Monday, 31 December 2007

The Liner Battle is Over!

Well the battle of the liners is over!

Eventually, with the help of good old Dr Diesel and a fair bit of grunting (they hung on until the last!), all three of them are out.

Even the cam followers have succumbed to Diesels charms! They’re all out too. Unfortunately they’re not in the best of health. Most of the chrome is missing. I think I’ll need to try to source some replacements.

There was a fair bit of rusty scale sat in the bottom of the water spaces, but most of it appeared to be mineral based rather than flakes of rust.

It was a case of load the last bits in to the back of the car and off to fight the good fight with the steam cleaner. A couple of hours later and all are cleaned up and looking good. The inside walls of the water space look pretty sound with not to much sign of corrosion.

I’ve put a link to the liner photo’s if you want to have a look. There’s some good, before/after ones of the internals of the block.

One thing that the steam cleaner bought to light was some figures on the crankcase.

I would imagine that is a part or casting number. It was hidden under the powdery paint and is usually behind the legs so you would see it anyway. I though I had better take a picture for the record as its soon to be painted over again (maybe someone else will find it in 65 years time when the engine is rebuilt again by another idiot!)

The next plan is to put a bit of protective paint on the legs and crankcase. Once that is done, I’ll re-assemble the crank and big ends ready to send off to the machine shop.

Friday, 28 December 2007

The great clean up

Well, Christmas has come and gone for another year.

I note from Sarah's blog, that Warrior's National 3DM has been working for its living over the Christmas break. Wot no T!

In between the socialising bit, I have managed to do a few odd jobs on the engine. The other two cylinder liners are on the move. Unfortunately the 'withdrawal' came to a natural conclusion when the bottom plate of the home-made extractor came up against the bottom of the block. I now have three liners standing proud by about 4". There they will stay until I can get the 1" plate cut to 4.7/8" diameter so that it will follow the liner up in to the block (if you get what I mean).

Another problem I have encountered is the cam followers. They are stuck in the block and are not currently moving. Dr diesel is now doing his work.

You can see the six round followers to the left of the bores.

In the mean time, I took various bit in to work to use the steam cleaner. After a few hours toil, all of the major parts have been well and truly cleaned. I think most of the dirt ended up on me though! I could even be looking at putting a few bits back together in the not to distant future.

The plan is to get the crankcase sorted out so that it, the crankshaft and main/big end bearing shells can be sent of to the machine shop for a grind and re-white metaling in January. While its away I can tinker with a few of the ancillary components (as well as getting the last few bits out of the main block!)

I think it will be a busy 2008!

Sunday, 23 December 2007

National Works, Aston-under Lyne

My thanks to Sarah & Jim of NB Warrior

The virtual postman sent me some pictures of the 'old' National Works at Aston-under Lyne. I'll let Sarah explain......

...."having just read your last post I thought you might like to see these photos I took of the National works at Ashton-under-Lyne in August 2006. Please feel free to use them on the blog if you like. The works site is now an industrial estate but it is built around at least some of the original buildings. The words 'National Gas and Oil Engine Co.' can be seen in the brickwork under the later, painted, 'Mirrlees National'. In the interior shot you can just about make out the green roof beams that inspired our choice of paint for Warrior's engine. I've found it quite hard to discover much about the company's history.
I have heard that Trinity House had giant 12 cylinder National diesels to power the compressors for the lighthouses' foghorns, and that when these were replaced by electricity, the engines were just thrown out into the sea...."

Many thanks for sharing these Sarah.

Trinity House 'disposed of many of their engines in this way. One of the other popular installations were Kelvin's K2's and K3's. Many went the same way - over the cliff edge!

See the photo link - 'National Works' to have a look at Sarah's photo's

The Anson Engine Museum web site has a bit on the National Gas & Oil Engine Company: . Surprisingly, it does not mention the tie up with Russell Newbery.

If I don't get back to the computer tomorrow: Have a good Christmas one and all. The project continues in to 2008! When will it end?

Friday, 21 December 2007

Engine Information

I've just been to see a mate and told him about me blog. "Great", was his comment, "what is it?". By that he meant: I know its an engine that your 'playing' with, but to someone who doesn't know what a 'National' is, what's the significance?

A good point - well presented!

I will try to rectify:

The National Oil & Gas Engine Company (to give them their full tittle) was a renowned and well known engine manufacturer of the late 1800's and early/mid 1900's.

Back in the early 1930's, Russell Newbery where building an engine with a marine variant called the DM2 (the 2 was for two cylinders - other numbers of cylinders where available). This was a very successful engine and had been widely fitted in many boats. Due to its success, in the early 1930's, the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co awarded RN a major contract for the supply of DM2's for its new Narrowboat fleet. This left RN with a problem, as they couldn't supply enough engines in the required timeframes. This problem was solved by National. They constructed engines, under licence, to meet Russell Newbery's demand.

Of the total GUCCC engines supplied, some 141 where built by National, with Russell Newbery supplying 38.

National continued to build variants of the engine for general and military use. Eventually, the National Oil & Gas Engine Company merged with Mirrlees in 1955.

The Russell Newbery Register has loads of info on RN's on their web site:

So where does that leave me and my engine?

Well, first off, its not marine engine. It was built as an 'industrial' stationary engine. It could have been used for a multitude of applications. Driving a generator, running layshafts in a small factory, standby for a mill, etc, etc. I'm not 100% sure what its background is.

What I can tell you is that its a 3 cylinder engine (hence 3D), rate at 27 hp @1000 rpm. Its about 3,940 cc (1300cc per cylinder). Bore is 4. 1/8" x stroke of 6". Weight is bl##dy heavy - somewhere around 3/4 tonne.

Type: 3D Engine No: 56214

Date stamped on the crankshaft is: 6/2/41. So I think 1941 is a fair date assessment.

So is the engine worth saving and marinising? - Yes, I believe it is.

In closing - if anyone wants to challenge/rectify the above, please feel free. I'm no expert and I'm sure there's a lot more people out there with a better knowledge than mine.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Victory on liner number 1!

One of the major things outstanding when Lionel 'handed' the engine over to me was the removal of the liners.

Lionel had made an 'extractor' rig, but had not been able to budge them.

As we (?) all know, when restoring an engine, patients is a virtue!

Lionel had left the rig in the number two cylinder and that's how it made its journey back from Shropshire.

Once home, over the last three weeks I had built a Plasticine 'dam' around the top of the cylinder liner and had been feeding diesel on a regular basis.

An old faithful 1. 7/16" had been placed on the 36mm nut (I don't do metric that big) and pressure had been applied. Last night, the eureka moment!

A bl##dy big bang and it moved! Additional packing in the form of die's and it is now being jacked out with a fair bit of ease.

One down, two to go.

Good old diesel - the best penetrating fluid ever devised!

Saturday, 15 December 2007

The first assessment

Why the first assessment?

Probably because mind(s) will be changed as I go on. Its early days yet!

With everything in bits a course of action has to be decided on. Obviously its not in tablets of stone because (hopefully) as things progress and I develop an insight to the engine/receive advice from other sources, things may change.

The first thing to do is sort out the bottom end. All four main bearings need attention, as do the big ends. A full crank regrind and new white metal bearings seems like a good place to start. A good local company to me 'Paynes' can't cope with the size of crank - they sold their big grinder to 'Custom Cranks'. I got all of the dimensions together and spent an evening researching and emailing people.
The crankshaft dimensions are:
Overall length: 43.5"
Stroke: 6"
Main bearings: end (two off) 4.25"long x 2.375" diameter + intermediate (two off) 2.75 long x 2.375 diameter
Big end journals (3 off) 2.125" long x 2.375" diameter
and its damn heavy!

Let's see what the virtual postman comes up with.

The next question is the pistons. Sarah & Jim (Warrior) changed their original cast iron ones to alloy units. I want to try to keep as much of the engine as original as possible. Initial investigations have revealed that the ring grooves appear to be good. Lionel supplied a full set of replacement compression and scraper rings with the engine. If I keep the original pistons, I can use the original connecting rods and big end bearing housings. At this stage I'll keep an open mind.

One thing that does need sorting is the liners. All three have a lip at the top of the swept length. I've been told that the Russell Newbery liners are slightly different to the National ones. I need to talk to RN to ascertain what needs to be done to make them fit. Maybe this will drive the 'piston' scenario as well?

The other things to think about (even at this stage) is:

The gearbox/output arrangements. The current plan is to fit a prm style gear box. Probably with a 1.5:1 ratio throwing a fairly big prop - 24". The big question is which end to drive it from? A traditional arrangement with the flywheel at the bow end and of the engine and the gearbox at the back or a shaft off the the flywheel end to a gearbox. I will need to ponder both the engineering requirements and the the cost!

Speed control/governor arrangements. Currently the engine appears to have a vertical variable speed governor. How it works in practice I still need to understand. If anyone out there has any suggestions? Have a look at the photo links there's quite a few of the governor.

Engine cooling. Now here's one that always causes debate. I would like to keep the original plunger type circulating pump. This rules out skin tank cooling due to the coolant additives attacking the pump seals. That said, I've nothing against raw water cooling direct from the cut. There is always something very reassuring about seeing a spurt of water coming out of the side! If I go with skin tanks, I'll need a Jabsco and some way of driving it. mmmmm........

I think these are all questions I need to ponder over the Christmas/new year break.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Photo links

Well - I think I may have added some links to 'Photobucket' that show some photographs of the engine.

The initial one are views of the engine prior to stripdown. Credit for the photo's is courtesy of Lionel Knight.

The second link are a batch of photo's from the initial stripdown. Also courtesy of Lionel.

The third one (also courtesy of Lionel) is of an injector.

As its all now sat in the garage - any more photo's will be from me(?)

Sunday, 9 December 2007

The story so far

Apologies first - this may be very basic at first as its the first time I've ever done this.

I suppose the first posting should be a back ground of why the blog is here and why I'm doing it.

The long and the short of it is because I have a 'National D3' engine that I intend to rebuild and marinise to put in a 62 foot narrowboat (yet to be built).

There may be others out there that wish to follow this insanity and mock the afflicted - namely me!

So how did it all start? The Narrowboat has been in the planning for a long time. All the interior layout is decided (in our minds), builder selected, but the key thing was it had to have a vintage engine - slow reving - thump, thump, thump. Where to find an engine?

Many months of phone calls, emails, searching the internet etc, etc and I found something. An Ailsa Craig RFR4 - 40hp @ 1200 rpm. Off I went to Wales to look at the engine and see if I could do a deal. Success! not only did I come back with one engine, I came back with two! A pair was available so I had them both.

On returning home I was met with the obvious "why do you need two?" etc. They just don't understand.

So there I am, happy with my Ailsa Craigs, doing some research and having a little tinker but not getting heavily in to stripping down yet. All was well in my world.

One evening I find myself on ebay. What do I come across - a listing for a National D3 engine. Its an industrial unit but, hey its gorgeous! It would look just the part in an engine room. Loads of Torque, smooth 3 cylinder running and would sound/look just the part!

How things can change with a click of a mouse button. A bit of last minute bidding and its mine! The date is 23 Nov 2007.

That Sunday saw me heading up to Shropshire armed with me trusty trailer, a 2 tonne engine crane and a boot full of strops and shackles!

Three hours later and I was in the company of the engines previous owner and pouring over a vast array of parts that had been carefully stripped down and, for the most part, cleaned and packed in to various boxes and containers.

A real mans jigsaw! I think the picture on the front of the box has a National D3 on it!

My thanks to Lionel and his wife for their hospitality. A few hours loading the various bits (in fairness - as much time was spent talking narrowboats and engines) in to the trailer and I was on my way back to Oxfordshire.

So where am I now - The Ailsa Craigs are currently residing in a lockup and the National has taken pride of place in the garage. A decision on the future of the Ailsa Craigs is yet to be made. They are safe and sound for now.

Several evenings have now been spent going through the boxes of carefully wrapped up bits. I have contacted Russell Newbery (the National was a RN built under licence from RN to meet the demand in engines from the Grand Union Canal Co back in the 30's). I have joined the RN register. I have contacted Sarah and Jim of the NB Warrior as they have a National 3DM in their boat.

The next steps: watch this space!