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Unknown Engine

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New member
Username: leaky_scuppers

Post Number: 3
Registered: 02-2013
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 - 07:04 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gentlemen: I'm hoping you can help a friend and myself with an unknown make of early diesel. About a decade ago I had a friend bring me a fishing boat he'd just purchased in Norway for conversion into a yacht. This was a typical North Sea fishing boat, about 15M LOA, by 5M in breath. She was double-ended, with a pilot house on the stern, and the fish hold amidships. She was massively built, with and double layer of teak planking and 15cm wide oak ribs and beams pickled almost black by exposure to salt water over the years, and almost as hard as iron. She had a huge gaff-rigged mainsail the doubled as a crane on a mast stepped just forward of the fish hold. My job was to take this ancient boat (the year 1897 was carved on one of her main desk beams) and turn her into a family yacht. I was supposed to remove a century of grime and update her interior and equipment. One unusual thing she had was her original engine. I've never seen anything like this before, so we looked all over for an expert to give it a once over. We finally found a retired Royal Navy chief engineer to give it a once over. Even he'd never seen anything like this before. This engine was about a metre high, with a 15cm bore and a 30cm stroke. It had only one valve, operated by a rod on the to of the piston, pushing against a disk valve at the top of the cylinder. Exhaust was uniflow, and fuel was delivered by a gear-driven pump that built up pressure until released by the rising piston. To start it, you released pressure on the cylinder, and primed the cylinder with paraffin. You then heated a glow plug at the top of the cylinder with a blow torch until it was cherry red, then you simultaneously spun the 200 kilo(!) flywheel and flipped on the compression. It usually started after two or three tries when it was cold, and almost always when it was hot. The fuel feed piping had huge, around 1cm in diameter, due to the No. 6 fuel oil or Mazut that was normally burned in it. (This was heated to operating temperature by a jacket heated by the cooling water. Before that, you were supposed to heat it up with a blow torch until it ran freely from a petcock on the jacket. At least according to the typewritten operating instructions that were in Norwegian, which we were translating with a dictionary as we read them. Open flame and dripping fuel made me a mite nervous, let me tell you.) It was direct reversing, and coupled to the propeller shaft with a dog clutch. When the retired engineer looked it over he found it was still in good shape, requiring only the replacement of the graphite packing seal on the piston (instead of piston rings, the first time I'd ever seen this on an internal combustion engine) and pouring new babbitt. My friend had it rebuilt feeling that it had been in there for so long, that he couldn't bear to pull out her heart.

What I'm curious about is have any of you heard of such an engine? All we knew about her was that she was built in Norway and we assumed the engine was installed at the time of her construction or shortly thereafter. There are no markings anywhere on the engine, (although it appears to once have a builder's plate on the frame) and it may have been built in Norway, or somewhere else in Europe. At time he wanted spare parts for it, since at almost 100 years old, some of the parts might be experiencing metal fatigue after all this time. I wish I had my photos of the engine, but I can't seem to find them. I mean this might be a weird one-off or limited production from a tiny company that no longer exists. But I'm hoping that there are more of them out there, so I can write my friend and tell him the good news (Right now, he's taking the boat on a very slow around the world voyage. So, any suggestions, anyone?
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Senior Member
Username: robert

Post Number: 516
Registered: 07-2003
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Your friend was a wise man not to "pull the heart out" of a classic boat. Kudos to him! The engine sounds like a typical Scandinavian semi-diesel. Most were two cycles, but if there was a valve I assume this one was not. We've got a few members here from Norway. Hopefully they will chip in and of course your photos would help if you find them.
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Senior Member
Username: jimdereynier

Post Number: 75
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Monday, February 18, 2013 - 03:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Send your description and a picture to: normann.skjoldli@sabb.no.

Normann has several years at Sabb. Sabb engine is produced in Norway since long before WWII. He may be able to come up with someone who has a close guess
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New member
Username: bayent

Post Number: 1
Registered: 05-2012
Posted on Saturday, March 02, 2013 - 09:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sorry if I am posting in wrong place!
I have bought a BMC Captian 4 cyl diesel.
It has the injectors out and the owener said it was for fogging the engine. I hope this is right but can't say?
I have her at a mechanics now for the injectors to go back in and he will see if she will fire up.
Does anyone have an idea on the HP of this engine?
Idea on where I might find parts if needed?
She came out of a 48 foot yawl built in 1910 but certainly not the origional engine. Too bad they scrapped the boat.
Thanks very much for any help.
I am in Nova Scotia, Canada.

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