ML8 Plymouth

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  • Member since
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  • From: West Coast
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ML8 Plymouth
Posted by countershot on Friday, January 01, 2010 3:36 AM

ML8 Type 2 35ton Plymouth. manual transmisson LeRoi V8 gas motor.  built 1943. working on one right now. problem is i know nothing bout its history or any other interesting info. what do ya know?
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Posted by tdmidget on Sunday, January 03, 2010 12:01 PM


The LeRoi V-8 was used in heavy military trucks (think tank haulers) .Dealers in used military vehicles will be a source of parts, which should be available at rather high prices. The gummint didn't mind throwing money around and they didn't use common stuff like Detroit diesel so that if captured the enemy would have trouble with parts supply.

  • Member since
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  • From: Denver / La Junta
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Posted by mudchicken on Monday, January 04, 2010 12:52 PM

ML6's and ML8's are still fairly common....Nice ML6 stuffed and mounted at the Otero Museum in La Junta, CO that was the Army airbase switcher 1939-1984 until replaced later by a GE 45 Ton ex-Navy unit. Another red ML8 has sat unused/derelict for years on SSLV at the vegitable sheds at Blanca, CO next to D-500 (Ultimate kit-bashed critter)...For moving/switching a few cars at a time, they did just fine and were not as labor intensive as small steam engines.

(the Buda engines could be found commonly in mechanical reefers, so railroad mechanical departments were already familiar with them along with LeRoi air compressors)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by RICHARD FISCHPPERA on Thursday, August 10, 2017 8:41 PM

I am in the process of starting up a Plymouth 35t ML8 restoration again, it is a former engine the used to operate in the Rochester, NY Subway until 1957. The scrap dealer donated her to the New York Museum of Transportation in Rush, NY. We started to work on her in 1978 but stopped to complete of railroad operation. It's now time to start the rebuild up again and need all kinds of information. The LeRoi V8 looks like it will need a lot of work and I understand that other ML8 owners have repowered their units. What I need to know is what type of power are you using and what are you using for air compressor 

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Posted by RME on Friday, August 11, 2017 9:58 AM

You would be advised to post this with very specific information over on RyPN, where you are more likely to get 'networked' into senior preservation folks who have done actual LeRoi maintenance or conversions. 

The information in one post is that your locomotive was built in 1937, with the following data:

3947 11/11/1937 Std ML8-3 LeRoi RXIV 127hp B 35T D/M
New York State Railways #L-2, Rochester, N Y
Rochester Transit Co, Rochester, N Y
New York Museum of Transportation #L-2, Rush, N Y

I don't think this information can be right, as that horsepower rating corresponds to a RXIS; all the other ML8s with V-8 LeRois in those years appear to be 250hp.  One of the Plymouth industrial locomotive experts will know this definitively.

There are threads on this specific subject already, which you might care to review.  Stewartstown has a Plymouth with LeRoi power operating, and Robert MacDowell can probably give you advice on most anything you need to know to start rebuilding, if that's the way you choose.

My recommendation would be to repower the locomotive with an appropriate truck-size diesel (istr there are some Cummins engines that are fairly easy to adapt to this repower, even though longer, but check for yourself), and keep the existing air compressor that engine used.  (As one note to remember, choose an engine with the same direction of rotation as the LeRoi, or use a marine engine with 'opposite hand' if necessary -- there are usually a good number of 8V71s and the like from double-screw yachts available comparatively cheap).

If I'm not mistaken, the Cat D17000 V-8 was an alternative engine in these locomotives, so some of the (considerable!) literature on repowers of locomotives that were built with those things (I remember seeing one mentioned with a 3512) might be applicable to you. 

You might well need additional air pressurization volume capacity, and I am tempted to have you adapt an electrically-driven air compressor rather than rig a belt drive (and perhaps clutch) arrangement to drive a second or larger one mechanically.

Whenever possible, modify the engine and auxiliaries to suit 'what is there' on the locomotive, not the other way round, even if it is easier or more expedient to do the latter.

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Posted by tdmidget on Friday, August 11, 2017 12:19 PM

My inclination would be to keep it original but if you are hell bent on a swap then measure a 3208 Cat. The older Cat might be an option to keep it original . 

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Posted by RICHARD FISCHPPERA on Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:02 PM

Thanks for your reply. I have heard many stories about some ML8's being repowered with chevy 350 horsepower motors. I also would like to repower our Plymouth as I believe the LeRoi engine will need a lot of costly work and because of the nature of our railway I would like to get away from the clutch shift operation. We have many hills and valleys within our 2.5 miles of track. The Rochester Transit Company stopped freight operation in 1957 and L2 was given to a scrap dealer where she sat on a siding until 1977 when we brought her back to the New York Museum of Transportation. I have contacted a person in Cal that is rebuilding his ML8 and when he gets home will be sending me some more information.



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