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4
ENGINE AIR STARTING SYSTEMS
 
A. GENERAL
 
4A1. Description. Modern submarine diesel engines are started by admitting compressed air into the engine cylinders at a pressure capable of turning over the engine. This process is continued until the pistons have built up sufficient compression heat to cause combustion. The pressure used in air starting systems is approximately from 250 to 500 psi.

4A2. Source of starting air. Starting air comes directly from the ship's high-pressure air service line in which pressures up to 3,000 psi are normally maintained, or from starting air flasks which are included in some systems for the purpose of storing starting air. In either

  instance, the air on the way to the engine, must pass through a pressure reducing valve which reduces the higher pressure to the operating pressure required to start a particular engine. A relief valve is installed in the line between the reducing valve and the engine. This relief valve is normally set to open at 25 to 50 pounds in excess of the air starting pressure. Thus, if the air pressure leaving the reducing valve is too high, the relief valve will protect the engine by releasing air in excess of the value for which it is set and permit only air at approximately the proper pressure to reach the engine cylinders.
Figure 4-1. Typical starting air piping system.
Figure 4-1. Typical starting air piping system.
 
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Figure 4-2. Grove regulator valve.
Figure 4-2. Grove regulator valve.
4A3. Pressure regulating valve. The pressure reducing valve is a Grove regulator (Figure 4-2) in which compressed air, sealed in a dome, furnishes the regulating pressure that actuates the valve. Thus the compressed air in the dome performs the same function as a spring used in a conventional type of valve.

The dome is tightly secured to the valve body which is separated into an upper (low pressure outlet) and a lower (high-pressure inlet ) chamber by the main valve. At the top of the valve stem is another chamber which contains a rubber diaphragm and a metal diaphragm plate. This chamber has an opening leading to the low-pressure outlet chamber. When the outlet pressure drops below the pressure in the dome, air in the dome forces the diaphragm and the diaphragm plate down on the valve stein. This opens the valve and permits high-pressure air to pass the valve seat into the low-pressure outlet and into the space under the diaphragm. As soon as the pressure under the diaphragm is equal to that in the dome, the diaphragm returns to its normal

  position and the valve is forced shut by the high-pressure air acting on the valve head. When air is being used from the low-pressure side of the regulator, this action is continuous and very rapid in order to maintain the correct pressure on the discharge side.

High-pressure air entering the valve body is filtered through a screen to prevent the entrance of any particles of dirt which would prevent the valve from seating properly. The screen is held in position around the space under the valve head by the threaded valve seat bushing. The screen should be removed and cleaned periodically to insure an unrestricted flow of air, If particles of dirt are permitted to remain and accumulate in the screen, the high air pressure may tear the screen from its position and force it into the working parts, causing damage to the valve seat.

Air for the original charging of the dome is obtained from the high-pressure chamber of the valve body by opening two needle valves, As soon as the desired pressure, as indicated by the gage on the discharge side of the regulator,

 
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Figure 4-3. Engine starting control levers, GM.
Figure 4-3. Engine starting control levers, GM.
is reached, the needle valves must be closed. The dome will then regulate and maintain the discharge of air at that pressure.

4A4. Starting the GM engine. The GM engine is started by means of two control levers, the throttle hand lever and the air starter hand valve lever. The throttle hand lever has three positions, STOP, START, and RUN. In the STOP, or central, position, the fuel supply to the cylinders is cut off. Moving the lever toward the START position rotates the fuel pump plunger toward the full pump position. The RUN position gives the Woodward regulating governor unrestricted control of the engine. The air starter hand valve lever has only two positions, OPEN and CLOSED.

Prior to starting the engine, and with the throttle hand lever on the STOP position, the engine is turned over several times by opening the air starter hand valve with the cylinder test valves open. This insures that there are no obstructions to prevent the starting of the engine.

  The cylinder test valves are then closed. The engine is started by holding the throttle hand lever in the START position and opening the air starter hand valve. The engine should start after a few revolutions if the fuel supply has been primed and is not airbound. As soon as the engine is firing, the air starter hand valve is closed and the speed of the engine adjusted by means of the throttle hand lever. As soon as the governor oil pump has built up a working pressure, the throttle lever is shifted to the RUN position. This shifts the engine to governor control.

4A5. Starting the F-M engine. The F-M engine is started by means of a control shaft lever. This lever has three positions, START, STOP, and RUN. In the STOP position, the fuel cutout cam on the control shaft moves the fuel injection pump control rod to the no fuel position. When the lever is in the START position, the air start control valve is opened, allowing air starting of the engine. In the RUN position, the engine is under full governor control.

 
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To start the engine, the governor is set at idling speed and the control shaft lever moved from the STOP position to the RUN position and then toward the START position. When the lever passes the RUN position, the fuel injection pump control rod is unlocked. When the   lever reaches the START position, air starting air begins to enter the cylinders. As soon as the engine is firing, the control shaft lever should be shifted to RUN. This allows full governor control and closes the air start control valve.
 
B. GENERAL MOTORS ENGINE AIR STARTING SYSTEM
 
4B1. Description. The engine air starting system used on GM engines is known as the separate distributor type, the starting air distributor valve being a separate unit for each cylinder. Each distributor valve is individually operated by its cam on the camshaft. Eight of the 16 cylinders, six in one bank and two in the other, are air started, but all of the cylinder heads in both banks are equipped with air starter check valves so as to maintain full interchangeability. On the cylinders that are not air started, the air inlet opening is sealed with a removable plug.

4B2. Operation. Air is supplied to the air starting hand control valve from the air supply line. The air starting control valve is opened by a hand lever, thereby admitting air to the starting air manifold. The starting air manifold is a steel pipe extending the full length of the engine and is located on the top deck of the engine below the exhaust manifold. It is connected by air lines to each of the starting air distributor valves. The distributor valves are opened in engine cylinder firing order by their cams on the camshafts, admitting air into the lines that connect each distributor valve to its air starting check valve. As the distributor valve admits air into the line leading to the air starting check valve, the pressure opens the check valve, thereby admitting air into the combustion chamber;

The air pressure moves the pistons and turns the crankshaft until there is sufficient compression for combustion. Combustion pressure and exhaust gases are kept from backing into the air starting system by the check valves. As soon as the engine is firing, the hand lever is released, and spring pressure closes the air starting control valve. This shuts off the supply of starting air to the engine.

4B3. Air starting hand control valve. The air starting hand control valve is mounted on a

  bracket bolted to the camshaft drive cover near the hand control lever. It is a poppet type valve, opened manually by a lever and closed by a spring. A plug in the valve body holds the spring against the valve head. The valve stem guide is a bronze bushing pressed into the body. A spring and head placed over the valve stem, where it projects from the body, return the hand lever to the valve's closed position. The hand lever and the operating lever stop are keyed to a shaft in the bracket.

A safety device prevents opening of the air starting control valve while the engine jacking gear is engaged.

4B4. Air starting distributor valve. Each

Figure 4-4. Control shaft lever, F-M.
Figure 4-4. Control shaft lever, F-M.

 
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Figure 4-5. GM engine air starting system.
Figure 4-5. GM engine air starting system.
 
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cylinder having air starting is equipped with an air starting distributor valve.

The air starting distributor valves, or timing valves as they are sometimes called, are of the poppet type with forged steel bodies that bolt to the camshaft intermediate covers. The valve is held closed by spring pressure bearing against the top of the valve and is guided in the hollow end of a cam follower which rides on the camshaft air starting cam. The cam follower is guided in a bronze bushing pressed into the valve body. A lockpin locates the cam follower in the body.

When cam action opens the valve, starting air passes from the air manifold through a chamber in the valve body above the valve head into a line leading to the air starting check valve in the cylinder head. The cam action opens the valves in the proper firing sequence. The cam follower is lubricated by oil splashed from the cam pocket by the cam.

4B5. Air starting check valve. The air starting check valve is a poppet type valve located

Figure 4-6. Air starting distributor valve, GM.
Figure 4-6. Air starting distributor valve, GM.

  in the cylinder head. The valve body fits into a recess in the cylinder head and is held in place by a cap nut that screws into the cylinder head and ears on the top of the valve body. The valve body contains the valve seat and serves as a valve stem guide. Air is prevented from leaking to the outside of the valve body by a synthetic rubber seal ring located above the inlet port. The valve face makes direct contact with the valve seat in the valve body. The valve is held closed by a spring over the valve stem, bearing against the valve body and also against a spring seat locked to the valve stem. The spring seat is locked in position on the valve stem with two half-round seat locks that fit into a groove in the valve stem. The valve opens into a small chamber with a short, open passage to the cylinder.

When the air starting distributor valve admits air into the line leading to the air starting check valve, the air passes into a chamber around the valve seat. The pressure of this air opens the check valve and allows the air to pass into the cylinder, moving the piston. When the

Figure 4-7. Air starting check valve, GM.
Figure 4-7. Air starting check valve, GM.

 
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air starting distributor valve closes, the pressure drops and spring tension closes the air starting check valve.

When combustion begins, the air starting check valve remains closed, as the pressure in the combustion chamber is greater than the pressure of the starting air that actuates the check valve. This prevents exhaust gases and combustion pressures from backing up into the air starting system.

4B6. Maintenance. Line connections and valves of the air starting system should be maintained in a closely fitting, airtight, operating condition. Leakage at the air starting

  distributor valve is likely to result in starting failure. Leakage at the air starting check valve will start scoring of the valve seat, a condition that will become progressively worse and impair the operation of the valve.

Valve seats should be inspected at least at every major overhaul period, and the valves ground and reseated if necessary. The air starting distributor valve on the GM engines should have a clearance of between 0.010 and 0.020 inch measured between the cam and the cam follower. If the cam follower cannot be ground off sufficiently to bring the clearance within these limits, a new assembly should be installed.

 
C. FAIRBANKS-MORSE ENGINE AIR STARTING SYSTEM
 
4C1. Description. The F-M engine air starting system consists of the starting air piping and the engine starting mechanism. The engine starting mechanism includes the air start control valve, air start distributor, the starting air header, the pilot air tubing, and the air start check valves at the individual cylinders. This type of air starting system has a distributor block consisting of several pilot valves which provide actuating or pilot air to regulate the opening of the air start check valves at the proper moment, allowing the starting air itself to enter the cylinders. All cylinders of the submarine type F-M engines are air started.

4C2. Operation. The air starting control valve is manually operated from the engine control lever. When the engine control lever is set at START, a lever linkage opens the air starting control valve, admitting air from the supply line to the air starting main header. This header is connected by branch lines to the air starting check valves at each cylinder. A branch line from the air starting control valve supplies pilot air to the distributor. This distributor includes one pilot air valve for each cylinder in the engine. These pilot valves are arranged radially and in engine firing order around the group distributor camshaft (sometimes referred to as the cam stub shaft). A spring holds each valve out of contact with the cam when the engine is running on its own power. But when air enters the distributor from the air start control valve, the air pressure overcomes the spring tension and

  forces each pilot valve plunger down into contact with the cam. Regardless of where the camshaft has stopped, one pilot air valve will be on the low point of the cam and hence will be open. Two other valves, one on each side of the open valve, will be partly open. Each of these three valves admits pilot air through a connecting tube to its individual air start check valve. This pilot air under pressure in the pilot air tubes opens the three air start check valves. Then the actual starting air rushes into the engine cylinder from the air header and forces the pistons apart, causing the crankshafts to rotate. The air distributor camshaft is attached to and rotates with the upper crankshaft; therefore the cam begins to open and close other distributor valves in proper sequence. When the engine starts firing, the control shaft lever is moved to the RUN position. This actuates linkage on the control shaft which closes the air start control valve, shutting off air pressure to the distributor and the air starting header. Air in the starting mechanism escapes through vents in the pilot valves and in the control valve. As the air pressure drops, the distributor valve springs raise the pilot valves off the cam.

NOTE. The pilot air that opened the check valve is vented by the distributor and does not pass into the cylinder combustion chamber.

4C3. Air starting control valve. The air starting control valve is bolted to the engine frame near the control end on the side opposite the control lever, and consists of a valve cage,

 
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Figure 4-8. F-M engine air starting system.
Figure 4-8. F-M engine air starting system.
 
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valve, and valve spring. The valve is of the poppet type and has an integral stem. The valve is held on its seat by the valve spring which is placed between the valve head and the end of the valve cage. The valve stem is grooved to align with a drilled hole in the valve body, in order to vent the valve of air when the valve is closed. The end of the valve stern extends out of the valve body, and the valve is opened against valve spring pressure by a rocker arm. When the rocker arm is withdrawn from the end of the valve stem, the valve closes because of spring pressure and air pressure acting on top of the valve head.

Figure 4-9. Air starting control valve, F-M.
Figure 4-9. Air starting control valve, F-M.

4C4. Air starting distributor. The air starting distributor body is a large circular casting, cored to house the air starting distributor valves. The distributor body mounts on the engine frame at the control end of the upper crankshaft. The distributor camshaft passes through the center bore of the distributor body and is attached to and rotates with the upper crankshaft.

  Figure 4-10. Cross section of air starting
distributor, F-M.
Figure 4-10. Cross section of air starting distributor, F-M.

The distributor body houses one air starting pilot valve for each engine cylinder. These valves are of the piston type with the inner end of each valve stem acting as a cam follower. During normal engine operation, the valves are held out of contact with the camshaft by spring pressure.

Each of the valve openings connects with an air chamber extending around the outer circumference of the distributor body. During air starting, this chamber is filled with air supplied through the branch line when the air starting control valve is opened. The air in this chamber supplies pressure to each of the air starting pilot valves. The spring tension in the valves is overcome by the air pressure, and each valve is forced into contact with the cam on the camshaft. There is a low sector on the cam, and as each valve approaches this sector of the cam, the air pressure from the outer end moves the pilot valve inward. This inward movement of the valve stem opens a passage connecting the pressure chamber in the distributor body with

 
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Figure 4-11. F-M air starting distributor, pilot valve
in normal position out of contact with distributor cam.
Figure 4-11. F-M air starting distributor, pilot valve in normal position out of contact with distributor cam.

Figure 4-14. Cutaway of air starting check
valve, F-M.
Figure 4-14. Cutaway of air starting check valve, F-M.

  Figure 4-12. F-M air starting distributor,
pilot valve on low point of cam.
Figure 4-12. F-M air starting distributor, pilot valve on low point of cam.

Figure 4-13. Cutaway of air starting
distributor, F-M.
Figure 4-13. Cutaway of air starting distributor, F-M.

 
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an individual pilot air line to the operating piston in the air starting check valve at the cylinder. This action opens the check valve.

As the high sector of the cam approaches, the valve is forced outward, shutting off the actuating air to the check valve and venting the pilot air line. Numbers marked on the distributor body at each branch line connection indicate which cylinder each pilot valve serves.

Timing of the air starting distributor valves is accomplished by positioning the distributor camshaft. The camshaft is placed on the upper crankshaft end and rotated until the proper geometrical angle of relation with the crankshaft is made.

The camshaft is then keyed to the upper crankshaft by means of a dowel pin. This timing is done at the factory. Replacement camshafts have two dowel pin holes for properly locating the camshaft. The pin is placed in one hole for right-hand rotation engines and in the other for left-hand rotation engines.

4C5. Air starting check valve. The air starting check valves are enclosed in bronze bodies and are located at the combustion chamber for each cylinder. Each check valve assembly fits into a water-cooled adapter.

The air starting check valve is held closed principally by spring tension. Near the middle of the valve stem is a balance piston which also serves as a valve stem guide bearing. During air starting there is a constant supply of air from the air starting main header to the air chamber between the valve head and the balance piston. There is a slightly greater pressure area at the balance piston than at the valve head. This prevents the starting air pressure from opening the valve. An operating piston fits over the end of the valve stem opposite the valve head.

When the individual distributor pilot valve opens, actuating air is brought through an individual pilot air line to the air chamber above the operating piston in the check valve body. Pressure of the actuating air forces the operating piston inward, overcomes the spring pressure, and forces the check valve open. This action admits air directly from the starting air main

  Figure 4-15. Cross section of installed air starting
check valve, F-M.
Figure 4-15. Cross section of installed air starting check valve, F-M.

header into the combustion chamber of the cylinder to move the pistons apart and turn the crankshafts. As the individual distributor pilot valve closes, pressure on the operating piston is released, and spring action closes the check valve. When the check valve is closed, the pressure in the pilot lines is vented back through the closed pilot valve and does not enter the cylinder combustion chamber.

4C6. Maintenance. Frequent inspections should be made of the air starting system to see that line connections and valves are not leaking. Small leaks at the air start check valve will permit gases of combustion to carbonize and burn the valve seat. Unless this condition is remedied by grinding and reseating the valve, larger leaks with consequent serious damage to the air starting system will result.

 
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