Ruston AO Diesels - Ships Nostalgia
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Ruston AO Diesels

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  #1  
Old 25th September 2005, 17:29
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R736476 R736476 is offline  
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Question Ruston AO Diesels

The first 3 RFA Rover Class Small Fleet Tankers (Green, Grey & Blue) delivered from the former Hawthorn Leslie yard at Hebburn in 1969-70 were engined with twin V16 Ruston AO Medium Speed Diesels of 8,000 bhp each. Following unsatisfactory service with these engines the 3 ships were re-engined in the early 1970s.
I believe there were a number of merchant ships also engined with Ruston AOs amongst which were some for Lyle Shipping Co. Do any SN members have any knowledge of the Lyle ships and their fate?
Cheers
Alex
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  #2  
Old 25th September 2005, 22:41
moaf moaf is offline  
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Not sure about the vessels Alex but I do know about Ruston engines. I have sailed with Ruston RK engines which were a follow on from the AO range. Most Incat fast craft are fitted with either V16 or V20 RK's. They are a complete nightmare and very unreliable. If you were to spend a year with these engines, you'd probably see more failures in that time than you would with any other engine in a lifetime!
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  #3  
Old 26th September 2005, 01:47
Les Hughes Les Hughes is offline  
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A lot of the SD14's built in Sunderland had these engines fitted in the 70's, as generators, they were a nightmare, the aluminium pistons used to melt regularly if i remember right.
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  #4  
Old 26th September 2005, 09:45
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Thanks Moaf & Les,
I see only this morning from a website dedicated to English Electric Vulcan Works history that AO's were also fitted in the BR ferry St George and Reardon Smith's Welsh City.
There's no doubt lots of horror stories out there! Crankcase explosions were not uncommon; by the time the Graviner alarms came up the crankcase reliefs were lifting!
Cheers
alex
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  #5  
Old 26th September 2005, 20:32
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Lyles, Hogarths and Lampberts of London, which made up Scottish Ship Management, all had ships with Ruston AO engines:

Cape Horn, Cape Hawke, Baron Ardrossan, Baron Inchcape, Baron Renfrew, Baron Wemyss, Temple Arch, Temple Bar, Temple Inn.

Huge problems with every ship. Baron Renfrew had a year in Brisbane! My three month projected trip on Baron Ardrossan lasted 11 months. An abiding memory is of the everlasting water restrictions and having to flush toilets with a bucket once a day (toilets were on fresh water and fresh water was manufactured on board if the engine was running (not all that often), there was very little storage capacity.The Engineers had even bigger nightmares!

Eventually, all the engines were replaced with Stork Werkspoors at Amsterdam. I left soon after that but did hear that they weren't that successful either.

John T.
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  #6  
Old 26th September 2005, 22:36
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Thanks ever so much John,
That's amazing information. Must have been a feast for some shiprepairers on the re-engine contracts.
Cheers,
Alex
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  #7  
Old 27th September 2005, 08:01
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moaf
Not sure about the vessels Alex but I do know about Ruston engines. I have sailed with Ruston RK engines which were a follow on from the AO range. Most Incat fast craft are fitted with either V16 or V20 RK's. They are a complete nightmare and very unreliable. If you were to spend a year with these engines, you'd probably see more failures in that time than you would with any other engine in a lifetime!
Hummm, might have to take the wipe to you my boy! how could anyone abuse such a fine mechanical dinosaur, agricultral in construction, and never knowing what will fall off next. The AO's were far worse than any of the RK's in fast craft. I have not heard of a complete demolition of an RK but certainly there plenty of AO's destroyed. I speak with a little authroity in regard to fast craft having spent the last 15 years with large fast craft. Keeps you young! Maybe we need a seperate psoting place for fast craft???

Last edited by Doxfordman; 27th September 2005 at 08:02.. Reason: Add sentence
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  #8  
Old 27th September 2005, 10:57
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The AO was probably ahead of it's time and material technology and got government funding at the the time of Tony Benn's white hot technological revolution. This engine had a lot going for it with a good power/weight ratio. From memory the V16 with it's space frame construction weighed 67 tons for 8000bhp. The AOs were going to put the UK into the medium speed market big time against the French and the Pielsticks.
The engines for the Rovers I believe were a consolation prize to Rustons for the Goverment not going ahead with a new diesel electric submarine depot ship which would have had 8 -V16 engine sets.
The load reversers were novel and got mangled. Liner wear was phenomenal and between 1969-72, the price of hard chromed liners went up by a factor of 6. Accompanying lub oil consumption required personal barge. Cracked blower feet.
Exciting days!
Cheers
Alex
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  #9  
Old 28th September 2005, 18:15
j voet j voet is offline  
 
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Would anyone might know the air draft on the Ocean Monarch or Baltica??
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  #10  
Old 28th September 2005, 20:47
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We had Rustons on some of Brocklebank ships not sure the type but ships were built just after end of WWII.
They ran OK, only snag was that the whole cylinder head had to be taken off in order to grind any of the inlet and exhaust valves. The later Allen diesels had the valves in cages, and could be easily removed without disturbing the whole head.
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  #11  
Old 28th September 2005, 22:20
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Jim,
The AO as a 2 stroke, at least didn't suffer your valve problems. See the quote below from the Vulcan Works website, as you'll see they were much later than your Brocklebank ships:
"The Ruston AO two stroke turbocharged and intercooled engine was introduced in 1968 to bring a new standard of design criteria to shipowners and naval architects. The range was available in 6, 8 and 9-cylinder in-line and 12 and 16 cylinder vee-form units producing from 3000 to 8850 b.h.p.

The first engines went into service in July 1968 and whilst the first engines to be produced were four, nine cylinder versions for the British Rail ferry St. George, the first engines to enter service were two nine cylinder in-line engines fitted into Welsh City"

Regards
Alex
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  #12  
Old 14th November 2005, 04:13
Ian Harrod Ian Harrod is offline  
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Rustons.

I spent 3 1/2 years a Mate on the CAPE HAWKE in the mid 80's, long after she had been re-engined. The Stork's were not much better. The longest we ever went in that time without a breakdown was the final 14 day voyage from Oz to the scrapyard in Kaohsiung!
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  #13  
Old 15th January 2006, 23:53
cymruman cymruman is offline  
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Reardon Smiths Welsh City and Cornish City were fitted with 2 inline AOs each and I remember the fearsome reputation these engines had. I was lucky in that I was only on the Welsh in the time it took to go from Calcutta to Aioi and was on board for the engine change to a V16 Pielstick. There were some very happy engineers when they lifted those monsters out and left them on the jetty.
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  #14  
Old 16th January 2006, 10:22
Geoff. Geoff. is offline  
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The long malaise in British Engineering is due to the lack of incentive - including staus - to become well qualified in the field. Becoming something in money management - accountancy, stock broking etc. is held in high esteem, and attracts some of the brightest brains, despite (in my humble opinion) them being nothing but parasites. When derogatory terms like "metal bashers" are used and "engineer" now frequently means someone with no proper training who travels around fixing (in both senses) slot machines, what can we expect? It is no coincidence that the expression "beam me up Scottie" (no, not the dog) seemed so plausible - it's because of the more science based education system in Scotland at the relevant time. My secondary school, Kings School Peterborough, housed "6th Classics" in a nice room with a bay window overlooking the quadrangle and sports field, whilst physics and chemistry were taught in prefabs! The poor old woodworkers had a corrugated iron* (an engineer would say steel*) hut... Geoff Cobb, who rose to the dizzy heights of 4th Engineer, mv Antrim.
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  #15  
Old 24th January 2006, 12:08
Tystie Tystie is offline  
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Good site for SSM at http://www.scottishshipmanagement.com/ even shows a pic of a pair of AO's Did 6 months on Baron Ardrossan as 3rd Eng. Interesting to say the least.
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  #16  
Old 24th January 2006, 12:28
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Welcome Tystie to the site enjoy it most of left the sea years ago but our minds are still there.
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  #17  
Old 13th November 2006, 00:03
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400 View Post
I've enjoyed reading this thread mainly because my British experience was a departmental closed shop.
The only time I ventured into the engine room was to ask the watchkeeper to cut the main fan increasing generator output to operate our main transmitter. Request not very well received in the Red Sea!
Sometime later I learned what an engine tie bolt was when one went and the ship started to hog and sag like nobody's business.
The bridge likewise out of bounds, except when taking DF bearings.
On Greek flag, everybody mucked in. I learned the basics of navigation, a wee bit of engineering since I was the only one who could read the American manuals and for similar reason quite a success as medic, diagnosing all the usual pimples to severe kidney stones which necessitated a medivac to Port of Spain.
I think Geoff has hit a valid point above why we are no longer flying at the head of the skein.
Regards
Malcolm
My "British Experience" was from the outside in as a teenage sailor on a german coaster. I spent a lot of time in all sorts of British ports and certainly enjoyed the people. But found the work attitudes rather strange and the technology a bit behind the times....
Quaint in a most pleasant way but most likely not very profitable.

I don't know much about Ruston, Doxford always had a good name however.
As far as Stork/Werkspoor is concerned, the Marika had one albeit much smaller for some odd reason it didnt have a heat exchanger and so the saltwater ran straight tru it... It wasn't that reliable either and eventually was replaced with a MaK engine.
Other than that and a crushed bow when the captain decided to broadside a 45 000 tdw tanker on the Elbe river, insisting he had the right of way !!! The Marika had a happy and long life.
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  #18  
Old 11th December 2006, 08:45
Chillytoes Chillytoes is offline  
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Hello, Ian.
I was on that scrap trip - 15/12/86. I also did a spell earlier that year, but I don't remember too much main engine trouble. Perhaps they had settled down by then.
Cheers
Neil Brough
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  #19  
Old 11th December 2006, 11:40
trotterdotpom trotterdotpom is offline  
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Originally Posted by Chillytoes View Post
Hello, Ian.
I was on that scrap trip - 15/12/86. I also did a spell earlier that year, but I don't remember too much main engine trouble. Perhaps they had settled down by then.
Cheers
Neil Brough
Hello Neil,

Nice to see you on the site. Did you notice the other day someone mentioned that the A. Venture is going to scrap in India.

John T.
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  #20  
Old 11th December 2006, 13:49
Tony Breach Tony Breach is offline
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Question: When an engine is so obviously a total disaster and a ship is re-engined who pays?

I understand that the six Polar vessels built by Blohm & Voss at Hamburg 1968/9 were to have had 4 Rolls Royce auxiliary engines each but after the first few ships were delivered they experienced major problems. The remaining uncompleted ships were fitted with MAKs at the yard & the first vessels were re-engined with MAKs soon afterwards. 24 engines sounds expensive! Can anyone expand on this please?

Also, the first two UK flagged Geest ships of 1964 built by NDSM at Amsterdam had Werkspoor Sulzer 7RD76 engines which apparently proved to be troublesome. I have heard that these were the first and only Sulzers built by Werkspoor & that Sulzer pulled the license from them. In Geest they were known as "Work's Poor". These ships also had the propeller pitches reduced after a few years which slightly improved performance. Would appreciate any info.
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  #21  
Old 12th December 2006, 00:06
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Don't know if I'll be welcome on this thread. I spent 12 months as "maker's man" with Rustons in 1978/79. Mostly RKs.

Derek
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  #22  
Old 20th April 2007, 19:01
Dragon53 Dragon53 is offline
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Reardon Smith AO Rustons

Hi all,
I never sailed on either the Welsh City or Cornish City but I was a junior engineer with Reardon Smith at the time and heard some stories from engineers who had been on them.
Apparantly it was very rare to have both engines available to run at the same time, if you had both running for 24 hours you were doing well.
Lub oil carried in 45gal drums stored wherever there was room, it was said they burnt as much lub oil as fuel.
Heard stories of happy engineers when the were replaced with the single V16 Pielstick engine.
Regards,
Steve.
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  #23  
Old 27th April 2007, 12:55
Chillytoes Chillytoes is offline  
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Came across a photocopy I made some time ago from The Motor Ship (Feb 1975) on the re-engining of the SSM ships. It is a summary of a paper presented at IMarE which I remember reading at the time. And I remember reading the earlier paper extolling the virtues of the AO and the selection process which resulted in SSM buying them. Often wondered what happened to the earlier writer, his credibility shot to pieces.
However, back to the article, which notes the experience of "Temple Arch" first of the class and fitted with in-line engines, not the later Vees. At one time she was using 1,818 litres of lube oil per day. Others later were using 2,728 litres! Between her maiden voyage, Nov 69 and Nov 71, she had 158 liner changes! Makes you feel weak in the knees. Not the sort of thing you want to read, all alone, in the dead of night.
Luckily I escaped the AO's but sailed on Cape Hawke for a short period and took her to the breakers. The Werkspoors were ok but I recall that it was necessary to regularly apply copious quantities of oil to the valve stems via a syringe.
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  #24  
Old 31st May 2007, 09:34
Wallyh Wallyh is offline  
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Sailed on the Cornish City Jan - July 1971, as Deck Cadet spent nearly as much time in the engine room as on deck, took six weeks from Panama to Japan, engineers working 18 - 20 hour days to keep the job going thin if I remember rightly in that six weeks we overhauled 24 or 27 heads out of a grand total of 18 plus the odd piston and liner, funnily enough think it was the best ship I ever sailed on for team work and everybody getting on with each other, job needed doing all clubed together to get it done, but it was a work hard play hard ship and some of the boys new how to do both

Wallyh
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  #25  
Old 6th June 2007, 13:55
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Being from Cornwall I foolishly volunteered for the Cornish City in a conversation with Graham Hardy and consequently I sailed on the Cornish City July 1971 to january 1973 - joined Yokohama and discharged Mizushima.
Engineers were John Howells chief, Brian Lewis 2nd, Ian Mowatt 3rd, Dave Smith 4th, Chris Buckley J4th, myself J/E and frank Woods JE. John Gardener 'lectrician. Captain was Flash Thomas, Dave Wooton, mate (later killed in a welding accident on the Tacoma Citys' maiden. the second and third mates names escape me. Duggie Cummings and Hugh Hurst were deck cadets.

The trip was the usual break downs. came in patches as I remember. We machined the valves which removed any coating and seemed to last that bit longer. From an owners point of view I cn ee the advantage to twin engines. Keep one running and work on the ther at sea. As I remember the Cornish could do 11 to 12 knots loaded on one engine.

As is usual when away from the ship only the good memories were recalled.

Engineers were a great bunch. Worked hard and partied hard ashore.
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