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Ongoing Work: BLOWERS graphic heading

This year brought an unprecedented donations of parts specific to our main engine, the General Motors 12 cylinder, 567A (1944) and the generator engine, a General Motors 271 (1943).

Bob Probst of Clean Waters donated a pair of blowers. With the help of Bob Salerno, we got the old ones off the engine. They were 65 years old and in mothballed condition. The new ones appeared to have very few hours on them. Our blowers were very tired and throwing the engine functions off balance. We sent the “mothballed”  blowers to Marine Systems Inc. (MSI) in Chesapeake, VA, to replace bearings and seals and to test the blowers. They were pleased with the results, so we installed them.

The blowers are pictured on the right on the back end of the engine of the tug Pegasus. They weigh 500 lbs. apiece. That does not include the air cleaner, the cylindrical piece on the top. A new air cleaner and all the other parts of the blower system are included in the donation.

Volunteer Justin Ryan (left) unbolting one of the new, donated blowers.

Blowers packed up to be shipped (right) to Marine Systems Inc. (MSI) in Chesapeake VA for new bearings and seals and testing.

Right, blower on the testing bench at MSI. Left, a photo of the blower innards with the date 12/27/44. This stamped date of assembly was pointed out by Brian Crawford at MSI. He figured the GM plant probably worked right through Christmas during wartime.  Pretty cool, thank you Brian.

While the blowers were in Virginia, there was plenty of work to do before their installation. Cleaning was a big part of the installation. We tapped and cleaned all the threaded bolt holes, going over all bolts  and studs with a die so things would go together smoothly. Cleaning all gasket surfaces and as much of the insides as we could reach, we spent a few days scraping and wiping.

Above left, volunteers clean the horn of the blower assembly.

Above right, Amy Buccifero scraping the gasket surface of port horn piece, which the blower sits on. This seam can be prone to leakage so care in the gasket surfaces is important.

Right, Jay cleaning bolt threads.


One of the horn pieces had to be replaced as some of the bolt holes were compromised. Removing  it enabled us to remove the screen, pictured left, and have access to the clutch. Upon inspection we decided to replace the clutch air lines, which are usually impossible to access.     

Frank Zic, our expert GM 576 man, is going in  for hose replacement. Inside the clutch, Frank’s hand (right) has a combination wrench and is removing the old hose.

The reconditioned, donated blowers are back from Virginia! Left, Frank Zic chain- falling new blowers onto the deck of the tug. Right, Frank and Glenn Garver lowering the port blower carefully on the the gasketted surface of the horn. Below, one of the two new clutch air  hoses installed.

The blower installation project was finished in 2010. The donation of the mothballed blowers was due to Bob Probst and Bob Mattson, who introduced us to Bob Saterno at Clean Water, who got us permission to take the blowers from Mr. Probst, and was extremely helpful on-site; he helped greatly with the cost of the project. Brian Crawford, at MSI, was very generous, sharing his knowledge and insight throughout the ptoject.

The Hudson River Foundation’s Hudson River Improvement Fund provided funding for much of the project. We are grateful for their continued support.

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