ROGERS DIESEL ENGINE 8BHP S/N 2 circa 1942
This is a view of the engine at the time it was being recovered early in 2017. There are several points of interest.
1. The engine, whilst badged "Rogers Diesel and Aircraft Corporation", is actually a Sheppard 8 BHP engine, for which Rogers became agents in New York state in August 1942.
2. It is coupled to a double-acting open-crank water pump of 4" bore and 5" stroke, manufactured by Domestic Engine and Pump Company. This pump is fitted with a geared reduction gearbox from the input shaft to the pump crankshaft, with a ratio of about 7:1.
3. The whole affair is mounted on frames welded to a rim from a steel-wheeled tractor laid horizontally, having had its spokes cut off with a gas axe.
The engine itself is very unusual, having a "Lanova" head giving indirect injection into a cavity in the head rather than into the cylinder. The compression ratio is a high 22:1. Externally, it has a bolt-on water pump, big, heavy starter motor (24V) - solenoid operated, a generator (missing), heater element in the induction air-stream, plunger-type fuel priming pump, and oil and fuel filters. There is no fuel pump, and no clue as to whether the fuel tank is high or low mounted.
The water pump has 2" imlet and outlet pipes, and a large pressure compensating chamber.
The condition of the units suggested they were seized, and many nuts and bolts were rusted beyond recognition. However, not a single one failed to come free. Neither the engine nor the pump proved to be seized, though the pump turned with some effort. All of its bearings and journals proved to be in good condition despite some missing grease cups, indicating the value of grease against the ingress of moisture. After finding the engine could also be turned (but no compression), some oil was delivered into the cylinder via the exhaust port before attempting removal of the head. The inlet valve was found to have been stuck open due to rust, not surprising given there was no top on the air filter and signs of rust in the inlet port. The bore was found to be perfectly clean, so the piston was left in place. The old oil in the sump was surprisingly clean, and the sump when cleaned out showed the internal yellow paint.
As an aside, at the National Rally in April 2017 a Sheppard engine was displayed, and contact with its owner revealed it too was badged "Rogers" and is Serial Number 1!. I have also sighted another engine badged "Rogers" in the Sydney region and it is Serial Number 120.
The base has been modified to have a pair of rollers underneath to enable it to be winched on and off a trailer with ramps, and steelwork added to mount a 44-gallon drum as a water tank, and to secure a pair of heavy-duty 12V batteries. Plumbing of the pump and engine has been done, and a frame to mount a fuel tank high enough for gravity feed.
The Domestic pump has been completely disassembled, new leather buckets fitted, new gudgeon pin made, and grease cups fitted to all lubrication points.
In the absence of any guidance, the fuel injector was tested and seemed to dribble only, but had plenty of injection pressure. The actual injector could not be taken apart, so had to be left as is. A start was attempted, and a little ether was used enabling it to fire and continue to run, but with a very strong diesel knock. It ran for only a short time as it had no cooling water connected, and when it was tried again with water, it would not start, and fumes were observed coming out of the cooling pipe, indicating a failed head gasket.
A manual was located, but only in Kindle form. However this indicated that much higher head nut tension was required, and the knocking was due probably to air in the fuel system. The engine was dismantled to reveal failure all around the head gasket, so a new one was made, this time with a fire ring around the liner surface, It is being reassembled now, with 140ft lbs torque on the head nuts.
The engine started without difficulty, speed could be varied, and it could be stopped with the speed control. The strong diesel knock was still there.
December, 2018: I have returned to update on progress after a long layoff for personal reasons. During 2018 I split the engine in an endeavour to find the serious knock, removing the big-end bearing to check the gudgeon pin, but no issue was found. This was not a simple process, having to remake some complex gaskets. Re-assembly necessitated removing the flywheel when it was discovered the holding bolts were loose - the cause of the knock! So much work and such a simple reason!
Attempts at starting revealed a total lack of oil pressure. The manual said it could be necessary to prime the oil pump after removal, impossible in situ. So the oil was drained, the timing cover and two timing gears removed, all to gain access to the Allen head bolts holding the pump in place. A gallery was found behind the mounting of one of the gears, and a few squirts from an oil can, and the oil pressure issue was solved.
However, the engine would not start. After a lot of head scratching, I increased the stroke of the injector pump by 0.015", and to my joy, the engine ran and its speed was able to be controlled. Why it would not start when no change had been made to the fuel system is a complete mystery. So now it can all be put back together, and the fuel and oil leaks attended to.Then another start with some coolant in the system - all good. At this stage the pump was not coupled.
January 2019: Now the whole thing is back together again, the biggest issue being fuel leaks around the fuel filter despite a fair bit of brazing and pressure testing. This is a nuisance because it looses prime, which is not so easy to restore. It was tested with the pump connected and the pump worked very well. A new 24V generator was mounted and wired up but refuses to charge - probably not fast enough. After completing re-assembly, the engine was found to start very easily, with the pump presenting little load, and engine water temperature easily controlled using the valve in the plumbing system.
The engine was displayed at the St Ives show in May 2019, when it was started and run many times, the batteries holding out well. No issues beyond a couple of annoying fuel leaks emerged.
It is a most uncommon engine and pump, and very worthy of restoration.
Below is a photo taken at the 2019 St Ives Show.