For a number of years I have tried
to guide my friends in the preservation community, through the various
problems and issues involved in restoring elderly EMD 567 series
diesel engines for occasional operation. This article is a summary
of what answers I have been able to find on issues of parts availability
and the most common questions involving the viability of operating
the various models of the 567 engine.
Efforts to restore and operate ancient diesels are important and
commendable, but trying to resurrect a diesel engine that is unsupportable
can generate cost overruns that can easily sink a restoration project.
This may seem strange at first, as we tend to take the EMD 567 series
diesel prime movers for granted, there were so many of them produced
and they were used so extensively by the railroads as well as the
marine and power generating industries. There is considerable parts
interchangeability within the engine series, but there were also
a steady flow of design improvements that made some of the components
used in the older models obsolete. As the remaining population of
early models of the engine has diminished, this has left some critical
gaps in the parts availability.
But the 567 series diesels were mass-produced, right? Electro-Motive
and the aftermarket manufacturers must have built parts for these
engines by the thousands! Yes that is true, but in recent years
they have scrapped parts for obsolete diesels by the thousands too.
With the high cost of warehousing and the inventory taxes in many
states, diesel engine manufacturers cannot afford to keep infrequently
selling parts for 60 year old engines on the shelf. It generally
requires four or five sales turns on inventory a year to justify
stocking an item nowadays.
If you cannot obtain an item, what about reverse engineering it
and building the part yourself? Before you go down this road you
need to take a very critical look at where you are headed. Building
parts locally for a diesel engine is not at all like building parts
locally for a steam locomotive. Since nearly every order of steam
locomotives was a custom job, the number of "standardized"
components was rather small. An order of steam locomotives was usually
delivered to the railroad with a supporting library of manufacturing
drawings that would fill a wheelbarrow. The design of steam locomotive
parts was based around the expected need to be able to do some limited
local support rather than waiting weeks or months for the original
manufacturer to cast, machine, and deliver a replacement part peculiar
to just one class of locomotives on one railroad.
Diesels were set up for mass production using very specialized
machine tools designed for very specific manufacturing operations.
These are usually not the conventional machine shop "general
purpose" type tools, and when a part is discontinued the specialized
tools and fixtures are usually not adaptable for other purposes
and get scrapped soon afterwards. In addition, manufacturing many
of the components for diesel engines requires great attention to
material composition, casting procedures, heat treatment, and surface
finish considerations. That type of metallurgical and machining
support is very difficult to find nowadays in local shops for the
extremely small production runs involved in restoration projects.
Consequently with the earliest EMD 567 engines approaching 70 years
old, we have reached the point where some of them are joining the
Winton 201A in being economically "unsupportable". This
article is an effort to explain what the potential problem areas
are for each model of 567 engine, so that anyone planning to operate
these machines will have a better idea what they are up against.
Common Railroad Industry Applications of these Engines (Partial
567U, 567V: E3 through E6, early FT, various switchers
567A: E7, late FT (plus service replacements), various switchers
567B: E8, F2, F3, F7, FP7, BL2, GP7, SD7, various switchers
567C: E9, F9, FP9, early FL9, GP9, SD9, various switchers
567D roots: GP18, GP28, SD18, SD28, RS1325, late FL9
567D turbo: SD24, SD35, SDP35, GP20, GP30, GP35, DD35, DD35A
All of these 567 series engine types were marketed and applied
in the marine and industrial applications, including marine propulsion,
marine generating, oil drilling, standby and emergency generator
service, and housed generating units.
One of the original EMD 8-cylinder 567 "U"
deck engines is shown on test around 1937. Photo from the "Inside
EMD" slide lecture program.
The 567 "U" Deck and "V" Deck Models
The 567 "U" (cast top deck) and 567 "V" (fabricated
top deck) engines were the earliest production models in the series,
spanning the period from 1938 to the middle of World War Two. Both
engine models have rectangular hand hole covers. The "U"
and "V" designations refer to the shape of the "valley"
between the banks of cylinders, where the exhaust risers mount to
the crankcase. They were built in 2, 6, 8, 12, and 16 cylinder models.
The two cylinder engines were used for component development and
oil testing. The eight cylinder 567U and 567V engines are often
overlooked as they were built for marine and stationary service,
and many writers have researched EMD only from a standpoint of their
locomotive production. Most of the sixteen cylinder "U"
deck engines that were built had problems with top deck cracks and
were retired in a service changeout program by 1943-1944.
The success of the FT freight locomotive catapulted
Electro-Motive into the lead in the domestic diesel road locomotive
market. Early FT production started with the 567 "U" deck
and "V" deck engines, while later production used the
567A engine. The demonstrator was returned to EMD in 1989 for the
50th Anniversary Open House, and received a cosmetic restoration
as part of the project. EMD photo from the "What's In Those
Covered Wagons?" slide lecture program. Used with permission.
Both of these engine models present similar problems in planning
a restoration. They both used timing gear train arrangements employing
parts that have been out of production for many years. The 567 "U"
deck uses an unusual camshaft bearing arrangement with lower shells
only, these have no tangs, and have been out of production for several
decades. Consequently even though some other parts are still available
that can be used in these engines, any failure in the timing gear
train is likely to render the engine permanently inoperable and
There are additional issues pertaining to the cylinder "power
assembly" components that are used in these crankcases. These
issues are in common with 567A and 567B engines and will be covered
in the section on those engine models. It should also be noted that
crankshafts for the six cylinder versions of these engines (and
all other 567 models) are very rare and difficult to obtain now,
but on the other hand the six cylinder 567 engines seldom fail crankshafts.
I tend to take the same viewpoint on operating a 567U and 567V
engines that I do with a Winton 201A, which is that these engines
are so rare now that the risk of damaging one by having a major
mechanical failure makes it questionable whether you should risk
operating it at all. They have reached the point where they have
a higher value as a display than as an operating diesel engine.
While it might be quite tempting to try to resurrect an otherwise
serviceable locomotive that has one of these engines (particularly
a nice switcher that could be very useful), is it worth the financial
risk to do a bearing change and cylinder overhaul and then have
the engine taken out a short time later by a gear train failure
that cannot be repaired for lack of any parts? If operating the
locomotive is the most important factor, perhaps installing a later
model engine is the more practical approach, and put the 567U or
567V engine on display.
I fully understand that a prime mover change is a very unpopular
alternative with groups concerned with maintaining total authenticity
of their equipment. Over the years I have occasionally received
some sharp criticism when my advice to consider installing a later
model engine was not what the people doing the project wanted to
hear. Just be aware that trying to operate an elderly diesel engine
without proper parts support has the potential to soak up enough
money to build a brand new structure to house the equipment.
The 567A and 567B Models
The production of these engines spans the period from the middle
of World War Two to 1953, and both were in production concurrently
for many of those years. Both engine models have rectangular hand
hole covers. The also have a water manifold built into the top deck
that cools the exhaust risers coming out of the cylinder heat pots.
This results in the exhaust manifold having flat (horizontal) mounting
flanges, rather than the vertical (567U) or angled (567V) flanges
of earlier engines. The cylinder layouts produced were the same
as for the predecessor 567U and 567V engines. The major difference
between the two is that the 567A was designed for separately mounted
accessory equipment while the 567B uses an engine mounted strainer
box to service the scavenging and main lube oil pumps. Due to the
similarity of major components these two models can be addressed
together, in terms of availability of parts and the problems they
present for restoration to service.
Many of the EMD 567A engines were originally built
for installation in the E7 passenger locomotives like Pennsylvania
Railroad #5901 which is preserved at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
in Strasburg. This is a view of the
#2 engine in #5901 looking aft on the right side of the engine room.
This engine has definitely received some modernization, as evidenced
by the later design top deck covers (with hold down clamps). There
is considerable interchangeability of parts within the various EMD
567 engine models. Photo from the "What's In Those Covered
Wagons?" slide lecture program (with thanks to the RR Museum
The Model 567ATL engine was a marine variant of
the 567A locomotive engine, and was developed for the US Navy "Auxiliary
-Tank Landing" (ATL) program, later called the Landing Ship
- Tank (LST). This engine differed from the locomotive engines of
the period in having a different front end and oil pump arrangement,
a deeper oil pan, a side outlet exhaust manifold, and provisions
for Falk airflex marine clutches. EMD photo.
The most significant problem in trying to restore a 567A or 567B
engine for operation is the diminishing availability of the original
style water deck cylinder liners. EMD dropped these from production
in the late 1970s, several aftermarket suppliers produced them afterwards,
but they are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain.
The original style eyelet type connecting rods and the matching
piston carrier and piston have been out of production at EMD for
many years too, but 567C pistons, piston carriers, and trunion type
rods can be used as a replacement. The 567A and 567B type cylinder
heads were also discontinued, but one aftermarket supplier was offering
a very innovative service to remanufacture 645 engine cylinder heads
to fit the early 567 engines.
The 16-cylinder 567B engine was used in the F2,
F3, F7, GP7, and BL2 models. Many of these engines were subsequently
upgraded to the 567BC variation. Photo from the "Inside EMD"
slide lecture program.
The highly successful GP7 roadswitcher was introduced
in 1949, with more than 2600 units eventually being produced. The
GP7 used the 16-567B rated at 1500 HP engine while the successor
GP9 used the 16-567C rated at 1750 HP. EMD photo from the "EMD
Demonstrators and Displays" slide lecture program. Used with
When operated infrequently these engines tend to have problems
with water leaks around the cylinder liner and cylinder head seals.
These leaks frequently result in water contamination of the lubricating
oil, which can lead to subsequent bearing failures. The rust and
corrosion resulting from the leaks often has damaged the crankcase
sheets that the water seals fit against, requiring additional repairs.
This was a significant problem in operation of these engine models
by the railroads, and is even more of a problem in museum or excursion
While the 567A and 567B can be operated successfully if you have
an adequate supply of the proper cylinder liners and cylinder heads,
the water leak problems and parts support are major concerns in
the long run. The 567AC and 567BC engines we will discuss next are
much easier to support and since they are visually almost identical
to the 567A and 567B, they may be a much more practical alternative
in the long run.
The 567AC and 567BC Engines
The water leak problem resulted in many of the 567A and 567B engines
being remanufactured into 567AC and 567BC engines. These engines
have a modified crankcase with the water deck eliminated and have
a 567C type water manifold and jumpers installed in its place. Of
these two the 567BC is far more common, since the 567B engines were
mostly used in road locomotives. The conversion has very little
visual impact on the external appearance of the engine, the outside
flange of the water manifold is barely visible on the engine. EMD
originated the conversion, and parts for the 567BC are shown in
EMD Parts Catalog 301. Most of the AC conversions were done during
engine rebuilding, and no parts list is provided in Catalog 301.
The modified AC and BC engines use 567C cylinder liners rather
than the earlier style components. From a standpoint of restoration
for limited operation of a locomotive originally built with a 567A
or 567B engine, having a 567AC or 567BC engine installed is very
highly desirable if one can be located that is in good condition.
With some additional modifications the 567AC and 567BC engines
can use 645 engine cylinder liners and reciprocating components.
This requires changing the camshaft counterweights as the piston
weight is different and has to be correctly counterbalanced. The
horsepower rating of the engine is not increased as a result of
this type of upgrade. If the engine is upgraded to use 645 power
assembly parts, the limiting factor for continued operation of 567AC
and 567BC engines in the future is the availability of the correct
type of cylinder heads and the corresponding gasket kits.
The EMD 567C, 567D3A, and 645 series engines are
shown lined up at an open house in the 1980s. These engines are
all very similar in outside appearance, and the 567 models are able
to use many of the parts from the later 645 series. Photo from the
"Inside EMD" slide lecture program.
The 567C Engines
The 567C introduced a completely new crankcase with round handhole
covers, that eliminated the water deck feature of the earlier engines
and used a water manifold in the air box with jumpers to distribute
coolant to the cylinder liners. It was produced in 2, 6, 8, 12 and
16 cylinder versions. The 567C engines are very versatile and durable
engines, and most of the service parts are still readily available.
The most significant concern in the long run is that there will
be diminishing availability and increasing price of 567C cylinder
liners and pistons. It is possible to use 645 cylinder power assembly
components in a 567C engine, this required changing the camshaft
counterweights. The change must be done in complete engine sets
or there will be significant vibration problems. If a 567C engine
has been upgraded to 645 power assembly components, it is likely
to be a viable engine to operate for many years into the future.
The considerations for the 567D1 (roots blower) engine used in the
GP18, GP28, SD18, SD28, RS1325, and late production FL9 locomotives
are generally the same as for the 567C.
There were many 567C engines built for marine and industrial use.
The introduction of the 567C was made during the final years of
the Cleveland Diesel Division handling most marine and industrial
sales, and a number of them wear Cleveland Diesel identification
plates even though they were Electro-Motive products. By 1957, EMD
sales of the 567C were rapidly out-pacing Cleveland Diesel production
of the similarly sized 278A and 498 engines, and by 1960 Cleveland
Diesel was out of the picture completely, with Electro-Motive manufacturing
the last few Cleveland engines built for the US Navy. From that
point, until General Motors sold the Cleveland Diesel parts business
to Hatch & Kirk in 1977, EMD was the provider of parts and technical
support for the former Cleveland Diesel Division engines remaining
567 D2, D3, and D3A Engines (Locomotive), 567 D5 and D6
(Marine) all 16 Cyl.
The early turbocharged EMD 567 series engines present a significant
economic hurdle for a museum or small operator, as the cost of rebuilding
a turbocharger for an engine that will only see limited use is often
very prohibitive. Even the least expensive "basic" teardown
and reassembly of the 567 turbochargers goes in the range of $15,000
and a catastrophic failure can involve up to $40,000 in repairs.
In addition the changeout is very time consuming and expensive.
Many of the railroads could not justify this expense even when these
older turbocharged EMDs were in regular service, and some removed
the turbochargers and rebuilt the engines with roots blowers. The
remaining fleet of 567D turbocharged engines in railroad service
is very small now, in fact there may be more housed stationary generating
units and tugboats with turbocharged 567 engines still active, than
locomotives running 16-567D turbo engines. Consequently the price
of overhauling a 567D turbocharger can be expected to increase substantially
in the very near future.
If you intend to operate a 567 turbocharged engine and need to
change the turbocharger, it is very advisable to obtain some technical
support from the EMD distributor. There are a number of system details
of the 567 turbocharger that are different from the much more common
645 variety. The 567 turbos are particularly susceptible to damage
due to lack of lubrication on startup and any time one is changed
the soak back system must be carefully inspected and the engine
thoroughly pre-lubed prior to starting. Failure to do so can result
in critical engine damage or even injury to personnel. Proper pre-lubrication
prior to starting is so critical on 567 turbocharged engines that
it might be worth considering the permanent onboard installation
of an engine (not just the turbo) pre-lube system to a unit that
will be operated infrequently.
The 567D series turbocharged engines can use 645 series cylinder
power assemblies with appropriate changes to the camshaft counterweights
as mentioned earlier. Many of the railroads that were operating
these locomotives made this modification in order to standardize
on 645 parts and cut their shelf inventory requirements. Most of
the other parts for the 567 turbocharged engines are still available
or suitable substitutions can be made with 645 components. Consequently
it is should be viable to operate 567D series turbo engines for
some time into the future, provided you can support the very hefty
expense of maintaining a turbocharger.
The 567D5 and 567D6 were EMD's first turbocharged
marine engines. These were also right at the end of the 567 series,
they were in production only a short time before the EMD 645 engine
Oil control is a big concern on EMD engines that will be used
only occasionally and may operate under very light loads. There
is nothing worse for public relations than having stack oil emissions
from your idling engine falling out of the sky like black rain,
leaving spots all over the museum visitors automobiles in the parking
EMD 567 engines can use cylinder power assemblies with cast iron
liners or chrome bore liners. In either case the appropriate piston
ring set must be used (they are different materials) to avoid oil
control problems and scuffing of the liner and rings. If you are
planning on using chrome bore liners you should consult with other
operators who have used them regarding oil consumption and oil control
in light load operations.
If a 567 engine has been modified to use 645 series cylinder power
assembly components, then laser hardened cylinder liners become
another option. Be aware that in addition to being more expensive,
laser hardened liners tend to take longer to seat the rings and
can run into oil control problems in extended light load operation.
For most museum and limited excursion service applications, plain
cast iron liners are the best choice.
If you are changing power assemblies, be aware that 567C and 567D
series engines have no built in siphons to drain the water manifold
in the top deck when you dump the water in the engine. They require
a special water outlet on the rear cylinder head in the right bank
and the front cylinder head in the left bank. If you fail to install
them in the proper location, and have to dump the coolant in freezing
weather, you end up with the crankcase being irreparably damaged
if the upper water manifold freezes.
The fuel injectors for 567 series engines are generally still available
as rebuilds, although the price of rebuilding may be higher if you
are turning in some of the very old types of 567 injectors as cores.
It an engine has been upgraded to use 645 series cylinder components,
the fuel injectors are common and readily available.
Suitable parts for early model EMD engines are also available from
a variety of aftermarket suppliers who advertise in the railroad
trade press. Be aware that these suppliers are faced with similar
production and inventory considerations as those that cause EMD
to cease production of some items. Generally within a few years
after EMD stops building an item, the aftermarket parts builders
drop it too.
I would suggest that before planning any project you carefully
research the availability of parts for your particular engine, by
talking with the folks at your parts suppliers. Obtain the available
service manuals, scheduled maintenance instructions, and any applicable
modification instructions before planning a job. And plan in advance
to have a reasonable margin set aside to cover costs of possible
additional repair work. When you tear down the engine you may find
more things needing attention than were on your original list.
Spare parts are another consideration. Many of the bearings, crankshafts,
camshafts, pumps, and other auxiliary items applied to the later
567 series models are shared with variations of the 645 engines
and consequently should be available for some time. The really critical
items are the availability and cost of cylinder power assemblies
and engine gear train components. If the locomotive will be critical
to your operations, I would recommend having reasonably quick access
to a set of cylinder power assemblies and a full set of connecting
rod bearings, as one overheating event can cost you a lot of cylinder
heads and maybe a few cylinder liners too. Having a set of spare
injectors on hand is also a good idea, the presence of just a little
water in the fuel can wipe a set of them out in one shot.
It is often worthwhile to set up a lube oil monitoring system ,
it is a relatively inexpensive way to protect the time and money
you have invested in a rebuilt engine. You might also consider sampling
your fuel to detect algae or other contamination.
I hope that this has provided some useful information. It is the
same advice that I have given to a number of friends over the years,
this time it is presented as an article instead. Some of this is
admittedly a matter of judgment and, to use a common disclaimer,
it is "offered without warranty or guarantee of any kind".
I am just trying to make more of the preservation community aware
of the potential problems they can encounter in operating these
elderly diesel engines. I do not sell parts or do any consulting
work, and I have no economic stake in any purchasing decisions your
organizations might make. I have several dozen locomotives to take
care of, and it is a full time job. So proceed with caution as an
elderly diesel engine has the potential to burn up a lot more than
just diesel fuel if you don't do a thorough job of planning and
funding your repairs.
About the Author:
Preston Cook worked in the locomotive building industry
for 35 years, serving in a variety of technical jobs for two locomotive
manufacturers, and has done historic and technical presentations
on EMD history and products at museums and historical societies
across the USA.
Above: Electro-Motive had a curious history in the
marine industry. The EMD engines were originally designed for railroad
locomotive use, while Cleveland Diesel Division of GM built the
marine diesel engines. At the beginning of World War Two, there
was a shortage of marine engine building capacity, and EMD engines
were installed in three U.S. Navy fleet tugs. The installation was
highly successful, and resulted in their being awarded the contract
for more than 2400 engines for U.S. Navy LST vessels (as shown in
the background above). In the postwar years Electro-Motive took
market share away from Cleveland Diesel and eventually absorbed
them. USN Photo.
Article originally published in the Railway Preservation
News (RYPN) March 1, 2006.
It is reproduced here with permission of the author
The article is also available on the Utah Rails
It was published in print by the NRHS Bulletin.
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