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Oil Field Engines & Related Equipment

Ball 25HP

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Old 11-30-2014, 05:36:01 PM
afretired afretired is offline
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Default Ball 25HP

After finally getting the engine unloaded after a week I have been playing around with the engine a few days. I still don't have all the bugs worked out of it, but I'm getting closer. I spent a good day trying to start it with air piped into the head,, but the extra air changes the fuel/air mixture and it doesn't Fire very reliable. But it will start ok by hand, but it is a handful to get rolling. Any one have any ideas?

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Old 11-30-2014, 06:19:57 PM
johndeereal johndeereal is offline
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Default Re: Ball 25HP

Our club has a 15 hp that we start with air, no problem. Get the hot tube up to temp., roll the piston up to just past TDC, hit it with about 100 lbs. of air to get it rolling. The trick is to be real quick with the air.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:38:33 PM
JHFoster JHFoster is offline
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Default Re: Ball 25HP

See if this works.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:36:15 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Ball 25HP

You only want air pressure to the cylinder on the down stroke! If there is still pressure applied under compression, the resulting pressure from early ignition may cause an extreme pressure surge into your air reservoir, unless there is a check in the system. For air start to work, you need full pressure and volume for nearly the entire down stroke. Using too small a reservoir or supply pipe will not supply enough speed to carry over on the actual compression stroke. If air is still entering the cylinder on the compression stroke, you are asking for big trouble. This could be a blown head gasket, from over pressure, possible explosion of the air supply piping/valve work, possible damage to the piston/rod and or crank. In an extreme cases, I have seen a head blown clean off the engine, and a cylinder separated from the engine block. About 10 years ago, improper starting procedure by an inexperienced operater caused severe damage to an engine at the Coolspring Museum. Proper use and set up of air start is a must.

Johndeereal has it about right. 150 PSI would be better, Place engine just after TDC Compression. For best operation, the largest pipe diameter to the air start piping, from the reservoir, as possible - minimum of 11/2". Shortest distance from the actual air admission valve assembly and checks to the air admission port, to shorten blow down time. Apply air from a 100 gallon reservoir or larger, and use a quick opening valve like a ball valve rated at 300 PSI or more. Your little home 20 gallon air compressor with 1/4" hose won't cut it! Have 2 check valves in series, in line with your supply, after the admission valve, to prevent blow back into the start system. Close the air admission valve as the piston nears about 20 degrees from the end of its stroke, to allow the excess air to vent out the exhaust and allow the engine to transfer the normal fuel/air transfer into the engine. You do NOT want starting air pressure to add pressure to the new air/fuel charge being compressed. If you do, excess pressure probably will cause a fuel charge explosion instead of the normal burn. The excess pressure can cause havoc with your engine, as stated above. It takes practice to get used to an air start. You might try it quite a few times with fuel and ignition off, to get used to how you time your air admission. In my experience, trying to get in a second air pulse after the initial try is to invite trouble. If the engine does not carry over on the first try, the fuel/air charge MUST be purged out before re-trying, so as not to cause an overpressure explosion. This can be done by opening the air valve with the exhaust open for about a minute or 2, and then restoring the engine back to the just after TDC position. if you cannot get the engine to carry over at least one compression stroke, with your current air supply, either you need a larger supply pipe, a larger reservoir or a higher pressure. it may be any combination of the above.
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Old 12-03-2014, 12:01:42 AM
afretired afretired is offline
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Default Re: Ball 25HP

Thanks for the info and fixing the video link.

I have been using a 30 gal air tank pressurized to 130psi with about a 4 ft 3/4 hydraulic hose connected to the cylinder head by a series of valves. bottom ball valve (holds air in the tank), "T" with a second valve coming off the "T" with a valve for compression release, and then another ball valve. I have an air line from my compressor connected to the 30 gal tank, while it is pressurizing I keep the lower ball valve closed, then open the valve on the "t" and open the top ball valve, roll it to just past TDC, then close both of the open valves, then open the lower all valve allowing the pressure to reach the upper ball valve then with a quick stroke charge the cylinder till just before it passes the exhaust port. At that time it has enough momentum to roll two revolutions and it will just about make it to TDC on the third rev. Every once in a while I can get it to fire, but about half the time when it comes up on the third rev it fires before TDC and kicks and runs backwards.

I have good response bumping it by hand, but I'm a little gun shy about it. Five years ago I was cranking my 15 HP Reid at a show and got in a hurry and it backfired (didn't have it purged good enough), well it completely launched me backwards, I did a flip in the air and came down hard on my right leg. It tool six months of physical therapy and walking in a cast boot to get over it. I'm 6-2" and 285lbs and believe me if a 15Hp can launch me like that a trip on a 25 HP could get rough. So if anyone else out there is riding the spokes, beware....

A bigger air line would be great but the inlet to the head is only 3/4. I have found out it's a lot like my Reid. It doesn't need as much gas as you think, in-fact most of the time I am probably flooding it. I have been using the original gas valve that came on it, which is very difficult to control the amount of gas. I am using a truck air brake tank for my charging tank, it is probably about three gallons and it is connected by 1" black pipe. I haven't been purging the system when it doesn't fire by air, but I sure do when starting by hand. I'm a believer. I'll try going through the process again with your recommendations and see if I have any better luck.

David R Davis
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