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Brief Encounter with the Chief Engineer of the IHC Plant in Neuss, Germany


bob_carr

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Some weeks ago I listed a welder for sale on FB MarketPlace and last night received notification of an interested potential buyer in Dollar Bay, Michigan.  Coming out to inspect the welder this morning, he noticed the 584 parked in the shop and somewhat casually mentioned he had been the Chief Engineer at the Neuss, Germany plant until the Tenneco takeover in 1984.  I was somwehat busy with some time-sensitive projects, so did not have a lot of time to chat even though I would have liked to talk longer.  In just a few minutes though,  I heard some interesting insider stories on troubleshooting and problem-solving.  I also learned the correct pronunciation of Neuss, and can confirm it does not sound like "noose"  (actually rhymes with "voice").  I hope we can talk more in the future.  Not really a small-world happening but a pleasant and unexpected encounter for me.

A few minutes ago I sent him the link to RPM Forums.  If he's not already a member I hope he will join and contribute.

We are still negotiating on the welder.

 

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If you talk with him again, see if he would come to a RPRU and tell his story?

It sounds like he is an interesting individual with info we could use.

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He shared more history yesterday evening.  I sent text this morning asking his permission to share in this thread.  I believe our chats will continue and I will certainly raise the RPRU possibility with him.  

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6 hours ago, Diesel Doctor said:

If you talk with him again, see if he would come to a RPRU and tell his story?

It sounds like he is an interesting individual with info we could use.

We chatted via Messenger again this morning and I asked if he might consider a presentation at RPRU.  That was just a few minutes ago.

He did give the OK to pass along the brief job synopsis he shared last evening and also took the time to send a work story he thought might interest forum readers.  Both are posted below.   Formatting text from Facebook Messnger sucks.

 

Job Bio:

Quote

 

I started at IH in the Melrose Park engine lab in June of 74, right out of college. The 300 and 400 series engines had been put in production not too long before that.

The VP of Engineering was a fellow by the name of Bill Wallace, who came from Continental in Muskegon. There were another half dozen or more people from there too. Also a group recruited from Cat in Peoria, including John Horne, who eventually became CEO of the company and effectively turned the engine business into a several billion dollar business.

I did a lot of performance development on the dyno back then, and that evolved into emissions development, since the old timers were resistant to getting involved in that aspect. Eventually I was the main guy on the 1980 6 gram California truck engine.. After that launched successfully, albeit late, I was promoted to Product Engineer on the Meus PIP truck engine, and that rolled into Resident Chief engineer in Neisse for three years, until we sold ag.

When I came back, I worked on the 6.9 and 7.3 IDI, then Chief Engineer on the 466.

I ended my career with a ten year stint as Director of future technology

 

 

Work Story:

Quote

 

One story you might tell is how we had a crash program to “fix” the white smoke issue on the 310.

The Neuss engines were developed in Germany and put in various tractors built in Germany, France,and England, plus several more places.

They were developed using Euro spec fuel, which has a much higher cetane rating than the swill we let pass for Diesel here. That high cetane reduces ignition delay and provides superior cold starting and cleanup characteristics.

The engines were at the time mostly equipped with Bosch VA fuel pumps, which are a pretty basic pump with limited pressure capability. That forces a fairly low compression ratio in order to minimize black smoke at full load on the lug curve.

Those two things, ie poor cetane specs on US fuels, low compression ratios to enable a decent power output without smoking out, and the US climate conditions, especially in places like Minnesota, led to cold starting and white smoke problems on these utility tractors.

If you could get them started, they would sit there and white smoke until you put a load on them. Then, when you stopped working them, the cylinder / combustion system would cool down and they would revert to white smoke.

It got bad enough that we started getting lawsuits.

One farmer in Minnesota commented that he didn’t like it when his cows were getting sick when he was using the tractor to clean the barn, but he got really upset when his kid got sick.

That type of field issues were usually handled by Neuss in Europe, and Melrose handled domestically produced engines and advanced development.

Since I was working on the stillborn DT358 truck engine project I got dragged in to a crash program to fix the smoke. We had a short time window, but ended up designing a number of new bowl configurations, ordering flattop pistons, then machining new bowls.

We allocated one dyno, and got a couple of test engines, one for the dyno and one for the cold room. We ended up bumping the CR to something like 16.5:1, took a smoke hit that was at least sort of tolerable to an engineer used to developing to low smoke numbers.

I ended up taking a set of pistons to a dealership in Minnesota and rebuilding the guys tractor engine. The dealer shop was a quonset hut with what seemed like a dirt floor. Quite an out of body experience to open up a Diesel engine under those conditions.

The farmer was happy and dropped the threat of a lawsuit. We released the service piston and kit. I had to go to England to sign off on the first batch of production pistons. I think the supplier was Wellworthy, and they were near Petersborough, where Perkins was. I might be wrong about that.

I went through the entire production process, and everything looked fine until the last step, after final inspection but prior to boxing and shipping.

They had for some unknown reason added a deburring operation, after washing, that introduced a fine abrasive and aluminum grit to the piston top and skirt.

To say they were embarrassed when I pointed out they were contaminating the just cleaned pistons is an understatement.

They agreed to do the deburring prior to wash, and that’s the last I ever worked on a 310.

 

 

Edited by bob_carr
spelling correction in quote
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28 minutes ago, bob_carr said:

We chatted via Messenger again this morning and I asked if he might consider a presentation at RPRU.  That was just a few minutes ago.

He did give the OK to pass along the brief job synopsis he shared last evening and also took the time to send a work story he thought might interest forum readers.  Both are posted below.   Formatting text from Facebook Messnger sucks.

 

Job Bio:

 

Work Story:

 

Excellent info from behind the scenes work life within Harvester. 

I'm sure he would get a chuckle out of some of the speculation that gets written on this site since he probably actually knows what happened.

 

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13 hours ago, TN Hillbilly said:

Thank you for sharing this terribly interesting information! It would be great if this fellow felt like joining the site and sharing more stories

I hope he joins as well.  He definitely has some stories to share.

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34 minutes ago, CIHTECH said:

I have engineering bulletins regarding the smoking problems on said engines. I should check to see if he signed off on any of them.

Initials A.T. 

Told him on Thursday I would not share PPI without asking.  I'm still hoping he subscribes.  He indicated he would, but possibly not until he heads to Arizona for the winter.

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That is a very interesting story! I dont know if I had ever heard about the differences in fuel between the US and Europe.  If I had, this puts it all together nicely and I understand better now some things that had been mentioned before but maybe not fully explained.  I do recall Pete23 talking about different compression ratios in the Germans and some other details with starting and smoke. But it's been a while and this adds more meaning to what I recall of his comments. Miss Pete's input. And ty Bob for sharing this.

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Might be more than just snake oil in Hot Shots Diesel Secret?

When I bought the 756, has M&W turbo, dealer installer I believe at New Lothrop Hardware. IH dealer back in the day.

Replaced air filter that was dated 1978

Fuel filters and bowls were filthy.

Rubber elbow from turbo to the intake was swollen and loose like a piece of bologna, loose and sucked in who knows how much dirt.

Replaced elbow and be clamps.

Still smoked like a train.

Was at D&D Truck in Corunna, topic of that day was fuel additives.

This one guy pipes up, only #2 premier diesel and Hot Shots every time I fill.

Well I figured too give it a try.

Made a new tractor out of the seven.

Fuel sipper and doesn't burn oil.

 

 

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Interesting story thx for sharing.

That un-burned fuel exhaust combo can be sickening 

I was at one of the pulls a few years ago there was a AC there in the modified class that was way over fueled at idle it got to me I had to leave the area until he pulled.

And I extremely tolerant of paint fumes etc.

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2 hours ago, Gearclash said:

I find stories like this completely enthralling.

I will make my hijack short, I know a guy who worked for IH Canada I believe all his career. He told me a story of going to England and was working on a deal with that plant to aid in the IH recovery but the trip was all for nothing when he got the call IH ag was sold to Tennecao and he flew back home. I wish I could remember the story in better detail. He is in his 80s now and I haven't seen him for a few years

 He co-authored the Canadian IH book and this article

https://www.grainews.ca/machinery-shop/former-international-harvester-employee-looks-back-at-crawler-development/

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23 minutes ago, hillman said:

 He co-authored the Canadian IH book and this article

Good article, especially the section on building winter roads and the need to occasionally jump before the crawler sank.

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1 hour ago, hillman said:

If he is not comfortable with a message board Harvester Heritage posts stories just like his. excellent platform for these stories

 

Thanks.

@Diesel Doctor sent a link to that site yesterday evening and I have forwarded it on.

I viewed the site fot the first time this morning and still have a tab open to read more later. 

 

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On 8/10/2023 at 11:40 PM, bob_carr said:

Some weeks ago I listed a welder for sale on FB MarketPlace and last night received notification of an interested potential buyer in Dollar Bay, Michigan.  Coming out to inspect the welder this morning, he noticed the 584 parked in the shop and somewhat casually mentioned he had been the Chief Engineer at the Neuss, Germany plant until the Tenneco takeover in 1984.  I was somwehat busy with some time-sensitive projects, so did not have a lot of time to chat even though I would have liked to talk longer.  In just a few minutes though,  I heard some interesting insider stories on troubleshooting and problem-solving.  I also learned the correct pronunciation of Neuss, and can confirm it does not sound like "noose"  (actually rhymes with "voice").  I hope we can talk more in the future.  Not really a small-world happening but a pleasant and unexpected encounter for me.

A few minutes ago I sent him the link to RPM Forums.  If he's not already a member I hope he will join and contribute.

We are still negotiating on the welder.

 

Neuss sounds equal like "noise"

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3 minutes ago, matbush said:

Neuss sounds equal like "noise" / MatBush : ex-Neuss produc tion planning, material management, logistics,

 

 

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On 8/11/2023 at 12:20 PM, bob_carr said:
One story you might tell is how we had a crash program to “fix” the white smoke issue on the 310.

The Neuss engines were developed in Germany and put in various tractors built in Germany, France,and England, plus several more places.

They were developed using Euro spec fuel, which has a much higher cetane rating than the swill we let pass for Diesel here. That high cetane reduces ignition delay and provides superior cold starting and cleanup characteristics.

The engines were at the time mostly equipped with Bosch VA fuel pumps, which are a pretty basic pump with limited pressure capability. That forces a fairly low compression ratio in order to minimize black smoke at full load on the lug curve.

Those two things, ie poor cetane specs on US fuels, low compression ratios to enable a decent power output without smoking out, and the US climate conditions, especially in places like Minnesota, led to cold starting and white smoke problems on these utility tractors.

If you could get them started, they would sit there and white smoke until you put a load on them. Then, when you stopped working them, the cylinder / combustion system would cool down and they would revert to white smoke.

It got bad enough that we started getting lawsuits.

One farmer in Minnesota commented that he didn’t like it when his cows were getting sick when he was using the tractor to clean the barn, but he got really upset when his kid got sick.

That type of field issues were usually handled by Neuss in Europe, and Melrose handled domestically produced engines and advanced development.

Since I was working on the stillborn DT358 truck engine project I got dragged in to a crash program to fix the smoke. We had a short time window, but ended up designing a number of new bowl configurations, ordering flattop pistons, then machining new bowls.

We allocated one dyno, and got a couple of test engines, one for the dyno and one for the cold room. We ended up bumping the CR to something like 16.5:1, took a smoke hit that was at least sort of tolerable to an engineer used to developing to low smoke numbers.

I ended up taking a set of pistons to a dealership in Minnesota and rebuilding the guys tractor engine. The dealer shop was a quonset hut with what seemed like a dirt floor. Quite an out of body experience to open up a Diesel engine under those conditions.

The farmer was happy and dropped the threat of a lawsuit. We released the service piston and kit. I had to go to England to sign off on the first batch of production pistons. I think the supplier was Wellworthy, and they were near Petersborough, where Perkins was. I might be wrong about that.

I went through the entire production process, and everything looked fine until the last step, after final inspection but prior to boxing and shipping.

They had for some unknown reason added a deburring operation, after washing, that introduced a fine abrasive and aluminum grit to the piston top and skirt.

To say they were embarrassed when I pointed out they were contaminating the just cleaned pistons is an understatement.

They agreed to do the deburring prior to wash, and that’s the last I ever worked on a 310.

 

If I recall correctly the program was available to customers in the colder climate areas where there had been complaints about the smoke problem. I first learned of it when I was working on a 686 that had starting cranking problems where the engine seemed to be somewhat seized when trying to start. The strange part was that if you turned the crankshaft just a few degrees the engine would crank normally and start right up. If you shut it off and restarted it right away it would be fine. If it sat for a minute it would again be stuck. The cause turned out to be O-rings on the bottom of the sleeves were allowing antifreeze to seep into the crankcase causing the oil to become sticky. When trying to decide whether to just replace the O-rings or complete sleeve and piston assemblies the shop foreman mentioned that there was a service bulletin about IH paying for replacing rings, pistons and gaskets. I was able to repair the customers tractor with him only having to pay for O-rings?(they may have been included in the replacement parts), coolant, oil, and additional cleanup of the contaminated engine.

The dealership had sold ten 686 tractors that would have qualified for the for the higher compression pistons under that program. I talked with one customer who opted for the piston swap. At the time we had little to do in the shop so I wanted the foreman to contact the others but that never happened so we swept floors and cleaned tools instead.

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