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This video is kind of dark and hard to see in the beginning, but it is of the 60 horse power Fairbanks Morse single cylinder Diesel engine being started up at the Stephenson County Antique Engine Clubs 43rd annual Steam Threshing Show in Freeport Illinois August 3rd, 4th, & 5th, 2012
Please see the clubs website at http://www.thefreeportshow.com for upcoming show dates and other events through out the year. The big Fairbanks only runs during the Threshing Show, which will be August 2nd, 3rd, & 4th this year 2013
The huge diesel engine is started using compressed air with the factory set up consisting of a smaller 3hp Fairbanks Morse engine direct coupled to a 2 cylinder air compressor. The small engine is started on gasoline, but then as soon as the head starts to get warm is switched over to the same diesel fuel that the big engine runs on. It may not officially be a diesel engine itself, but we have always refered to it as being a diesel engine with a spark plug in it, confusing a lot of people in the process.
The big diesel and the starting unit were sold as a package deal, and was bought new by the Geneseo Illinois Water Works Department in 1930. It ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 19 years from 1930 to 1949, and then was put on stand by duty from 1949 to 1967, being started once a week just to make sure everything was still in working order. It was scrapped in 1967, and found by club members several years later, I believe in 1972, having been scattered over 5 acres of a junk yard. It was rebuilt using new gaskets and other parts obtained directly from Fairbanks Morse, and was restarted for the first time in July of 1973. It now runs twice a day for a few hours at a time three days a year during the Threshing Show.
With a Bore & Stroke of 14 1/8 by 17 inches it measures out to be 2663.89 Cubic Inches Displacement or getting close to 2700 CID in a single cylinder engine.
To start the smaller engine, the carburator or Mixer is filled with gasoline, the engine is rolled up on compression and then when it gets too hard to turn, the intake valve is ‘popped’ by hand to bleed off some of the high compression so it can be turned over TDC. Once it is started, it is allowed to warm up a little, and once the head starts to get warm, the diesel fuel valve is opened a little and the gas valve shut down a little running on a mixture of the two, and slowly adjusting both of them until it is running on straight diesel fuel.
While the big air tank is building pressure, the big diesel is rolled over and lined up just passed top dead center so that when the air valve is opened it will spin the engine over. Then the operator climbs up to the top of the engine and removes a plug with a short piece of rope in it which is then set on fire to make a ‘glow plug’ wick to help get the engine to fire the first couple times until it starts firing on its own as a diesel engine.
Once the air pressure is built up enough, the priming lever is pumped a few times to inject some diesel into the cylinder, and then the air valve is opened, and if all goes right, it fires up within a few turns of the crankshaft. I think the air valve may have been held open a little too long causing the loud POP in the exhaust when it started to fire on its own.
When the engine is first started, it will blow nice black smoke rings 75 to 100 feet or more in the air, drawing people from accross the fairgrounds. We sometimes will use it to draw the crowd back down to the sawmill which I set up and operate during the show if things thin out too much while we’re loading more logs on the deck, or have to do some minor repairs. When we’re ready to start cutting again, we will shut down the big diesel, and when it gets down to maybe 50 or 75 RPM throw the throttle back open again and let it chug away blowing more smoke rings until it gets back up to speed. Makes a good calling card to get the crowd back again.
You can see a couple of my sawmill videos here….. http://youtu.be/oGUAaDllegw and http://youtu.be/5scmUFYXDxM
Although we’ve never done it, and likely never will, my Dad purposely lined things up when it was installed so we COULD belt the diesel up to the sawmill and give it a good workout with a variable load on each cut, but to do so we would need to cut a hole in the end wall of the building for the drive belt, which would also be in the way then for loading logs on the deck. I can only imagine how it would sound.
I was able to lighten up the video a little, but there’s only so much you can do without washing out the picture. This is the first time I’ve tried adjusting the lighting on a video after it’s been shot. The results aren’t the greatest, but it does make it easier to see what’s going on.