack.

If Dave said it then it must be true, but we think that the heavy-duties sound just great regardless of the fuel.

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