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Building 4,400hp engines

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rader1
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#1

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:37 PM

Hey guys, not exactly automotive but interesting none the less.

I work for the only non-manufacturer ran General Electric locomotive overhaul facility in North America and I figured I'd share a few pics of some of the cool stuff I get to work on.

I mainly work on GE 7FDL16 series engines. They are 10,700CID V16s rated at 4,400hp/20,000ftlbs@1055RPM. Each locomotive is rated at ~140,000 pounds of tractive effort(pulling force.) Total locomotive weight is 400,000lbs.

This is a complete engine setting next to the alternator that will bolted to rear of the engine and provides the power necessary to turn the traction motors. Combined weight is ~65,000lbs.
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This is just the bare block. The holes in the top are where each Power Assembly sit. The square holes in the side provide access for inspection/ repair.
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This is the crankshaft. It is ~11 feet long and weighs 4,200lbs.
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The pistons are a 2 piece design where the crown and skirt are bolted together. Combined weight of crown and skirt is ~50lbs. This particular piston had a failure of the wrist pin causing damage to both the skirt and cylinder walls.
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The turbochargers weigh 1,900lbs and are designed to provide 36psi of pressure in two separate 11ID intake manifolds.
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Here are a couple pics of the turbo mounted. One from the front, one from the rear and one of just the exhaust manifold.
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The pics from the rear is obstructed on the left by a power assembly and on the right by a water to air intercooler.
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Exhaust manifold
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Each cylinder is designed to, essentially, act as if it is an entire engine. The valves, cylinder walls, cylinder head, water passages, piston and rod are all contained in one unit. That unit can then be installed into the frame. That means if one PA has a problem it can be replaced without disturbing any of the other PAs.

This is the jacket that contains the valve train, cylinder liner, cylinder head and the piston/rod slides into
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There are two different connecting rods used. A master rod and articulating rod(art rod for short.)

Master rods resemble automotive connecting rods and the big end goes around the crank throw. This master rod came out of an engine I've been working on the last couple days. The turbo ate the compressor seal and then began sucking oil out the crankcase and then the engine oversped. The engine is supposed to turn 1055rpms and this one ran 1500rpms before finally sucking all the oil out of the oil pan. The engine burned through 400 gallons of oil in roughly 90seconds. The piston crown seized in the bore and broke away from the skirt.
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The art rod bolts onto a pin at the base of the master rod
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The engine just provides the juice. In 8th notch the alternator provides 2400 amps and 1200 volts of electricity. There are a couple reasons for the electric motors. The main reason is that an electric motor can provide insane amounts of torque at VERY low RPMs.

Here's a couple scale pics. The pink disc is a urinal cake(I know, I know but everyone knows how big a urinal cake is and for some unknown reason we have 2 pallets of these things just laying around)
This pic is of a master rod that was prepped for some machining work.
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And here's one next a piston with the crown removed
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Here's a couple follow up shots of the engine with blown turbo that over sped.
Here's a pic in the middle of the disassembly process. At this point the exhaust manifold, intercoolers, intake manifold, turbo and 4 power assemblies were removed.
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Here's what I found that was left of the turbo. Its part of the center shaft and nose cone. Also, some assorted shrapnel.
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rader1
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#2

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:39 PM Edited by rader1, 04 February 2013 - 07:49 PM.

The newer 7HDL-12 evolution series engines feature turbo speed sensors and we monitor them VERY closely due to the problems the turbochargers are having. Evos were released in 2007 and a couple years later the turbos began failing in BIG numbers. It was later determined the problem was a casting defect in the compressor wheel and at speed they would come apart. It was a very scary problem for the conductors and engines that had to be on the locomotives while they were running. GE couldn't supply turbos soon enough to meet our demand so we developed a "containment mod" program. We enclosed the turbos in 2 1/2" thick steel plates to catch the debris should they come apart. I really wish I had a pic of this because of how ridiculous it was.

Here's a pic of an EVO we have in the shop. They feature a two piece power assembly design and are similar but different. You can see the cam sections just below the cylinder liners.
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Here's the actual cylinder heads sitting on the grating
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Here's one of the new style "EVOs." Condrod broke and hit the block and knocked out a camshaft. There should be a can in the center hole haha
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There's the shrapnel in the oil pan

Here's a pic of a crank that tossed a counterweight
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Here's another one that tossed a counterweight.
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The intake manifold exploded and that caught the low pressure fuel lines on fire, it's not a pretty sight. I don't know if the air box explosion caused the engine over speed or the other way around.

Counterweight
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Counterweight on a work bench
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The latest generation GE locomotives(Tier 3 Evolution series) apparently have "suspect" connecting rods. GE thinks a certain batch of rods have defect in their machining process and are likely to fail so we are replacing them before they fail and take some blocks with them. So me and a coworker were given the task of doing the first set.

Here's a pic showing the engine assembled. The Tier 3s use common rail fuel injection and that's what the metal lines are running from power assembly to power assembly.
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Here's the new rod/piston in the shipping box with the lifting fixture attached
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Here's the piston/rod in the rack, damn it's shiny lol The older style Evos used an articulation piston(crown can swivel independatly of the skirt) but the Tier 3s use a traditional fixed piston.
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Here it is after we swapped the liner onto the new rod and are just about to reinstall it
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I love working on this stuff and if you guys have any questions I'll be happy to answer them to the best of my abilities.

stinomontana
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#3

Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

Wow man looks like a really cool job you got there.

Those engines are massive!

Carlover325
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#4

Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:34 AM

If you die, can I have your job? tounge.gif

rader1
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#5

Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:14 PM

Sure, I guess lol

Lurch
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#6

Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:35 PM

Very cool stuff. I thought big truck engines were big but these are about 10x them in about everything.

rader1
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#7

Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:00 PM

QUOTE (Lurch @ Tuesday, Feb 5 2013, 12:35)
Very cool stuff. I thought big truck engines were big but these are about 10x them in about everything.

Yeah, I worked as a service tech for a fleet shipping company in college and I always thought those Cummins IS engines were big. These are monsters in comparison.

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#8

Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

You work with a guy whose last name is Bubolz?

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#9

Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:32 AM

What is the biggest engine out there? Cruise ship engines is my guess.

Lurch
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#10

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:04 AM

QUOTE (SRB @ Tuesday, Feb 5 2013, 19:32)
What is the biggest engine out there? Cruise ship engines is my guess.

Ships have some big ones.

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El_Diablo
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#11

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:07 AM

epic crankshaft is epic.

engines like these should be used in funeral services for car junkies.
like you know how gun enthusiasts like to have their ashes shot out of a canon or some sh*t when they die?

for gear heads, you can have your body combusted inside of a massive engine lol.gif

rader1
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#12

Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:05 AM

QUOTE (ryuclan @ Tuesday, Feb 5 2013, 19:14)
You work with a guy whose last name is Bubolz?

No, why do you ask?

sivispacem
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#13

Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:02 AM Edited by sivispacem, 06 February 2013 - 08:05 AM.

QUOTE (Lurch @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 02:04)
QUOTE (SRB @ Tuesday, Feb 5 2013, 19:32)
What is the biggest engine out there? Cruise ship engines is my guess.

Ships have some big ones.

They do indeed, but I think many of the huge fixed ones for pumping stations ect are around the same size. There's a point at which, in a moving object, it becomes more efficient to start mounting gas turbines.

Think the largest one ever made is for container ships though, which is the 14 cyl version of the one Lurch posted.

Sup3rman
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#14

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:19 AM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 08:02)
Think the largest one ever made is for container ships though, which is the 14 cyl version of the one Lurch posted.

Would that be the Emma Maersk?

sivispacem
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#15

Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:07 PM

QUOTE (Sup3rman @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 11:19)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 08:02)
Think the largest one ever made is for container ships though, which is the 14 cyl version of the one Lurch posted.

Would that be the Emma Maersk?

That's the one, yes. There are another 24 in service according to Wikipedia.

Sup3rman
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#16

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:07 PM

After Jahre Viking, which got scrapped, was over 450m long and was the largest vessel ever built, one of the Emma Maersk ships should be worlds largest at the moment.

Lurch
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#17

Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:29 PM

QUOTE (sivispacem @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 03:02)
There's a point at which, in a moving object, it becomes more efficient to start mounting gas turbines.

I was thinking the same thing. Or even nuclear power.

sivispacem
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#18

Posted 06 February 2013 - 06:41 PM

QUOTE (Lurch @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 18:29)
QUOTE (sivispacem @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 03:02)
There's a point at which, in a moving object, it becomes more efficient to start mounting gas turbines.

I was thinking the same thing. Or even nuclear power.

Nuclear has by far the highest efficiency, but the cost implications are so huge it doesn't really make sense unless you plan to spend months at a time at sea.

Pavlov
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#19

Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

Oh Christ, that's enormous.

Trund
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#20

Posted 07 February 2013 - 02:02 PM

Woah! That's the coolest thing, right after the GE90-115b. biggrin.gif :D
Must be awesome to work on this though!

rader1
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#21

Posted 07 February 2013 - 04:55 PM

QUOTE (Trund @ Thursday, Feb 7 2013, 09:02)
Woah! That's the coolest thing, right after the GE90-115b. biggrin.gif :D
Must be awesome to work on this though!

Yeah, those GE turbines are pretty freaking cool.

visionist
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#22

Posted 08 February 2013 - 12:04 AM

Price point on these engines? How much, for instance, is a crankshaft?

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#23

Posted 08 February 2013 - 01:26 AM

wow.gif Damn, this is very cool stuff!

rader1
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#24

Posted 08 February 2013 - 02:03 AM

QUOTE (visionist @ Thursday, Feb 7 2013, 19:04)
Price point on these engines? How much, for instance, is a crankshaft?

A crank new from GE costs roughly $40,000 dollars. A tier 1+ EFI 7FDL-16 assembled and ready to run costs roughly $450,000. A new locomotive costs $3 million dollars give or take depending on options.

We can strip a block bare and rebuild it using new components for $350,000 with labor included. So, from the companies standpoint, we're saving over a $100G on each engine.

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#25

Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:27 AM

How tight are the tolerances on something that big? Seems more are failing prematurely than they should.

rader1
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#26

Posted 08 February 2013 - 07:51 AM

For the most part the tolerances are just about the same as a small bore engine.

Most of the failures can be attributed to either 1)component age or 2)manufacturing defects in parts.

Each engine is on a ~10 year overhaul cycle(it actually goes by megawatt hours but it works out to be about 10 years.). That means they are designed to operate an average of 12 hours a day generating 4,000+HP. Most fly a parts are from engines at the very end of it's expected overhaul life cycle. Add to that the fact thag most running repair/routine maintenance shops don't do hardly any preventative maintenance so it's a very hard life for the engines.

Also, the 7FDL engine family was first used in the 1950s(maybe before then, but the '50s is the oldest dates I can find literature on in repair manuals in the shop) and remained vertically unchanged until EFI was not introduced in the 1990s at which point they began trying to make more and more power out of an already outdated design. For instance, the same exact crank design they used in the 1970s for 3200hp engines are what is being used in modern 4000hp dash 9 engines.


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#27

Posted 09 March 2013 - 03:36 AM

Hey Rader1, I see your photo of the Tier 3 piston. Have you had by problems with the Tier 2 pistons with the "c" retainer clip, ejecting c clips, broken skirts - that sort of thing? For that matter how do the Tier 3 piston perform?

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#28

Posted 09 March 2013 - 06:14 AM

I haven't seen any issues with piston pin c-clips or broken/scored skirts with the tier 2s. All of our Tier 3 engines are less than 24 months old so i don't know how well they are going to hold up in the long term but so far we haven't seen any common issues.

Honestly, the EVOs are very mechanically solid with just a few exceptions.
-The rubber o-rings used to seal the cylinder liner water jackets don't last very long. Which causes the engines to consume water and then run low on cooling water and overheat. Then the exhaust valve seats get hot and warp ruining the head.

-The tier 3 turbos use a nozzle ring that is held in place by steel pins and those pins are starting to break so we're replacing quite a few turbos recently.

-The earliest EVOs we have are starting to break cranks. We've seen about half a dozen broken cranks over the last year or so. Unfortunately we're not setup to pull cranks on EVOs yet, so they have to go to GE. That's all going to change in the next 6 months or so, though smile.gif

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#29

Posted 09 March 2013 - 01:21 PM

QUOTE (rader1 @ Wednesday, Feb 6 2013, 02:05)
QUOTE (ryuclan @ Tuesday, Feb 5 2013, 19:14)
You work with a guy whose last name is Bubolz?

No, why do you ask?

A buddy of mine's father worked on engines like that. He almost got us a tour of their factory last year but it didn't happen. That one was in Wisconsin.

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#30

Posted 09 March 2013 - 09:56 PM

Holy hell that's awesome! Do you think you can send me a damaged piston crown/conrod/piece of either? I have a collection of engine failure-related parts and that would be the cherry on my sundae.




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