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Unknown Barn Find Ecotrans? Help!

We are a demolition/salvage company in Kitchener, ON Canada. This unit has been in our shop for years and I am just starting to move items around.

I was told it is an Auxiliary Locomotive Engine. I am not sure if this is correct, just relaying what I have heard.

Attached are the photos from our shop.

Please if anyone can give me some details on the unit, possibly what its worth as we salvage materials and would need a selling price for an engine like this.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Joe Romas

Subscriber
Age
76
Last Subscription Date
10/03/2019
By looking at the water pump and plumbing and lack of a radiator I'm thinking it was some kind of setup to keep a larger engine warm while supplying 120-240 60 htz current. I have no idea what voltage train passenger cars might use:confused:

Since it's made in Italy it could very well be a VM engine. VM Motori is currently owned by Fiat.
http://www.vmmotori.com/
 

Birken Vogt

Email NOT Working
That looks like a Kubota engine. Good engine. It is a Mecc Alte alternator which are a good "generic" brand. Some company just assembled them and slapped a label on.

Without a radiator or fan and with a questionable control system and no housing or soundproofing it is not worth a whole lot to most people. It would take thousands to get all those things together.
 

PFT

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/07/2020
That is an auxillary power unit for locomotives, it was used to keep the train powered up and warm when parked for extended periods. It was built by Advanced Thermal Dynamics (they changed their name to Ecotrans). That pump mounted on the side (the bronze part) with the long green shaft housing and pulley is built by Oberdorfer Pumps. The pump has some special parts used only for the application, early versions with standard parts failed due to the vibrations inherant in the setup.

PT
 

pegasuspinto

Registered
One thing badly not in it's favor to be installed into a locomotive is that it likely does not meet tier on the emissions.
 

PFT

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/07/2020
Here is a picture of the unit that came from their website early in production.
 

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enigmapaul

Registered
It’s definately a locomaitove apu. We used to work with them. The company is still in KITCHENER known as IMPCO. They are about $20k installed.
 

PFT

Subscriber
Last Subscription Date
02/07/2020
That's the latter version where they eliminated the belt driven pump and it's problems. The direct coupled pump to the 3Ø motor is the way they should have done it in the first design.
PT
 

grifzila

Registered
I paid $4250 for one of these surplus units. Someone had reconfigured it with an electric fan and radiator, removed the Aux. water circulating pump, Blocked the pump opening, added a fuel primer bulb and filter, rotated the exhaust muffler to exit to the side, moved the air filter inside the frame, and built an awesome (heavy duty ) compact trailer with electric brakes and 16 gal fuel tank. My guess is that it now weighs about 1300 lb.

The important components are well built. The turbo diesel has no trouble driving it's rated 17 KW. The diesel ~ 36 hp is governed to 1800 rpm, so is about the right size output power at the reduced run rpms. The engine and generator enable control is all relay operated - no micro possessor. It has over speed, over temp., and oil pres. shut down. There are analog oil press., engine temp. gauges plus digital voltage and hertz meters. One rotary switch will automatically cycle the glow plugs, delay cranking the engine, then delay another few minutes (warm the engine) before enabling the generator output.

Now the not so well designed: The locomotives they were heating with this APU use no antifreeze ( EPA ground pollution issue) . This means the Kubota cooling water has had a dubious life. I found one of the head freeze plugs was weeping - probably corrosion has burrowed under it's edge. Possibly the engine has been exposed to sub freezing conditions while stored or down for maint.

My unit showed a control problem (won't start, error faults, etc) because the 12v main (red) wire that supplies the control board (center back edge) plugs on with a standard slide on connector that is marginally able to handle the glow plug and other stuff. This should have been a screw stud. When it gets hot it goes to higher resistance and starves the relays. I found the problem on mine because the alternator was blasting the 900 amp AGM battery with over 15.5 volts while running. The alternator sense wire comes from the control board - so, when the board feed wire starts to fail, the sense wire voltage goes down - the alternator keeps adding voltage to bring it up the 14.5 v normal charging voltage. This is cooking the battery. You can't make the alternator (one wire - jumper the output to the sense wire to the alternator output post) because sense wire back feeds the control and the unit won't shut off normally or stop for errors.

Most of the circuit breakers in the control box are not used. They are what I call Euoro. setup . They clamp to ta mech. strip and power is on screw lugs on both sides of the breakers. This creates another design problem - The generator output goes through a 50 amp main breaker that feed a ridiculous copper buss strip with standard slide on connectors that were never intended to handle this current. From the buss, all the other circuit breakers are slide on connector jumpered from the "buss". The fix is just take the generator output from the main breaker instead of from one of the buss fed breakers.

I have been trying to locate detailed wiring diagrams of the unit from the manufacturer and other sources. No luck - Help! I have operating info and generator trouble shooting info but no details on the relay, over speed, and gauges wiring.

John
 

grifzila

Registered
More detail to be added to my original posting: If yo are considering purchasing one of these APU's - there are several different configurations. Some had belt driven large circulating water pump instead of driven of the end of the injection pump area. The exhaust, intake filter, control box, and other small stuff is mounted in several diff. ways. I mention this mostly to evaluate a unit of interest. They were built to be mounted inside the sheltered body of the locomotive - it is an open top frame. If they were stored outside in a surplus yard there are opportunities for weather damage from rain getting into critical places - like intake, exhaust, control box, etc. Some of the units have missing components - probably robbed from down units to fix others.

Of the five I've looked at, all were low hours - under 2002 hrs. - This leads me to the theory that the railroad maint. workers had trouble keeping them working for minor stuff that I mentioned earlier. They were in service less than 5 years. Mine had 1700 hours, a new battery, and no signs of real wear.
 

Phatjimmy

Registered
I know this is an old thread but I own one of these APU's as a house generator. I used to install and set these up in CSX Locomotives back in early 2000. I have the manual that came with these units. PM me if you want a PDF copy emailed. It's too big to attach to the forum. I also have part numbers for parts. Snyder Equipment will sell you spare parts but they are not cheap. Like some others have said, there were several MOD's done to these that didn't work out to well. Let me know if you have any questions or need help. I have mine working great using all the onboard locomotive inputs.

Brief specs to know:
16 KW max output at 66 amps (240 vac). CSX under breakered them at 50 amps due to the high temps in the locomotive car body
Pump off the back of the injection pump accessory drive is an oil pump for locomotive oil. It can be removed if you don't have the Snyder upgraded automatic oil injection system. DO NOT run that pump dry or it will lock up and break your injection pump gear set. And that is costly to fix.
Engine is cooled by a heat exchanger that uses the locomotive cooling water to cool the Kubota. To use as a generator for home you will need to install a radiator. Snyder modded these unit to have a radiator because the heat exchanger's were notiorus for plugging up and overheating the Kubota.

Of course if any of you have parts you don't want or will not use, let me know. I am always looking for spare parts.

Hope this helps.
Phatjimmy
 

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