Tag Archives: mv catalyst

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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2009 Week 53 in Review

“I’ll see U in B-U-N-A”

Well, the Viton packing we used in the Catalyst‘s injectors failed: it kept creeping in-between the stem and the packing follower, which made the stem and packing follower stick together like they were one solid piece. This in turn held the stem up and allowed fuel to pour out of the injector, which can lead to problems.

We might have been able to solve this by water-jet cutting the Viton to make a better fit, but there are too many other factors (the Viton might be squishier than Buna, it doesn’t use cloth like Buna does, etc) to really pin down the problem. So, it’s back to the drawing board, and Buna seals for now.

Enterprise for Sale

Nick wanted to remind everyone that there is an Enterprise for sale for those of you who need real power. The listing is here.

A WIW Re-Discovered!

I got a call this week from an engine collector who had been recently contacted by a fisherman with a Washington Iron Works diesel that had to move. Wow, what a find!

Washington Iron Works diesel engine from the fishboat NEW ZORA

The engine is from 1935 and was removed in 1965 and put in a Bellingham net shed where it sat until last week. The fisherman’s family was helping to clean out the locker and thought that before scrapping the engine, they should spend some time finding out what it is.

Back at Old Tacoma Marine, we were able to pull the Washington Iron Works engine card and learn more about the engine: it’s from a fishboat called the New Zora, owned by Anton Zorich and later the Burke Canning Co.

Washington Iron Works index card for the NEW ZORA

This is all very exciting, since there are so few Washingtons left: this makes sixteen, according to our list. The family and the collector are still deciding on its fate, but for now it’s dodged the scrapper once again.

Please email me with suggestions on interesting ways to use this Washington, or if you want to give it a good home.

Cleaning up shop

Yup – it’s all tidied up to start ’10 with a clean slate.

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2009 Week 47 in Review

A little more work on the Catalyst

The squishy gaskets I ordered for the Catalyst‘s valve cages came in – but they’re $20 each! I replaced just the two that were leaking, and put the others on the shelf until we need them.

I also found that the erratic injector was due to packing jammed between the packing follower and the stem. I cleared it and checked the others and test ran the engine and all is well.

Until… A few hours in to the trip back to Friday Harbor, Bill reported more injectors sticking. Damn! He’ll bring them back to the shop in a few weeks and we’ll put the old packing in and shelve the biodiesel idea for now.

A lot more work on the Maris Pearl

Other than that, I did plenty of cleaning and painting on the Maris Pearl this week.

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2009 Week 46 in Review

It turns out you can’t take diesel injectors on a plane. I showed up to Kenmore Air on South Lake Union with three boxes of Washington parts to take with me to the Catalyst in Friday Harbor. I have flown these parts back and forth a few times already, but today the rule is interpreted to mean “any part that might have come in contact with oil is not allowed on the plane.” This would rule out my clothing and possibly parts of me, too, but rules are rules (today, at least), so a drive, a ferry ride, and about six hours later I finally got to the boat.

I installed the injectors first and timed them, so that I could easily clean out the cylinders through the valve cage holes. Then I reinstalled the valves, kerplunking them all for a tight fit.

Once I started up the engine and it was running nicely, I helped Bill deliver it to Jenson’s Boat Works in Seattle. It was a great trip, a beautiful night cruise, but one injector was erratic (sticking open) and the temperatures were going up and down – I’ll look into this next week. I also found two valves leaking around the cage; this will probably resolve itself once the new squishy gaskets I ordered come in.

Other than that, the engine ran great.

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2009 Week 44 in Review

Work on the Catalyst parts

This week, I worked some more on the Catalyst‘s parts in my shop. To replace the bent valve, I called up Safety Seal in Texas, since they’ve made valves for the Catalyst before. They happened to have four valves on the shelf from when they first machined them up, five or so years ago. What a deal – I bought all four.

Then, I reassembled the valve cages. Each cage has nine parts (not counting the removable nose that we never take off), and once all the parts are cleaned, assembling is fun and goes really quick.

Then I reassembled the injectors. Each injector has 24 parts, plus an extra packing ring if desired. This time, I installed Viton packing, which will allow biodiesel to be run through the engine. I hope it works.

My River Chronicles: A good read

I finished Jessica’s new book, My River Chronicles. It’s a good read – you should pick it up for yourself.

The book has several stories that take place while running old boats up and down the Hudson River. It’s got great descriptions of how Jessica got to know boats, boatmen (boatwomen), the river, and history, all from the engine control station while watching the dials. Reading it makes me feel like I’m hiding out in the engine room, bullshitting with Jessica and other engineers so we don’t have to hang around deckhands.

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2009 Week 42 in Review

New gaskets for the Catalyst

First up this week at Old Tacoma Marine Inc, we ordered gaskets for the Catalyst‘s valve cages from Omni Packing & Seal Co. They don’t many take orders for the “sandwich gaskets,” which were originally asbestos with thin copper shielding surrounding the asbestos, because it takes a long time to make them and they’re expensive and one-time-use only. They are true to the Washington design, though, and they seal really well, so it was worth the extra time and money.

Sending out the guides

The Catalyst‘s engine was originally rated to run at 450 rpm. It’s been overloaded for many years, but now the new owners are committed to returning it to the 1932 specifications. This means unloading the engine to the point where it can be run at 450 rpm without overloading the engine.

To achieve this, it’s best to ease into it by catching up on the maintenance: as the engine is sped up, problems that go unnoticed at 350 rpm become critical at 450. A common problem is too much clearance in the cam follower guides, due from wear. The signal for service due is a knock, made by the follower hitting the guide at cruising speed.

To service the cam follower guides, you send them out to be honed straight and round. Then you have the cam follower (not the roller, but the crosshead like part) built up using flamespray, then ground down to leave .0015″ clearance. Then you put it all back together and start testing.

Suck, Squeeze, Pop, Blow

We got a funny shirt from Whitworth Marine, reminding everyone that all four-stroke diesels need to do is suck, squeeze, pop, and blow.

Check out Whitworth Marine Services, you East Coasters.

Grinding Catalyst Valves

The Shop’s valve grinder machine can handle any valve from Washingon, Atlas, or Enterprise, and seven boring hours later, we have 13 out of 14 Catalyst valves ready to go.

Unfortunately, one valve was bent, which lead to lots of investigative inquiry. It turns out that the valve seat depths vary on the Catalyst from cage to cage. Without getting into blueprints, we chose to make all the cages extend the same length as the shortest one, which was .425″ from the gasket surface to the bottom.

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2009 Week 41 in Review

This week at Old Tacoma Marine, we cleaned all the Catalyst parts we pulled off last week. We broke them all down, then put the oily parts in the hot tank with a heated lye solution and an agitator for a few hour. Then we washed the parts off with water and then with solvent, and then some of them got blasted with glass beads until clean and others got wire-wheeled and the brass got polished.

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