Tag Archives: washington iron works

2010 Week 7 in Review

OTM Inc started the week with another famous all-day bunch. We had artists and hippies and software geeks and rafts of boat trash, all swigging screwdrivers and champagne, eating eggs and bacon and all the hashbrowns they could tolerate.

It was great, but whew – we might need a few days to recover. It’s a good thing we don’t have to do that again…until next time.

Get it right!

This week we striped down the number 4 cylinder head on the Arthur Foss‘s Washington Iron Works Diesel to replace the head gasket – again.

During the last Diesel Engine Theory class at the Northwest Seaport, we overhauled cylinder four and reassembled it using a solid copper head gasket.

It turns out that the solid copper types don’t squish enough for a diesel the size of Arthur‘s. Heavy-duty engines with cylinder liners have a very wide sealing surface between the head and the cylinder, so the gasket must be very soft. Some folks use compressed graphite to get a good seal, but originally they were all made with a sandwich of copper and asbestos.

When I was getting ready for the class last May, I made the mistake of thinking the sandwich gaskets would be too expensive and that our head and liner would be clean enough and flat enough to seal with a solid copper gasket. Of course we annealed it to make the copper as soft as possible, but it still leaked compression out the seams when we test-ran it. We may have been able to make a difference just by drawing up the head nuts tighter, but I can’t say that for sure.

Instead, I got ready this week to replace the solid copper replacement gasket with a new copper-and-asbestos sandwich gasket. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get it done.

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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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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 52 in Review

A little work on the Maris Pearl

I did a little bit of clean-up on the Maris Pearl this week and got it all wrapped up for the year. We’re done for now and the boat will be in use for the next little while. The next project is the control head, yeah!

More parties, oh my God

First up this week was the Shop Party. Past shop parties have been passing a bottle of scotch around after the workday on Christmas in a defiant, Bah-Humbug way that I have always been partial to, because as much as I like to go to all the holiday parties, I like to work on Christmas Day.

Not this year, though – Brian the shipwright decided to throw a real holiday party. It was a cute gathering of our people and their friends and drinks. The highlight was the player piano. Many of you may be surprised to know that two of the four pianos in our shop are player pianos, where the pianist pumps pedals to make it play. I learned about ten years ago how much fun pumping the player piano while drinking can be, so I led the charge on that front (even if the scroll had to be taped onto the reel).

A piano shop?!? I thought it was a boat and engine repair shop…

Next up was Pacific Fisherman Shipyard, of which I am a share holder. Their holiday party true to form had more king crab than we could eat, but we tried. Thanks for the crown, Doug!

And next, the Maris Pearl‘s wonderful owners hosted a holiday party in Portage Bay, via the locks and Lake Union. It was a great trip, featuring Christmas carols from the Argosy boats, but those still couldn’t compare to the rhythm and melody from the big DMQ-8.

New research partner!

We meet with Neal from Ederer Llc, a crane manufacturing company that bought the Washington Iron Works crane division. It turns out that Neal has a few filing cabinets full of Washington Iron Works stuff he’s held onto for years, and he wanted to compare notes. This is really exciting for us at OTM Inc, because Washington Iron Works of course manufactured our favorite diesel engine line.

It turns out that not only does Neal have a lot of microfilm with blueprints of engine parts, but he has deciphered the pattern of the reference numbers that makes the collection useful. This is really exciting, because the engineers at WIW labeled everything, from photographs to technical drawings, but it’s like a secret code unless you know the key.

Our first trip to Ederer was short and sweet so we didn’t have time to find out how many diesel engine drawings are on the microfilms, but we plan on getting together again soon.

Annual Board Meeting

OTM Inc’s annual board of directors meeting was held Christmas Day, as it has been since incorporation.

Annual OTM Inc Shareholder Meeting

Highlights this year included: a switch to sapphire gin (no JD), a decision to not produce a year-in-review publication (it’s too much work), and a slight increase in health coverage for officers. Other items of business included affirming that employee salaries remain the same, other insurance policies will be renewed, the shop lease will be renewed, beer backs ordered, and the advertising department will be pressing more size-small girly tank tops.

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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 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 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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