BENEFITS OF OIL ANALYSIS ON LOCOMOTIVES
After performing Oil Analysis on locomotives in the rail Industry for many years now, Techenomics International has seen the many benefits and large amount of dollars companies can save, by implementing a preventative maintenance schedule.
The examples outlined in this case study, come from the work Techenomics have carried out for a client in 2013 and highlight successful maintenance interventions that underlie the value of the oil analysis programme in identifying both engine and air compressor conditions, detected by the evaluation of oil samples.
Although many incidents were raised that resulted in maintenance actions addressing specific issues identified through the oil analysis and the repair description, the four examples discussed clearly show the role oil analysis programmes contribute to achieving locomotive reliability.
Oil Analysis Example one – “Locomotive 1”
Results of an Engine Oil Sample show very high indication of water leaks with sodium, Boron and Silicon. High coolant reads had been recorded for three months and follow up inspections had yet to detect the leak.
Based on analysis results and failure analysis recommendations provided by Techenomics the client carried out an exhaustive engine examination to determine the source of the leak.
5 heads were cracked letting water into the engine. Head was replaced, oil and filters changed and the problem was fixed.
Advantages of Oil Analysis identifying water leaks in Alco Engines
- Alco engine water leaks are often not immediately evident and can be difficult to identify.
- Oil analysis will identify the presence but not the source of the water leak.
- To identify the source of the leak often requires time to let the engine cool down completely and allow the coolant to leak past the liner seals so the source can be correctly identified.
- Early detection of water leaks through oil analysis is vital in preventing engine failures.
Oil Analysis Example two – “Locomotive 2”
Compressor oil samples show a very high PQ index, high iron and high chromium
Based on analysis results and failure analysis recommendations provided by Techenomics the client changed the oil immediately and carried an internal inspection to identify the source of the wear elements and determine repair.
Best practice carried out. Oil changed, reprimed. The next analysis result is within acceptable limits.
Advantages of Oil Analysis identifying iron particles
- 3CDC air compressors in this type of locomotive are regularly exhibiting high levels of iron particles.
- Oil analysis can identify not only the presence but also the size of iron particles which can differentiate between normal wear and accelerated wear due to advanced component failure.
- This assists maintainers who can often have difficulty in detecting the source of the wear metal.
Oil Analysis Example three – “Locomotive 3”
Engine oil sample showed low viscosity and 2% fuel dilation. Another sample was taken.
Based on analysis results and failure analysis recommendations provided by Techenomics the client immediately checked the engine for fuel leaks.
Found #2, 5, 8 fuel delivery pipes leaking. All pipes were replaced and checked for leaks. No leaks evident. Pipes will be monitored.
Advantages of Oil Analysis identifying fuel leaks
- Engine fuel leaks from leaking fuel jumper pipes can dilute the engine oil very quickly.
- Plain bearings in EMD engines are durable but dilution of the oil by diesel fuel will lead to an increase in friction and accelerated wear of these bearings.
- Early detection through the oil analysis is vital in preventing engine failures.
Oil Analysis Example four - “Locomotive 4”
After oil analysis Engine oil sample showed high silicon and sodium and increasing Boron.
Based on analysis results and failure analysis recommendations provided by Techenomics the client carried out an examination to identify the source of the coolant leak. The sample again showed high silicon, sodium and Boron.
#1 Power Assy water elbow was leaking. Water elbow replaced and problem fixed.
Advantages of Oil Analysis identifying Water leaks in EMD Engines
- Water leaks in EMD engines can occur at the water elbows and result in dilution of the oil and increase in the sodium level in the oil.
- Engine wear is increased with water and abrasive sodium in engine oil.
- Oil sampling is very effective in detecting the presence of coolant leaks and alerting maintainers that intervention is required to identify the source.
It only takes the saving of one or two engine failures to underwrite the cost of the oil analysis programme.
These case studies clearly show that Oil Analysis, carried out by Techenomics, on the engines of locomotives helped the clients detect engine problems and consequently prevented very costly engine failures.