Delta Municipal Light & Power Part IV – Fairbanks-Morse 31A18

This will be our final part on the Delta plant, this week highlighting the plants largest engine, the 31A18

Part I – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/delta-municipal-light-power-part-i/
Part II – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/10/14/delta-municipal-light-power-part-ii-fairbanks-morse-33-engines/
Part III – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/11/26/delta-municipal-light-power-part-iii-fairbanks-morse-32e14-engines/

The F-M 31A18 was Fairbank’s largest production engine. In the very first post on this blog, we looked at the design of the engine: https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2019/06/02/fairbanks-morse-31a18/

Engine #7 at Delta is a 10 cylinder, 3500HP, Dual Fuel engine. The engine is rated for only 277 RPM, and has an 18″ bore and a 27″ stroke.

Click on all of the photos for a larger version.

The creative use of old stop signs are covering the exhaust ports, which would turn and enter into the flood in the circular covers.

One of the fuel injection pumps. A camshaft in the box underneath drives these, with a copper line out of the top leading to the fuel injection nozzle in the head.

The engine drive a Fairbanks-Morse 2130kW, 2400V AC Alternator. The excitation generator is belt driven off off the end.

Looking down at the top of the cylinder head. The large pipe leading into the top of the head is the incoming Natural Gas supply. Going clockwise, is the gas admission valve driven from the upper camshaft, the air start check valve, with the air supply under it, jacket water exit into the upper water header, above that is the cylinder relief valve. In the center is the fuel injection nozzle. According to the builders plate, this engine is a 31A18 – FM documentation calls the Dual Fuel engine a 31AD18, maybe this engine was converted after installation?

The pipes in the foreground are the previously mentioned exhaust pipes, which were removed for remediation.

Just outside of the engine hall, is a small clean air room. Inside, is the scavenging air blower for the engine (all 10 cylinder engines used an external blower) – a Roots-Connersville 24″ centrifugal blower. The blower, is rated at a whopping 300HP and moves 17,500CFM of air.

Be sure to read our post on Roots Blowers from a few weeks ago: https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/who-is-roots-and-why-does-he-have-a-blower-named-after-him/

Just how big is an 18″ piston? Here it is with a dollar bill for reference..

Gauge and alarm panel – Just not as cool as those 1930’s era ones on the 32E engines..

The photos here simply do not do this engine justice, and just how BIG it is!

Lubrication chart for the engine. I would LOVE to add one of these to my collection. Anyone got one they want to sell?

This concludes our tour of the Delta Municipal Light & Power Plant. Thanks again to the guys for the fantastic tour! I can only hope that this plant can be saved, or at least some of the engines. I would love to see the 31A18 saved, but realize that would be one hell of a feat, due to the shear size. That little 4 cylinder 33 would be a neat museum piece as well.. I may make another post down the road with some other random photos in the plant I took.

Next week starts a new series – Historic Boat Profiles, with our first featured boat being the tug M. Moran, Moran Towing’s first twin screw tug.

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!

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

Continuing from Part I – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/09/27/delta-municipal-light-power-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
 – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/10/14/delta-municipal-light-power-part-ii-fairbanks-morse-33-engines/
Part III – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/11/26/delta-municipal-light-power-part-iii-fairbanks-morse-32e14-engines/
Part IV – https://vintagedieseldesign.wordpress.com/2020/12/01/delta-municipal-light-power-part-iv-fairbanks-morse-31a18/

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

Harry Matthews page on the plant: https://www.old-engine.com/delta.htm

An unexpected find…

A few month back, I was exploring a new store by my house called Rescued Metals & Equipment. Essentially, this is the “dumpster diving” division of a local scrapyard. They pull out any worthwhile metal, cool stuff, new steel/aluminum stock and anything else they might be able to sell. The ultimate in surplus stores. Browsing the racks, I stumbled on something I immediately recognized, an intake/exhaust valve. Without blinking, I bought it of course!

Yeah, its a big ass valve. Lets try that with something for reference..

On the left is your typical 6V battery, and on the right is a Cleveland 248/278/278A exhaust valve.

After tracking the part number stamped on it, it turns out this is for an Enterprise DSRV-16 engine. These were introduced in the 1950’s, and made up until the early 1980’s (by then it was a DeLaval Enterprise). Its a 17″ x 21″ 4 stroke engine running at 405RPM making 9,000HP with quad turbos. These were pretty common as standby generators at Nuclear plants, as well as ship propulsion engines.

From the 1957 Diesel Engine Catalog

If your ever in Southwest Michigan, be sure to stop by Rescued Metals. Its different every week, and they come up some some really cool stuff! Be sure to check out their Facebook page below.


https://www.facebook.com/RescuedMetals/

Oh, and the valve makes a fantastic paper towel holder in my office!

Fairbanks Morse Engine List

Unfortunately due to travel, I have not had nearly the time I would like lately to sit down and type up another article. This week however, I will provide some interesting reading. This is a Fairbanks Morse bulletin from 1958, that details every diesel engine model they ever produced. The one downside, is that it only covers the model, and not the cylinder arrangements offered for each one.

F-M was another one of those companies that seemed to have a new “model of the week” engine. Its impressive that quite a number of these engines survived, both as museum pieces, as well as a fair bit still in service today, unlike Winton and many other early diesels.

Keep in mind, this is a 1958 list, and does not cover the later engines that popped up when Colt took over, such as the 38A20, or any of the Pielstick engines.

Click each photo for a larger version.

Old Advertising III

This week, we have a 1941 classic, featuring the Carl Hussman Company, and a trio of Cleveland 16-567’s.

Click for a larger version

Unfortunately, I can not really say much about Carl Hussman outside of what is in the ad – I cant find anything! Other then they obviously made some spring isolation assembly’s.

What I can add though – is about those engines. The main trio featured, are Cleveland 16-567’s. Yes – They are Electro-Motive Corporation (at the time) designed, and even built in LaGrange – however these engines carried Cleveland Diesel plates. EMC (EMD), Cleveland Diesel and Detroit Diesel all fell under one banner after 1937 – the General Motors Diesel Power line. Locomotives fell under EMC/EMD, Marine and Stationary engines fell under Cleveland Diesel, and small engines up to 250HP under the Detroit line.

These 3 16-567’s were some of the earliest applications of these engines. These engines were shipped 11/1938, as 1000HP/600RPM gen-sets for the Alfred I. duPont building in Miami, Florida. Interestingly enough, 2 of the 3 were listed as being in emergency generator railcars, however as we can see – all 3 are inside the building. It is unknown if the order was changed in the process, of if the plant was reconfigured between 1938 and 1941 when this ad was made.

The 4th engine in the ad, the “225HP 8 Cylinder” is a Cleveland 8-233A engine. This was a small, 200HP/1200RPM engine. As with the early Winton designed engines, this was a 4 stroke, and one of the engines that ultimately would lead to the development of the Detroit 71 series. The 233A line was one of the engines used by Electro-Motive in the early railcars, as well as a yacht propulsion engine, and standby generator used in some early Aircraft Carriers.

The better question is – Are these engines still there?

Fairbanks-Morse 31A18

Naturally, as things progress – engines got bigger.  For Fairbanks-Morse, the 31A18/31AD18 was the largest production engine they made…at least until the 1960’s…but we will get to that later.    Fairbanks-Morse introduced their line of 31A engines around 1945 or so, calling them the new “En-bloc” engines, meaning “as a whole” in the dictionary.   While previous FM engines were made of various castings, bases, liners, air box, exhaust belt, etc., the new 31A line used a one-piece cast block, in which the cylinder liners went into (not on top of like earlier models). The cam and main bearing pockets were cast right into the block, ensuring perfect alignment every time (or so they touted), as well as featuring an integral oscillating scavenging blower.   The 31A series was offered in a 6 ¼” and an 8 ½” bore for marine and stationary service, as well as a giant 18” bore engine for stationary power generating service, and thus the 31A18 was born.

Fairbanks Morse 10 Cylinder 31A18

The 31A18 used an 18” bore, with a 27” stroke, rated at 277 RPM.   FM also offered the 31A18 in a dual fuel model, the 31AD18 – which used diesel as a pilot fuel for natural gas operation.   The engines were offered in the following configurations:

– 6 Cylinder, 2100HP, 140,000lb/143,000lb (31AD18)
– 8 Cylinder, 2800HP, 193,000lb/197,000lb (31AD18)
– 10 Cylinder, 3500HP, 247,000lb/251,000lb (31AD18)

End cutaway view of the 31AD18

One of the few options offered was in way of the scavenging blower – The engine could be equipped with an oscillating vane blower, or none at all, with the scavenging air being supplied by a separate motor driven blower in the plant.   It appears most applications went with the separate motor driven unit.     Lubricating oil was supplied by a duplex system with an engine driven gear pump handling piston cooling, main bearings, crankpins, camshaft, injection pumps and blower (if equipped).  A separate pair of Madison-Kipp lubricators driven off the main camshaft supplied oil to each cylinder liner wall by means of 6 lines going to each. The camshaft also chain drives the fuel oil service pump.  Jacket water cooling is handled off a main header (remember, there is no internal water passages in the cast block) on the lower potion of the block, up through the liners and heads, and out through an upper header.   The engine has no water pumps of its own (common in large stationary engines), with separate motor driven pumps for the closed loop soft water in the engine, and a raw water system for the heat exchangers.  

Main casting of the 10 Cylinder model. Note the casting line between the first 4 Cylinders and the last 6. The blocks were cast as 4 Cylinder blower/non blower sections and 6 Cylinder sections.
The 31A18 used a rather unique piston. While it was not a floating piston, it did in essence use a carrier, however it was bolted in place through the skirt. The crown was a separate piece with studs, which held it all together.

The 31A/31AD18 were essentially the same engine except for the dual fuel equipment.   In addition to the standard equipment, the 31AD18 used an additional chain driven upper camshaft to control the gas admission valves, supplied by a separate header on the top end of the engine. 

The rather unorthodox method of driving the upper camshaft and fuel pump.

Around 1955, Fairbanks Morse added to the 31A18 line, by introducing a 12-cylinder option, putting out 4200HP.   Production of the 31A18 lasted until the late 1960’s – well past the production of all of the other FM engines that were not model opposed Piston models.  While FM does not support the 31A18 line anymore, there are still numerous examples of these engines still in service in various municipal power plants.   While the 31A18 family was the largest production Fairbanks Morse engine, it was not the largest. That honor would go to the 38A20 Opposed Piston engine.

A pair of 38AD18 engines in an unknown power plant. For the life of me I can not find the source of this photo. If anyone recognizes it please let me know so I can properly credit it.

Midway Island, part of the Midway Atoll in the Pacific is home to a small power plant with a single FM 38AD18. Check out this link for photos of the Midway power plant. Note that this engine has the attached engine driven blower.

Midway Island Power Plant Photos

FM 31AD18 running at the Rochelle Illinois power plant. Note the large grey pipe coming up from the floor in the front of the engine, this is the air intake, as this engine does not have the attached blower. This plant is home to many old engines including FM’s, Worthingtons and Nordbergs. Video from youtube user dzlrod

As always, I welcome and and all comments, additions, corrections and anything else.