The Winton Diesel

Abandoned in a Quarry/ A 500 HP, Six-Cylinder Winton Diesel Gets a Needed Nudge and Roars Back to Life


| February/March 2003


It couldn't have been a better day, especially for mid-November in the Northeast and after one of the coldest Octobers on record, as a group of 'Engine Nuts' gathered at an old gravel quarry to witness an extraordinary event. There, in the dark confines of an old powerhouse, sat a 500 HP Winton diesel. And to the delight of all who were there, Dave Johnson, Corfu, N.Y., was about to start the old engine and show us the fruits of his labor.

Dave gave a brief explanation of what would be involved to get the old engine running again, and then Craig Prucha, Pavillion, N.Y., manually pumped the fuel injector pressure up to 2,000 psi. Using Dave's homemade portable compressor set-up, the starting air tanks were pumped up to 200 psi. Finally, with all the joy of a kid in a candy shop, Dave put his hand on the speed control lever and applied the starting air. Slowly, the huge flywheel began to turn.

Winton Diesel

Dave's 500 HP six-cylinder Winton diesel engine was built by the Winton Engine Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, some time in the early 1930's. These engines were used in railway locomotives, and some even found their way into Coast Guard buoy tenders on the Great Lakes, where they provided ballast and power to pick up buoys.



This engine is a model 6/1580, serial number 5091, and its rated speed is 360 rpm. It has a 14-inch bore and 16-inch stroke, which equates to a total displacement of about 14,778 cubic-inches, or 242 liters. The engine has four valves per cylinder, and a variable-lift cam on the injector valve is connected to the Woodward governor to control engine speed. The engine, along with its direct-connected generator and exciter, weighs in at around 50 tons. It has direct fuel injection, and a single fuel pump (not counting the manual pump) supplies a manifold with fuel oil compressed to 2,000 psi. Each cylinder has an injector with a cam-operated valve that admits fuel oil into the cylinder at a precisely timed moment.

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