Ruston & Hornsby Model CR diesel engine

Abe Bradt Star describes his restoration of a Ruston & Hornsby Model CR diesel engine, No. 196800.

Ruston & Hornsby diesel engine

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I have restored several engines in the past few years. This one has been by far the most interesting and enjoyable of all!

I can't take 100% credit Roger and Willie contributed some mighty fancy machine work, and J.D. Rhynes did some of his world-class welding. Other folks added lots of moral support, and what you see in the photographs is the end result. I will try to give you the history, specifications, and details of restoration, as best I can.

I acquired the engine from a gentleman in Cloquet, Minnesota. Engines are not his main line; he likes to fool around with those little green tractors. I journeyed from here to Cloquet and back, some total distance of around 5,000 miles, in the dead of winter. Believe me, winter in Cloquet, Minnesota, can really be appreciated by a California resident!

The engine is a Ruston & Hornsby, manufactured in Lincoln and Gran-tham, England. Ruston has been manufacturing engines for well over a century. This particular engine is Model 'CR,' #196800. It was dispatched from Lincoln, England, on the 13th of July, 1940, to Mumford Medland Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. On the data plate it is designated as a Canadian grain elevator engine. From all the information I can gather, this particular engine spent most of its working life somewhere in the northernmost reaches of the province of Saskatchewan.

The engine is a diesel with a total displacement of 597 cubic inches. It's rated at 16 horsepower at 360 r.p.m. The flywheels are 45 inches in diameter with a four inch face. The engine weighs 1249 kg, which translates to 24-5 cwt, or 2750 lbs. These engines were manufactured in closely graduated steps from 7.5 BHP up to 24 BHP. Larger sizes of horizontal engines up to 264 BHP, along with vertical engines up to 1000 BHP, were also made by Ruston & Hornsby.

During the restoration process, I was extremely impressed with the high quality of the materials used in the manufacture of this machine. Very close-grain cast iron, cast steel, monel, bronze, brass, and a grade of stainless steel that you would be hard pressed to find today.

Restoration was not at all a difficult process, as much as it was time consuming and involved a lot of heavy parts manipulation. The engine was completely disassembled and cleaned. Outside of years of abuse and lots of hardened grease and sludge, I encountered relatively few discrepancies. One of the four piston rings was broken, but Roger made an exact replacement in his shop. A welding job by none other than J.D. Rhynes saved the air start valve from certain demise!

Photographs taken before disassembly aided in restoring the pin striping to factory specifications, and a computer color match assured original factory paint appearance.