Bringing diesel generators back into service?

R3Fab

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Bringing diesel generators back into service?

I readily admit to not being a diesel mechanic, so pointers will be much appreciated.

It seems it is falling to me to bring several Gen-Sets back into service after hibernation.
Unfortunately they were not put away properly, I think most were bought at surplus then simply parked out of the way.
Kung-Flu now has the owner eager to get them all running.

I know the steps to bring a gasoline engine back after sitting.
But diesel is probably a bit different, I see no simple means to squirt a bit of oil down the cylinders before cranking over for example.
I've seen video of heavy equipment being fired after sitting for years, I always wince to think what is happening to those expectedly dry cylinders.

I've had to bleed mechanical injection in the past so know about that.
Maybe I'm overly concerned and diesels are OK with sitting?

Thoughts and tips please.
 

Light in the Dark

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One machine at a time, one problem at a time. Do you know the model numbers of what you are being asked to bring back online?
 

Chainbreaker

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Do you own the gensets now or are you doing this for a friend or...?

In addition to what LITD asked I would approach it starting out like this:

1. I would scout for a unit that "appears" to be in the best condition and the smallest unit to cut your teeth on so to speak.

2. Are there any obvious parts missing? Or, parts sitting inside...like something was taken apart and never fixed?

3. Inspect it for critter damage...are there mouse nests inside? If so remove and look at what was underneath it. Mouse urine is corrosive and can damage wiring, connectors and components. If you find critter damage probably best to skip this unit for now and find one in better condition to start with.

3. Find out if the unit had fuel stored in it or was fuel tank empty when stored? If stored with fuel, the tank will need to be emptied and its likely the tank will have to be flushed and thoroughly cleaned. Then remove fuel lines and blow any crud, blobs, etc. out.

4. Next step is your choice. Some people like to remove all filters and fluids and change them out before attempting a restart. Some people don't want to make that investment until they know the unit will run and produce electricity as well as having all the fluids circulating a while and hot before draining. With several generators you may want to approach it with the latter, verifying the unit will run first. If the latter approach is used verify fluids are at right levels and fuel filter is drained of any water/sediment at the very least.

5. VERY IMPORTANT: Download the Technical Manual(s) for the genset you are going to work on and read through it to become familiar with it FIRST. You will be happy you did and will save a LOT of YOUR TIME and FRUSTRATION. All the TM's are located up top of the home page heading.

This is just a recommended starting point. The real fun begins when you are ready to attempt a first start.
 

Guyfang

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5. VERY IMPORTANT: Download the Technical Manual(s) for the gen set you are going to work on and read through it to become familiar with it FIRST. You will be happy you did and will save a LOT of YOUR TIME and FRUSTRATION. All the TM's are located up top of the home page heading.

Ignore at your own risk.

1. I would scout for a unit that "appears" to be in the best condition and the smallest unit to cut your teeth on so to speak.

Sound advice.

Take the time to get to know the set. Open it up. Look in the dark corners. DO NOT USE STARTING AID. Try and clean fuel and oil systems. Look for things that simply do not look right. Look for Hobo Repairs. Always a bad sign.

Last but not least. See above, #5.
 

R3Fab

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Plan to take the camera and make a list.
First half-dozen should be reasonably new so parts availability will be better than the 1953 unit I fought with recently.
Gertting paid by the hour, but despise frustrations slowing me down.
Prefer to make quick work of these and move on to another project.
A couple of these are very large units, with turbo V12 engines.
Electrical safety will be my biggest concern.
 

Chainbreaker

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Electrical safety will be my biggest concern.
If not connected "properly" to a grounded electrical system, its considered a Self Derived System, and REQUIRES a ground rod so you don't accidentally become the conductor to ground.

Take your time and Safety is #1 when it comes to working on machines that can kill you. If in doubt ask!
 

Waterhouse

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You have never lived, till your hooked up to the juice, and cant move. Yes sir.
Question-(warning, this maybe stupid), to get shocked, you must be touching two things, right? What I mean is, you are either touching something and ground or two pieces of metal. If the generator is not grounded, can you be shocked by touching one piece of metal?
 

Mullaney

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Question-(warning, this maybe stupid), to get shocked, you must be touching two things, right? What I mean is, you are either touching something and ground or two pieces of metal. If the generator is not grounded, can you be shocked by touching one piece of metal?

Depends on what you touch... Driving a ground rod is smart. As mentioned before - you don't want to become "the path of least resistance". Your belly leaning against the metal cover could make this into a hair raising experience! Especially on a concrete floor or wet grass.

Your feet on the ground and your hand are two things touching - potentially making you a conductor.
 

R3Fab

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OK got pics and blew them up so that I may read the model numbers.
Four MEP004A's. one of which is incomplete. (Missing at least one gauge)
May just do the KATO first as it seems simpler.
Perusing the forum it seems the MEP004's are NOT simple.
Next step for this cold morning is to locate and download the manuals.
I know they will be here somewhere.

IMG_0303.jpg

Two big monsters with V+12 engines missing cabinetry.
As near as I can read the model they are L133RS14019's?
IMG_0296.jpg

IMG_0300.jpg

These not-terminated cables make my skin crawl, there has to be a way to render them safe before I will crank these over.
IMG_0307.jpg

IMG_0297.jpg

Also an old KATO trailer mounted unit that seems very simple in comparison to the Mil. units.
IMG_0309.jpg

Owner pays pretty well for this area, but no medical or funeral benefits, and I have no desire to require either!
 

Chainbreaker

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Given the nature of this forum you will receive the most helpful and prompt support starting with the Military gensets. After all, Guyfang used to sleep on top of running MEP-004's 005's and can probably trace their schematics in his sleep...:sleep:

Now, regarding those other non-military behemoths... I think you'll be lucky if anyone steps up with any meaningful advice unless they have actual experience servicing or working on them. Dealing with those levels of machines and their electrical output 300kW/480V/451Amps etc.... well, they are downright intimidating unless you know exactly what you are doing. No room for error dealing with that level of horsepower and electrical output.
 

R3Fab

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For the V12's in particular I wish I could just de-couple the engines.
Expected that they were also Mil. but missing enclosures, Navy Grey?
 

Dieselmeister

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Just some random thoughts I am throwing out here. - Do the commercial units have the control panels (excitation controls)? From a safety perspective the voltage is what is dangerous for you. The high KVA/Amp ratings only make problems more spectacular. (We used to power construction sites and camps with 500kVA units). If you can, disconnect the excitation leads going to the generator, and thoroughly tape off each power lead coming out of the generator, and you should be able to crank over the engine without any issues. Check inside the generator housings for loose or dropped parts like screws, etc, that could damage the generator while cranking. Whether they will run or not will depend on how long they have been sitting. You may have gummed up injectors, gummed up injection pumps, bad generator end bearings, rusty cylinders, stuck rings, etc. Was the exhaust sealed or is there a chance of water ingress into the engine? How does the oil look? Any water in the oil? If the engines are in bad shape, pull all injectors, and squirt some oil into the cylinders and let is soak, before cranking them. Any way to manually bar over the engines before cranking them? Crank them with the injectors out. Also clean up the fuel system, and use a temporary fuel supply container, with clean fuel for testing, once you are ready to actually run them. Lastly, on the turbo units, have a way to kill the fuel, if they act up or try to run away (rare, but I have seen it happen - It's a strange feeling, standing next to a 1200 rpm engine, when it wants to become a jet engine)! I would start with the KATO unit, after the Mil unit. That looks like the simplest setup.
 

Guyfang

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Just some random thoughts I am throwing out here. - Do the commercial units have the control panels (excitation controls)? From a safety perspective the voltage is what is dangerous for you. The high KVA/Amp ratings only make problems more spectacular. (We used to power construction sites and camps with 500kVA units). If you can, disconnect the excitation leads going to the generator, and thoroughly tape off each power lead coming out of the generator, and you should be able to crank over the engine without any issues. Check inside the generator housings for loose or dropped parts like screws, etc, that could damage the generator while cranking. Whether they will run or not will depend on how long they have been sitting. You may have gummed up injectors, gummed up injection pumps, bad generator end bearings, rusty cylinders, stuck rings, etc. Was the exhaust sealed or is there a chance of water ingress into the engine? How does the oil look? Any water in the oil? If the engines are in bad shape, pull all injectors, and squirt some oil into the cylinders and let is soak, before cranking them. Any way to manually bar over the engines before cranking them? Crank them with the injectors out. Also clean up the fuel system, and use a temporary fuel supply container, with clean fuel for testing, once you are ready to actually run them. Lastly, on the turbo units, have a way to kill the fuel, if they act up or try to run away (rare, but I have seen it happen - It's a strange feeling, standing next to a 1200 rpm engine, when it wants to become a jet engine)! I would start with the KATO unit, after the Mil unit. That looks like the simplest setup.
It's a strange feeling, standing next to a 1200 rpm engine, when it wants to become a jet engine)!
There is no way to describe this feeling. Had it happen with a MEP-115A, 60 KW. And then the grand prize, a 150 KW, Patriot Power Plant, in Ansbach. MAN diesel engine. Parts shot through the side of the set, for about 80 feet.
 

R3Fab

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KATO is first up as it is just much simpler than the 004's.
Making a run at the "Learning Curve" without getting kinky hair. ;) :cautious:

"Ground rod" = generator frame to ground rod, right?

Will have to study the TM's for the 004's.
For the V-12's I think I'm going to hope the owner finds a new shiny object*, and I just never quite get around to them.
Just lookiing at the output cables floating around loose is scary.

He changes "Main priority" fairly frequently.
 
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