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An EMD 16-567B on display at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. Shown in the foreground is an "exploded" Power Assembly, with the piston, piston carrier and piston rod (fork type) on the left, and the cylinder liner and cylinder head on the right.      "Emd 567B" by PanzerschreckLeopard - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -

Diesel the Modern Power

First made in 1937 by General Motors and then repackaged for the WWII war effort, DIESEL THE MODERN POWER tells the story of the development and principles of the diesel engine. The film uses live action and animation to show how the diesel engine works, and live action footage of Sherman tanks, streamlined locomotives, switching engines, ships, and more. 

The film begins with an historical overview that includes a brief lesson on how to make fire, including two stones, rubbing pieces of wood, and even the "fire syringe" that was used by the people of Southeast Asia. The syringe is used to demonstrate the operation of a piston in an engine. 

At 14:30, 600 hp diesel engines are seen at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. At 14:46, the Burlington Pioneer Zephyr is seen running from Chicago to Denver. Mainline passenger locomotives are seen, providing up to 6,000 hp. Diesel switch engines are seen at the 15:30 mark. 

At 18:40, lumber equipment, oil pumps, and earth moving equipment are seen, all driven by diesel engines.

The Detroit Diesel works is seen at the 19 minute mark. Diesel powered submarines, mine sweepers and coast patrol boats as well as fleet tugs, are also seen.

An EMC advertisement, ca. 1940.

An EMC advertisement, ca. 1940.

The EMD 567 Diesel Engine

The EMD 567 is a line of large medium-speed diesel engines built by General Motors' Electro-Motive Division. This engine, which succeeded Winton's 201A, was used in EMD's locomotives from 1938 until its replacement in 1966 by the EMD 645. It has a bore of 8.5 in , a stroke of 10 in and a displacement of 567 cu in per cylinder. Like the 201A, the EMD 645 and the EMD 710, the EMD 567 is a two-stroke cycle engine. It is a V engine with an angle of 45° between cylinder banks (the 201A was 60° between cylinder banks; 45° later proved to be significant when EMD subsequently adapted the road switcher concept for most of its locomotives, and which required the narrower (albeit taller) engine which 45° provides). The 710, 645, and 567 are the only two-stroke engines commonly used today in locomotives. Eugene W. Kettering, son of Charles F. Kettering, joined Winton Engine in 1930. He moved to Detroit in 1936, and was a central figure in the development of the 567 and the Detroit Diesel 6-71. He moved to EMD in 1938, became Chief Engineer at EMD in 1948, then Division Director in 1956 and subsequently Research Assistant to the General Manager in 1958 until his retirement in 1960.

In 1951, E. W. Kettering wrote a paper for the ASME entitled, History and Development of the 567 Series General Motors Locomotive Engine, which goes into great detail about the technical obstacles that were encountered during the development of the 567 engine (these same considerations apply to the 645 and 710). The 567's designers started with a tabula rasa, systematically eliminating each of the 201A's many deficiencies which were preventing the earlier design from becoming successful in freight service, although the 201A was relatively successful in the less-demanding passenger and switching services. The 567 design had nothing in common with the 201A except the two-stroke cycle itself: each and every component of the 201A was replaced with a new design, even the "dipstick", to paraphrase one of Kettering's off-handed comments. The 567 proved to be exceptionally successful in passenger, switching, freight, marine and stationary services, and, counting its two successors, the 645 and 710, which are not materially different from the 567 (all have the same external dimensions, differing mainly in per cylinder displacement), collectively have given nearly 80 years of exceptionally reliable service to those applications. As but one example of the achievements of the tabula rasa design: whereas the Winton 201A was doing very well with a 50,000-mile to 100,000-mile piston lifetime, the 567 eventually achieved a 1,000,000-mile piston lifetime, a 10:1 to 20:1 improvement.

567AC engines (an "A" block upgraded to "C" block specifications) and 567BC engines (a "B" block upgraded to "C" block specifications), both of which modifications eliminate the engine's "water deck" and substitute a "water manifold", as well as 567C and 567D engines, may be upgraded to use 645 power assemblies, theoretically achieving an increase in horsepower, but not without corresponding changes to the engine's Woodward governor which activates and controls the engine's "fuel rack". Although this power increase is not recommended, horsepower-for-horsepower updates (e.g., 2,000 hp 567D to 2,000 hp "645D"—645 power assemblies in a 567 block) are quite successful and common.

As 645 power assemblies are more readily available than 567 power assemblies, this upgrade may also be employed in so-called "life extension" programs, in which case the power assemblies would be upgraded, and the engine may be de-turboed, without corresponding changes to the engine's Woodward governor, hence without a corresponding power increase.

Because of their age, 567 engines are generally exempt from emissions rules. EMD manufactures a special series of 645 power assemblies which are particularly useful in updating these exempt 567 engines and also certain exempt 645 engines.EMD's chief competitor, GE, now makes EMD-compatible replacement parts.

All 567 engines are two-stroke 45 degree V-engines. The engine is a uniflow design with four poppet-type exhaust valves in the cylinder head. For maintenance, a power assembly, consisting of a cylinder head, cylinder liner, piston, piston carrier, and piston rod, can be individually and relatively easily and quickly replaced. The block is made from flat, formed and rolled structural steel members and steel forgings welded into a single structure (a "weldment"). Blocks may, therefore, be easily repaired, if required, using conventional shop tools. Each bank of cylinders has an overhead camshaft which operates the exhaust valves and the unit injectors.

All engines have mechanically-controlled unit injectors (patented in 1934 by General Motors, EMD's former owner).

See EMD 645 for general specifications common to all 567-645-710 engines.

All 567 engines utilize forced induction, with either a Roots blower or a turbocharger. The turbocharger (a combination turbo-compressor system) follows EMD's innovative design that uses a gear train and over-running clutch to drive the compressor rotor during low engine speed, when exhaust gas temperature (and, correspondingly, heat energy) alone is insufficient to drive the turbine. At higher engine speeds, increased exhaust gas temperature is sufficient to drive the turbine and the clutch disengages, turning the turbo-compressor system into a true turbocharger. The turbo-compressor can revert to compressor mode momentarily during demands for large increases in engine output power. While more expensive to maintain than Roots blowers, the turbocharger significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions, while improving high-altitude performance. Additionally, EMD's turbo-compressor can provide a 50 percent increase in maximum rated horsepower over Roots-blown engines for the same engine displacement.

Horsepower for naturally aspirated engines (including Roots-blown two-stroke engines) is usually de-rated 2.5 percent per 1,000 feet above mean sea level, a tremendous penalty at the 10,000 feet or greater elevations which several Western U.S. and Canada railroads operate, and this can amount to a 25 percent power loss. Turbocharging effectively eliminates this de-rating.

See also:

Electro Motive Division

EMD Diesel Locomotives

Diesel-Electric Locomotives