Aluminum in the Jungle – American Tugs in South America

What does one of the worlds most versatile elements have to do with a blog about 1950’s diesel engines?  Well, we will get to that.   Aluminum as we know it, is composed chiefly out of Bauxite Ore, which is ground into a powder and mixed with Sodium Hydroxide to produce Aluminum Oxide, which is then converted by electrolysis at an Aluminum smelter into Billets or Anodes, where it can be further formed.  I am not a chemist, so if you want to know more about making Aluminum, look elsewhere.

Being somewhat interested in Rocks & Minerals, I went up to my local shop and picked up a piece of Bauxite.

In 1907, the Aluminum Company of America was formed, later known as Alcoa.  Alcoa was the country’s leading Aluminum manufacturer, which was growing at a rapid pace with a slew of plants across the country by the time WWI rolled around.   Alcoa was, however, not just an American company.  They were worldwide by the teens, operating mines, refinery’s and smelters around the globe.   In 1916, Alcoa opened a new Bauxite Ore mine in Moengo, Suriname, part of what was Dutch Guiana– about 70 miles Southeast of the capital city of Paramaribo.

Our story begins in South America… Google Maps.

To get to Moengo:  We start at the Atlantic Ocean and begin a very short trip down the Suriname River.   We hang a left just inside the harbor and enter the Commewijne River.  The Commewijne heads South, and the Cottica River splits off a few miles in, and continues East, before making a hard turn and dropping straight south into Moengo.   

Now, most of us are familiar with the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio.  The Cuyahoga, which has literally burned 13 times, including a major fire in 1952, stretches (for the navigable section) 5 winding miles up the river to what is now the ArcelorMittal Steel Mills.   Great Lakes Ships traversing the river, would typically need a pair of tugs (until Bow/Stern thrusters came prevalent), one on the bow, and one on the stern to navigate the rivers bends and bridges.

A pair of Great Lakes Towing tugs assist the steamer Willowglen in the Cuyahoga River at the aptly named Collision Bend in 1985. Most ships today dont even take tugs, and better yet, they even back out! Unknown photographer, VDD Collection

A great video from Youtube user Wes Clanton of the M/V Sam Laud transiting the Cuyahoga.

Well, the Cottica River, makes the Cuyahoga look like a drag strip.  And it goes for 40 some miles. 

The Cottica River down to Moengo. Note the several short cuts that I assume were man made. Be sure to click for the full size. Google Maps.

In Moengo, Alcoa subsidiary Surinaamsche Bauxite Maatschappij operated the Bauxite mine, which would ship the ore by rail a short distance to the processing plant on the Cottica, where it would be transloaded into ships.   From there, ships bound for sea would need to transit the Cottica, and naturally, a single screw steam ship of the day, would need an assist tug.  That’s where Tams Inc. comes into play. 

Alcoa, being an American company, went to Tams Inc. Naval Architects in 1952, and had them design a pair of sister tugs for doing assist work on the Cottica to replace some antique steam tugs.  Joe Hack at Tams would design a pair of 103’ tugs, which would be based off the very well received Moran shipdocking tugs of the late 1940’s.   

The first tug delivered was the Wana. In a few years Joe Hack would design the tug W.R. Coe for the Virginian Railway, which was almost identical, right down to the streamlined stack flared into the wheelhouse. Cleveland Diesel/Diesel Times.

The tugs were operated as day boats, much like traditional NY Harbor Railroad tugs, and thus did not have a need for any major accommodations outside of a small galley and some pipe berths in the bow.   For better control towing in the quick turns of the river, the stern H bitt was moved way forward.  The unique feature, and what was foretelling for the future of tugs in general, was that the sisters had a second set of controls on top of the wheelhouse, under a simple sunshade.  

Tamarin’s upper wheelhouse. Note the “airbrushed” out windows in the lower wheelhouse. Fun fact – That style of drop down window was built by Alco – Yes, American Locomotive built tugboat windows! Cleveland Diesel/Diesel Times

Propulsion would come from a 1640HP Cleveland 16-278A driving a Falk MB reduction gear and Falk Airflex clutches.   A pair of 30kW generatros driven by Detroit 3-71s would power the auxiliaries. The tugs were built by Gulfport Shipbuilding of Port Arthur,Texas.   The tugs, owned by Alcoa Steamship Co., and operated by Surinaamsche Bauxite Maatschappij would be named the “Wana” and “Tamarin”, and were delivered in late 1952/early 1953.   Both tugs were based out of Moengo.  Cleveland Diesel covered the tugs in the March 1953 issue of Diesel Times.

Looking aft in the engine room. Cleveland Diesel/Diesel Times.

Each day, one of the tugs would run upriver and meet the ship before the river became a roller coaster ride.  According the the NYT article linked below, it was around a 10-hour trip, and it was not uncommon to brush up against the trees or run aground. 


Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to acquire some slides of the tugs in action, likely all taken by Alcoa Steamship passengers. Unfortunately I have no idea the photographer and cannot credit them for these rare views.

The Wana in 1956. I assume this is the location where the tugs would pickup the tows. Click for Larger. Unknown Photographer/VDD Collection
Kodak 126 slide of the Tamarin in March 1967. Note that the stack colors are the same as that of the ship in the above photo. Click for larger. Unknown Photographer/VDD Collection
In what looks to be almost the exact same spot as the above photo, the Tamarin makes a hard turn to pull the bow of the ship around the corner in February of 1958. Click for larger. Unknown Photographer/VDD Collection
Same photo as above, but cropped tighter. Note that the rear H Bitt has an awning. The upper wheelhouse has Canvas sides as well, the roof was aluminum. Unknown Photographer/VDD Collection
Tamarin dragging the bow of the ship around a bend, the same day as the above shot. The Cottica was home to several local tribes. Click for larger. Unknown Photographer/VDD Collection

Alcoa (now locally Suralco) would open up a new smelter and refinery in nearby Paranam in 1965, as well as building a massive hydro-electric dam, which would ultimately power most of the area.   Unfortunately, finding information about 67-year-old tugboats in South America, can be a bit of a challenge!  According to Tim Coltons Shipbuilding History page, the “Wana” was renamed the “Coermotibo” by 1968.  After finding one of the local facebook pages for the town of Moengo, and translating some posts, I was able to find out the “Wana” was unfortunately tripped while towing a ship in the river and sunk, killing her 5-man crew.   The tug was apparently raised and rebuilt, along with being renamed.   The upper wheelhouse was rebuilt into an actual enclosed wheelhouse at this time. 

A photo and drawing of the “Coermotibo” from Wazim Mohammed on the website.

The history of Moengo and nearby Paranam mirror our own Rust Belt in America.   The industry pulled out, and the towns went into a slow downward spiral.  Alcoa/Suralco closed the Paranam refinery in 1999, and the smelter in in 2015.  Alcoa was by far the largest employer, as well as owning a good portion of the area including company housing projects.   The Bauxite mine in Moengo would operate until 2015 as well, however I can’t find out if they were still shipping by ship, barge or whatnot.   At one point Alcoa even sold tickets aboard their ships to visit Moengo.  

A fantastic read on the fate of the town of Moengo:

As well as a story on Paranam and Alcoa in Suriname:

At the end of the day, I can’t find a peep on what happened to the “Tamarin” or the “Coermotibo/Wana”. I regret not talking to Joe Hack about them.   Quite a few former American tugs are working nearby in Guyana, however its unknown what became of these sister tugs.   I suppose they COULD still be running around somewhere down there…

If anyone happens to know what became of them, shoot me a message!

1960’s postcard? of Moengo, with one of the sisters. Note that the little overhang on the stern is gone now. From the Moengo Facebook group.

Some additional reading:
Railways of Surinam –
Alcoa –
I cant read it, but this is a great gallery of a trip down the Cottica-

Cleveland Diesel Engine Division – GM’s war hero turned ugly stepsister.

A Primer on the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of General Motors. 

In 1912, Alexander Winton formed the Winton Gas Engine & Manufacturing Plant, in Cleveland Ohio.   By 1913, Winton was on to building his first diesel engines.   Between gas and Diesel, Winton was beginning to lead the way with propulsion systems for some of the country’s leading yacht’s – a growing industry, but the tide would turn shortly, when Winton broke into the work boat and stationary engine market: tugs, ships,  car ferries, dredges, municipal power, pumps…the list is virtually endless with what that could benefit from a Diesel engine.  Winton’s first Diesel sale was in 1917 for use in the Auxiliary Freight Schooner “Sherewog”. By 1924, a new industry was added to the list: Rail cars.  Electro-Motive Engineering Corp. was building self-propelled railcars and using Winton gasoline, and later Diesel engines to power them.  By 1930, Winton was powering 58% of the Yachts registered with Lloyds of London.

Winton’s Logo

While the railroad side of things with EMC powered by Winton was growing, Winton was pioneering something else: Diesel-Electric-Drive for marine use.   At the time, the common type of marine diesel engine used was direct reversing.  Meaning-to shift from ahead to astern, the engine would be shut down, and then restarted in the opposite direction.  All of this being done by the engineer, in the engine room.   With Diesel-Electric-Drive, the captain has all that control right at his fingertip, combined with the almost no delay in shifting directions. The first installation of Winton Diesel-Electric drive was in Mr. Russell A. Alger’s Yacht, the “Elfay”. “Elfay used a Winton 115HP model 59 engine, which drove a 75kW generator, powering a 90HP electric propulsion motor. 

Fast forward to June of 1930.  The ever-expanding General Motors Corporation purchases Winton to get its foot into the Diesel engine market and shortly after decides to also purchase Electro-Motive in September, Winton’s then largest customer.   The success and growth of Winton and Electro-Motive Corp. under General Motors is well documented, and thus I won’t get into that here, however down the road we will be covering Winton’s large 4 stokes. By this point, Winton has made several engine designs, mostly 4 stokes, in both direct reversing as well as engines specifically for Diesel-Electric setups.   Even though the Diesel was taking charge, several smaller gasoline engines were still in production, and Winton even began to dabble in distillate-burning engines, which was a fuel somewhere in between gasoline and kerosene.   A new design was introduced in 1932 on the Winton 138, which now featured welded crankcases fabricated by the Lukenweld division of Lukens Steel Company.   This simple change started a new trend – lighter weight engines. 

By the mid 30’s, the US Navy was in the market for a compact, reliable Diesel engine for use in submarines.  The Navy gave Winton a contract in 1932, and the new Winton 201A engine (502 cubic inches per cylinder) fit the bill after some exhausting tests. The 16-Cylinder, 2-stroke engine, with an 8” bore and 10” stroke used uniflow scavenging, as well as the unit injector.  The 201A would go on to power EMC’s various Streamliner passenger locomotives, as well as switchers.   Preston Cook has covered the 201A development well, and I urge everyone to check out his write-up which will be linked at the bottom of this post.

The Winton 16-201A setup for Submarine use. Click for Larger. Winton Photo.

While the 201A was a quasi-success in both the submarine and railroad market, it was ultimately not a successful engine.   General Motors Engineering, working with both Winton and EMC – under Mr. Charles Kettering, would begin to develop a pair of new engines that fixed the issues with the 201A.  EMC focused on the railroad end of things, and the EMC 567 line was born, and Winton would focus on the marine and stationary side of things, thus the Winton 248 was born.   Again, the 567 history is well covered online and in print, and I won’t go there (see links at the bottom of this post).  Production models of the 248 was started in 1937, with the 567 coming a bit later in 1938. 

Winton 16-248. Click for Larger. Winton Photo.

The Winton 248 – was a 2-stroke engine, slightly larger than the 201A with an 8 ½” bore and 10 ½” stroke (just slightly larger than the 567 at 595 cubic inches vs. 567 per cylinder), used a unit injector, and had uniflow scavenging with a Roots blower mounted on the front end.  While the 201A used more traditional push rods to actuate the exhaust valves, the 248 used overhead camshafts.   The 201A was a 60-degree V, the 567 was a 45-degree V (The 567 only having need fit in the 6’ width of a railcar), and the 248 was much narrower, and was only 40 degrees, a big space savings when you are in a submarine! Between 1937 and 1943, the 16-248, rated at 1600HP at 750RPM was utilized in 55 US Navy Fleet subs, several sub tenders in 16, 12- and 6-cylinder configurations, and a lone non-naval use, the City of New York Fireboat Fire Fighter, which had a pair of 16-248’s.   A single 8-248 was built as an experimental rail car engine in 1935.  

Cleveland 16-248’s in retired FDNY Fireboat Fire Fighter. These are likely some of the oldest operable General Motors Diesels. Fire Fighter will be covered extensively in the future. Click for Larger.

Shortly after the introduction of the 248, Winton Diesel would be no more.   General Motors decided to rename Winton Engine Company to Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of GM as of 12/30/1938.   It has been noted in many places that “Winton became EMD!” Well, no.  Winton became Cleveland Diesel.   Electro-Motive Corporation would be reborn as the Electro-Motive Division of GM in January of 1941.   CDED, being led by George W. Codrington, who joined Winton in 1917, was starting to gear up for the inevitable: World War II.    A briefly used “General Motors Sales Corp., Diesel Engine Division” name was used in conjunction with the CDED, EMC and Detroit Diesel brands between 1937/1938.  Sister company Detroit Diesel was started in January of 1938 at an all new plant, building the small diesel, the new 71 series 2 stroke line, in 1, 2, 3, 4- and 6-cylinder configurations. 

The “Television Set” logo used by CDED.

While EMC was progressing forward with locomotive development centered around the 567 engine, Cleveland Diesel would also lend a hand.  EMC would build 567’s for railroad use only and would supply CDED with basic engines.  Cleveland would modify 567’s for marine or industrial applications.  Thus, any EMC/EMD non-railroad 567 application was sold and serviced by Cleveland Diesel, carrying CDED builders plates and engine numbers, right up to the end of CDED in 1961.  In fact, the very first production 567 engines were a pair of 8 cylinder 567’s used in the tug Thomas E. Moran.  CDED would help develop the 12-567/reduction gear installation for in the WWII Landing Ship Tank (LST), which EMD would mass produce in LaGrange. 

The first production Cleveland/EMC 8-567 engines used in the tug Thomas E. Moran in 1938. These would be later removed and replaced with a single 12-278A. Click for Larger. From Cleveland Diesel booklet “A New Conception of Diesel-Electric Drive”.

With war on the horizon in 1940, CDED was already ramping up production for the Navy through various shipbuilding contracts – many of which CDED acted as the General Contractor for the entire program, from planning to launching.   Realizing that they would not be able to keep up with demand for the upcoming Navy contracts, CDED started to expand.  The former Winton plants #1 and #2 on 106th and 110th Street in Cleveland were added onto with the addition of several new assembly bays, machine shops, powerhouse, stock rooms, offices, and pattern shops.   After the events at Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, Cleveland Diesel needed more room – and fast.   In January of 1942, CDED met with the Bureau of Ships in Washington and they outlined the need for a new plant.  Ground was broken in February on a new 343,445 square foot factory, located on 76 acres just 1.6 miles southeast of the Winton plants.  The new plant would be owned by the Navy and operated by CDED.  Plant #3 opened in November of 1942, and was mostly used as the final assembly, testing and shipping facility, with Plants 1 and 2 feeding it parts and supplies. 

Former CDED Plant #3 in 2012. Unfortunately a very quasi-1970’s looking office was built in front of the original entrance. The plant has since been expanded several times. Click for Larger. J. Boggess Photo.

The success of the Winton 248 led to a slightly refined engine in 1941 with the introduction of the 278 engines.    The 278 used the same bore and stroke as the 248 but featured reengineered cylinder heads and injectors, as well as an entire redesign of the deck and water manifold for the liner cooling.   The 278 was offered in 6, 8, 12- and 16-cylinder models, and were used in several Navy uses, mostly YTB and fleet tugs. Only a handful of submarines received the 278, repowering a few of the original 201A powered subs.   The 12-278, rated at 900HP at 700RPM being the most common.  Out of 512 278 engines built during the war, 348 engines were 12-278s.

The 278 would be refined one last time in 1942 with the introduction of the 278A.   While essentially the same engine as the 278, the 278A used a slightly larger bore of 8 ¾” with a 10 ½” stroke, bumping it up to 631 cubic inches per cylinder.   There was some crossover in parts on the 3 models mentioned above, but they were all different engines.    The 278A, offered again in 6, 8, 12- and 16-cylinder variations, in many power output options ranging from 1800HP/900RPM 16 cylinder, down to 480HP/700RPM 6-cylinder models.   Unlike the previous 248 and 278 engines being used for generators only, the 278A was now able to handle a reverse/reduction gear as well.    The 278A would go on to be one of the most widely used engines during WWII, and it would be easier to list what they were not used in.    CDED would receive the Navy’s prestigious “E” award in May of 1942 for production, which would later be renewed two more times. 3,495 6/8/12/16 278As were built in the 1941-1945 war years alone. 

One of eight Cleveland Diesel’s in the Destroyer Escort USS Slater. Click for Larger.

While the 248/278/278A were the major players for CDED, they did produce another high horsepower engine during WWII – The 16-258.   This engine was originally a Winton-designed engine, for submarine service, as a 4-stoke, direct-reversing engine, making 1500HP at 900RPM. CDED added a pair of turbochargers, and the newly-dubbed 16-258S made 2000HP at 900RPM– quite a number for its day.  The 16-258S was used predominantly in sub chasers. 

    With the 248/278/278A lines being the high horsepower models, Winton developed several smaller engines that would be used as generators.  The 233, a small 5 ¼” x 7” engine, the 228 which had the same bore and stroke and the larger 6-cylinder 241, which was an 8”x10” 4 stroke engines.  The 268 was introduced by Cleveland Diesel in 1938, initially in a 4-cylinder, followed by an 8-cylinder, then a 3-cylinder model.   The 268 was the first smaller 2 stroke developed under CDED, with a 6 3/8” bore and 7” stroke.   These engines respectively drove 100, 150 and 300kW gensets for auxiliary power.   The 268 was updated in 1940 into the 268A with a slightly larger 6 ½” bore but the same 7” stroke.   CDED would go on to build massive numbers of both 3 and 8-cylinder 268A engines, that were used as generators in everything from submarines, destroyers, LST’s, destroyer escorts, tugboats, ships and anything else that needed electric power.   The 268A would ultimately be offered with a reverse gear for propulsion use in smaller craft. Throughout the war years, 4,778 3-268A engines were built and 4,521 8-268A engines were built.

A 1942 built Cleveland 8-268A on display at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay, WI. This engine originally powered the Navy PC-502, and later the tugboat Arrow. Click for Larger.

War production for CDED would ultimately amass 5,562 Navy ships – 141 Submarines, 376 Tugs, 399 Destroyers, 1140 Sub Chasers/Escorts, 1817 Landing Craft, 992 Minesweepers/Layers, 299 Cargo Ships, 89 Tenders, 48 Transports, 97 Patrol/Rescue/Salvage Vessels, 85 Carriers/Ammo Ships/Other and 79 Battleships, Cruisers and Gunships.  39.5% of these used CDED for propulsion and auxiliary, 23.75% for propulsion only and the remainder for auxiliary only.  21,709 engines were ultimately built strictly for WWII service. 

After the end of WWII, CDED would opt to vacate Plant 3.   Demand for the 278A and 268A plummeted after the war, simply due to the sheer numbers built, and the fact that a massive number of essentially brand new, surplus engines were now available.    The original Winton plants #1 and #2 would be more than enough to keep up with future demand and service.    Plant 3 would wind up being taken over by sister division EMD in 1946.   EMD operated Plant 3 for locomotive production, specifically switchers and GP7’s until late 1954.   After EMD, the plant would be used by Euclid, GM’s construction machinery division, and later Terex.   Today Plant 3 is home to many smaller, non-GM businesses.    

Throughout WWII and after, CDED did extensive advertising, and utilized some rather amazing paintings in many. They also produced a monthly newsletter “Diesel Times”, which typically covered a specific boat or project in detail, as well as several booklets about the company and some of its history. Click for Larger.

   With the Naval contracts winding down, Cleveland Diesel would need to find an alternative to stay viable.    Before and during the war, CDED worked closely with TAMS Inc. Naval Architects with Naval Architect Richard Cook on a multitude of projects.   General Motors saw this as an opportunity and purchased TAMS outright and folded it into Cleveland Diesel.   TAMS, now known as the Marine Design Section of CDED, and being led by Mr. Cook’s successor, Naval Architect Joe Hack, led CDED into the new world of commercial shipbuilding, something Winton helped pioneer many years earlier.    The vast majority of tugs, especially in the Northeast, would be Cleveland-designed, and powered. 

    With WWII over, massive amounts of virtually new ships were coming home, mostly to be scrapped.   At the same time, many commercial maritime operators were in dire need to major fleet upgrades – specifically tugboats.   CDED saw the opportunity and would wind up buying back several engines out of various craft, specifically LST’s, Destroyer Escorts and many others.  CDED would then rebuild these engines to new condition, assign them a new serial and order number, and package them for reuse.   Like its Winton ancestor, CDED was pushing Diesel-Electric-Drive.  The Destroyer Escorts were just that, and CDED would take an engine, generator, and propulsion motor, and lo and behold, you now have a 1600HP Diesel-Electric tugboat package.   CDED would also work with several subcontractors and other GM divisions and supply the entire propulsion package and various auxiliary’s (steering, switchboard, generator engines etc.).   While Diesel-Electric was still the go-to of the time, it was expensive and heavy, even with all the WWII surplus components being utilized.    The new trend for tug propulsion was in clutch drive, with reverse-reduction gears.   Once again, CDED would put together a package, with either a 278A or 567C later on, with typically a Falk MB series gear, on a common base.    While the surplus engines were being used quite a bit, CDED was still indeed producing brand new 278A and 268A engines as well.   Tugboats were by far the bread and butter, but CDED was providing propulsion systems for ships, fishing boats, municipal power plants, and any other non-locomotive diesel use you can think of.   George Codrington finally retired after a long and successful career and was replaced with Thomas Hughes in 1953.

Cleveland 16-567C in the CDED (Joe Hack) designed tug Nancy Moran. Click for Larger.

The Navy work was still happening as well.  The Navy would come to CDED with an interesting request – the need for a non-magnetic engine for Minesweepers.  These engines would feature a unique nickel block with a variety of stainless, copper, brass and bronze fittings – literally, everything but steel were used in these engines.   CDED put together a few different packages, with 8-278A’s with reverse/reduction gears, 8-278A Impulse Generator sets, 8-268A’s with reverse/reduction gears, 8-268A’s with generators as well as a smaller number of 12-278A’s for the Canadian Navy – all of these engines being non-magnetic.    Another Naval development came with the 16-338 engine, a 16-cylinder, 4-layer vertical radial diesel engine for use in submarines.   The 338 engine has its roots in the 16-184A “Pancake” engine EMD built for subchasers during WWII.  Only a handful of the 16-338’s were built, and were used with generators for a single class of post-war Diesel submarine, which were ultimately a failure. 

A CDED Non Magnetic 8-278A, which drove a 530kW impulse generator (another WWII surplus piece), with a heavy flywheel mounted in-between. These were installed on AM-421 and AM 498 class Minesweepers. c. 1952 Cleveland Diesel Photo, J. Boggess Collection.

The 1950’s started a new era in CDED – The Diesel engine horsepower race.   In the mid 1950’s, the US Navy was experimenting with turbochargers, specifically with the 278A engine, and getting successful results.   De Laval was doing its own testing, using the 268A engine, and Detroit Diesel was working with Garrett-Air Research on their own.  EMD was a bit behind in the development, as they were working on their own, in-house designed turbocharger to be used on the 567D engine, after being encouraged by tests done by Union Pacific using Garrett turbos on EMD 567 powered GP9’s.     Cleveland Diesel took the research from the 278A testing and developed an all-new engine dubbed the 498.   While using the same bore and stroke as the 278A, the 498 was all new.    The engine used floating pistons, like the 567 line now used, elimination of the water deck style liners, improved wraparound connecting rods, and a simplified gear train system all mounted in a much heavier crankcase.   On top of that, a De Laval exhaust-driven turbocharger was added, used in conjunction with a smaller Roots blower and an intercooler.   The 498 was offered as a propulsion engine, with either electric or clutch drive packages, or for use in stationary applications.   An 8, 12- and 16-cylinder model were offered rated at 1400, 2100 and 2800HP at 850RPM.  A 6-cylinder model was proposed, but never built.   Only fifty eight 498 engines were ever built, as by the time most of the teething bugs were worked out and the salesmen were really pushing them, the end was near for Cleveland Diesel.  

Cleveland Diesel 8-498 with a Falk 14MB reverse/reduction gear. Click for Larger. CDED Photo.

The last major development by Cleveland Diesel was the 358H line of engines.   These were a massive loop-scavenged, horizontal radial Natural Gas, spark ignition engine, with 16 cylinders with a 12 ½” bore and 14 ½” stroke.  The engine was developed for industrial use, aimed towards natural gas pumping stations, or municipal and industrial powerplants.   The engine was rated at 3300HP at 600RPM.    The largest user of these was Reynold’s Aluminum, who used 42 of these engines, each driving 2000kW generators mounted vertically, for powering aluminum electrolytic smelting operations.  CDED displayed a 16-358H Turbo model, which used a pair of De Laval turbos, bumping the horsepower up to 4500.  CDED would dabble in a few other markets, including a Free Piston Gas Turbine engine for ship propulsion.

Cleveland 16-358H engine with generator. Click for Larger. From CDED booklet “More Power for You”

All good things must come to an end, and this happened to Cleveland Diesel November 1st, 1961, when the Cleveland Diesel Engine Division of General Motors was merged into the Electro-Motive Division.   By now, EMD was making major strides with the 567 line (now up to the turbocharged 567D).  The last new 278A’s were non-magnetic engines built in LaGrange sometime in the late 1960’s. EMD would continue to supply parts for the various CDED lines, however all development stopped, specifically with the 358 and 498 engines.   Joe Hack, along with his brother Al, would purchase the Marine Design division and start their own company – Marine Design Inc., and would continue to design tug and barges for the next 25+ years.    Electro-Motive would not keep the parts support for Cleveland long, and they sold the entire line to Hatch & Kirk of Seattle, WA.   H&K to this day supplies parts for the 278, 278A and 268A engines, predominantly to foreign governments operating surplus US Navy equipment.   I was shocked to hear one of the leading engines supported today was the Non-Magnetic 278A.  

Today, the number of Cleveland Diesels in daily use – from what was once the largest supplier of medium-speed marine diesel engines – dwindles every year.  The largest fleet user today is the Great Lakes Towing Company, which operates several 278 and 278A powered tugs throughout the Great Lakes (along with one of the last 498 engines up to just a couple years ago).  GLT has been very helpful with our Cleveland Diesel history and documentation projects.  Several museum boats have CDED power, including the USS Cod in Cleveland and the Destroyer Escort USS Slater in Albany, both some of the best Naval museums one can visit.  A small, shrinking number of tugs are still around with Cleveland Diesels, as well as those in foreign navies.

Some relevant articles we have done since this was published:
Development of the Cleveland 498 Engine – 4 Part Series
Comparing the Cleveland 278A to an EMD 567B Internally
Production list of all Winton & Cleveland Engine Models

USS Slater, returning from drydock in a fresh WWII Dazzle paint scheme. Click for Larger.

After spending several years working on a Cleveland Diesel-powered tug and meeting fellow CDED historian Jay Boggess – we have set out to gather and document Cleveland Diesel as much as we possibly could. Unfortunately, not all that much about CDED (unlike EMD) is on the web, which was one of the bigger influences for starting this blog.  The last several years we have been documenting boats and power plants, visiting libraries, acquiring and digitizing old manuals and documentation, collecting old parts and greasy things, and anything else you can think of.    While a handful of engines were listed above, Winton and Cleveland Diesel combined would roster a whopping 252 different engine models through a 48-year span.   At some point, we will share the roster (it needs a bit more cleanup yet), and quite a few posts will be dedicated in the future to cover many models in depth, with photos, diagrams and the like.    If anyone has anything they would like to add to our research – we would love to hear it, please shoot an email over!  Stories, manuals, documentation, anything.   Plenty of holes in the CDED history yet to be filled.  Of course, Thanks to Jay Boggess for helping write this.

Some links to visit:
USS Cod Submarine Memorial
USS Slater – DE 766
Fireboat Fire Fighter
Preston Cook History on the Winton 201A
Preston Cook – 567 engine in the 21st Century
Cleveland Diesel – US Auto Industry in WWII (A really cool website to browse!)

Production 278’s await testing at one of the Cleveland plants, December 1941. Alfred T. Palmer/ Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Tugboats and Submarines

In 1948, the Lehigh Valley Railroad put in an order for a quartet of tugboats.    The tugs, designed by TAMS Inc. Naval Architects under Richard Cook and Joseph Hack, were a typical 106’ harbor tug.  I will get into this more in a future topic (or whenever I get my damn book finished!).   The Diesel-Electric tugs were powered through a package put together by General Motors Diesel – Cleveland Diesel main engine, Detroit Diesel generators, Allis-Chalmers main generator, Westinghouse propulsion motor, and electrical gear provided by Lakeshore Electric.   Construction of the tugs began in early 1949 at Jakobson Shipyard in Oyster Bay, Long Island.    The tugs would be named the “Wilkes-Barre”, “Hazleton”, “Cornell”, and “Lehigh”.   The 4 tugs were identical, with the exception that “Cornell” and “Lehigh” had wheelhouses slightly lower than the other pair for serving the isolated terminals on the Harlem River. 

The tugs were powered by the typical Cleveland Diesel Navy Propulsion Package.   A 16-278A engine, rated at 1655HP driving an Allis-Chalmers 1090kW DC generator, mounted on a common base.   In turn, this powered a Westinghouse 1380HP propulsion motor, driving a 10’ propeller through a Farrel-Birmingham 4.132:1 reduction gear.   At the time, WWII surplus equipment was vast.   Cleveland Diesel was acquiring little used engines from various craft and giving them a complete rebuild to as new condition, complete with new serial numbers.   The main generators and propulsion motors were both surplus Destroyer-Escort surplus equipment as well.

“Cornell” was launched on April 4th, 1950.   After launching, diver Edward Christiansen went down to remove launching timbers.   One of the large pieces of wood broke and not only pinned him against the tug, but also pinched off his airline.   His son Norman led a rescue effort, and in 21 minutes were able to get him back up to the surface after using a yard crane to roll the tug slightly.   Once on the surface, firefighters were able to revive Edward, and he was taken to the hospital. 

The “Four Aces” was a publicity photo arranged by Cleveland Diesel. This was used, both colorized and Black & White, in several publications of the era.

Cleveland Diesel order #5782 consisted of the following engines:

“Wilkes Barre”– Original engine #55341, installed in US Navy “LSM-277”, shipped 9/5/1944.  Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55944 upon being shipped 5/13/1949 for use by LV.

“Hazleton” Original engine #55342, installed in US Navy “LSM-277”, shipped 9/5/1944. Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55945 upon being shipped 5/13/1949 for use by LV.

Cornell”– Original engine #12001, installed in US Navy DE-526 “Inman”, shipped 10/15/1943.  Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55946 upon being shipped 8/29/1949 for use by LV.  This engine was replaced 12/1950 with factory rebuilt engine #55956 (engine only, less base & generator, shipped 12/15/1950), originally from “LSM-184”, engine #55347, shipped 9/7/1944.  

“Lehigh”– Original engine #55654, installed in US Navy “LSM-436”, shipped 1/23/1945.  Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55946 upon being shipped 3/21/1950 for use by LV. In the early 1990s, while owned by Moran Towing, the “Lehigh” (then called “Swan Point”) received the engine from the scrapped NY Cross Harbor tug “Brooklyn III”, the former New Haven tug “Cordelia”, which was a WWII surplus engine like all of the rest, originally in Navy DE-259 “William C. Miller”, which is ironic, as the Bethlehem below, also received one of her engines.

Lehigh Valley would return in 1951/53 for two more tugs of the same design, with some slight differences.   These tugs were powered by the same propulsion package, of WWII surplus equipment. 

Cleveland Diesel order #8112:

“Capmoore” Original engine #11734, installed in US Navy DE-259 “Wm. C. Miller” , shipped 5/1/1943.  Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55964 upon being shipped 4/19/1951 for use by LV.

Cleveland Diesel order #314

“Bethlehem”– Original engine #11736, installed in US Navy DE-259 “Wm. C. Miller”, shipped 5/1/1943.  Engine removed upon decommissioning, factory rebuilt, and assigned new engine #55966 upon being sold for commercial use.  Original order canceled, reassigned engine #55991 upon being shipped 5/8/1953 for use by LV. “Bethlehem” was re-powered by an Alco 16-251 in the early 1990s, and is the only other surviving LVRR tug, now working in Guyana.

Naturally, with the downfall of the railroads maritime traffic, the railroad would start selling the tugs off starting in the early 1960s.   “Cornell” would last until 1970, with Bethlehem being the final LV tug, sold off in 1976.  As noted above, for an unknown reason, the engine in the “Cornell” failed almost immediately after delivery and the bare engine (no base or generator) was replaced by Cleveland.  


The US Fleet Tug “USS Cabezon” – SS 334, slid down the ways of Electric Boat in Groton, CT on August 27th, 1944, sponsored by Mrs. T. Ross Cooley.   “Cabezon” was on the tail end of WWII sub construction, specifically part of the 120 boat Balao class.  Construction started with her keel laying on November 18th, 1943. She was placed into service on December 30th, 1944, and after training went on to Pearl Harbor in April of 1945, under the command of George W. Lautrup Jr., making this his 10 WWII patrol.

Launching of the fleet sub “Cabezon” at Electric Boat. USN photo # 80-G-448206 from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), College Park, Maryland, courtesy of Sean Hert via Click for Larger.

“Cabezon” was powered by 4 Cleveland Diesel, 1600HP 16-278A engines, driving 4 GE 1100kW DC generators, with 4 GE 1375HP propulsion motors, rated for 5400HP on the surface and 2740 submerged.    She had a single Cleveland 8-268A 300kW auxiliary diesel, and 256 Exide VLA47B battery’s. 

Order sheets for the 4 main engines in the sub “Cabezon”, part of navy order NOBs 214/CDED 5413. J.S. Boggess Collection. Click for larger.
Cleveland 16-278A located in the sub “Becuna”, SS-319. “Becuna” is one of the sisters of “Cabezon”. Click for larger.

After arriving in Pearl, “Cabezon’s” crew underwent more training.   During which an accident occurred.   The 4 outer rear torpedo tube doors were opened, while 2 of the inner doors were open.   The sub immediately began to flood.  Reid Harrison Peach Jr., TM1c, William Cliffard Markland, TM1c and Brownie Walter Szozygiel, TM1c were each awarded the Navy Marine Corps medal for their action in saving the sub. 

An interested experiement conducted by the “Cabezon” early into her first patrol. From “Cabezon’s” War Patrol Report. Click for larger.

“Cabezon” went on her first WWII patrol starting May 25th, 1945, in the Okhotsk Sea and Kurile Islands, operating in attack task group 17.15 with subs “USS Apogon”, “USS Dace” and “USS Manta” “Cabezon’s” war patrol report is fairly tame, being so late into the war.   On June 1st, they spotted a floating mine, which they sunk with the .50 caliber machine gun.  A second was spotted June 6th, which exploded after they hit it with the .50 cal.   On June 18th, “Apogon” made contact with a Japanese convoy, attacked and sunk 3 ships by midnight.  At 0130, another contact was made, in range of “Cabezon”.  After 30 minutes of pursuit, she launched 3 Mk. 18-2 torpedoes from 2250 yards.  Two hits were observed from the bridge, as well as 3 timed explosions, and the contact was reported sinking at 0223.  June 29th – Another contact made at 2145, lasting until 0025, when it was discovered a shorting out heater was the cause.   “Cabezon’s” war patrol ended July 10th, when she arrived at Midway.  

“Cabezon” would be credited with sinking one unidentified Japanese escort (Later identified as the “Zaosan Maru”), rated at 4000 tons.   103,485 gallons of fuel were used during the trip, which covered 10,275 miles.  She had 21 torpedoes, 32,510 gallons of fuel and provisions left for 15 days.   “Cabezon” went on to Pearl for her refit period and left for Saipan on August 4th.   Hours before leaving for her 2nd patrol, WWII ended.   “Cabezon” stayed in the area, providing targeting practice for surface ships, before leaving for the Philippine Islands in early September to become part of the new Submarine Squadron 5, with subs “USS Chub”, “USS Brill”, “USS Bugara”, “USS Bumper”, “USS Sea Dog”, “USS Sea Devil” and “USS Sea Fox”.   In December, Squadron 5 returned to Manilla, and joined up with the “USS Chanticleer” and Destroyer Escorts “Earl K. Olsen” and “Slater” (Now a fantastic museum ship in Albany) for training exercises.    “Cabezon” would go on to do a short stint in San Diego, and later Pearl Harbor, doing trips for the Naval Reserve.  In 1947, she took part in Operation Blue Nose, exploring under the Polar Ice Caps along with subs “USS Boarfish”, “USS Caiman” and tender “USS USS Nereus”.  “Cabezons” final trips would be in two reconnaissance patrols, one in March-July of 1950, and the 2nd April-October of 1952 between Hokkaido Japan, and Sakhalin, USSR. 

“Cabezon” would set out for Mare Island in April of 1953 where she was laid up in the Pacific Reserve Fleet. She was recommissioned in April of 1960 as a Naval Reserve Training boat in Tacoma Washington, and reclassed in 1962 as an Auxiliary Research Submarine, until being decommissioned in 1970. She was struck from the roster on May 15th, 1970, and sold for scrap to Zidell Explorations, of Portland Oregon in December of 1971, for $69,230. 

While on Patrol, “Cabezon” had a unique engine failure, as outlined in her war patrol report below.    #4 main engine, is one of the Portside engines on the sub, on the after end (#2 and #4 are Port, #1 and #3 Starboard). The port engines are both left hand rotation engines.  

From “Cabezon’s” War Patrol Report. Click for larger.


In 1970, Lehigh Valley sold the tug to Ross Towboat, of Boston Massachusetts, keeping her original name in the process.  Ross was actively engaged in Ship Docking, as well as barge towing in Boston, as well as all New England.   Ross would do some slight modifications to the tug, including adding an internal staircase to access the pilothouse, as well as add a full galley and staterooms to have a full-time crew on board, whereas the tug did only 8-hour day work for LVRR.    In early 1972 the tug had a catastrophic main engine failure. Thanks to my friend Douglas Della Porta of Eastern Towboat, he recounted the story of what happened.

Port side of the main engine in the tug “Cornell”. Click for larger.

While transiting the Cape Cod Canal, the tug lost oil pressure.   Unfortunately, they needed to keep moving, and thus at the end of the day, the engine was destroyed.   Ross found an engine out West – Engine 14974, and installed it in the tug as a replacement – The 3rd engine in the “Cornell” (same exact model every time).   This is the engine still in the “Cornell” today. Several years ago, my good friend J. Boggess presented me with the Cleveland records above, which is when we found out the engine in the “Cornell”, was actually from the “Cabezon”. There is a 50/50 shot that this is the engine that was almost destroyed while in the “Cabezon” as noted above.

This past July I embarked on a project I have been planning for some time – To repaint the engine finally. “Cornell” was a working boat – And shes a leaker (like all 278’s…EMD learned from this mistake, and put a box around them all!), thus painting was never a huge priority. Since being retired from towing service this year, and with some downtime, I got to it. The project commenced on the Starboard side, with 2 gallons of de-greaser, and lots of rags. I opted to paint her in Aluminum, the original color Cleveland Diesel painted all of their engines. Ill tell you – it was bright. Many years ago, one of the first things I painted on “Cornell” was the fuel lines on the block. Tugs typically have a good portion of the pipelines color coded for easy spotting of what they do – thus yellow for fuel. After repainting the fuel lines yellow, and the over speed trip line brown, I painted the hand hole knobs black, just to help break it up a bit, and give it a bit of her own character.

Original number stamping, found on the forward end of the block. Click for larger.
All done! Click for larger.
Still need to redo the blue on the water lines. Click for larger.
An individual pack. Click for larger.

Something on my wish list for several years has been a Cleveland Diesel issued 278A manual, specifically for a submarine. I was able to track one down earlier this year, and best of all, it is specific to the engine in the Cornell.

How the engine appeared out of the factory for the subs. Note it looks like the valve covers are actually polished! When put in the tug, the governor’s were switched over to Marquette’s, as well as the lay shaft arrangement to the more traditional, chest height one. Click for larger.
“Cabezon’s” insignia. At some point, I plan to paint this on the air intake.

“Cornell” spent the better part of the 1970’s for Ross, doing all kinds of odd jobs, including a long trip up to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to pick up the Boston Aquariums new barge. Not long after the engine was swapped, the main generator, quite literally let loose while towing a barge, and was also swapped out. She would go on to work for Boston Fuel Transport/Boston Towing until being sold privately in 2003, and ultimately to Lehigh Maritime Corp. in 2007.

Ill close this post out with a photo of the “Cornell” at work. Now I just need to paint the other side of the engine…and everything else down there…

Click for larger.

A few sources:
Navsouce page on USS Cabezon
Wiki page on USS Cabezon
Wreck of the Zaosan Maru
Museum Ship “Slater”
“The Fleet Submarine in the US Navy” by Commander John H. Alden
USS Cabezon Report of War Patrol #1

Old Advertising V

Click for Larger

This week, we have one of the many George Drake designed, Gulfport built 102’2″ tugs for the Navy. In the early 1940’s, Cleveland Diesel began building tugs on spec. for the upcoming war. The design was a simple harbor tug, with 4 state rooms, large crew fo’c’sle, central galley and a single head. Under the hood, the tugs had a Cleveland 12-278 engine driving an 800kW generator, powering a 1000HP propulsion motor. The design was later revised with a slightly different interior arrangement, and the wheelhouse raised up a bit. Quite a number of these tugs were built for the Navy as YT’s, and after the war, the design became one of Gulfport Shipbuildings “stock” designs. At some point TAMS Inc. acquired the design from George Drake, and kept it in the catalog so to speak. A large number of these tugs – essentially all the same, in cookie cutter fashion, were built for the commercial towing industry into the 1960’s.

The tug in the advertisement, is the YT 174 “Allaquippa”, built by Gulfport in 1941. She was struck from the Navy in 1969, and apparently sunk in the mid 1990s.

From “Diesel Electric Vessels Powered by Cleveland Diesel”

Fixing a Bearing.

Ill start with a bit of prequel to this story with some history.   The Tug Cornell is powered by a Cleveland Diesel “Navy Propulsion Package”, which consists of a Cleveland 16-278A and an Allis Chalmers 1090kW, 525V DC Generator, mounted on a common base.   In turn, this provides power for a Westinghouse 1350HP electric propulsion motor, driving a Farrel-Birmingham single reduction gear.   Except for the gear, all this equipment is reconditioned WWII surplus, Destroyer-Escort equipment.   Lots more to come on this equipment in a future post. 

Both ends of the main generator, as well as the forward end of the propulsion motor are supported by large, oil fed babbit pedestal bearings.    The generator ones are fed by the main engine lube oil system, and the propulsion motor one is fed off the reduction gear oil system. The motor only has a single support bearing on the front, as the rear is supported by the reduction gear.   In April of 2012, we burned up the aft support bearing on the generator; however, I will save that for later, as I documented this instance better.

Destroyer Escort propulsion motors, were used in pairs on the ship. When resold for commercial service, they were split into single units.

In September of 2015, on a Sunday afternoon, we were just leaving with the tug to head down river, with another small tug (Pilot, Dave’s tug) alongside. The plan was to drop off the Pilot in Verplank, head to the city to pick up a barge, and then back to Kingston as we had training class days later in the week in Kingston.  About 45 minutes out, just at the Esopus Meadows light just South of Kingston, I go down and do my engine room checks.  I have my routine, I go down the stairs, around the front, back, around, back to the gear, and back up…so, coming around the front, I smell burning.  The best way I can describe it is a burning electrical smell.  I remembered the smell from when we burnt up the generator bearing.  So, I kind of figured it was THAT bearing acting up again, I run around back looking for the thermal gun, and in the process put my hand on top of the motor bearing (part of my routine..), and yeah, at that point I knew what was really happening! 

So, I get on the horn to the wheelhouse (we have a radio from the engine room to the wheelhouse) to go all stop, GET THE PILOT RUNNING!, and GET DOWN HERE!, I run for the hose to start getting water on the thing. (270 degrees on the shell right now).  Dave starts steering, Don runs over and gets Pilot running (This is after we drained the fuel tanks this week, leaving only 50 gallons on the day tank…) Matt runs down and helps me start cooling this thing down with just water and rags.  By now, we are just hanging out in one of the wider parts of the river.  Pilot is running and ready to go alongside and holding us.  Me and Don start tearing the oil lines apart to the bearing.  We put air to it, and it shot a solid slug of crap out…  

  Now, the forward support bearing, is pressure fed from the reduction gear.  Its a very simple system.  There is a suction line from the sump of the reduction gear with a check valve, this goes to the pump driven off the main pinion.  From the pump, it goes through a cooler, strainer, then T’s off.  One line goes up to the support bearing on the motor, and the other goes to the gearbox, for the top spray line, and the pinion and thrust bearings (which are SKF ROLLER BEARINGS!) in the gearbox.  All the oil is crystal clear and looks fine.  it was just that one slug of shit, in the lowest part of the system.  The system is only supposed to run at 110 degrees, at 5-8 psi. 

So, we get this thing cleaned out, Pilot is holding us so we don’t drift all over the place ( Dave’s friend managed to see this from shore!) we get it back together, but we can’t get the pump on the gearbox to reprime quick enough to cool the bearing and get some oil to it.  We thought we might have caught it before it went nuclear, but when we turned the excitation on (When you turn it on, the motor creeps sometimes), we got the nail on chalkboard sound

Ok, Time to have Pilot turn us around, and tow us back to the dock. Nothing we are going to do out here now. 

Click for larger.

With the upper half of the pedestal removed, and the upper shell removed we saw the damage was done. All of the babbit melted out and then reset when it cooled off. What looks like scoring on the armature shaft, is actually just streaks of babbit.

Upper half of the shell. Click for larger.
Lower half of the shell. Click for larger.
Both halves of the bearing. Click for larger.
Both halves of the bearing shell. Click for larger.
Click for larger.

In removing the lower half of the shell, we made the observation that this has happened once before. Notice on the upper lip where it has been built up with brazing from where the shaft dropped and wore out the shell. Note the two oil drain holes in the center. Also, note the heat distortion. This shell got to over 500 degrees to melt that babbit in that fashion. Luckily, the shell was not warped.

So, a few years ago our fellow engineer friend Tim Ivory built a centrifugal bearing machine, to re-pour the main bearings in the tug “Spooky Boat”s Fairbanks-Morse 35F10M engine.   Well, it turned out we were the first to make use of it two years prior when we cooked that generator support bearing.   Since then Tim has made several bearings for various projects. 

  The barge in the city can wait until next week, but the class days Wednesday, Thursday and Friday can’t be rescheduled.  Sunday night we got the shell apart.  It is only 4 cap bolts, 4 shell bolts, and a pipe fitting into the shell for the oil line.  After we got the motor armature shaft supported, the lower shell just spins out. 

We were not able to do anything Sunday night.  It turned out, Tim already had the bearing machine off the storage rack, and had one of the small, 2″ bearings for Spooky boats 1 Cylinder FM generator mounted in it to re do.  We took care of that on Sunday to get it out of the way.  

Monday, Matt (Owner of Cornell), had to go to the city and take care of a few things.  Great, we found a foundry down there that has the babbitt in stock (Belmont Metals), and we can pick it up.  Next, we need gaskets, The bearing mounts to the table using 4 studs and a plate.  The shell needs a gasket where it meets the mounting plate, or the hot liquid babbitt just pours out all over.  It is a 4″, ring style flange gasket, rated for hi-temp, usually graphite based, 1/8th” thick. We can’t source them locally.  I found a place in Brooklyn that has them, I call them, tell them exactly what I need. Ok, fine no problem, 6 in stock.  While this is going on, we prep the shell.  Simply, melting the old babbitt out.  

Melting out the babbit using a roofing torch. Click for larger.
The shell, now cleaned of all old babbit and tinned. Click for larger.

The next issue at hand was that we needed a plug. On the after side of the bearing, the outer edge of the shell rides on the larger portion of the shaft forming a mechanical oil seal. Unlike the bearing on the generator which used a labyrinth cut into the babbit, this bearing just have a tight tolerance fit, and thus we need to keep this entire area clear of any babbit. Tim had the great idea to make a simple one out of the bottom of an old scuba tank!

Making the lower plug from a scuba tank. Click for larger.
Click for larger.

After the bearing is cleaned out and tinned, the halves are bolted together with an aluminum shim plate, which is sealed with hi-temp silicone. The shims create a space so that the shell can be split apart after the babbit is cooled, and the babbit wont stick to the aluminum.

The rear plug is centered up in the rear. Click for larger.
New 6lb ingots of babbit from Belmont Metals, in Brooklyn. The babbit consists of 78% Lead, 14% Antimony and 8% Tin. Click for larger.

Now, Matt shows up with the gaskets Monday afternoon…totally wrong thing.  Back to the drawing board.  I managed to find a plumbing supply house about an hour away.  We shoot down, and start telling them what we need, and comes the typical “What is the application..”  Our response, “Can you just take us to where you keep them, and we will get what we need?”  They take us to them, score! they had what we needed.  

Click for larger.

The shell itself is sandwiched into the machine using 4 studs attached to the bed plate, and a steel plate with the center cut out. After a few minutes getting the bearing centered and balanced, it is ready to go. Each of the 4 studs is wrapped in fiberglass insulation to help prevent the stud from stretching, and have stiff springs outside of the plate to take up and stretch while being heated, and even still they are periodically re-tightened. The gasket sits between the top plate and the shell.

Click for larger.

Next up, rotating the assembly down 90 degrees and preheating the bearing using the roofing torch to around 500 degrees. In the background the babbit is being melted.

In goes the babbit. Click for larger.
Click for larger.

We melted 12 pounds of babbit and poured in about 9. After pouring, the shell is immediately hit with water to cool it. This is so the shell cools and shrinks from the outside, so the babbit does not crack.

This is how the bearing looks directly after pulling off the outer cover plate. The green is the remnant of the gasket. Click for larger.
The bearing after being split apart. It can now be bolted back together without the shims, and be machined. Click for larger.
Click for larger.

With the new babbit poured, we went back and cleaned up the shaft. It had some very, very light scoring on it that we were able to polish out. We took a slew of measurements, and were now ready to machine it.

Mounted in the lathe and cut to final size. Click for larger.
Cutting the oil wedge’s out on the milling machine. Click for larger.
The finished bearing shells. Click for larger.
The propulsion motor, with the shaft supported from the overhead using a chain fall and sling. Click for larger.
Rolling in the lower bearing shell. Click for larger.

We put the thing back together about 11pm on Tuesday, figured out how to get the oil pump reprimed, cleaned all the lines out, and started the boat about 11:15.  We spent the next hour running it, getting it scrapped in with a razor blade and bluing dye (run for 25m, take it out, scrape…repeat..).  We used timesaver compound (an old timers trick for babbitt bearings, which alot of old manuals for big engines specifically say to use for this exact purpose), to help get it wore in.  

The class days we took it easy, no more then 100 shaft rpm (so about 400 on the motor).  We never seen more then 100 degrees on it.  Here we are almost 4 years later, and the bearing runs perfectly fine, and stays right around that 110 degree mark. For all intensive purposes, we were able to turn this repair around in around 48 hours, completely in house.

Since this happened, not only have we managed to acquire a spare support bearing shell set, but I even managed to find an original Cleveland issue manual, that covered the Generators, Motor and the pedestal bearings for both, with complete spec sheets.

Cleveland Diesel manual covering the Destroyer Escort’s propulsion end.
Blueprint sheet for the forward support pedestal bearings. Click for a larger version.

Old Advertising IV

Click for larger

Farrel-Birmingham was yet another prominent WWII (and before) era manufacturer of reduction gears and the like. During WWII, Farrel-Birmingham would supply gears for hundreds of tugs, ships, ferrys and every many other pieces of floating plant. In the post war years, working with GM, thy would supply the reduction gears for almost every Diesel Electric tug powered by Cleveland Diesel right up until the 1960’s.

The setup shown above was originally used in the tug “Raymond Card”, a 95′ tug powered by a Cleveland 12-567, with a 615kW Generator. In turn, this powered the 750HP 600V DC propulsion motor, that fed the Farrel-Birmingham 3.75:1 reduction gear. This same setup would be used on other tugs of the same design later on.

Farrel-Birmingham would exit the gear market in the 1960’s. They still exist today as the Farrell Pomini company, specializing in plastic manufacturing equipment.

EMD 567 Spotters Guide

Something that I see quite often on various forums and the like, is misidentification of the early EMD 567 series engines.  Like all engine manufactures of the day, the EMD 567 line was under constant revision throughout the years.  This is not meant to be any sort of history of the engine,  just a simple way to differentiate the different types of 567 engines. 

The “Straight” 567

One of the first EMC 567’s built in July of 1938 for the “Thomas E. Moran”. While the base engine was built by EMC, it was then sent to Cleveland Diesel to be converted into a marine engine. Note that while the rectangular crankcase and airbox covers are the same, the crankcase ones are horizontal, while the airbox ones are vertical. These engines would be removed and replaced with a single 12-278A in 1944.

The first production model of the 567 was just that, the 567. Often people dont associate this engine, thinking the 567A was the original, but it was not. The first 567 engines used an interesting top deck design, with extended crab studs to hold down the covers, with a simple rectangular hatch over each injector. The first pair of production 567’s according to the EMD book “Diesel War Power”, were for the Moran Towing “Thomas E. Moran”, built by Defoe Shipbuilding in 1938. Ironically, an engine designed specifically for locomotives, would be first installed in a tug. The engines (one pictured above) were V8, 660HP/750 RPM engines that drove a 400kW generator, with a 24kW belt drive exciter above.

A spare 12-567 on a flat car at the Illinois Railway Museum

The first Railroad use of the 567 would follow in October of 1938, with a set of E4 Streamliners for the Seaboard Air Line railroad. Each E4 used a pair of 1000HP 12-567’s. The first and most obvious way to spot the straight 567, is the very wide housing for the blower drive gears, making the rear end of the engine rather wide. EMC/Cleveland would supply special versions of this engine to the USCG for use in a fleet of Icebreaking Tugs, with a narrowed version of this case, however all of the standard production engines used this wide case. By now, the engine also featured matching doors on both the crankcase and airbox, as well as a larger, removable cover that spanned the entire top deck.

Click for a larger version

Note the upper deck of the engine in the “U” (cast) or “V” (fabricated) upper portion where the exhaust coming out of the heads would mate up with the upper manifolds. The original EMC 567 design is well outlined in Eugene Kettering’s paper on the History and Development of the 567, which will be linked to at the end of this article.

The production EMC 567 would be offered in 6, 8, 12 and 16 cylinder models


With the onset of WWII, the 567 by now was being refined into the 567A starting around 1942. What would put the 567 line on the map, would be the advent of the Navy LST program. The majority of the LST program would in turn use a pair of 12-567A engines (dubbed ATLP/ATLS for Aux. Tank Landing Port or Starboard), driving a 2.48:1 reduction gear through an air clutch. On land the 567A was being used in all of EMD’s line of locomotives from switchers to road power.

Click for a larger version

The 567A would take the idea of the narrowed blower drive on the USCG 8-567’s, and make it even narrower, thus saving crucial space in the engine room. Midway through the LST program in 1943, the two piece floating piston and carrier design was adopted. Also to note, is the entire upper deck was modified, and now the exhaust from the heads ran inside of a water deck. Note the smooth cast ducts for the scavenging air from the blowers into the airbox.

An early Cleveland 12-567A with a Falk clutch/gear drive. J. Boggess Collection.

The 567A package used in the LST would go on to be one of the most common repower package for tugboats in the 1950’s and 60’s, something we will get into more in the future.


The 567B was introduced after the end of WWII. The 567B was very similar to the 567A, with one main spotting difference on the outside. The 567B now used a ribbed air duct casting from the blowers into the airbox.

Mechanically the 567B was essentially the same as the 567A, with the difference being the attached oil strainer housing on the front end of the engine.


In 1953, EMD introduced the 567C. The C block engine was essentially an all new engine. The C blocks major change involved the elimination of the water deck liners, and the use of O rings to seal them. These O rings were prone to fail, and would thus cause water contamination of the lube oil system. The C liners used a bolted on water inlet type, completely eliminating the water deck.

A Cleveland 16-567C with a Falk 16MB reverse reduction gear. This was one of the more popular marine uses of the engine through the 1960’s. J. Boggess Collection.

The easiest way to spot a 567C – is that the block introduced a few new changes. First is the round inspection covers on both the airbox and crankcase. The fuel rails were moved to the inside of the upper deck, as well as an all new style of hinged upper deck cover, with snap latches. The thing about the 567C is that it is also identical to its replacement, the 645 series.

Click for a larger version


A short one here – the 567CR was only an 8 cylinder engine, that used a revised firing order, hence the “R”, to help with vibration issues. Externally it is exactly the same.


The final installment in the 567 lifespan development is the 567D of 1959. The D line of engines introduced the turbocharger. EMD, unlike Detroit and Cleveland would develop their own turbo, that was driven off of the gear train through a clutch at low speeds, and would freewheel when the exhaust pressure built up. The 567D was only offered as a 16 cylinder engine, and topped out at 2500HP. Later on they would take the turbo off for a few select applications, and squeezed 1800HP out of it.

The turbo versions of the 567D while overall successful engines and were a major stepping stone to the 645 development, they were plagued with turbo issues. Several railroads choose to pull the turbos off and replace them with the traditional roots blowers.

567AC and 567BC

The AC and BC engines, from the outside are identical to their original counterpart. Internally, the engines were upgraded to use “C” block liners. The only way to spot one of these, would be to remove an airbox cover and see if the water manifold is present.


Not to be confused with the above conversions, the 567CA engine is its own beast. While it was not any sort of a new development, the CA engine was an EMD designed direct replacement for the 567ATL LST engines that by now were in hundreds of commercial boats.

12-567CA in the tugboat “Jupiter”

The CA engine used a new crankcase with “C” specs, however there were several recycled parts off of the original ATL engines. The smooth blower ducts, as well as the entire top deck assembly, complete with the external fuel lines and removable covers were recycled off the original engines.

The 12-567CA engines were developed in the early 1960’s as drop in replacements.


Yes – the 645C is actually a 567. The 645C is a 567C that uses 645 power assembly’s. Again, like the AC and BC conversions, the 645C is not distinguishable from the outside.

Wrap up…

Please note, I wrote this simple as a way to try and help to visually distinguish each model of 567. One thing to keep in mind, is the 567 was a very modular engine at the end of the day, and quite a few components are interchangeable throughout the entire production line, some easier then others.

As mentioned previously, the 567 was an EMC/EMD design, and was built in the LaGrange shop. Between 1938 and 1961, both marine and stationary versions of of the 567’s were marketed and sold under the Cleveland Diesel banner, having been converted for such uses in their Cleveland shops. These engines carry Cleveland Diesel builders plates, and numbers.

Preston Cook, one of the leading authority on EMD, has a fantastic write up at the following link which gets a bit more into the technical sides of the model development over the production spans.

Preston Cook – EMD 567 in the 21st Century

Eugene Kettering’s paper “History and Development of the 567 Series General Motors Locomotive Engine” hosted over at Utah Rails.

Spencer Heads

A simple one for tonight – Spencer Heads.   

Spencer Heads Inc., devised a way in the 1960’s to “recondition” Cleveland and Detroit cylinder heads (Unknown if they did anything else).   I learned about these last year from one of Great Lakes Towing’s port engineers.  The Spencer Head, took a standard 278A/71 cylinder head and machined out the bottom of it, and inserted a new base and valve seat assembly.   The idea behind this was the help with heads cracking from around the valve seat – a common issue apparently with 278As when they are run hard for long periods or go through hard heat/cooling cycles.   

It does not seem like this style of head caught on all that much. From what I gather, the original style heads are preferred over these.

Follow the arrow to see the insert.

Old Advertising III

This week, we have a 1941 classic, featuring the Carl Hussman Company, and a trio of Cleveland 16-567’s.

Click for a larger version

Unfortunately, I can not really say much about Carl Hussman outside of what is in the ad – I cant find anything! Other then they obviously made some spring isolation assembly’s.

What I can add though – is about those engines. The main trio featured, are Cleveland 16-567’s. Yes – They are Electro-Motive Corporation (at the time) designed, and even built in LaGrange – however these engines carried Cleveland Diesel plates. EMC (EMD), Cleveland Diesel and Detroit Diesel all fell under one banner after 1937 – the General Motors Diesel Power line. Locomotives fell under EMC/EMD, Marine and Stationary engines fell under Cleveland Diesel, and small engines up to 250HP under the Detroit line.

These 3 16-567’s were some of the earliest applications of these engines. These engines were shipped 11/1938, as 1000HP/600RPM gen-sets for the Alfred I. duPont building in Miami, Florida. Interestingly enough, 2 of the 3 were listed as being in emergency generator railcars, however as we can see – all 3 are inside the building. It is unknown if the order was changed in the process, of if the plant was reconfigured between 1938 and 1941 when this ad was made.

The 4th engine in the ad, the “225HP 8 Cylinder” is a Cleveland 8-233A engine. This was a small, 200HP/1200RPM engine. As with the early Winton designed engines, this was a 4 stroke, and one of the engines that ultimately would lead to the development of the Detroit 71 series. The 233A line was one of the engines used by Electro-Motive in the early railcars, as well as a yacht propulsion engine, and standby generator used in some early Aircraft Carriers.

The better question is – Are these engines still there?


In 1952, the Great Lakes Towing Company would purchase the former Milwaukee Fireboat “M.F.D. #15”.    Great Lakes Towing, looking to build a large lake tug, for doing offshore over lake towing chores, would purchase the fireboat, and strip it to its bare hull.   Over the next 2 years, the fireboat was rebuilt into a tug, including its conversion to Diesel Electric drive.   Now named the “Laurence C. Turner”, after the president of the company, she would become Great Lakes Towing’s largest tug.  The tug was no youngster, built in 1903 by the Ship Owners Shipbuilding Co., in Chicago, and came in at 118’ long, 24’ wide and a 13’6” draft. 

1954 Cleveland Diesel ad featuring the “Laurence C. Turner” – Great Lakes Towing’s 25th Diesel Tug. She would go on to become Great Lakes Towing’s flagship for quite some time.

Coincidentally a few weeks ago I was browsing a 1949 issue of Marine News, and came across an ad for Boston Metals Company, advertising a slew of surplus WWII vintage equipment.    Boston Metals was a rather prominent ship breaker and scrapped quite a bit of WWII era vessels such as Destroyer Escorts, Landing Crafts of all sizes, Liberty Ships and everything else you can think of. 

Naturally, doing all of the Cleveland Diesel research lately – two engines caught my eye.   While it was common to see these engines listed in the trade publications for sale, it was rare (as in, I have yet to see it anywhere other then this one ad) to see the actual engine serial numbers listed.   So, off to the records…

Record for Cleveland engines 11907-11909 – Collection of my Cleveland Diesel research partner J. Boggess. Click for a larger view.

Engines 11907 and 11909 were originally part of Cleveland Diesel order #4752, which covered a vast portion of Destroyer Escorts.   These specific engines (and two others) would go into 1943 built DE-278, to be named the “USS Tisdale”.  DE-278 was never commissioned in the US and went to Britain as part of WWII Lend-Lease and would be commissioned by the Royal Navy as the “HMS Keats”.  She would receive partial credit for sinking German U-Boat U-1172 as well as U-285.   After the war, the Royal Navy returned the “HMS Keats” to the US, where she would be sold for scrap in 1946.  The other pair of 16-278A’s from the “HMS Keats” would wind up in Norway, in the “MS Rogaland”.

Cleveland 16-278A Propulsion Package model.

“HMS Keats” was powered by 4 “Navy Propulsion Diesel Generator” packages.  These were a 1700HP Cleveland 16-278A engines, which drove an Allis-Chalmers 1200kW, 525V DC generator.   In turn these provided power to 4 Westinghouse 1500HP DC motors, of which two in tandem drove each prop shaft.    After the war, Cleveland Diesel would wind up purchasing back quite a number of engines, which in turn they rebuilt to new condition and resold.   In some cases, new serial numbers were added, however some kept their original number.    Cleveland would wind up with two engines from the “HMS Keats”.  Each of these engines were put on a single base, with one of the Allis-Chalmers generators, as well as adding a belt driven 35kW generator mounted on top of the main generator.   This power package (along with a single Westinghouse motor) would be a very common tug propulsion package, and we will dive into that more down the road in a future article. 

Engine room of the newly converted tug, from the 8/1954 issue of Diesel Times, which featured the “Laurence C. Turner”.

Engine 11907 was rebuilt and sold to Tracy Towing Line in NYC, and used in the tug “Helen L. Tracy”, and 11909 would go to Great Lakes Towing Co., for use in the “Laurence C. Turner”.   By now the “Laurence C. Turner” was totally rebuilt, and now looked like a tugboat, and not a fireboat.   The tug would have provisions for a crew of 13, a large central galley, 7 state rooms, 2 heads, and an 18 person lifeboat.   One interesting feature was the Almon-Johnson electric towing machine on the back deck.  

In 1972, the “Laurence C. Turner” was renamed as the “Ohio” to fit in more with the fleets state class naming.    In 1977, she was re-powered.    Out came the electric drive, and in went a brand new, 2000HP EMD 16-645E6 engine with a Falk reverse-reduction gear and air clutches. All of this drives a 102″x72″ 5 bladed wheel.

The new engine in the “Ohio” – a 2000HP EMD 645, taken in the same spot as the photo above. Ohio has one of the largest engine rooms of any single screw tug I have ever been on.

The “Ohio” would be Great Lakes Towing’s main lake tug until being laid up in late 2014.   111 years of service, 60 of which as a tug – Not bad!  But her life did not end there.    In 2018, the Towing Company donated the “Ohio” to the National Museum of the Great Lakes, in Toledo, Ohio.  The “Ohio” was moved into place at the Museum in October of 2018 and has been under restoration since.   “Ohio” has been fully water blasted, repainted, and cleaned up.   The Wheelhouse has been fully restored, and work is well underway by volunteers on the rest of the boat.   “Ohio” will be dedicated this coming week as a museum ship, and alongside her will be the new tug “Ohio” getting christened at the same time as Great Lakes Towing’s newest tug.  The “Ohio” will be an excellent addition to the museum and will be open for tours later this year.

“Ohio” now at home at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, in Toledo. In rear, is the “Col. James M. Schoonmaker”, one of the most exquisite museum ships I have ever seen. This was in October of 2018, before the restoration started.

National Museum of the Great Lakes

HMS Keats at Navsource