For men (and gals) who love BIG engines

Sun Mar 26, 2006 5:02 am

I pick up and deliver many parts from FM in Beloit, WI: Most parts are for marine applications, but this place makes (and I have seen them) engines that are as big as double-wide mobile homes :D Some German built MAN marine engines have cylinder bores as large as 3-4 ft wide!

The same company that made scales, tractor megnetos, stationary engines, etc that helped evolve the USA- neat stuff!

Sun Mar 26, 2006 7:17 am

Some of those monsters are something to play with. That reminds me about the two at the museum in Connecticut. I wonder how they are coming along.
Bigest I worked on you could stick your head in to check the cylinder walls.

Sun Mar 26, 2006 7:35 am

I used to work in the oil fields in West Texas and New Mexico. The natural gas compressor stations would use huge natural gas fired internal compression engines to run the compressors, increasing the gas pressure up to 1500 psig. One plant employed "recycled" submarine engines, which were huge. Usually these compressor stations consisted of a single metal building, maybe 100 feet long, with 8 or 10 engine-compressors all running side by side. It was awesome to walk thru the buildings passing the thundering machines one-by-one. They never shut down, except for service. You could feel the ground shaking 50 feet away. I was there once when one caught fire, but that's another story.

Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:48 pm

Paul what type compressors do they use. Screw, piston or diaphram?? Sure wouldnt want any leaking out around the rings. This has always intriegued me.


Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:30 am


Back in the 70's, they extensively used multistage reciprocating (piston) compressors to compress the natural gas. These were slow speed two stroke machines (maybe 300 rpm). Some manufacturers were Cooper Bessemer, Clark, Dresser-Rand. The first stage compression cylinders are the biggest and the second stage are smaller as the gas shrinks as it is compressed. I seem to recall the first stage pistons were something like 18 inches in diameter, although it has been a long time. (I was involved in a different part of the plants - removing H2S and CO2 - although I always made a point of walking thru the compressor buildings anytime I could for the sheer awe of it) The compressors are direct coupled to natural gas fired engines. I always found it interesting that the machines were basically self sustaining - some of the product gas being compressed was used to fuel the engine running the compressor. Ring wear was a big maintenance item - the gas in that part of the country has very fine particulates suspended in it and despite extensive filtering (.3 micron) has abrasive qualities. These compressor-driver units ranged from 1000 to 5000 HP. Because of the size, pressure, and low speeds the sound of several of these machines operating in an enclosed area was awesome. At that time, they were introducing centrifugal turbines, which I think has likely taken over the new applications. I couldn't find any of my old photos, but I did find one on the internet:


Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:39 am

I grew up across the bay from the world's most powerful naval radio station in Cutler, ME.

The diesel generators had to make 10MW to power the ULF antenna array, and you could light a flourescent light by holding it in your hand in mid-air there was so much juice flying around.

The building was entirely copper-shielded, and the coils looked like they were about 2 in. diameter copper, 10 feet tall.

Each engine block was as big as a trailer, and had 6 cylinders if I recall correctly. I could easily stand up in the cylinders at the time - crosswise.