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03-31-2013, 08:06 AM #1
Moving a Fairbanks Morse 32E 14 Diesel Genset
Last year I was contacted by a fellow from North Carolina who had purchased a 2 cylinder FM 32E 14 diesel genset. The genset was set up in a pole building on a farm in Kensington, OH apparently by an engine collector who had since passed away. The new owners of the property placed the engine on Craigslist and really had no idea what it was or did.
I was hired to disassemble the engine and get it out of the building. I suppose I am building a reputation as a large engine rigger and mover. Go figure. So last July we started in on the dismantling. The first work session with the fellows from NC involved removing the small parts from the genset and sliding the stator off the rotor. I also gathered useful data such as bolt and nut dimensions and sized up the situation as far as how to rig it out of the building. Doing some measurements I found that the flywheel would have to be removed from the engine to get it out of the building and that we had very tight clearances to work with inside.
So we got started with the small stuff and waited until we could schedule the next work session.
03-31-2013, 08:15 AM #2
We got back together in October to remove the generator rotor shaft, stator and dismantle the radiator. The owner brought up some steel to make frames to mount these pieces on to make transportation easier. I also got started on lifting the engine up off the foundation. The crew was a bit unsure how I would be able to lift the engine up, but they soon learned. I first started out by chiseling out four slots in the grout at the four corners of the engine, in which I drove wedges until I could see the cast iron breaking free of the grout. Then I jacked under the flywheel with a porta power lifting one end of the engine ever so slightly, just enough to drive steel plates under the engine at its mid section. Then I lowered the jack which brought up the far end of the engine far enough to put plates under that end. Then jack again on the flywheel and repeat the installation of plates. By doing so I was walking the engine up into the air using its own weight to do half of the lifting.
By the end of this work session we had the generator on pallets, the cooling system dismantled and the engine up in the air awaiting the final work session.
03-31-2013, 08:28 AM #3
This past week we finished up the job and by now the engine is safely in North Carolina at its new home. The first task was to pull the flywheel off the shaft. It took a little while to get it broke free, but once that happened it came right off with the aid of the 50 ton hydraulic cylinder. I had the engine situated so that the wheel would slide off the shaft and slide onto the old concrete foundation for the stator. We had the forklift attached mainly to take some weight off the shaft and to keep it from toppling over when it came off.
With the flywheel off, (BTW I calculated its weight at 7,000 lbs. and later it was confirmed to be 7,000 lbs.!) we moved on to getting the engine itself outside the building. Our 10,000 lb. forklift would not lift its 18,000 lb. weight so I built a railroad out of 3" I beam on which to slide the engine. The first move was lateral to get it off the foundation. The forklift was set up as an anchor with the beams placed on cribbing and up against the tires. then the engine was lowered onto the beams and with two chain pullers slid the engine off the foundation. Then we jacked up the engine and lowered it down onto the beams again, which now had been placed at 90 degrees and pointing toward the door. With the engine on the beams I would push the engine with the forklift until it got to the end of the beams, then reset and push again until it got outside the door.
Last Thursday the crane arrived to load a drop deck semi for the trip home. The loading went rather uneventful, thanks in no small way to Dave Kamp and his donation of a set of eyebolts last fall which I put through the foundation bolt holes as lifting points on the engine.
Overall, this project went very smooth, nothing was broken or damaged, the owner is happy and I got to do something that I love to do! And someday soon the FM will again be running in its new home.
03-31-2013, 08:56 AM #4
That was a nice installation the engine was in. It looks like it was ready to generate electricity. Someone spent a lot of time, energy and money on the installation. Nice rigging job Rick.
03-31-2013, 09:04 AM #5
It did generate electricity. It made 2400 VAC 3 phase which was stepped down to 480 VAC 3 phase to power a machine shop in another pole building. There was a thousand gallon underground diesel fuel tank behind the building as well as a buried concrete air intake tunnel which went out back to an intake. Such a shame it had to be moved. BTW the people who bought the property from the original owners recently sold it all to Chesapeake Energy who have flattened about 50 acres directly adjacent to the buildings and are putting in a compressor station. When I was there in July it was way out in the country on a very rural road with nothing but fields and trees around. Now there are dozers, graders, trucks, sidewinders and miles of 12" and 18" pipelines going in all directions.
03-31-2013, 09:28 AM #6
It's a beautiful old engine.
Thanks for saving it, Rick!
03-31-2013, 09:51 AM #7
Brilliant work, Rick.
A couple of questions if you would entertain them:
I noticed the engine was hoisted with slings when it was craned
up to the trailer. The slings were cinched across the cylinders
with a green ratchet strap - why do this? It seemed stable
Did you slide the engine base directly on the steel beams, or were
there rollers? Lube?
And, who figured out what crane service to use, and how to set up
03-31-2013, 09:52 AM #8
Thanks for telling us about your project.
I was interested to see the Fairbanks Morse diesel since there is another old one of perhaps a similar vintage at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum about 45 mi. from my place.
Cumberland Heritage Village Museum | City of Ottawa
This one is only a single cylinder and rather than being connected to a generator is used to run a belt driven saw mill.
I had taken some pictures of it from outside the safety screen when it was in operation a few years ago at one of the events at the museum .
Not the greatest pictures but it will give an idea what it is like and a little about its history .
If some one would like to know more about it they can send me an e-mail or a PM.
03-31-2013, 10:01 AM #9
The crane operator requested adding the ratchet strap for his peace of mind. I was quite certain that the engine was stable, but if it makes the crane operator feel better then why not? The engine was skidded across the beams with some motor oil added for lube. The crane and truck was coordinated by the engine owner. The crane was a 25 ton Terex and plenty big enough to handle the engine. Cheap too. $105/hr.
03-31-2013, 10:03 AM #10
That woven wire fencing sure does detract from their otherwise interesting setup. I think these engines were made up to 6 cylinders in size.
03-31-2013, 10:23 AM #11
If I get there sometime when there are fewer people around I'll try and get some better pictures from the inside.
Since there are a lot of school children visit that site I guess that is why they were forced to add the fencing to this and a a couple of their other exhibits.
I tried sticking my lens thrtough the screen but I couldn't get a good overall shot that way either.
I do know a couple of people who can perhaps tell me more about it .
I found links to better pictures here
It seems like there are a few more Fairbanks Morse diesels out there.
Last edited by Jim Christie; 03-31-2013 at 01:35 PM.
03-31-2013, 02:23 PM #12
Those picture sure bring back memory's. About 30 years ago I bought a 3 cylinder version of that F-M engine out of the power plant at Waterville Ohio. This was pre-Internet days so you found out about things by talking to everbody you could find and make lots of telephone calls.
I was given the mans name that installed and owned that engine by Bill Hatchell of Cleveland. I gave him a call and was invited to stop by. A few weeks later I was heading over to the Coolsprings engine show and stopped in to see him. Was obviously well of financially and also the most gracious person you would want to meet.
The install was the most well done that I have ever seen on a large engine before or since. He told me about the install and it was obvious that no expense had been spared in the install. That was probably the only large engine running that could developed it's brake horsepower that a hobbyist had installed.
After the engine house he showed me around and showed me the machine shop and his car collection. He had cars like a 66 (I Think) Cadillac station wagon and a 450SEL Mercides- Benz with a pigskin interior. Good stuff.
I later found out that he was related to the family that owned or had a large stake in TRW
I always wonder what happened to the engine and the man now I know.
EarlF liked this post
03-31-2013, 04:37 PM #13
The F-M engine brings back memories of some of the powerplants I worked in and around in the midwest. Here and there, in the 1970's, there were F-M engines like the one pictured, kept as reserve or backup units. F-M put a lot of iron into those old engines. Rick: you did a hell of a job in dismantling and moving that engine and generator. Hopefully, it will soon be erected and running again. The previous owner had a beautiful plant, and it was, as you say, a real shame to take the engine and generator out of it. But, progress happens, and at least some other newer engines are running in the same location.
Let me know when the new owners are ready to get things into alignment as I have a Starrett crankshaft strain gauge (number 696). I used it on many diesel engines with single-bearing generators overseas. It is perhaps the only real way to align the pedestal bearing to the crankshaft. I last used the 696 gauge on the center crank steam engine at Hanford Mills when we put an extension on the crankshaft and added an outboard pedestal bearing. I think I will soon have some time on my hands, so if you or the new owners need a hand with the alignment, please let me know.
Here is the other news. I have more than enough years of service (31 +) and more than enough age (62 vs 55 minimum) to retire from my job at the powerplant with full pension and benefits. The corporate types are making life ridiculously complicated. They have introduced some bulls-t called "configuration management". What takes me under 2 weeks to design at the powerplant takes them over 2 years to review and still not release, and this is stuff needed for dam safety and critical plant systems. I lost my temper a few weeks back when the head of mechanical engineering from corporate asked me the status of a job he had insisted in taking over (after I had come up with the design concept, did the design, and had a complete package ready to go). He and his group have had over 1 1/2 years and still nothing, and I lifted my safeties and let him have it. I told him he was only capable of turning simple jobs into endless circle jerks, and then did not have the b--s to put his stamp on them (I use my PE stamp without fear on anything I design), and would hire a consultant to take that responsibility, thus creating a cluster f--k. I also told him I had the oldest PE license in our system, and had "one foot out the gate and the other on a skateboard... so don't tempt me". He said they'd bring me back as a "temporary hire", and I said he knew where to send the checks. I went home, and my wife and the financial planner convinced me I was not really gaining a whole lot by working at this point. Sooo, I threw a mental dart at the calendar and said: "End of June, 2013.." I suppose this is to insure good riding weather so I can ride out the gate on a motorcycle, off into the sunset. Anyhow, this frees me up for paying and fun jobs. I have my precision levels and 696 crankshaft strain gauge, and will soon have the time to help out.
03-31-2013, 07:25 PM #14
Joe, it is good to hear that you will soon be retired, as come this fall I may need your assistance in lining up the Tod Engine, and you might get a kick out of coming down to Pittsburgh and seeing the Carrie Furnaces and the 48" universal plate mill that I may be moving later this year.
Thanks for the compliment on the rigging job.
03-31-2013, 08:11 PM #15
As I said to you once before, you'll know when it is time. Congratulations. After June you will be busier than you imagine. And not having to deal with idiot senior management will make the days more enjoyable - trust me on that. Have been there, done that and have two tee shirts from two different lives. My wife claims I stopped snoring (pretty much) when I retired - I know I sleep better! Like you I had a job I loved, but dealing with the idiots in charge took all the fun out of it.
Now start planning on what you are going to say no to, or you will be too busy! And enjoy the trip to Europe.
03-31-2013, 08:14 PM #16
Real nice job. And neat to see that the machinery will continue in use.
Let's see - between you and Joe you had better watch out or the J&R Rigging, Engineering and Steel LLC will consume too much of your time!
03-31-2013, 08:29 PM #17
A good move Joe, sounds like working there is a study in futility, subject to worsen!
Yes, you will be very busy.
In fact you should consider a book. I have followed your posts for several years and I am quite sure it would be great reading!
03-31-2013, 08:37 PM #18
03-31-2013, 09:49 PM #19
Wow. In the 1960's my father was a city councilman in the town of Maquoketa, where I grew up. They had a very weird thing there - there was power available from a power company (Iowa Electric maybe) OR you could buy your power from the City. So there were twice as many electric utility poles as anywhere else. And sometimes wrong meters (as in people had power when Iowa electric was out, proving they were paying one entity while being served by the other.)
Anyway, the city light plant had a variety of diesel gensets - some for sure fairbanks-morse - large, as in walk around on a catwalk attached to the machine and be eyelevel with the valve gear - some of which I think was exposed.
04-03-2013, 05:16 PM #20
I believe I know who bought that beauty.