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Has anyone downsized there engines in former working Tugs?

Nathan Taylor

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26 Jan 2020
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Im in the process of buying an old Thames Tug. She currently has a ^00HP Lister Blackstone in her that combined with the Aux and air tanks there is not much room left. As she no longer has to punch the tide with several Lighters and only needs to move herself. She has a 4ft prop on a 5 inch shaft so would need to still swing that.

Has anyone done similar?

Many Thanks,

Nathan
 

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Greg2

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24 Jun 2002
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Whilst you might be able to downsize the engine that is some prop set up to turn so I would seek professional advice about what is doable.
 

Bajansailor

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I presume that you mean 600 hp re ^00 hp?

A bit of background info about her -
REGARDER in the docks

Some more info and photos here -
REGARDER - ShipSpotting.com - Ship Photos and Ship Tracker
If you do a search for Regarder on Ship Spotting you will find 5 more photos.
Most ships on Ship Spotting seem to have a 'Summary' page but she doesn't for some reason.

I see that she was for sale on Ebay with an asking price of GBP 9,000.
Thames Tug regarder | eBay
The advert seems to suggest that the engine is 'new' - is it?
The info in the Ship Spotting link mentions that she was re-engined with a 500 hp Lister Blackstone in 1974, and that in 200X she was 'out of service, no engine'. Has that original Lister been re-built and re-installed re the 'new' engine?

Do you know if the propeller within that Kort nozzle is fixed pitch or controllable pitch (CPP)?
If CPP, does it still work well?

Are you reasonably confident that you know what you are getting yourself into here?
How much experience have you had in the past with vessels like these?

You could re-engine her with a much smaller, more modern engine that will give you more space in the engine room - BUT only if the new engine can be connected to a gearbox that can be coupled to the 5" diameter shaft and which can deliver the necessary torque to turn the propeller to achieve your desired cruising speed while 'free running' (ie without any barges being towed).
This would be much less than the torque required for towing barges (they mention a maximum bollard pull of 6 tonnes which is pretty good for 'only' 500 hp).
 
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Nathan Taylor

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Joined
26 Jan 2020
Messages
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Location
London
I presume that you mean 600 hp re ^00 hp?

A bit of background info about her -
REGARDER in the docks

Some more info and photos here -
REGARDER - ShipSpotting.com - Ship Photos and Ship Tracker
If you do a search for Regarder on Ship Spotting you will find 5 more photos.
Most ships on Ship Spotting seem to have a 'Summary' page but she doesn't for some reason.

I see that she was for sale on Ebay with an asking price of GBP 9,000.
Thames Tug regarder | eBay
The advert seems to suggest that the engine is 'new' - is it?
The info in the Ship Spotting link mentions that she was re-engined with a 500 hp Lister Blackstone in 1974, and that in 200X she was 'out of service, no engine'. Has that original Lister been re-built and re-installed re the 'new' engine?

Do you know if the propeller within that Kort nozzle is fixed pitch or controllable pitch (CPP)?
If CPP, does it still work well?

Are you reasonably confident that you know what you are getting yourself into here?
How much experience have you had in the past with vessels like these?

You could re-engine her with a much smaller, more modern engine that will give you more space in the engine room - BUT only if the new engine can be connected to a gearbox that can be coupled to the 5" diameter shaft and which can deliver the necessary torque to turn the propeller to achieve your desired cruising speed while 'free running' (ie without any barges being towed).
This would be much less than the torque required for towing barges (they mention a maximum bollard pull of 6 tonnes which is pretty good for 'only' 500 hp).
Thanks for your reply.

The original Lister was a 500. Now a 680.

The prop is fixed pitch as far as i know.

As far as do I know what im in for? Probably not as you never really know until you start but I am reasonably confident that within 2 yesars ill have her back in the water and fitted out. . My last project was the old Gloucester Docks Fire `float that was sold last year so ive been looking for my next and Regarder has been poking at me for some time now. When price was reduced I had to have her. Originally he wanted 5k for the boat and 20k for the engine and gearbox. I hope to sell the engine for what i can get and was looking at a Gardner 8LXB to replace the lister allowing to get rid of air tanks main and aux freeing up a lot of space. Obviously I will need a fair bit of ballast to replace lost weight from removed lumps.
I have been offered a lot of help from people who have worked with her over the years and know what shes like so i feel pretty good that im going to get her done.

Many Thanks,

Nathan
 

burgundyben

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Niton Radio
I saw her on ebay and thought she looked a cracking project. i'd love to have something like that with that big engine. Nice to keep it mobile.

I guess you need a couple of hundred HP, clearly a 6ltr straight six isn't going to spin up that prop and shaft, it just won't have the inertia to get it moving.

I would think an 8LXB might do it, with a fairly deep reduction box.

Lots more pics would be well received by me. Good luck, keep us posted.
 

Nathan Taylor

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26 Jan 2020
Messages
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Location
London
I saw her on ebay and thought she looked a cracking project. i'd love to have something like that with that big engine. Nice to keep it mobile.

I guess you need a couple of hundred HP, clearly a 6ltr straight six isn't going to spin up that prop and shaft, it just won't have the inertia to get it moving.

I would think an 8LXB might do it, with a fairly deep reduction box.

Lots more pics would be well received by me. Good luck, keep us posted.
Yes I have been looking at the 8LXB.I have found 1 reconditioned but he wants 40 grand for it, i think thats a little ambitious myself and certainly more then i want to pay
I first need to find out which way it spins as hoping to marry existing gear box to new engine depending which way it spins. I have just been told to look at Cats to so looking at those now. I will be setting up a page for her as I have a lot of pics of her through the years thanks to the Liquid Highway so will share when i do.
Many Thanks,

Nathan
 

burgundyben

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£40k does feel a little spendy, I did think a decent 8LXB would be quite valuable. I notice on their website that the 8lxb has a high inertia flywheel, which is exaclty what I guess you need to get that shaft and prop whirling.

I see the 8LXB is 1500rpm max, how does that compare to the revs of the old engine?

With a smaller engine you'll have higher revs, which means you'll need a deeper reduction.

I guess the desire is to make space for living in?
 
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oldgit

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I would be looking for advice from one of the many historic tug groups.
We have a couple down here on the Medway who look after the TOUCHSTONE, the KENT and one or two others.
You may well find you have taken on quite a challenge to re engine that beastie, so advice from those in the know could be very useful indeed.
Remember in the 1970s when one of our tugs the Dragette had its old 600 RPM Crosley replaced with a 2400 rpm Caterpillar.

The racket and vibration from the new engine was teeth rattlingly awful.
Think Volvo later copied the idea with the KAD series engines . :)


South Eastern Tug Society
 
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Nathan Taylor

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26 Jan 2020
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Location
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I would be looking for advice from one of the many historic tug groups.
We have a couple down here on the Medway who look after the TOUCHSTONE, the KENT and one or two others.
You may well find you have taken on quite a challenge to re engine that beastie, so advice from those in the know could be very useful indeed.
Remember in the 1970s when one of our tugs the Dragette had its old 600 RPM Crosley replaced with a 2400 rpm Caterpillar.

The racket and vibration from the new engine was teeth rattlingly awful.
Think Volvo later copied the idea with the KAD series engines . :)


South Eastern Tug Society
I have been speaking to the owner of Revenge . He is an engineer and is looking into it . His opinion is to get the lister up and running again.
Do you have a link for these Tug groups orTouchstone? Touchstone is one of Regarders sister ships too.
I have definitely taken on more then i am comfortable with but reassured by a lot of very skilled friends and people that want to get involved. I should probably have learned my lesson after the last project of mine but somehow a glutton for punishment. I have been in love with this boat for some time so just couldnt let her go for scrap.
 

Bajansailor

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I sent a link to this thread to a pal of mine who is an experienced marine engineer - he has also owned and operated a commercial single screw tug in the past, along with a couple of former North Sea coasters that he used for trading around the Caribbean with.

His tug had a pair of Lister Blackstone ERS8 engines (ie same as yours) going into a twin input / single output gearbox. They were 600 hp each, running at 750 rpm, and the shaft was turning a fixed pitch propeller 9' in diameter with a 6' pitch.

My friend offered the following comments after reading the thread so far.

"I would change the shaft and the propeller as the pitch is not going to be economical for running free.
It will be a straight 8 Lister and may run at up to 1,000 rpm. We were 600 hp at 750 rpm.
A 5” shaft needs power to turn and there is no need for a shaft this size if the power is cut by 50 or more percent.
Re how he has a nozzle fitted already, I presume that he will want to keep it (?).
A Lister gearbox is often by MWD (Modern Wheel Drive) and very robust with excellent clutches (if in good nick) but they sometimes need hydraulic power from an external source if there is no pump mounted to the engine."

And he would agree with the owner of Revenge re simply getting the Lister up and running again.

Re your comment 'She currently has a ^00HP Lister Blackstone in her that combined with the Aux and air tanks there is not much room left. ' - if you get rid of the Lister engine and the compressed air cylinders (for engine starting) you should have some more room in the ER for sure.
But will it be usable room, eg suitable for conversion into extra accommodation?
Remember that you will still need to have space for a generator (and ideally two), a work bench, all the various pumps that you will need to keep....... and I cannot see that there will be very much extra effective space if you do take the main machinery out (and this will be a LOT of work).

Edit - a PS - in view of how the vessel is now 62 years old, do you have any record of the last ultrasound inspection that was done on the hull plating? And / or details of what was most probably replaced the last time she was in dry dock?
My friend told me how even 20 years ago the cost of dry docking one of their coasters (700 tonnes deadweight) and replacing steelwork as required at a relatively cheap (re labour) drydock in the Caribbean was always in excess of US$ 100,000.
OK, the dry dock fee would be less for a much smaller tug, but the cost of replacing steel plate in the hull bottom is still the same.
 
Last edited:

38mess

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Wales
I sent a link to this thread to a pal of mine who is an experienced marine engineer - he has also owned and operated a commercial single screw tug in the past, along with a couple of former North Sea coasters that he used for trading around the Caribbean with.

His tug had a pair of Lister Blackstone ERS8 engines (ie same as yours) going into a twin input / single output gearbox. They were 600 hp each, running at 750 rpm, and the shaft was turning a fixed pitch propeller 9' in diameter with a 6' pitch.

My friend offered the following comments after reading the thread so far.

"I would change the shaft and the propeller as the pitch is not going to be economical for running free.
It will be a straight 8 Lister and may run at up to 1,000 rpm. We were 600 hp at 750 rpm.
A 5” shaft needs power to turn and there is no need for a shaft this size if the power is cut by 50 or more percent.
Re how he has a nozzle fitted already, I presume that he will want to keep it (?).
A Lister gearbox is often by MWD (Modern Wheel Drive) and very robust with excellent clutches (if in good nick) but they sometimes need hydraulic power from an external source if there is no pump mounted to the engine."

And he would agree with the owner of Revenge re simply getting the Lister up and running again.

Re your comment 'She currently has a ^00HP Lister Blackstone in her that combined with the Aux and air tanks there is not much room left. ' - if you get rid of the Lister engine and the compressed air cylinders (for engine starting) you should have some more room in the ER for sure.
But will it be usable room, eg suitable for conversion into extra accommodation?
Remember that you will still need to have space for a generator (and ideally two), a work bench, all the various pumps that you will need to keep....... and I cannot see that there will be very much extra effective space if you do take the main machinery out (and this will be a LOT of work).
My initial thoughts also, a lot of work and expenses for not a lot of return, also resale might be easier in the future with original machinery in situ.
 

Nathan Taylor

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26 Jan 2020
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Not the 40 k one is it? I thought 5k for 8lxb was good price
Yes that is a much better price then the other one. Once i have some sound advice on this i will make a decision. Not quite sure why someone would ask 40k for a lump. I cant see him selling it TBH, seems rediculous
 
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