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Engine related: Octane Measurement

Reed Engine

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
But not so antique but then again? I got a phone call asking if I’d attempt to help a man who works for a major oil company that owns several refineries. I said yes and he drove in to my shop today. His problem is the contraption used to determine the octane of gasoline. What it is is a single cylinder engine that has variable compression ratio and a knock sensor to determine the exact point of detonation. Originally these were supported by Waukesha. I happen to know a man who worked for Waukesha for years so I’m thinking this might be a possibility. What the problem is the parts that are currently available are not very good and being out of tolerance caused the sensor to detect preignition at a wrong place. He explain just 1/10 off cost about a million dollars in lost revenue in a year. They want -0 / + 1/10. If it runs 2/10ths high that’s 2 mil lost over the coarse of a year. His company owns 50 of these engines and they keep 12 running 24/7/365. The rest are in transit or being rebuilt all the time. They spend $500,000.00 a year maintaining these things. He wanted me to become involved in the manufacturing of “quality” parts.

Now the good part. There is only one manufacturer. Every refinery in the world uses this same engine. Think about the $$$$$$$$ here.

I call my Waukesha friend. He knows the engine well. He also said the company he works for that makes engines and parts would never consider touching this with a ten foot poll. Why? Government regulations. The EPA is hands on on this and if you make a part that ends up causing a miscalculation you would be liable.

So, I had a million dollar deal in my hands today and let it walk.
 

Wayne 440

Registered
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

NBD. Do it only as an employee of the oil company and insist that they fund a blanket liability policy on your behalf, plus pay your legal expense for independent review of the policy. IF they really need the parts, they will jump all over that offer.

---------- Post added at 08:26:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:24:10 PM ----------

maybe related - http://www.runyard.org/jr/CFR/octane1.html
 

Reed Engine

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

I passed him into others who I know who actually do the manufacturing of the parts he needs, bearings, piston rings and valves guides seats. I called them and told them the good and bad aspects and ask them to throw me a bone later down the road if it works out.
 

Odin

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Last Subscription Date
07/13/2019
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

I would expect most competent machinists could make the parts he needs.

But that is an enormous liability attached to it.

Really, if everyone is using the same piece of equipment to do that job, why are there no parts available? Or is it because the OEM has selectively discontinued certain parts in order to force people to buy a newer model device.
 

ronm

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

I passed him into others who I know who actually do the manufacturing of the parts he needs, bearings, piston rings and valves guides seats. I called them and told them the good and bad aspects and ask them to throw me a bone later down the road if it works out.
Good plan, that sounds like a can of worms if there ever was one...
I was asked once by my friend that owned the auto machine shop to meet with a maintenance guy from a coal mine up the country. He was looking for somebody that could rebuild Cat 3306 engines in their mine buggies & make them last longer than their own mechanics could. After talking with the guy for a while, he said "If I could just get the miners to quit parking the buggies where the water from the scrubber runs back into the exhaust, it might help..." my buddy & I looked at each other, & after the guy left he said "I think that would be a good deal to stay away from." I said I totally agree...
 

Reed Engine

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

There are parts available. They are so out of spec the rebuild acts like a worn engine and so makes the octane sensor inaccurate.

All of these engines need to be dead nuts right on to be repeatable and consistent.
 

OTTO-Sawyer

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Age
57
Last Subscription Date
07/15/2019
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

So WHO makes the Currently Available Parts and does the EPA Hold THEM Accountable for the inaccuracies ???

:shrug:
 

Tanner Remillard

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Age
36
Last Subscription Date
02/05/2020
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

Sounds like they need to give you blueprints with tolerances and have a quality control inspection on their end that they sign off on, making them liable for anything that wasn't right. That way you're just the guy making the parts from what they told you to do.
 

Elden DuRand

In Memory Of
Age
78
Last Subscription Date
12/22/2017
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

Tanner:

That's what I'd do. If you build the parts the customer's spec, especially if they are better than the presently available parts, you should be all right.

Some kind of incoming inspection and approval by the customer and sign off on the invoice would be good.

Sounds like they need to give you blueprints with tolerances and have a quality control inspection on their end that they sign off on, making them liable for anything that wasn't right. That way you're just the guy making the parts from what they told you to do.
 

Reed Engine

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Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

The company that owns the engine now is called Compass.
 

Mikey NY

Registered
Last Subscription Date
02/28/2016
Re: Unsure where to post this. Engine related.

sounds like cheap Chinese parts supplier . Maybe harbor freight :eek:
 

dkamp

eMail NOT Working
Some cool reference;

http://www.runyard.org/jr/CFR/octane1.html
http://www.waukeshacfr.com/f1-f2

Okay, so... there's some basic rules about measurement and instrumentation that many people misunderstand, and since I'm in the metrology industry, I'll share some basics here:

To measure something, one needs not some finite, unobtainable ultimate precision...

You only need a predictable and repeatable method, where controls are known, where variables are incremented, and where ancillary circumstances can be properly compensated for.

The operating principle of this machine is NOT complicated- it's an engine, and it has variable displacement. It doesn't actually measure OCTANE. It measures the PREIGNITION POINT of a fuel/air mixture.

The CONSTANTS... are air and fuel temperature, combustion chamber temperature, ignition timing, and operating speed.

The variables are: Fuel quality, and compression ratio.

The output: Audible engine knock.

How do you make a 'variable compression ratio' on an engine? That's extremely easy- you build an engine that has the HIGHEST compression ratio that you'd expect to need (in this case, John's page says the F1/F2 goes to 18:1 CR... so build it to 20:1 with just enough clearance in the chamber for valves to operate. To go LOWER, have a series of chambers of different sizes, with hand-valves that allow you to increase the amount of volume in the 'squish zone', such that the resulting compression ratio is substantially lower... down to 4:1.

A single-cylinder diesel engine is a shoe-in for this circumstance... just need a cylinder head fitted for spark ignition. Note that the spark plug electrode will be the de-facto 'hottest' place in the chamber- this is where preignition will START.

To test the preignition circumstance, simply start the engine, allow it to warm to it's typical temperature, then increase the CR by closing off the hand-valves of the ancillary chambers 'till you hear preignition. To 'calibrate' your measurements, use a fuel sample that was 'tested' and qualified up against another instrument already. On your engine, note the temperature and compression ratio under which you found preignition to occur.

From that point on, any fuel character that 'matches' will be of the same fuel quality as your test sample.
 

Reed Engine

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
07/10/2019
Just to add, this engine achieves variable compression ratios by moving the cylinder up and down. It's threaded on the bottom and has an adjustment nut down there. To raise the cr you lower the cylinder and vise versa. An adjustable deck height.
 

Beanscoot

Registered
"It measures the PREIGNITION POINT of a fuel/air mixture."

The engine determines the compression ratio where detonation occurs.

Detonation is different from preignition.

I agree with others that if a party makes parts that match the specifications supplied to it, it won't be legally responsible for sins committed by the purchaser, unless it knew the purchaser was intending to circumvent laws with the parts.
 
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