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Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:34 pm
by Glenn Brooks
Anybody try using a small Diesel engine for motive power in a locomotive?
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For example, I found this 10 hp diesel on line, with electric start.

I am curious what people think about using them?

Is the sound an improvement over the gas lawnmower effect? Less noisy, more noisily? ?? And what about Torque at lower speeds.

Thanks
Glenn Brooks

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:29 pm
by ALCOSTEAM
These are basically the same little diesel engines that are put in the chinese diesel generators you see at the farm stores. From everyone that I know that has scratched the itch and bought one they have regretted it. Several years ago I took a load of steel in to the scrap yard and right next to where they showed me to dump at there was a pile of these diesel generators that the local farm store had taken back and did not want to fix or resell.

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:34 pm
by johnpenn74
We had a visitor show up at CSME last year that had a Lamborgini diesel engine in his switcher.

The other one I saw a while back was a guy in who had an A-B pair of NYC E8s with a Peugeot engine in it. The cool part was he plumbed the exhaust back to the B unit so both stacks were smoking!

And yet another one is a guy out there that has a Gas - Electric Zeypher set.

This last gas - electric makes me think twice about the operational realism of the modern diesel electric models. That is, if you want to ***RUN*** the engine prototypically maybe it is a matter of combustion to electric, actual dynamic brakes, actual air brakes, electrical transition gears, and 8 notches on the throttle. Perhaps a step away from infinitely variable hydraulics and low talent operation is what is missing.... Hmmmm...

JP

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:35 pm
by rkcarguy
Glenn, there are Youtube video's of people starting and running these small Chinese diesel engines like the one in your picture. They sadly sound worse than the typical lawnmower engine as they have a harder "pop" when the engine fires(I'm sure they are much higher compression) together with the same noise otherwise, and it seemed like there was tons of vibration.
Then you've got a pressurized mechanical diesel fuel system that's all made in china, and a fuel that is going to turn to Jelly when it gets really cold. When I started kart racing we were finding the hardware used on these Chinese 6.5HP engines was basically mild steel and the bolts were stretching at the threads allowing the crankcase cover to work loose, leak oil, and crack the case around the dowel pins. To make them have a chance at staying together, all the bolts had to be replaced *from the start* with good grade 10.9 hardware. What could go wrong? :lol:

This user says theirs has held up, but I still don't like the way it sounds just like a gas version with a rod knock.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2E5SWokRAM

This is Island Pond RR's gas/electric. I loved the hair drier dynamics on it!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfF6rx2RQtM

I think this would sound good and perform well with a larger muffler and longer/large exhaust pipe(deepen the tone).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPEXoDY77Cw

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:00 pm
by Glenn Brooks
Thanks all,

Ryan, yes your last UTube gets pretty close. I’ll bet a three lunger would sound better.

Quite a few guys in the fishing industry up in Alaska started buying small diesels for their boats back in the 1980’s. Mostly for wash down pumps, fish hold circulation and similar purposes - stuff you wanted to run on demand for short, high out put work, without constantly running the big fuel hog main engines 24;hrs a day. At the time, most of the small diesels were built with Aluminium blocks and steel cylinder liners, rather than the traditional all cast iron block. These little diesels were screaming noisy due to the high RPM’s and sound attenuation emitting from the light weight Aluminium body.

Just hoping some manufacturer now produces a small, say 5-15 hp range, low RPM diesel with cast iron motor that could be adopted to miniature RR work.

Maybe I’ll keep an eye out for an old 3 cylinder 15 horse Universal marine diesel. These were the basic motor block for Kubota’s product line up now. Also the same marinized motor as Westerbeke, as I recall. Should be something out there, looking for a new home.

Glenn

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:11 pm
by rkcarguy
Glenn, often the marine generators can be found cheaply in running condition, but the marine cooling parts of them are shot from corrosion(manifold and exchanger). If the salt water hasn't been allowed to harm the engine itself, one of these could be adapted to locomotive use if you can fab up a manifold and rig up a radiator.
The little Kubota I posted up specs on some time ago was their smaller 3-cylinder and it made great torque at 1800 rpm, that would be ideal if you have the pocket book for one!
As far as sound goes, large diameter long pipes go a long ways. I'm going to play with this extensively to see how deep and subdued of a tone I can get from my GX390.

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Thu Aug 23, 2018 7:17 pm
by warmstrong1955
The small diesel engines like your pic, do not like running loaded, or even semi loaded at lower RPM's. It will kill them. They are designed to run at specific RPM's only.
They are loud. I've been around Wisconsin Robins, Yanmars, Hatz, and several others.
You get what you pay for. A Hatz industrial engine, will go a long way, and will handle lower RPM's well, but costs 3 times what a Yanmar or Robin does. And....they are big and heavy. If the weight is close to it's gasoline burning counterpart....I'd stay away.
What Glenm said. When I was in Alaska, we sold many. The Robin engines in the gen-sets, were short lived. Yanmars were better. The Hatz, mostly in drum & plate compactors, were lower RPM design, held up well. We never had a problem with any, other than minor things. And they have a lot of torque. Helps to have a flywheel that will make you grunt when you pick it up!

Bill

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:12 am
by BigDumbDinosaur
johnpenn74 wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 5:34 pm
That is, if you want to ***RUN*** the engine prototypically maybe it is a matter of combustion to electric, actual dynamic brakes, actual air brakes, electrical transition gears, and 8 notches on the throttle.
Been there, almost done that. :D

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:26 pm
by rrnut-2
I have a Yanmar diesel generator, single cylinder, and it is fairly loud. I would think that a person could get a much quieter gas engine to use in a locomotive.

Jim B

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 2:59 pm
by Doug_Edwards
Glen,
If you are looking for a small diesel, I would recommend either a small Japanese engine, or one from Western Europe. Both regions have produce decent small engines.

The air cooled engines are louder than the water cooled ones, but of course don't need room for the radiator, either.

If you are modeling in 1.6" scale, you will have to hunt to find a suitable engine that will fit in the shell. If you are building for your 12" gauge, you will have an easier time finding an engine.

I have used a garden tractor that had a Mitsubishi l3a 3 cylinder engine in it, and put out 17 HP. I was impressed with this well built engine, especially as the factory did not recommend a rebuild before 6000 hours, provided it received reasonable care. Everything I looked up on this engine was positive. Fwiw.

Doug

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Sun Aug 26, 2018 8:17 pm
by steamin10
I had built a speeder/railtruck with a pancake lawnmower engine of the 3.5 variety. Pweer was through a slipper clutch and it had about a 12 inch punching for a shaft flywheel mounted on the blade bolt. It was and E-Z start model, that means the valve timeing overlaps and leaks for a compression release at very low RPM for starting. I took a file to the valve stems and eliminated that, leaving a minimum clearance. With the extra weight a pull on the rope had it running very easy, and it was detuned to a late spark just a bit, with an electronic add on spark generator. With these things done it would idle very slowly about 400 rpm, and opening the throttle would build the speed up, without the governor vane. The governor vane was removed as it would make the engine surge going downhill , and that was annoying. So you had to hold the spring loaaded throttle like a deadman, and select how much power and speed you wanted, most often giving surges of throttle and then coasting as curves and track conditions loaded and unloaded the drive. It acted as a safty to over revving that some throttle jocks did, but proper instruction and spirit avoided conflicts.
The clutch would grab and off you would go. It had a three speed transmission form a riding mower for gear reduction and a single chain drive to the 4 inch rear wheels. With fresh gas it worked famously, and would idle for many minutes just putting.

I lost that in a a yard sale deal due to divorce.

Re: Small Diesel engines for motive power

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2018 6:58 pm
by rkcarguy
There are some small liquid cooled diesel 2 and 3-cylinders that can be grabbed from the reefer semi truck trailers that come up for sale once in awhile. There was some that were pulled from trailers that the cooler part had failed, motor still worked, listed for sale for $400 each in Federal Way, but this was quite awhile ago. If you can find one and it will fit, might be the way to go for something fairly quiet, liquid cooled, and affordable.
Another thought, go with variable speed AC motor(s) and just toss one of those quiet Honda or Yamaha suitcase generators under the hood:)