Delta Municipal Light & Power Part III – Fairbanks-Morse 32E14 Engines

I am way behind in posts as usual, so here we are continuing with the Delta series, this week highlighting the 32E engines, the original engines at the plant.

Part Ihttps://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/delta-municipal-light-power-part-i/
Part IIhttps://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/10/14/delta-municipal-light-power-part-ii-fairbanks-morse-33-engines/

Moving down the line of engines we get to engines #3, 4 and 5, all of which are Fairbanks-Morse 32E14 engines. The 32E was a descendent of the model Y engine, first introduced in 1923, and subsequently went through several upgrades over the years. The engine, offered in two sizes: A 12″x15″ and a 14″x17″. The engines were identical, other then the bore and stroke, with the 12″ offered in 1, 2 and 3 cylinder models, and the larger 14″ in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 cylinder options. The 32E engine is a 2 stroke Diesel, and used a unique backflow scavenging, in which on the up stroke of the piston, air is pulled into the crankcase through a simple air valve on the crankcase door, is compressed on the downstroke, and when the piston uncovers the exhaust and intake ports on the liner, the compressed air forces the exhaust out, a very simple and effective method, requiring no camshaft operated valves in the cylinder head. An oil pump kept a force feed lubricator full, which handled the oiling on the cylinder walls, wrist pins and crank pins, as well as keeping a certain oil level maintained at each of the main bearings using a series of drilled passageways. The engine had no water pump of its own, relying on an external pump in the plant. A plunger type fuel pump was operated by a camshaft on the governor drive. The engines originally used a very basic FM flyweight style governor, and later used a Woodward IC unit. The 32 line would become one of the most popular engines of its time, powering numerous rural communities and small business (be it power generation or through a line shaft).

Click on all photos below for a larger version.

Engine #4 is a 300HP engine at only 300RPM, driving a 148kW alternator.

The 32E engine commonly used a very basic exhaust system, where each cylinder simple exhaust into a downward pipe, that tie into a chamber under the floor that runs outside to the muffler.

Engines #4 and 5 are smaller 3 cylinder, 225HP engines. Unfortunately, I did not get the size of the alternators that they drive.

The pipe above the exhaust manifolds is the upper water header. These are extremely basic engines, and while today are tiny in terms of ratings, several are still in service all around the country, not only in their original plants, but many preserved at old engine clubs.

Looking down on the cylinder head, we see the fuel injection nozzle in the center, as well as the jacket water exit.

Behind each alternator, the same shaft also turns the excitation generator.

Next week will be the final part of the Delta series, covering the biggest engine in the plant, the 31A18. After that we will start a new series, Historic Boat Profiles, as well as returning to vintage advertising and some great articles which have been in the works for several months behind the scenes.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!