Delta Municipal Light & Power Part II – Fairbanks-Morse 33 Engines

Continuing from Part I –

The Delta plant is home to a trio of F-M model 33 engines. Before we get to those, here is a little background on the Model 33 engine.

The Model 33 engine was the next model in line after the 32 series, and was introduced around 1930. The engine was ultimately offered in 3 bore sizes – a 12″, 14″ and 16″. The engine was FM’s first pump scavenged engine, moving up from the older crankcase scavenged 32. Like the predecessor, these were rather simple engines. No intake or exhaust valves, mechanical fuel injection (in a time when air injection was still somewhat common) and a split lubrication system using both an engine driven pressure pump and a force feed mechanical lubricator.

In the case of this post, we will be describing the 16″ bore model, which has a 20″ stroke rated at 300RPM. FM offered these engines in 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 cylinder sizes. The engine was available with a dual fuel option, meaning it could run on Diesel, or Natural Gas with Diesel acting as a pilot fuel. A second upper camshaft drives a series of gas valves at each cylinder head. The Delta plant has 3 of these engines:

#1 – 8 Cylinder 33F16, Dual Fuel engine. 16″ bore and 20″ stroke, 1400HP
#2 – 4 Cylinder 33D16 Dual Fuel engine. 16″ bore and 20″ stroke, 700HP
#6 – 10 Cylinder 33F16 Dual Fuel engine, 16″ bore and 20″ stroke, 2000HP

Unfortunately I did not ask as to the chronological history as to just when these engines were installed.

Lets start at Engine #1Click on images for larger versions

Looking at #1, we see the main exhaust leading into the floor, where it then heads outside into the muffler. Mounted on the side of the scavenging pump is the lube oil heat exchanger, as well as a set of oil strainers.
On the side of the engine is the starting hand wheel, fuel injection pumps, and the Woodward governor.
On the left side is the Natural Gas header pipe, with the starting air pipe being the other large pipe going into the head. In the center is the fuel injection nozzle.
A look at the cylinder head cross section.
Top of the scavenging pump.
Control side of the engine. I honestly do not know what the additional box is between the scavenging pump and the intake belt is, but I do believe it is an intercooler of sort. I have not seen this on any other FM engine, and I did not notice it to ask when I was there. I imagine it has to do with emissions.
The engine drives an 835kW AC Alternator. F-M supplied all of the electrical gear to the plant as well.
Straight on side view of the engine. This engine in marine form was known as the model 37F16, a direct reversible engine common to tugboats in the 1950’s.
A final look at Engine #1.

Engine #2

Engine #2 is a small, 4 cylinder 33D16 engine. F-M would upgrade the letter designation as the engines advanced through the years, thus this is the older of the trio, being a “D” engine.

Other then being short 2 cylinders, the engine is exactly the same as #1 above.
What is interesting is the additional plates between the cylinder heads. I have never seen these on a marine engine.
While I thought I thought I got photos of everything, I missed getting a photo of several data plates, thus I do not know how large the Alternator is that this engine drives.

Engine # 6

Engine #6 at Delta is the 2nd largest engine of the plant, rated at 2,000HP.

Notice anything missing? No scavenging pump! The 10 cylinder model utilized a motor driven centrifugal blower, mounted externally. We will discuss these more when we get to the 31A18.
On the front of the engine is the main lube oil pump.
Again, standard controls like the previous engines. Note that this one is the opposite rotation though.
The gauge board. Note the feed lines coming up from the floor.
The exhaust side of the engine. Note the large grey pipe in the background – this is the scavenging air intake.
This engine drives a 1200kW alternator, at 60 cycles.

In the next part we will go over the trio of 32E14 engines at the plant.

Delta Municipal Light & Power – Part I

Continuing on our roadtrip last month, leaving Salt Lake City and heading towards Denver, we were sort of forced to take the scenic route, due to Route 70 being closed for fires – a common theme on this trip.. But hey, scenic roads are always better then highways! And, it lets us do some more exploring on the DRGW Narrow Gauge lines through Cimarron, Gunnison and Monarch. So, dropping down Route 50 out of Grand Junction, we come into the small town of Delta, Colorado. A small construction detour had us routed through downtown, and I had a lightbulb moment..Delta…They have an old Municipal plant full of Fairbanks engines! I remembered an old website from years ago (link on the bottom) with some photos, and doing some digging last year I read the plant was closed and they want to repurpose it… Well hell, lets find it!

Well, that was easy, being that its right on the edge of town, on 50. I had to stop and atleast take a look in the windows. So, I find a place to park next door and walk up to the windows.. and bam, there I am greeted by the plants largest engine, an FM 31A18. So I take a photo through the window.

I walk back to the car past the office, and say what the hell, let me knock on the door. I go to the car and grab my friend with me and tell him “If you want to tour the plant, lets go give it a shot”. Go to the office door, knock knock…I am greeted by a gentleman and ask him if by chance we can take a look around…

“Sure! Come on in! We love showing this place off!” Yep, defiantly not in NYC anymore..

Click for larger

We got the grand tour! Unfortunately, In a streak of laziness, I opted not to grab my real camera out of the car. A decision I regret. I am going to break this post up into several parts by engine, and give a run down of each engines history and specs.

Left is a 14″ FM piston, and the center is an 18″. We will come back to this later.

The plant has 7 Fairbanks-Morse engines:
#1 – 8 Cylinder 33F16, Dual Fuel engine. 16″ bore and 20″ stroke, 1400HP
#2 – 4 Cylinder 33D16 Dual Fuel engine. 16″ bore and 20″ stroke, 700HP
#3 – 4 Cylinder 32E14, 14″ bore and 17″ stroke, 300HP
#4 – 3 Cylinder 32E14, 14″ bore and 17″ stroke, 225HP
#5 – 3 Cylinder 32E14, 14″ bore and 17″ stroke, 225HP
#6 – 10 Cylinder 33F16 Dual Fuel engine, 16″ bore and 20″ stroke, 2000HP
#7 – 10 Cylinder 31A18 Dual Fuel engine, 18″ bore and 27″ stroke, 3500HP

Click for larger

The Delta plant was built in 1937 with the 32E engines originally, and expanded in the mid 1950’s. Here is the sad part, the plant was shut down for the last time in 2014, and has been idle since. I stumbled on plans from the city last year that they want to repurpose the building unfortunately. This place is a living museum of diesel engines and rural power generation and really deserves to be preserved as it is. Any old engine groups looking for FM’s might want to get in touch with them…

At the time, FM was not only the engine builder, but would act as the contractor for the site, planning the optimal layouts and plan for future expansions.

Click for larger

Be sure to visit the following parts of this series on Delta:
Part II
Part III –
Part IV –

Thanks again to the folks at the plant for taking the time out to show us around!

Harry Matthews page on the plant: