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Hit & Miss Gas Engine Discussion

150hp Snow

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Old 01-09-2015, 07:24:29 AM
JSWithers JSWithers is offline
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Default Re: 150hp Snow

Originally Posted by jgreen416 View Post
A multi cylinder very impressive Snow engine at Florida Flywheelers Park.
Very nice. This 400hp Snow is a smaller version of the 600hp Snows at Rollag and Coolspring. It runs on gas, not oil like the 150hp Snow in this thread.

---------- Post added at 07:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:14 AM ----------

Originally Posted by JWithers View Post
Here is an advertisement for Snow oil engines from February 1, 1913. It is not set up like the 150 but is probably what a 200 would look like.
The only real difference between the engine in the ad and the engine at Rollag is the flywheel and the injection air compressor are reversed. And the one in the ad looks bigger.

---------- Post added at 07:24 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:18 AM ----------

Originally Posted by Keven Withers View Post
Went to the post office today and had a surprise parcel in the mail today from a good friend in Pennsylvania. He had seen the video posted by my nephew Jeremy on the 150 Snow. His reply was Impressive!!!. Also enclosed in the envelope were 2 photos of Olmstead Station that the Snow was in. He did say that Tide-Water had actually spelled Olmstead wrong. Actual spelling is Olmsted.
I find it interesting that the name of dads friend who helped him figure out what was needed to increase air volume Pat Olmstead.
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Old 02-17-2015, 12:10:34 AM
Mike Murphy
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Default Re: 150hp Snow - The First Start at Rollag


I was at Rollag in '93 when the Snow engine finally ran, but I had also seen it in '91 and '92 during the reunions held those years as well.

I went with John Wilcox and Nate Lillibridge in '91 to visit the reunion, and while there I spent some time with Kermit on the Snow, but there was not enough air pressure to roll the engine over. We were not at the show long before we started the long drive back to Ohio, so that was the end of my involvement that year.

In '92, I drove up to the reunion myself and thus I was able to spend more time with the Snow engine, but we still lacked enough air pressure to roll the engine over.

Again in '93, I drove to Rollag on my own, and by now Jim Withers had installed the pulley mentioned earlier onto the end of the crankshaft. Since we still did not have enough pressure to roll the engine over, the steam engine was used to assist the oil engine and I think it was on Saturday night that we tried to start the engine, after dinner when the crew on the steam engine was available. We really pissed off the fiddlers when a large portion of the crowd heading up the hill to hear fiddle music were diverted by a much more enjoyable form of music, that from a traction engine stack!

The Saturday evening attempt was unsuccessful, so on Sunday morning Kermit and I started to look over the valve gear and injection timing on the engine. We determined that the mechanical trip on the injector was releasing too early, so we adjusted the phasing on the cross shaft that runs the valves and injector on the front of the head, and when the steam engine was available again, we took a crack at starting the engine again. Time was short because of the approach of parade time, and only God almighty can interfere with the parade at Rollag, so we had to hoof it to get our shot at starting the Snow diesel. The belt from the steam engine to the crankshaft of the engine extended across the parade route!

I had removed the man hole cover on the muffler buried in the ground just ahead of the engine to observe the exhaust smoke to see if the engine was firing, and after some fooling around with governor linkages I was able to get blue instead of white smoke so I knew the engine was running. Jim did not believe that it was really running, so I let the injector have a big ole' snort of fuel and the engine hammered out a thump that let the Chinese know it was going. The ground shook, so I think everyone in the shed was convinced after that hit that the engine was indeed running.

By gradually allowing the engine to take more fuel (after shutting off fuel flow after that first big hit), I was able to coax it up to governor speed. Adjusting the stroke on the air compressor got the engine down closer to running on the diesel cycle, but now a big problem arose. The steam engine crew had closed their throttle, so the cylinders on the traction engine were not getting any oil. Now the definition of a geometric straight line was the strained portion of the belt that was pulling the Snow from the traction engine flywheel, because the tension was set very tight to keep the belt from slipping. Jim grabbed a four by four and ran the belt off the pulleys, but as everyone knows he had immense strength when needed. An amazing sight indeed!

Over the years Kermit and crew had gotten things hooked up on the engine, so we had cooling water for the cylinder and the all important jackets on the air compressor. I was under the penalty of death from Jim to not let the engine stop, as he wanted some directors to see it run. The outboard bearing beyond the flywheel started to overheat, but by loosening the mounting bolts and allowing the bearing assembly to float a bit, the temperature dropped to the point where it could run for a while. We could not make another start attempt at this point because the parade was about to begin and the steam engine had to vamoose.

Typical of big Snow engines, the 150 HP diesel at Rollag was equipped with an overhead gravity feed tank to supply oil to bearings all over the engine. This system was not working at first, as it took time to get oil up into the overhead tank that had not been filled. I had been pouring lots of oil into the banjo ring on the crank to keep the rod well oiled, but once the overhead system started to work, I stopped giving the rod extra oil.

The engine had run for a couple of hours, and was doing OK, but I noticed that it had stopped hunting and had lost a few revs. Most oil engines will hunt on their governor because they are not stable in speed, so the lack of hunting got my attention. I had been talking to Neyman Ristler (this spelling is probably wrong), when I had to interrupt him when I saw smoke pouring from under the crank guard and heard the tell-tale "Shling" of molten Babbitt being thrown against the cover. I immediately shut off fuel flow, but it takes a long time to stop such a big wheel, and the rod was really pounding as the engine coasted down. After a long cool down period, the banjo ring was removed and we noticed that a decade of very fine threshing chaff had plugged up the passage to the rod bearing, so once I stopped flooding it with oil, the bearing was doomed...

Old timers had told me about such a failure and the smoke, flying Babbitt and pounding, but I had hoped to get through my days with ancient engines without witnessing the spectacle. Well, it wasn't to be, as the gods must have been angry and I "saw the elephant"...

Jim told me later that it took 110 Lbs of Babbitt to pour the new running surface, and the scraping in was a major project as well. I did not get back to Rollag again until '00, and by then Kermit and Jim from Wisconsin (he moved to Rollag around that time) had the Snow diesel running very nicely, and it was easy to start due to the addition of a high pressure air compressor in the building to provide the oomph to roll the big engine over.

I remember the events of '93 rather well, as I am a student of oil engines and I like engines that truly run on the diesel cycle, with air blast injection. This was quite an experience for me, and I was glad that Jim allowed me to work on the engine and get it going. I had seen photos of the 150 HP Snow when it was sitting in the big shed at Coolspring, but I did not see the real McCoy until I visited the reunion with Jon and Nate in '91.

Since it has been 21 years since these events occurred, I may have not remembered things exactly the way they occurred, but getting that engine running was a highlight in my time messing around with antique engines. Somewhere around my place I have a photo taken in '93 just after we got the engine running, and it features all of the guys who had worked on the engine in the prior years. If I find it, I'll scan it in and post it on this site.

Oh, yeah... The Diesel Cycle is noted for the fact that as the fuel is injected and burns, the cylinder pressure never exceeds the compression pressure. This makes true diesels very quiet in operation, and under light loads all one hears is the swooshing of air in the intake, the rattle and clatter of valve gear and a puff from the exhaust. Most oil engines run on the Otto cycle, where the cylinder pressure often exceeds the compression pressure by quite a bit. Modern "diesel" engines run mostly on the Otto cycle, and the violent rise of cylinder pressure yields the well known combustion knock that generally identifies the species. Actually, modern "diesels" can run on a "dual cycle", where the cylinder pressure races up during combustion, but it flat tops and remains constant for a brief period during the injection event. Constant pressure combustion is the hallmark of the true diesel cycle, but it was abandoned early on as the Otto cycle is more efficient.

Mike Murphy
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:13:04 AM
Ross Clarke's Avatar
Ross Clarke Ross Clarke is offline
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Default Re: 150hp Snow

I was at this event but had a little different perspective of it.
I was firing the Rumely with my good friend Bill.
After Bill got the engine lined up and the belt on and tightened REALLY tight he left me to fire and man the throttle while he went down to the Snow and would signal me when they were ready.
Since this was a long time ago, the details are a little foggy.
The one thing I will never forget was when they brought the Snow on compression it brought the Rumely down to her knees.
Earlier in the weekend we had the Rumely on the Brake and pulled in excess of 120 HP.
That 120HP was all torque as the RPM was virtually 0.
A single cylinder steam engine never would have done the job.
It was an amazing display of power that few people probably even noticed as they were engrossed with what was happening with the Snow.
I have been very fortunate to have been part of a number of memorable events in this hobby.
This one is in the top 5.
Another good friend, Grant, had sent me these pics.
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Old 03-15-2015, 07:21:21 AM
JSWithers JSWithers is offline
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Default Re: 150hp Snow

Thanks Ross. I remember this very well. Truly a spectacle to be seen. After we got the engine starting on air dad had me take the pulley off and told me to hide it. He never wanted to have to use it again. LOL! And for those of you that have never seen a 120hp Rumely steamer they are very very big machines. Awesome!
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