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Deltic Discussions and Comments

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05/23/03    Dan, Guess what, I worked on the Super Pumper but it was never used for the purpose it was built for. The pressure of water from the nozzle was supposed to cut through walls but it didn't work as expected. The pumper was used to supply satellite fire vehicles with water pumped from the river. NYFD had 2 engines but I'm not sure what has happened to the unit.

Just found one of my photos of the NYFD superpumper. They also had a spare engine. They were down rated Nasty boat engines.

Are you going to put the Deltic Locomotive on the Web site?
Regards Mike B

04/18/03   My name is Allan Sergeant and I was proud to work for D Napier and Sons in Liverpool and Acton London where these engines were developed and built. I have several original Deltic Engine manuals relating to the 9 cylinder and 18 cylinder engines. 

Alas the site where they were built in Liverpool is no more. Modern times I am afraid. I have some photos of myself working on the clutch mechanism and at the company open day. I will send them to you if you like. When I worked at Napier I was an engine fitter, and the a test analyst, working 12 hour shifts when engines were on continuous test. They were a beautiful design and the PTF versions had that sweet powerful sound when running flat out. 

We also made engines for the "Ton" class minesweepers of the Royal Navy, engines for Rail locomotives (the famous Deltic class, engines for fast patrol boats of the Norwegian and Greek navies and two special engines designed to power water pumps for an American Fire Truck, the Super Pumper. It is great to find a site dedicated to these marvelous engines, the latest version I worked on was rated at 4100hp. Well, enough for now.

 Allan Sergeant,  E Shop

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The Liverpool production facility. A view of the unit test shop with the main assembly area seen in the left background. Deltic engines in the main assembly shop. Part of the main machine shop in the production facility. A charge- cooled marine engine, Type CT-18-42K on test. Mobile Units - Super Pumper.

More Story here:

Super Pumper Specs.

Reprint from "The Motor Ship" magazine, May, 1959 issue. 45 Knot Deltic Engined M.T.B.

Provided by Allan Sergeant.

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04-18-03   Well you asked for Deltic pictures so here goes. Also a logo from a place many of your fellow men will know very well. Happy Easter , Best wishes Mike B.

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Deltic Repair Depot, Subic Bay, PI Deltic 18 Cylinder Compound Diesel Engine  The 24 cylinder was just a design study but the compound was built and did run until the Ministry cancelled the contract and stopped paying

04/11/03 Hello Jim. Thanks for mail and copy of NPH [Napier Power Heritage] members notes. 

The T18-37K engines were classed as sprint rated engines with a continuous rating of 1800 BHP, and sprint of 3100 BHP with a time limit of 1 hour sprint in 24 hours. 

The weakest part of the 37K was 1. the piston crown material and 2. the securing of the crown to the skirt. During the early days of the 37K engines the crown was screwed to the skirt at 1000 ftlb torque. Crowns became loose. The torque was increased to 1300 ft lb which improved the reliability but was not the total remedy. At the same time crowns were found to be fracturing. This was found to be due to the mix and heat treatment of the Hydural alloy used to manufacture the crowns. The material was too hard and was a brittle grain structure. The latest 37K pistons had the correct crown material with the crown bolted to the skirt by 10 studs, nuts and lock washer. 

The engine we repaired in Greece failed because the exhaust piston seized and broke up. If you remember we changed a complete cylinder block and pistons and connecting rods which had suffered in the failure. 

To get back to your question, all Deltic engines including the current 9-59K and 9-55B engine installed in the Hunt MCMV ships any engine prior to starting if the engine is cold must be hand turned. The reason for this is to ensure there is no water between the pistons which would cause the engine to hydraulic and bend connecting rods which might break at a later date. 

To add to the details from David Williams, the Ton class mine sweepers were fitted with two 18-7A engines and some ships had a 9-5A which was an engine very similar to the engines fitted to the Hunt class now. The pistons fitted to 18-7A and 9-5A had aluminum pistons with a cast iron insert for the compression ring pack. The over haul life of the series I engine was 4000 hours between overhaul where as the loco engines occasionally reached 7000, but more likely failed 4500-5000 hours. The overhaul life of the Hunt engines is expected to reach 6000 hour with the modifications expected. 

Back to your question (I could talk for hours as Deltics have been my one and only job) the T18-37K engines were sprint engines as I've already said but the Nasty hulls were wooden and got heavier the longer they were in the water. You could see by the draft marks how the boats were low in the water and just didn't perform unless the weight was down to the 70 odd tons. The Greek boats after being slipped and before all the manuals, books etc came on board would fly at 45-47 knots. After months in the water the engines would be on torque limitation and struggled to get up on the plane. Once up, the speed would improve and the torque required would reduce. A question for you. Did the aluminum boats from Trumpy and Seward have the same problems? 

Well its time to go. Nice talking to you (any time). and David I am not sure we have met but drop me a line and we can talk Deltic and Napiers. Regards to you all James. Mike B.

04/12/03  I am sorry I cant give prices for the T18-37K engines but I can tell you the price in 1980 for the mine sweeper engines. The three engines cost on average 1000,000 and an overhaul now is around 300,000. Bear in mind these engines are only 9 cylinder but are produced in min mag materials. Mike B.

04/12/03 Dan I was told that a Napier Deltic was $250,000 in 1960 dollars new. Labor was cheap in Subic Bay but I am unsure about the cost of parts, The Connecting rods and crankshaft throws were polished, no gaskets except for a couple were used as the castings were machined so that Hyamar silicone was used and seldom did you have a leak. I also was easy to clean the surface as a clean cloth would remove the silicone so new could be applied when putting the engine back to together. Mike will be able to give you the cost far way better then I.   Jim 

04/11/03  Let me know when you get that oven "big enough for a cylinder block." Now THAT will be an impressive addition to your collection! 

I'm curious how much a Deltic cost when they were being newly installed. I was told $250,000 to purchase and $125,000 the cost to rebuild. I don't know if that's the cost of "buying" a rebuilt engine or the cost of actually rebuilding one. Of course that was Navy scuttlebutt and may just be numbers we were told to impress us with the importance of taking good care of them. No doubt they were expensive. It seems some of your contacts might know.    Alan

04-/11/03 Mike. Tell me what you make of this. We had engines fail but if you jacked them over and made sure that the cylinders were clear, we seldom threw a rod. Yes, we had a few failures from pistons but we also ran at various rpms, which also isn't good for a diesel engine. At times we ran with the torque limiters in order to get the hell out of dodge. Jim

04/11/03  Hello Dan! Your e-mail regarding Napier "Deltic" engines was passed to me by our membership secretary John Street at our most recent committee meeting. I am so pleased that you are dedicated to saving an f.p.b. (fast patrol boat) or two, as to my knowledge no working Deltic-powered boats are preserved. 

In the U.K. there is just one "wooden wall" "Ton" class coastal minesweeper saved; H.M.S. Bronington (or "old quarter-past eleven" from its pennant number M1115) which was commanded by the Prince of Wales is in the Liverpool Maritime Museum, afloat but not working. There are of course eleven of the "Hunt" class g.r.p. mine counter-measures vessels (two having been sold) numbered M29 to M41, but these have more modern 9-cyl. T9-59K turbo-charged Deltics installed. 

The "Dark" class M.T.Bs., which were the reason for Deltic engines being designed and manufactured in the first place, were almost certainly scrapped without trace, the last having been sunk for target practice in 1976. Some classic philistinism there, as they were everything a Deltic-powered vehicle should be - impressive, fast and noisy, and a working example should have been in a naval museum. 

I assume that "Frag. Queen" meant "fragmentation", which could happen on occasion to a piston or two. Early engines had all-aluminium pistons, and those controlling the exhaust suffered overheating, expanding so much that they jammed in the bore, and the continuing push of the con. rod tended to smash the piston and sometimes punch its way out of the crankcase side. Railwaymen call this "putting a leg out of bed" ! It happened to the locos. particularly when coolant/condensation got into the bores after a day or two not working, e.g. at christmas time. The pistons were designed with oilways inside them, between the eon pin housing, crown and skirt, fed by a spray from the small end, but this never provided sufficient cooling effect. 

The design was altered about 1956 to have a bronze internally-screw-threaded crown, but the sharp edges of the large-diameter thread proved to be a stress-raiser, and gave rise to more fragmentation and "legs out of bed". The problem was only cured with the adoption in the 60s of flat-bottomed bronze studded crowns tab-washered and nutted onto the flat-topped aluminium alloy skirts, and I can confirm the improved life, with engines in Deltic Preservation Society locos. having done 7,000 hours or more and still very reliable, hauling main-line trains without engine failure in the last three years. These are known as Mk IV pistons, and you need to ascertain whether or not your boats have them fitted, and acquire some if not, either new or recovered from another engine. I think there is reference to this in "The Napier Way" when it mentions the re-designed piston was not adopted until about six years after the design was proposed (see the menu illustration from 1958's Deltic dinner), "and by then it was too late", meaning it was too late to salvage the good name of the Deltic engine, and D.Napier & Son the company. 

The 1,000 hours which the Royal Navy used as the yardstick for re-building their Deltics referred to the "type test" done in the test cells at Napier's Acton works when the prototype engines were produced, and because they passed this test the Navy decided to use that figure as the limit of reliability and then change power-units for overhauled ones. A friend of mine who was chairman of the Deltic Service Problems Sub-committee at British Railways' Doncaster works (where the loco. Deltics were overhauled) had regular contact with the Navy's Deltic overhaul works and frequently protested that staff were wasting good engine hours, materials and money by re-building much too soon. 

I would thus say ignore the pundits and lovely though Detroit Diesels are, the Deltic is "King of all Diesel engines", an outrageous design never copied, and powered some of the most outrageous vehicles the world has ever seen, so do not give up, and join other Deltic operators in enthusing to all and sundry about the great product it is. I will endeavour to find any relevant documents for and their engines, but I don't think we have much as yet in the N.P.H.T. archives, and as for film/video, I haven't been able to find any in the last 20 years, except a few seconds in the official Napier film "Triangle of Power", and whether any of these survive I do not know. 

Something I do know is that you will need to collect or make some special tools if you are contemplating engine re-builds - a triangular turn-over jig and a large oven big enough for cylinder blocks are two which readily come to mind ! Well, digest all that and come back to me if you have any further comments/queries.

 Regards, David Williams, Napier Power Heritage Trust.

03/13/03 -  Dan and James , I am afraid I don't have any photos of Nasty boats other than the old NAPIA leaflets from sales department. Being a civy in a navy base photos were not allowed. I have been with Deltic engines all my working life and I think the Nasty era was the most exciting. There were 3 Nasty boats in the Mediterranean a few years ago on 'cigarette sales' but I think that has now finished. We had several private yachts but I think they have been scrapped by now. The engines I still have contact with are 9-59K and 9-55b engines fitted to Royal Navy Mine Sweepers. The ships are fibre glass for low magnetic signature for obvious reasons. Are any of the Nasty still operational in the States? both chivy or Navy? Well its great to have made contact with you both Regards Mike B.

All text above added on 04/16/03 --^

(10/08/02) Dan, I have a link to your website on our website which I enjoy your site.

A member is building a scale model of the Deltic engine. He lives in England and travels every year to a gathering in Eugene, OR called PRIME. The pictures at the site were taken by the builder Clennell Tomlinson. I'm attaching 2 more pix that were taken Bill Nickels one of our club members this year. Hope you enjoy. 

By the way I did 2 1/2 cruises over there. I was on the Kitty Hawk. I was and AO3 and tested Sparrow missiles among others. I was there from 64-67. 

Regards, James Piazza []

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Hi Dennis, All turbos are unique in that there is no mechanical connection; ie. gears, between the workings of the basic engine and the turbo. Superchargers are gear or belt driven and in direct connection to engine speed. Turbochargers are directly "spun up" by exhaust gasses. 

I don't know quite how to explain it, I'm not an expert in the field, but I suppose you could see a turbocharger as two parts. One part has exhaust gasses passing over a turbine, spinning the fan up to speed, that part is directly connected by a shaft to a turbine fan that is in the intake tract of the engine. That part of the turbine forces what basically is "fresh air" into the piston chamber.

This results in what all of us know as "turbo lag". The engine simply get's ahead of what the turbo can deliver. Eventually the output of the engine exhaust catches up with demand and the turbo can do it's job of supplying pressurized air to the combustion chamber. 

The Deltic has an incredibly complicated gear box but it is all because of crankshaft timing. None of it is related to the turbocharger. 

I suppose that begs the question, why turbocharge when supercharging leads to less delay in delivery? Superchargers suck the engines of horsepower. It's a constant drag on the engine. Turbo's simply make for a little back up in the exhaust gasses. Far more efficient. 

Deltics are not stars in acceleration. I've seen the spec that it takes 2 minutes to get a Deltic up to speed. That could probably be halved with a supercharger, but a supercharger would take massive amounts of power away from the ultimate output of the engine. Hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions, - Alan 

At 01:43 AM 1/20/03 +1000, you wrote: HI, thanks for the reply Allen. I am aware how normal turbos work and what there function is on a normal 4 stroke engine. (An exhaust turbine drives a compressor via the same shaft to increase intake charge density). I also know that 2 stroke engines need to be scavenged by an external source. Generally similar in design to a supercharging/blower type device (scavenge pump), or the crank case in small petrol engines. The device displaces the exhaust gas with fresh air with out increasing charge density. Well that's about how far my limited knowledge goes. 

It appears that the Napier Deltic has an elaborate set of gears connecting the device and it is connected to the engine by shafts so it can't spin at speeds independent of the engine (so I am led to believe). Is this incorrect? Is it just a big turbo that has a reduction gears between the turbine and compressor and is able to spin at speeds independent of the main engine? I would love to be able to hear one running!   Regards, Dennis

 ----- Original Message ----- From: "Alan" To: "Dennis" Sent: Monday, January 20, 2003 2:06 PM Subject: Re: Hi/  Hi Dennis,   The turbocharger works just like on a gasoline engine. Exhaust discharge  is used to drive the turbine which in turn forces induction air into the  cylinder. I suppose the charged air coming into the induction side would  improve scavenging but I don't believe that is the main intent.   If you ever get the chance to hear a Deltic at full speed, do. The turbo  is huge and turns 140,000 rpm at full speed. It creates an incredible  shriek that I've never experienced from any engine other than a Deltic, not  even the sound of a Formula 1 car turning 19,000 rpm can equal it.  -  Alan 

At 12:18 PM 1/19/03 +1000, you wrote:  Hi, Great site. I was just reading up on the amazing Napier Deltic  engine. I read the manual but I still can't figure out why an exhaust  turbine is needed. I have never heard of an exhaust turbine on any 2  stroke engine. Wouldn't the compressor be all that is needed to perform  scavenging?    Regards, Dennis.  

Hi Dan thanks for the reply. So it is just a normal turbo like on a 4 stroke engine, but it has 
the turbine geared differently to the compressor. Is this correct?

I thought that the compressor and turbine were geared hard up to a crank,
and the crank itself drove the compressor, and the turbine added more power
directly to the crank.

Is the turbo free to spin independently, regardless of engine speed like on
a 4 stroke?

Regards, Dennis.

Dan: The Exhaust turbine is what drives the compressor side of the turbocharger. If Dennis understand how a turbocharger works on a car or truck engine, he will see what the manual is showing. A Detroit 6-71 or 12V71 uses turbo chargers to help the blowers scavenge those engines. Jim 

Dan Withers wrote: 

Jim, any thoughts to share with Dennis on the exhaust turbine function? Dan

---Original Message----- 
From: Dennis [] 
Sent:Saturday, January 18, 20036:19 PM 
Subject: Napier Deltic. 

Hi, Great site. I was just reading up on the amazing Napier Deltic engine. I read the manual but I still can't figure out why an exhaust turbine is needed. I have never heard of an exhaust turbine on any 2 stroke engine. Wouldn't the compressor be all that is needed to perform scavenging?

Regards, Dennis.

(11/27/02)  - Interesting questions about the durability/usability of the Deltic. I didn't call them "frag queens" I called them the "engine from hell." Ironic that I became an engineman. I have to admit when I was a kid loud, intimidating machinery always scared me. My father was a free-lance welder and he had a truck that had a huge generator on it. It always scared the shit out of me when he fired it up. 

In boot camp when you had to commit to some kind of training I put "engineman" about 5th on the list. I don't remember exactly but I probably put aircraft maintenance, electronics, and other technical training above engineman. If I'd known the fatality rate of enginemen at that time and known how many billets needed filling I sure wouldn't have checked that box. 

When I got my orders I figured that I'd learn something I could apply to hot-rodding cars when I got out. I suppose I did. I sure learned how to use tools. And I learned how to make do with whatever you had at hand. Not always that easy when working with sophisticated machines. Some of the best experience I had was attempting to keep the outboard engines for our ski boats working. Deltics got whatever they needed, no question. The ski boats were a lower priority. We had vast trays of discarded fasteners. Bolts, screws, no engineman who ever served there threw even one item away.

There always seemed to be some kind of "fastener" issue on the outboards. I remember spending hours looking for just the right bolt to replace a broken or stripped one. I usually found what I needed. I know it was rare when we didn't have a ski boat at our disposal because of mechanical downtime. 

The Deltics were much more frustrating. We treated them with kid gloves. We did all the right things with them, we followed all the instructions. We did not "skate" even a moment when dealing with the Deltics. And they still blew up in our faces. It was not the fault of careless maintenance or stupid handling by inexperienced sailors. We followed all the rules and the engines just grenaded unexpectedly. Obviously something was wrong with the design of the engines. 

Not something you wanted to see happen in an engine that, at the time, was told to us cost $250,000. I assure you, it wasn't our lack of attention that led to any engine failure.     - Alan

(10-08-02)Dear Dan:

 The two series one engines lying at Inverness ( ex - Nowegian boats ) were bought earlier this year by The Deltic Preservation Society. Although they differ in many ways to the series two engine in their three locomotives, they do offer a useful pool of spare parts for possible future use at a reasonable cost. I may try to get someone more computer able than myself to convert some CD [audio] tracks to file and send them over to you. Do you have broadband connection? I haven't traveled behind a deltic since early summer, so I am getting quite restless. However I am booked on a four day tour of Scotland next summer. Something to look forward to. 

Cheers, Philip Hall

[When asked about books to consider Phil replied:]

The first book that comes to mind is by Alan Vessey and is called "Napier Powered". It is available at for $13.29. It is a pictorial book and follows the company from motor cars, through aero engines, deltics and ultimately to rockets and turbochargers.

The second book is called "The Napier Way" and is by Brian Boyle. It is not available at amazon. It is available at the sales part of  This is an autobiographical book by a man who wanted to be a chief engine designer at Napier, and that was at his wish at eight years of age! He got his wish. 

There are also loads (20+) of books dedicated to the Deltic locomotives. They still have a huge following over here. I even drove one once. Awsome! I'll try and send you a copy of that too.

Another interesting page for you would be: 

All of the above line is the appropriate address, I hope.  Cheers - Phil

  (09-09-02) Hi Dan, I am a railfan here in Britain. Don't know how aware you are of Deltic locomotive workings over here. If you visit  you can be up to date with all that goes on. You may notice that three of the four locos currently available are due in use on 09/07/02 as you yanks call it. Really like the site. There are some excellent books currently available over here, although, again, you may already know this. 

This picture is the D9009 (55009) at Wellingborough on a Saturday. Not all British trains run late. This one is 6 minutes early.

Happy to supply details, etc. Cheers - Phil Hall

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 (06/13/02)   G'day Dan ,My name is Gary Hamer, I own a ton class minesweeper with deltic's in it. They are started by cartridge I wood like to change them to air do you you know anyone who could help me with them we are in Tasmania Australia?

my E-mail is

Gary, I received a request for info on Deltics via Dan Withers and Nigel Pinkus? I am afraid I can only offer some advice and not supply of parts etc. We specialize in ex navy patrol vessels, a few years ago, due to the cost and scarcity of starting cartridges, we eventually successfully converted D18 -7A's to electric start. At the time we had a good stock of high torque aero engine electric starters. These had a massive epicyclic reduction gear which produced an output speed of 250 RPM. As this was not quite enough torque to turn the Deltics we added a further gear reduction to give us 125 RPM which was sufficient. As you are probably aware the Deltic only requires a slight 'bump over' in order to start. Our biggest problem was shearing of drives due to the heavy load but this was overcome by the use of, I believe, a material known as S99. The other slight problem was the loss of starter exhaust required to recharge the accumulator. To overcome this we adapted a simple electric solenoid which triggerred the accumulator at the critical moment. As I said the conversion was quite successful but as the Deltics were never a popular engine we gradually drifted away from that particular model instead concentrating on the series 3 engines (Nasty class) which were, from the factory, started by introduction of air direct into the cylinders. A much better proposition. I still have a video film of the 18-7A showing our conversion and the engine actually starting. I may also still have some new starter motors but it means searching through a packed container. These were Rotax manufacture, a division of Lucas, and were originally manufactured for radial piston engines. They had a hand cranking auxiliary drive on the side of the casing. I think if I was converting an engine today I would opt for hydraulics where you can have endless power from say a Ton class generator driven pump to a hydraulic motor mounted on the Deltic. I am sorry I cannot help further but you may be able to use some of my experiences. I still have an 18-7A reconditioned governor and maybe one or two starter breeches and motors if you are interested. 

Regards Alan Vincent Solent House, Nelson Lane Portchester, Hants PO17 6AW UK  Fax 023 9237 1393

Looks like a museum piece. Very nice. Our boats were pretty clean, but 
nothing like this. We had incentive to keep the boats clean. We knew that 
sooner of later we'd be in the bilge trading out an engine or two.

Our main problem was getting decent wiping cloths. Does that sound stupid, 
or petty? Cotton wipes soak up spills pretty well. We got bundles of 
"wiping cloths" that were mainly made up of polyester and nylon 
remnants. Neither of these fabrics would soak up anything aside from 
sweat! Most of them came from the Philippines where cheap tailors were on 
every corner. The "rags" we got were mostly fabrics that we just shit 
canned the moment we got them. You can't wipe up oil spills with polyester 
or nylon. It was a waste of time.

This may sound silly to you, but it was an issue.

John, thanks for the response. It sounds like everything is fine. I'm most pleased that the engineering is complete or restorable. Hulls and topside is easy!

Engines. Are you sure they are operable? Were they run for the new owner or was he simply assured they would operate?

I certainly don't want to sound patronizing, I have no idea what level of expertise you have at your disposal regarding operation of Deltics. So, I'll just go ahead and patronize!

The Deltics are EXTREMELY sensitive to how they are fired off. If all the precautions and procedures aren't followed there is a high risk of terminal problems resulting in catastrophic failure. Catastrophic failure of a Deltic means that a multi hundred thousand dollar engine will be sold for aluminum scrap. And there is no way any regular civilian will be replacing a failed Deltic.

No American navy person ever worked on the internals of a Deltic. We did accessory replacement, maintenance, installation and removal. If any engine had serious problems we sent it back to the Philippines for repair. I suspect they didn't work on them there either but sent them to the UK for the factory to repair them.

The usual failure aside from accessory malfunction was the engine throwing a piston out the side of the block. Those engines were written off. I don't know if you went to Dan's site and looked at the reader's pages. If not, go there and have a look at my section of his site. I have a very interesting tale to tell about the time we had a Deltic run away on it's own oil. Not something we want to have happen with this boat.

One other thing. On our boats there was a heavy asbestos blanket over the turbocharger. Whenever it was disturbed it sent thousands of fibers into the air. We didn't think much about it at the time. Seemed kind of attractive when they hit the light and sparkled, actually! We know a little more about asbestos now. Please have anyone who would be working with it wear appropriate breathing filters.

Keep us up to date as much as possible. Any pics of the engineering spaces are greatly appreciated. We have lots of hulls here, most are beyond repair, or nearly so, mechanicals are severely lacking in the US.

01/12/02  Alan

Greetings and also Congrats on such an informative website. I would also like to thank you for your indirect assistance in piecing together the Deltic Engine systems. I have been assigned the duty to incorporate two Deltic Engines into a Ferry Boat. The problem is getting installation information and drawings for the Engines. I was hoping that you may be the bearer of such information. I did see the training manual in PDF format and it was quite useful. Although, I am seeking more dimensional (drawings) information on the Engines. I am also looking for drawings that depict the engine system arrangements that were on the PTF vessels. 
Thank you for your help. 

I would love to hear from someone who operated Deltic's on locomotives or civilian vessels and find out how they worked out. Maybe we stressed the engines beyond design parameters. I don't think that happened. We were very careful with the engines. We knew they were fragile and temperamental. A mistake meant a three-day engine change that none of us enjoyed. Once the engines were running very little could go wrong. They wouldn't accept putting the throttle to the metal, they'd just die and go back to idle. Quickly pulling back the throttles seemed to be ok as far as the engines went. I just don't know how the engines could have thought we abused them, we didn't. And they still blew up on a regular basis. Best of luck to anyone who wishes to run them in any kind of boat. I'm anxious to find out how it works out. 

1-14-02 Alan

Thank you for response. You have brought up several issues that of great concern to me. 

1. You mentioned that the engines had "blown up in a spectacular manner" and although you did the best for the engines they still blew up on a regular basis. Please describe this in more detail so that I may assess any safety  issues that  need to be considered. Did this jeopardize the safety of crew and/or  the vessel ? 

In my experience the engines only threw parts out through the side of the block when they were being started. Once they were running they seemed pretty stable. I was always afraid of them because of direct experience. Does having a piston flying out the side of the block constitute a crew safety issue? I'd suppose so. The military can always cover up this kind of accident. I think civilians would have a more difficult time justifying this. 

2. The engines had about 250 hours of service time before they needed to be pulled to be rebuilt.  *How long would it take to repair the engines and what was typically  done in that  process. Did the engines have to be dismantled? What parts are  necessary to do the overhaul and are they available? Do you have a cost associated with the overhaul. When did the engines break down? Did it occur during max throttle (extreme conditions @2100 rpm) or under normal operation (1800 rpm)? 

We weren't allowed to touch anything inside a Deltic. Any engine that needed major service was sent to the Philippines for overhaul. We were told that it cost $250,000 for an overhaul. That was in 1969. I have no idea whether or not parts are available. I suppose they are. Whenever an engine tanked by blowing parts of itself all over the engine room we considered it a write off, the navy did too, as far as I can remember.

What did a Deltic cost then? 

I suppose around $500,000. 

Regards, Jimmy Barbosa
Arthur M. Barbeito & Associates, Inc. 
Phone: 305.669.3211 Fax: 305.669.3228 

01/11/01 Dan

Yes we had some trouble with the engines, but if you followed the pre start procedures you seldom damage an engine, first was to check oil and coolant levels, then roll the engine over using the jacking gear, yes it was a pain in the ass but allowed to find if a "o" ring on a liner had failed filling a cylinder with coolant, if the engine was free, primed the oil and fuel system and started them up. Needed an air compressor to build starting air unless in a hurry then two. The Oil was Shell Rotatelter 40, just a good grade of oil that Naplier Deltic wanted used, the coolant was ethylene glycol antifreeze mixed with distill water (no minerals). There was 24 carat gold used in the engines so when the engines went to overhaul, they were tested on the dyno and oil samples taken, could tell how major the overhaul would be (the gold was a wear factor). I still think that the Deltic was the best engine at the time for the boats 3100 HP at 2100 RPM cruise at 1800 Rpm at approx 7.5 Tons per Engine. 
Jim Thomas 


Yeah, no hit the switch and go! The main problem was building up enough air pressure. Some of the compressors were better than others. The good ones seemed to build enough pressure in twenty minutes, the slow ones could take over half an hour. So, we usually expected it to take about half an hour before we could get under way unless we had prepped the boat beforehand. 

 01/17/02  Jerry

The deltic used in the the PTF's has a bi-directional gear box which within has a clutch pack for ahead and the other is for astern, operated from hydraulic pressure. The big thing was if needed when changing out an engine and only had right hand rotating spare could switch a couple of hose's would now have a left hand rotating engine. Contact me and will try to answer your questions.  
Jim Thomas ENCUSNRET.  
Moncks Corner, SC


Time for a sea story ..... Back when I was with CRD21 at GLakes, IL, we go a naval message asking us to confirm arrival of an overhauled Deltic engine from Subic Bay, RP. We replied that No, we hadn't received one; we didn't know we were to expect one! 

So MRT3, Subic did some checking. It seems that the 7-1/2 ton engine (in its shipping container) was trucked From Subic Bay to Clark AFB where it was loaded on a C-141. The C-141 went down for a maintenance gripe at Travis AFB (near Sacramento) and was off-loaded. After the C-141 was fixed, it was reloaded but the Deltic never made it back aboard. 

After three weeks of lots of messages back and forth, the USAF finally 'fessed up they'd found the engine. It was loaded on another aircraft and flown to Glenview NAS, where it was trucked to us. 

At the time, the story making the rounds at GLakes went something like this: USAF Master Sergeant propped-up against the Deltic engine container (Travis AFB) with a clipboard. "Can you imagine that? The Navy has lost a 7-1/2 ton diesel boat engine? What a bunch of dummies."

Bob Stoner