Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Information & discussion on Packard's non-automotive businesses.
Dave Czirr
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by Dave Czirr » Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:59 am

A couple of photos of a Packard minesweeper marine diesel on display at the Packard Proving Grounds in June, 2013.
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Pontiac 2013 028.JPG
Pontiac 2013 030.JPG

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Ozstatman
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by Ozstatman » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:58 pm

Dave,

Lower right in your 2nd photo there is a 6(?) cylinder marine engine which, besides the person in the photo, gives a good reference point for the size of the minesweeper diesel.
Mal
Currently - '50 Packard Eight Touring Sedan
Previously - '41 120 Club Coupe(Sold October 2017) & '38 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold July 2009)
Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW Australia

"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

Tom86314
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by Tom86314 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:58 pm

I served on the USS Parrot MSC 193 in 1963-64-65, as an engineman, based in Charleston, South Carolina. These sturdy vessels were double planked oak hulls with oak rib strakes with 2 Packard V-12 propulsion engines and 2 Packard V-12 mine sweep generators, the generators generated DC voltage that was pulsed through a mark 12 pulse generator to fool mines into thinking multiple ships had passed over. The Packard's were air start and would stall if the forward to reverse wasn't done correctly. In 1964 the mine force ships with Packard's, were preferred sea duty at that time, due to the fact the Packard spare parts supply was limited and you couldn't go far from your home port That year (1964) the Navy war stores was released to keep the Packard as a viable power plant. The Navy always had plenty of parts and actually had some spare engines. After the parts were released the Packard powered mine sweepers were supplied with spare parts and engines were overhauled. After that they went back to sea. I enjoyed working on those engines, they were precision manufactured power plants. As for the blowing head gaskets, if the heads were re-torqued after 25 hours from replacing the head gaskets, they were good to go for a long time. The 12 cylinder,4 valve per cylinder, hemispherical head, dual overhead cam with 2 Bosch fuel injection pumps, was a bear to re-torque the heads on and many crews didn't do it. Our old chief had served on these MSC's since they were built and knew how to keep them going. They were constructed with aluminum blocks, internal parts were stainless steel, Monel (Monel is a trademark of Special Metals Corporation for a series of nickel alloys, primarily composed of nickel (up to 67%) and copper, with some iron and other trace elements)and aluminum. Glad to see there is interest in these old beasts of burden.

Dave Czirr
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by Dave Czirr » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:32 pm

How absolutely wonderful that someone who knew these engines first-hand found our post and we're thrilled to have your comments, hopefully you'll have more to come as so very little is written or published about this little piece of Packard history.

Dave

jmmanahan@yahoo.com
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by jmmanahan@yahoo.com » Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:13 pm

I was an Engineman in the US Navy. In 1970 I completed Non-Magnetic Diesel Engine School in Charlestown South Carolina. I was then stationed aboard two Ocean Going Minesweepers (MSO). These were wooden hulled ships with a very shallow draft. The had four main propulsion engines, V-12 Pakards. Each was 600 HP, turbocharged, twin overhead cams. Each cylinder had its own individual cylinder head with two exhaust and two intake valves, (Sodium filled). The engines used air starters that were mounted inside the "V". The ships used a six cylinder a Packard to power a 185 KW ships service generator, with 100 KW and 60KW generators powered by 6-71 and 4-71 General Motors diesels, also non-magnetic. Two of the main propulsion V-12's served double duty as pulse generators to detonate magnetic mines. Because the generators were used to pulse power each set had a 2000 lb inertia flywheel to absorb the torque. There was also a third pulse generator set, also a Packard v-12, mounted in the forward engine room.

I had the unfortunate experience of having a V-12 Packard "Run-away". I was aboard the USS Pluck (MSO 464) and were were running a simulated mine sweep. Working in the forward engine room I received orders to light off the T-6, (V-12 Pulse Generator). I did and began the mandatory 15 minute warm up. After about five minutes I noted smoke coming from the camshaft cover breathers. This was not normal and I went about checking all the gauges and temps, all were normal. I requested permission to shut down the engine to investigate. While waiting the engine began to gain RPM and rumble. I received the shut down order and adjusted the throttle to shut down. No response and the engine continued to gain RPM. I shut off the fuel supply valve...no response. Pulled the overspeed trip and shut off the air supply, no response. The engine continued to gain RPM until it exploded at about 3000 RPM, the engine normally ran at 1800 RPM. The crankcase exploded sending fire and smoke everywhere, myself and the other two engineers on watch escaped without injury. Did I mention the 2000lb flywheel? Solid brass, and rotated on a 6 inch stainless steel shaft. Later inspections revealed the shaft was severely cracked, if it had broken the flywheel would have spun through the wooden hull. Final inspection revealed a burt crankshaft bearing caused the problem, the engine was running on lube oil from the crankcase. The hazard of peace time service.

Dave Czirr
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by Dave Czirr » Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:18 pm

Great story! It's wonderful to have someone with actual experience with these engines to add their story, thanks so much for posting.

saltydoug
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by saltydoug » Thu Jul 21, 2016 1:19 pm

Greetings, Packard friends,

I am CDR Doug Conwell, USN (Retired). I have been a Packard car enthusiast for many decades, as well as a student of Packard history. However, to this conversation, I enter as the last Commanding Officer of USS VENTURE (MSO-496). As skipper, our engineers and I had a fascinating dance card with our Packard engines! My engineman friend has his facts right on! Although it has been more than 40 years since my MSO experience, many interesting stories concerning our Packard engines remain outstanding in my mind. If I may answer questions you may have, it will be my pleasure to do so. Additionally, like all sailors, I have a fully packed kit of sea stories, many amusing, surrounding our Packard engines!

I am at your service!

Dave Czirr
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by Dave Czirr » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:01 am

Hi Doug, and welcome!

Of course we'd love to hear stories about your experiences with and around the Packard engines! And have you considered or might you consider an article along those lines for possible publication in The Packard Club quarterly magazine? I'm going to send a link to this exchange to the editor of that publication, you'll probably hear from him via a Private Message (PM).

saltydoug
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Re: Non-magnetic Marine Diesels

Post by saltydoug » Sun Jul 24, 2016 10:36 pm

Hello, Dave,
Sorry for the delay in response; I am still learning how this thing works! I would be happy to put together an article for the Packard magazine. I also have several photos of our ship which I would be glad to share. (Alas, I have no photos of her engines.) Whereas all MSO's had controllable pitch propellers, VENTURE also had Kort nozzles (shrouds around her screws, designed to help the ship operate more quietly-an advantage around acoustic mines). The down side of the Kort nozzles was that they made VENTURE difficult to handle in close quarters. Inasmuch as my experience prior to VENTURE was aboard destroyers, my courtship with my new minesweeper was an uneasy one, until she taught me just how she liked to be handled, then we got along exceedingly well! (Sometimes it is difficult to tell just who is really in charge, the Captain or his ship!)

Any of you gentlemen is welcome to contact me directly via my email address: saltydoug77@gmail.com.

Best wishes,

Doug

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