Rolls-Royce Diesels

What was the typology for Rolls-Royce Diesels? The big straight sixes fitted
to fire engines & the like?
Regards,
Kim Siddorn.
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Reply to
Kim Siddorn
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We knew them just by horsepower, Rolls 220 and 240 were a common engine in this range. Crap engines maintenance wise. I was going to say they used to leak oil where there were no joints but the problem was there were millions of joints. The oil feed gallery pipe inside the sump was made up of short bits of pipe and die cast housing with double O rings in everything.
I kid you not when I tell you at around the mid 1980's a head set was £75 and a sump set was nearly £300 as it contained over 200 O rings. They did last if you could keep oil in. We used to pull them apart at about 400,000 for bearings, liners and pistons. Most were still on original injectors at this mileage but pumps had probably had three rebuilds, again usually for pissing oil out. We ran a Seddon Atkinson up to 600,000 before it was scrapped, the engine is probably powering some Chinese junk at this moment. -- Regards,
John Stevenson Nottingham, England.
Visit the new Model Engineering adverts page at:-
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Reply to
John Stevenson
As John S says, the Eagle series was the main automotive range, going up to 360hp IIRC in turbo form, but they also made big industrial diesels like the C6NFL and C6TNFL, normally aspirated and turbo respectively, they also have the big tank V8 and V12 engines and stationary versions of those as well.
As they were up in Shrewsbury, I always liked to assume a connection with Sentinel diesels who were there, but never found any connection that was well enough documented.
It all went to Perkins eventually, and now Cat owns the whole industry almost.
I was at First Great Western's maintenance depot at Old Oak Common today, and while waiting for a battery to go through a discharge cycle on one of our machines, I wandered over to where they were assembling new DMU engine rafts, made up of a fabricated frame with a damm great Cummins QSK19 straight six, almost of Gardner L3 proportions...
The block is very straight-edged, ie it has no rounded corners, very utilitarian, but with a turbo on this thing runs up to nearly 800hp from 19 litres and over 2000ft-lbs of torque.
The installation was nicely engineered, with what looks like a Graviner Fire-Wire running round the outside of the bay.
Peter Peter -- Peter A Forbes Prepair Ltd, Luton, UK snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk
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Reply to
Prepair Ltd
I've always believed that they took over Sentinel diesels, must have read it somewhere. The Ship Canal Railway had a number of Sentinel diesel locos, I'm pretty sure the last ones were badged RR. I used to gaze out of the window of the GEC (MetVick) Trafford Park apprentice training school drawing office & watch them crawling up the bank there, during my 'vacation apprenticeship' in circa 1967.
RR also took over the Foden 2-stroke rights & spares, I believe they still have that.
Cheers Tim
Dutton Dry-Dock Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs Vintage diesel engine service
Reply to
Tim Leech
We knew them as dogs...:-(
Tom
Reply to
Tom
I had one demonstrated for me once n the 1980's. It was a standby gen set in a water treatment works. My classification would be take three steps back and check your life insurance - it sounded like a high speed bag of nails about to rupture. Sorry can't provide more sensible typology. Phil
Reply to
Phil
The story as I understand it is that RR diesels were made in Derby until they went bankrupt in 1971, then everything non aero was sold off and diesel engine production went to Sentinel at Shrewsbury. Also it was in the local paper the other week that the JCB engine plant was given the Royal opening. They didn't like the idea of buying engines off their biggest competitor after Cat bought Perkins so designed their own.
Reply to
Paul Swindell
Google has brought this up, which fills in some gaps:
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Fascinating. I hope they are successful
Cheers Tim
Dutton Dry-Dock Traditional & Modern canal craft repairs Vintage diesel engine service
Reply to
Tim Leech
The marine versions were reputed to make fine anchors.
Reply to
Richard H Huelin
Why were these engines so poor? Rolls-Royce were competent engineers and had a string of aero and automotive successes to their name. Why were they so incapable of designing and developing an oil tight, smooth running, reliable Diesel engine?
FWIW, they had this reputation in the '70's when I worked for Rolls-Royce cars.
Regards,
Kim Siddorn.
Reply to
Kim Siddorn
There seemed to be a line between the industrial and military engines and those produced for the truck market, and the twain never seemed to meet up.
Without some background into the origins of the engines it would be difficult to work out where the problems lay, but where the industrials were well-known and had a good market, the truck engines seemed to have been a problem from the start, and must have been a new design as they did not share any component parts with the industrial C series.
I have some 1950's 'Engineering' magazines, one of which has an Advert for Rolls-Royces industrial engines, I'll dig them out when I get a minute and see where they were at the time.
Also I seem to remember that the Observer's Book of Trucks lists the Scammell Constructor and Contractor trucks as having the C series engines, so they were used in the automotive field initially, probably before the Eagle series came along.
Remember also that the independent truck makers were big customers for Rolls-Royce, Gardner, Cummins etc., but Rolls-Royce had no other outlets for their new automotive engines, whereas the others had established markets like gardner who were very big in the bus market.
Peter -- Peter & Rita Forbes Email: snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk Web:
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Reply to
Peter A Forbes
IMHO, Rolls-Royce only ever made aero engines, but sometimes they put them in trucks. They were good enough engines if given the levels of maintenance that an aircraft would receive, but R-R never learned what the different markets needed. Gratuitous complexity for piffling advantage was just a part of it.
Reply to
Andy Dingley
Kim, not exactly what you wanted, butI thought it unusual enough to post. I came across this book recently - a history of the Rolls-Royce 'B' series engines. Pat Ware writes well, I have his books on the Pioneer and Antar.
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Also found this article which gives an insight into some of this history.
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I seem to remember that Rolls-Royce had high hopes for their oil engines and pinned their chances on disapointments like the Vickers crawler tractors.
There is a nice RR diesel just a mile or two from me, it is a standby gen set for one of the radio transmitters.
Reply to
Peter Short
Thanks Peter, the development of the Clan Foundry site was an excellent read!
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Regards,
Kim Siddorn. "Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out." Cardinal Wolsey (1471-1530)
Reply to
Kim Siddorn
I have read a little about the 'C Series' in volume 2 of "The Magic of a Name" by Peter Pugh, also in "Rolls-Royce - Hives Turbulent Barons" by Alec Harvey-Bailey. However these two books don't go into much detail on the various models.
What they say is that W.A. Robotham visited the US in 1947, and was impressed with the lengths the truck manufacturers there were going to to reduce tare weight. It occurred to him that a light alloy motor would help, and that RR was a world leader in the use this material for engines. He was also looking for post-war work for the Belper team.
The 'B' range of engines (petrol) had become standard issue for the British army (full scale production beginning in 1947), so now the decision was made to develop a 'C' range, like the 'B' range, to use a rationalised parts sharing system for 4, 6 and 8 cylinder models. There was initial interest for putting these engines in Euclid trucks - then Vickers appeared with their VR180 crawler tractor which was going to take on the D8 and beat it with its superior speed...
Vickers required a cast iron engine, so that was the end of the light alloy design.
Interestingly, because of the Vickers order, the engines could not be supplied to Euclid - so prompting that company to persuade Cummins to set up in Scotland.
The 6 cylinder, 180 hp, supercharged, 12.17 litre C6 engine for the VR180 was announced in 1951, Vickers reckoned they would need 1220 engines right off. The whole thing was a debacle (though some of these crawlers survive in NZ, one account I have shows one hooked up to a D8 for a tug of war - "the D8 pulled its pants off'). Vickers stopped in 1958 having sold around 1500 crawlers.
Rolls-Royce had to now put a lot of work into selling these engines elsewhere - trying to break into markets where they were unknown and not represented. None the less, they seemed to have sold this range of engines into many applications - Scammell being one example, and many railway engines also.
The Oil Engine division needed to find a new site, so in 1957 they bought Sentinel in Shrewsbury and moved there.
When RR took over Sentinel, they found an unfinished order for locomotives, so they unwilling became involved in this market, and somewhat to their surprise, the redesigned Sentinel with RR engine and torque converter became the UK's best selling shunting loco.
At this time they supplied the C6, naturally aspirated engine to IHC for their TD 20, several thousand were sold, but IHC would only pay £760 per engine, whereas Vickers paid £1,350.
There were marine versions sold, but it seems like the generating set application was particularly sucessful - "the most consistent sector for the division".
The gen set market required larger outputs, hence the 'D' series developed in the late 1950's, twice the cylinder capacity as the 'C'. Actually, the only version developed was the DV8, 32 litre, 600 kW output generator.
It seems like the 6 cylinder 'C' engines were built in Mexico also, the factory later being bought by Volvo.
It also seems like the Oil Engine Division lost alot of money over these years, production was around 2000 units per year, so by 1960 there was drastic cost cutting, with redundancies.
In the early 1960's they had another look at the truck market - it seemed like Gardner was underpowered for the market. They launched the Eagle range in 1966, 205 to 300 bhp. They used US supplied rings which improved the engines. Over the next 20 years they shared the UK market equally with Gardner and Cummins.
With a new requirement for tank engines in 1969, the Eagle was developed to 600 hp and a new range proposed, called the 'CV' in V8, V12 and V16 versions. This was occuring at the time that Rolls-Royce went into receivership.
The Shah of Iran ordered 1,500 tanks with 1200 hp engines, but he was overthrown in 1979, so that was a disaster. However, it seems that these big engines found plenty of customers with the armed forces, for generators and for marine use, the division was at full capacity by the late 1970's. They began to develop a new Eagle to meet emission standards and use less fuel.
In 1980, Rolls-Royce Motors (of whom the Oil Engine Division was a part - that goes back to the receivership days) was sold to Vickers.
At this time the heavy truck makers in the UK were disappearing in the face of competition, and thus this market for engines. In 1983 engine output declined to 3,000 units per year, and so it was decided to sell the Division to Perkins for £20 million. The Eagle range complimented their range of engines. Perkins was then owned by Varity (formerly Massey Ferguson).
The CV12 power packs were still being sold for the Challenger tanks (as of 2001 when Pugh's book waas written), and apparently the C6, CV8 and CV12 were still used for generating sets.
Not sure what the story is now, I can't imagine Perkins present owners (Caterpillar) have need of engines for gen sets.
Reply to
Peter Short
Super bit of information, Peter, many thanks.
Peter -- Peter A Forbes Prepair Ltd, Luton, UK snipped-for-privacy@easynet.co.uk
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Reply to
Prepair Ltd
BTW, to all you RRHT members, I see the following lecture being given at Derby later in the year:
23 Nov 'The Vee Range of Rolls-Royce Oil Engines' by Brian Leverton Ret'd Director of Engineering Rolls-Royce Oil Engine Division & Roger Reece Engineering Manager Defence Products Caterpillar Ltd
Reply to
Peter Short
The industrial version seems to be very reliable I have one in a Consolidated Pneumatic Compressor bought second hand now nearly 8000 hrs. and close to 50 yrs old only the injectors and pump overhauled. Pity I couldn't say the same about the air end.
Reply to
oldgoat
I don't know how they came to be so poor, perhaps design by committee, but the fact is the basic engine designs were poor.
You can probably deduce everything you need to know about how the designs were poor (if not why) from remembering that they developed hylomar, for no other reason that they had to....
the whole meme of rolls royce and quality is actually a very slick example of astute marketing, it is not a result of decades of failure free service in a multitude of applications.
everyone who raves about the merlin has largely forgotten that the best "merlins" were made by packard under licence and fitted to the p51 ro replace the very able allison, which couldnt take the same boost as the merlin for high altitude work
the p38 lighting was powered by allisons, which were far more reliable than the merlins, original or generic, used in the p51 mustang and others.
bear in mind in the european theatre at the time a very significant proportion of engines never made 100 hours before being shot out of the sky, fewer still did 1000 hours.
check out
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Reply to
Guy Fawkes

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