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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Ilinois Central SD40-3 6203---Future E-unit Rebuilds


Date: 03/15/05 00:07
Ilinois Central SD40-3 6203---Future E-unit Rebuilds
Author: Red

I had this locomotive as the 3rd trailing unit behind a UP GE C41-8W and a standard cab C40-8. What impressed me about this unit is that while I was inspecting it, I opened the Dash Two electrical cabinet, a somewhat standard procedure to see if anything was tripped...any little red lights that flicking the little toggle switch would reset, or what have you. Looked like a standard cabinet, complete with the little round glass window dead center. When I opened the cabinet, I was surprised to see...VERY LITTLE. All the big modules that are standard on a Dash Two were removed, and there were only about 3 much smaller modules, and a microprocessor box. New wiring, but very little of it. In other words, it was very similar to what could be found on an SD70M. In addition, a new computer screen was on the back wall, the same info diagnostic screen found on the newest SD70M's. Very impressive.

Now...this lead me to wonder...since all this space was saved, if an E-9 could be rebuilt with Dash Three electronics, the space saving of which would allow the retention of the twin V-12's. As some of you may recall, particularly those who watched the Pentrex video "Union Pacific's Elegant E-9's", Steve Lee indicated that a major reason for converting them into E38-2's with a single V-16 (giving them the same horsepower as an E-7), was to make room for a Dash Two electrical cabinet, a feature which greatly increased the reliability of the units by replacing the old antiquated contactors with Dash Two electronics. This enabled any machinist who could work on a GP38-2 to be able to perform any service on the E's, the new control stand enabled any engineer to operate them (not many are left who have ever operated a 24-RL brake valve, which is not self-lapping), and the units could be run hard day after day, if desired, and yet be units that had an unlimited amount of spare parts available to maintain.

His philosophy has worked. And they indeed sound much like the original E-units, having normally aspirated engines.

But I wonder if anybody contemplating future E-unit restorations might not be able to use Dash Three technology to achieve the same goals, at much less conversion cost? That is, there would be room to retain the original V-12's (most extant E-units, particularly those which saw Amtrak or BN commute service had 645 power assemblies inserted into the original engine blocks, and the generators are essentially the same as in any V-12 switcher, such as an SW1500, MP15, or GP15-1, so that equipment would have an unlimited parts supply just as with a GP38-2 engine). So, you'd have the best of both worlds...a rugged unit maintainable basically forever with new parts, and, best of all, the unique sound of TWIN V-12's, which anybody could tell you was a unique sound in itself, distinctive from an F-unit.



Date: 03/15/05 03:12
Re: Ilinois Central SD40-3 6203---Future E-unit Rebuild
Author: indyspy

You have missed one crucial detail.

The E unit is esentially two engines on one frame. And that is why it can be such a nightmare, You esentially have two electrical cabinets in one. E units also came with two D12 Generators. The Dash-2 cabinet is only equiped to handle output from a single AR10 alternator. Which was also placed in the units. The Dash-3 cabinet can be ordered to work with a generator, but only one prime mover still. The space issue is a hieght issue, the Dash-2 cabinet is simply too tall for the E carbody, I suspect he broke it in half, having half the cabinet in the normal position, and half the cabinet right behind the normal postion. The Dash-3 cabinet would solve this but NOT be able to work with two prime movers.

Now what suprised me...
Is why they went with the 2000HP E series, Roots blower 16 cylinder 645. They had to have done a lot of frame work to get that in there. It would have been a lot easier to mount a 2300HP E series turbocharged 12 cylinder 645 in there, using the rear or front motor mounts, You would have to balast the other motor mounts to keep the unit balanced. I can hear the purists scream at me now. Turbo scream from an E unit? But the turbo more is more fuel effcient, and at high alltitudes, works a LOT better then the roots blown version. 2300HP is also much closer to the 2400HP of the original.



Date: 03/15/05 03:51
Re: Ilinois Central SD40-3 6203---Future E-unit Rebuild
Author: Bryan_

One of the factors on the UP E Unit rebuilds was that they use parts and equipment common with other locomotives. That was why they went with the 645. If they used the 567 prime movers they would have to keep parts in stock just for that locomotive.



Date: 03/15/05 09:32
Re: Ilinois Central SD40-3 6203---Future E-unit Rebuild
Author: wlankenau

Bryan wrote: "One of the factors on the UP E Unit rebuilds was that they use parts and equipment common with other locomotives. That was why they went with the 645. If they used the 567 prime movers they would have to keep parts in stock just for that locomotive."

Electrical cabinet issues aside, imagine if they'd used twin 12-645's coupled to alternators (MP15AC style). Replace the traction motors with GP40-2 equivalents and you'd have a twin-engine, 3000 hp E unit! Just a daydream, but imagine the sound!

Walt



Date: 03/15/05 09:39
Re: Ilinois Central SD40-3 6203---Future E-unit Rebuild
Author: cpn

wlankenau Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Bryan wrote: "One of the factors on the UP E Unit
> rebuilds was that they use parts and equipment
> common with other locomotives. That was why they
> went with the 645. If they used the 567 prime
> movers they would have to keep parts in stock just
> for that locomotive."
>
> Electrical cabinet issues aside, imagine if they'd
> used twin 12-645's coupled to alternators (MP15AC
> style). Replace the traction motors with GP40-2
> equivalents and you'd have a twin-engine, 3000 hp
> E unit! Just a daydream, but imagine the sound!
>
> Walt

Yea, now we're talking. That would have been cool.

Craig



Date: 03/15/05 12:16
645's
Author: Red

Remember...you wouldn't even have to change out the engine block to convert the V-12's in E-9's to 645's. All the BN commute E-9's had 645 power assemblies in the orignal blocks, and, were able to be uprated to 2600 HP as a result. Many of the Amtrak E's also got the 645 power assembly upgrade.

But...if there's not room for twin V-12's AND either a Dash Two cabinet, or, a smaller Dash Three cabinet (that was incredibly small on the IC6203...are you SURE it wouldn't fit in an E-unit?), well, then, Steve Lee of the UPRR made the right decision in putting the normally aspirated V-16 in there. When you've got all 3 of them pulling together, they sure as heck sound like real E-units to me. And these are units that can be maintained anywhere, by anybody. The turbocharged V-12 might be more practical, but no...I do not want to hear an E-unit with a turbo scream...as much as I like the sound of an SD40-2 or SD70M.

Incidentally, BN considered briefly upgrading a pair of it's E-units for company specials with SD60 engines. That would have been a hoot. It certainly would have been darned near impossible to keep the original roofline appearance with this mod.



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