In August of 2001, I did an ‘in situ’ rebuild of the air compressor in a carbody locomotive.
The owners of the locomotive had it leased to a coal-fired generating plant at Morgantown, MD, where it was used to shove cars through the rotary dumper. Maintenance personnel used incorrect lubricant in the air compressor, and throroughly toasted it, destroying the crankshaft and rods.
Dubbed an FP10a after rebuild by Paducah for MBTA, the carbody locomotive was a nightmare to work on. Paducah shoe-horned a 500kW Cummins genset sideways into the rear of the engine room. They chose to put the auxiliary cooling system above the main generator and air compressor, blocking vertical access. There was therefore no way to remove the air compressor without disassembling the radiators and cooling fan for the generator set, and much of that was welded in place. I therefore proposed to do the rebuild in place, keeping only the crankcase, heat exchanger, and a few other undamaged parts of the water-cooled compressor.
With a full rebuild kit from Airtek, we tore down the old compressor, thoroughly cleaned all the debris from its internal destruction, and installed the new crank, pistons and rods, heads and valves. We needed lots of box fans to move air inside the carbody, as full August sunlight and humidity from the adjacent river kept things sweltering.
When we ran the locomotive at idle for break-in, the compressor was working so well we couldn’t keep pressure from building even with both angle cocks open! I guess the rebuild was a success.
One of the side benefits was we got a full tour of the coal-fired power plant, which was quite impressive.