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SWRMC Overhauls Diesel Cylinder Heads for USS Whidbey Island

Navy News Service

Story Number: NNS120828-08

By Tannyr Denby, Southwest Regional Maintenance Center Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Southwest Regional Maintenance Center's (SWRMC) Engine Shop completed its overhaul of 48 main propulsion diesel engine cylinder heads for USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) in Norfolk, Va., Aug. 14.

Cylinder heads house the intake and exhaust valves, the fuel injector, air start check valve, safety relief and blow-down valves. They also seal the combustion end of an internal combustion engine.

"Our goal with cylinder heads is to provide them to the fleet as ready assets. That means we strive to pull the old heads off the engine and install the refurbished ones with as little down time as possible," said Art Santos, SWRMC's Diesel Shop (Code 930A) product line supervisor.

According to Commander Naval Surface Force's Port Engineer Mike LeMoine, Whidbey Island's maintenance availability has been operating under a tight timeline. To expedite the cylinder head support, he asked SWRMC to provide direct support to the repair effort, rather than contracting the work to outside sources, which can add to the length of the overhaul.

"Due to contractors' lack of a ready asset pool of cylinder heads, there can be a long lead-time to remove, refurbish, and reinstall them when the job is outsourced. SWRMC's ability to overhaul these parts helps eliminate that long lead-time associated with external contracting sources," said Santos.

SWRMC completed the overhaul in nine weeks, allowing us to complete engine testing and availability completion on time.

"In addition to the time it helped us save, another benefit of providing cross-team support among Regional Maintenance Centers (RMCs) is the opportunities Sailors receive to further their hands-on training and share best practices from different waterfronts," said Santos.

"Overhauling these cylinder heads also provided an outstanding training opportunity for SWRMC Maintenance Assist Team (MAT) Sailors, as well as SWRMC's apprentices."

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