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What causes the GE diesel locos to have burned paint on sides?

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What causes the GE diesel locos to have burned paint on sides?
Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, February 25, 2016 6:44 PM

I have seen several General Electric DASH-8 and DASH-9 locos that have burned paint beneath the exhaust stack.

What events have to happen for the paint to be burned off the on the sides of the GE diesel locomotives?

Andrew

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 25, 2016 6:44 PM

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by Wizlish on Thursday, February 25, 2016 7:01 PM

Andrew Falconer
I have seen several General Electric DASH-8 and DASH-9 locos that have burned paint beneath the exhaust stack. What events have to happen for the paint to be burned off the on the sides of the GE diesel locomotives?

I think it's a bit different from what BaltACD posted (which is a stuck injector or lube leak into the turbo causing that kind of rich black smoke that turns to flame when it's ignited).  I think what burns the paint is liquid blowing out of the stack, like after a massive turbo seal failure, that then falls and runs down the side of the hood ignited.  Perhaps there are other dramatic failures (like the breakdown of the JB Weld repair at Lac Megantic) that would produce fire that dribbles down rather than pluming up...

I remember as a child being driven past a three-unit consist of GEs idling in Forrest Yard.  No more than half an hour later we came back the other way and the middle unit was forlornly sitting with all the paint burned off those three doors.  No smoke, no foam, no people running around ... but in that short a period of time the damage had been done.

I've also seen a couple of videos where there was visible flame inside the hood when the doors were opened, although I don't think that's the principal cause of the specific damage you mentioned.

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, February 25, 2016 7:27 PM

Does the fuel become a solvent at high temperatures or are there flames blowing down the sides?

Will the engine have to be taken apart to find the cause?

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 25, 2016 8:00 PM

When you see flame coming out the exhaust of any internal combustion engine it is indicative of uncombusted excess fuel in the exhaust and it is being burned at atmospheric conditions, even then the excess fuel, being heavier than air can fall onto the carbody and be ignited then and there.  Since diesel locomotives exhaust virtically from the top of the unit, excess fuel despite being raised into the air by the exhaust volume, will fall due to gravity.

I am guessing that burned carbody panels are indicitive of engines that have been exhausting and burning excess fuel for a period of time.

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Posted by Wizlish on Thursday, February 25, 2016 8:14 PM

It's flame that causes the observed effect.  Note how the edges of the unaffected paint look -- often blistered -- and the characteristics of the metal that has been exposed.  If the paint had been 'stripped' via a solvent effect this would all be very different.

I have seen a couple of these (and I think we saw one pictured in a fairly recent thread) where the ejected lube did not catch fire -- black 'dip' all over the stack and running down the doors to the running board. 

Turbo sits up under the stack, and it is pretty clear what has happened.  There is probably no need to go into the engine 'analytically' to determine what that problem is (although it might be necessary to clean out any of the lube oil that ran down into the manifolds etc. -- not all of the oil that leaks goes 'up and out'.

Note that a lube failure like this is probably on the turbine (exhaust) side.  If the leak were into the compressor side, the engine would likely overspeed (or effectively overfuel) as it will 'run' on a certain percentage of engine oil in the intake charge via compression ignition even though Not Very Effectively.  I'd expect to see torching like Balt's picture if this happened -- but I'm going to leave it up to the railroaders, Randy Stahl in particular, to describe what some of the actual causes of severe 'wet-stacking' in 7FDL engines are.

Diagnostics for problems originating in the actual engine, like injectors, I think, involve consulting the computer (you can tell which cylinder(s) are misfiring to guide you to where the problem is) but I don't know how much more engine work is needed when something lets excess oil or fuel into the 'works', for example if a broken injector were to let diesel fuel dilute the lube oil and fill up the crankcase to the point the tribology (or seals) of the turbo bearings got compromised.

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:10 PM

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Thursday, February 25, 2016 9:24 PM

The top is for an EMD engine/turbo/exhaust fire because the stack is up front?  The remaining ones are for GE's with the stack towards the back?

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by Andrew Falconer on Thursday, February 25, 2016 11:22 PM

That is a great explanation of the details.

Thanks.

Andrew

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Posted by Entropy on Friday, February 26, 2016 7:24 AM

Andrew Falconer

Does the fuel become a solvent at high temperatures or are there flames blowing down the sides?

Will the engine have to be taken apart to find the cause?

 

I don't believe the burned "sides" or doors are from stack fire/turbo fire.

GE engines have high pressure fuel pumps and lines on the outside of the engine. They had many issues with pump lines breaking, bolts sheering, shops not installing the lines correctly etc. 

Examples:

http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2012/11/general-electric-tier-3-locomotives-suffer-engine-fires

TSB Canada investigation into Locomotive Engine Fire (P42DC)

http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/rail/2009/r09h0010/r09h0010.pdf

 

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Posted by BigJim on Friday, February 26, 2016 7:39 AM

Entropy
I don't believe the burned "sides" or doors are from stack fire/turbo fire. GE engines have high pressure fuel pump and lines on the outside of the engine. They had many issues with pump lines breaking, bolts sheering, shops not installing the lines correctly etc. 


BINGO!
If you see GE body panels scorced like that, it is from an internal fire, not some external exhaust flames! GE's are notorious for catching on fire from broken fuel lines and such. I had one do it sitting still while waiting for traffic to clear up.

I very seriously doubt that in the photo below the engine is on fire at all. Looks more like a dead cold engine start to me. If you have never seen a dead cold GE try to start, well, you would liken it to a smoke screen from a WWII Navy Destroyer!!! If you can finally get the thing to start, they will just sit there and ping on one cylinder forever. Then a second cylinder will start firing, then another and another. You would think the whole world is on fire before it gets warmed up enough to have a clear stack! People will be calling the law and the fire department will be on your tail before you can get out of town. Laugh

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, February 26, 2016 8:40 AM

BaltACD

 

Ya know, if all diesels put on a show like that people wouldn't miss steam engines so much!

Might make for a lot of new railfans too!

Reminds me of veteran Erie engineer Jim Kostibos' saying that the most important accessory on an ALCO PA was a fire extinguisher.  He hated the things.

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Posted by Paul Milenkovic on Friday, February 26, 2016 2:04 PM

Who knew?

I think I want the new model of a GE locomotive with the "Diesel cold-start" sound effects in the decoder together with the heavy-duty smoke unit.  If I exhibit this at the next model train show, the kids will go nuts!

If GM "killed the electric car", what am I doing standing next to an EV-1, a half a block from the WSOR tracks?

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Posted by NorthWest on Friday, February 26, 2016 9:54 PM

To me, the KCS ES44AC looks more like a prime mover runaway than anything else.

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Friday, February 26, 2016 10:36 PM

NorthWest

To me, the KCS ES44AC looks more like a prime mover runaway than anything else.

Yes indeed, here's the link to the original photo with a nice little description of the incident.  Lots of GE-bashing comments on there too.

Back to the burnt paint subject, the FDL engine is notorious for its ability to puke oil into the exhaust manifold, stack and then all over the top & sides of the locomotive, regardless of whether this is fuel oil or lube oil that originates from the cylinders or the turbo.  Most of CN's Dash-9 fleet has patched paint or burn marks on the roof around the stack from the fire that inevitably originates when the enough oil builds up to touch something hot enough to set it ablaze and then poof!, the whole thing goes up. 

EDIT:  I remember one particular Dash-9 that had covered its rear windshields and walkways (not to mention roof) with black splotches, and I got oil all over my boots and coat from walking back to cut if off from the train, and again later to set the handbrake for my Engineer.

Fires caused by cracked fuel lines tend to be larger and more spectacular, and not confined to the exhaust stack/roof area either.

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, February 28, 2016 4:37 AM

NorthWest

To me, the KCS ES44AC looks more like a prime mover runaway than anything else.

Doesn't look like anything running away to me. Looks like no one is concerned about what is going on as the is no sign of said police, fire department or even any railroad workers.

Whatever is going on, it's internal and won't blister the paint.

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Sunday, February 28, 2016 12:11 PM

BigJim

 

 
NorthWest

To me, the KCS ES44AC looks more like a prime mover runaway than anything else.

 

Doesn't look like anything running away to me. Looks like no one is concerned about what is going on as the is no sign of said police, fire department or even any railroad workers.

 

Whatever is going on, it's internal and won't blister the paint.

I thought that's exactly what Diesel Engine Runaway was.  I wouldn't want to stand next to it either since once it overspeeds it could blow up and throw chunks of parts everywhere, like this Dash-9 that threw a piston through the roof of someone's house.  While this was not a diesel runaway incident, you get the idea.

http://talk.newagtalk.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=165984&mid=1190655#M1190655

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, February 28, 2016 2:43 PM

SD70M-2Dude
I wouldn't want to stand next to it either since once it overspeeds it could blow up and throw chunks of parts everywhere,

As I said, it is obvious, from looking at the lazy exhaust smoke, that this engine's rpms are not through the roof.

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Sunday, February 28, 2016 5:24 PM

BigJim
 
SD70M-2Dude
I wouldn't want to stand next to it either since once it overspeeds it could blow up and throw chunks of parts everywhere,

As I said, it is obvious, from looking at the lazy exhaust smoke, that this engine's rpms are not through the roof.

I don't know about that, and these other pictures taken the same day tell a different story.  Doesn't look like it blew up, but that exhaust doesn't look so lazy and the fire seems a bit serious for a cold start.  Both photos are tagged KCS 4688 "diesel prime mover runaway" but rrpicturearchives doesn't want to open for some reason so I couldn't get any more or post good links to them.

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Posted by BigJim on Sunday, February 28, 2016 10:24 PM

Welp, wasn't a cold start and it didn't burn the paint off, so, it stayed internal. I wonder if anyone actually tried to starve the thing of air and limit damage?

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Posted by Randy Stahl on Monday, February 29, 2016 4:26 AM

Thats why I insist on at least one CO2 fire extinguisher on a locomotive.

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Posted by Wizlish on Monday, February 29, 2016 7:37 PM

Paul Milenkovic
I think I want the new model of a GE locomotive with the "Diesel cold-start" sound effects in the decoder together with the heavy-duty smoke unit. If I exhibit this at the next model train show, the kids will go nuts!

Perhaps Lionel could do what they already have done for EMD:

http://www.lionel.com/products/santa-tmcc-f7-diesel-breakdown-b-unit-333-b-6-24595/

What we probably need is a Legacy or TMCC code for a cigarette lighter function.

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Posted by M636C on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 6:20 PM

I think we are looking at a turbocharger failure in the case of KCS 4688.

These were quite common for EVO locomotives and GE redesigned the turbocharger with a longer shaft between the turbine and compressor and larger bearings spaced further apart.

When a turbo stops compressing the inlet air, the quantity of fuel intended to match the oxygen content of high pressure air finds it can't all burn in the reduced oxygen environment. Add to this a quantity of lubricating oil from the failed turbo and you get a big column of black smoke. It is probably pooled lubricating oil still burning in the later photo.

The Buenos Aires Provincial Railway had an old U18C (an export model with an FDL-12) thay they used as a passenger car switcher. Since it didn't need much power, they just kept running it after the turbo failed, so it regularly created huge clouds of black smoke not unlike the KCS unit.

But the KCS unit wasn't burned. It was dirty from the thrown oil but most of the paint was intact. Serious fires are from failed high pressure fuel lines (between the fuel pump and the injector nozzle) which spray high pressure fuel on to hot engine components where it catches fire and burns the paint off.

One reason this almost never happens to EMD locomotives is that they have combined fuel pump and injector units so there are no high pressure fuel lines to fail. EMDs still can get burnt from turbocharger fires, of course.

M636C

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Posted by SD70M-2Dude on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 7:35 PM

Your explanation makes a lot of sense M636C, as I understand it turbo seal failures are a common cause of diesel runaway.  Also am I remembering correctly that EMD's fuel lines run inside the block, so any rupture will contaminate the lube oil but not cause a fire?

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Posted by BOB WITHORN on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 7:15 AM
So EMDs smoke when the turbo fails and GEs smoke just because they are running.
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Posted by Wizlish on Thursday, March 3, 2016 10:25 AM

BOB WITHORN
So EMDs smoke when the turbo fails and GEs smoke just because they are running.

Neither will smoke (much) when properly maintained, and in the case of the GE if the computer is controlling notch-up properly.  Some of the important difference is that the GEs are four-stroke, so overfueling smoke is expelled in a distinct exhaust flow rather than being 'aftercarbureted' or perhaps cooled below ignition temperature by the scavenge air flow in a GM two-stroke.

The problem M636C reports is in part due to GEs having high pressure in external pipes to the fuel injectors.  The older EMD engines have unit injectors, a bit like those on an 8.2 Detroit, where all the "high pressure" is internal to the mechanics of the injector and a fuel line will not have enough pressure to provide immediate torching spray action even if it were internal.  I was of the opinion that 'more modern' electronic injection on these engines was done by better injector control and not by providing common-rail high-pressure feed to relatively simpler nozzles at the head locations on GM two-strokes, but I do not know and hence call for those on list who do to comment more definitively.

(Do not underestimate the 'fun' that comes when an internal line or other problem causes fuel to wash down into the lube oil... it can get interesting, and not just in terms of smoke... I remain astounded that the design can tolerate as much 'incidental' fuel in the lube oil as it can.)

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Posted by YoHo1975 on Thursday, March 3, 2016 1:43 PM
So, presumably, Did 265H use common rail? If I recall reports correctly, 1010 does use common rail, so does that imply that the T4 EMD will have the potential to experience the same type of high pressure fuel line rupture and burning?
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Posted by Wizlish on Thursday, March 3, 2016 2:06 PM

YoHo1975
Did 265H use common rail?

My understanding is that the 265H uses 'power assemblies' and each one has its own unit injector with pushrod 'drive' from the camshaft.  I do not know whether the "EFI" was done by control of the mechanical drive or via a separate servo valve, but there is a 'short' high-pressure line from the pump to the injection nozzle.  However, it is under the power-assembly valve cover.  I would suspect that unless there were some sort of configuration problem with resonance in the line -- unlikely, given the amount of design analysis and modeling EMD did on this engine -- and the shortness and probable stiffness of this line, it is relatively unlikely for the line to fracture.  If it did, I do not know how 'likely' it would be for the released plume to cut the valve cover or blow it off so that the fuel spray became 'combustible', or whether the locomotives were set up to detect a fuel fire in time for the bad pump to be gagged or isolated.

If I recall reports correctly, 1010 does use common rail, so does that imply that the T4 EMD will have the potential to experience the same type of high pressure fuel line rupture and burning?

I'd sure think so!  Someone like entropy probably knows the exact configuration of high-pressure lines on this engine, and how they are secured to prevent any kind of breakage or failure.  Again, this engine was developed with an enormous amount of computer modeling and testing, including various multiphysics simulation of vibration and materials failure, so I would hesitantly say it is less likely that this engine would suffer from something like cracked built-to-a-price lines, or unanticipated stresses on parts of the injection system...

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Posted by Entropy on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 10:23 AM
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Posted by Wizlish on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 12:13 PM

[quote user="Entropy"]CSX locomotive 366 had a fire yesterday (GE AC4400CW )

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2016/03/07/No-injuries-in-South-Side-locomotive-fire-pittsburgh/stories/201603070103[/quote]

Am I right to be nervous about what that 'nonflammable liquid leaking from the train' might be?

Where are the internal places where fire would burn through part of the cooling system?  Or is this 'scratch one FDL block'...

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