R/R Gear
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Parsons F Type 2:1 Reverse/Reduction Gear

(Click on thumbnails to view larger and higher resolution images.)

Page under construction - further text to be added and unit to be finished.

Now this is a long story. "Once upon a time" I had an old Ruston 2YC engine all restored and ready to fit into a new narrow boat but only after I had convinced my wife that it was all a good idea. Unfortunately, she proved hard to convinced and any thought of purchasing a narrow boat to put the engine in was put on hold until a later day.

The original idea was to mate the engine to a modern reverse/reduction gear but this is a costly item and I could not justify the expense when the narrow boat was now in the distant future. Now I like fiddling with old mechanical contraptions in my spare time and that is how I started with the Ruston. Then I saw an advert for the "remains" of three Parsons reverse/reduction gears (a 1:1, 2:1 and 3:1) on an Internet canal forum. A few exchanges of emails and a trip to England saw the remains loaded into my car for the trip back to Belgium.

Close examination of the bits suggested that there maybe enough parts to make one 2:1 unit of reasonable quality (gears suspect for long term use) that could act as a spare but that was all. As luck would have it, another unit was acquired that had been in salt water for some time and the aluminium reverse gear case was useless but the cast iron 2:1 reduction gear case was OK.

A visit to SKF head office in Brussels prove beneficial when they confirmed that obtaining all the bearings would not be a problem. I also found that an offshoot of Parsons was still in existence in the UK and had all the parts necessary to make up one good unit plus the spare unit. When I visited Parsons to collect the parts, another second hand 2:1 reverse/reduction gear (now 5 in total) was included in the deal free. This unit had the pinion nut come loose internally and all the internal rotating parts where badly damaged but the reverse and reduction gear cases where in good condition. Now it seemed that I was in the position to build one near perfect unit (except for one critical item still to source) and a second unit that would be ideal as a spare backup.

The story continues below :-

By now the situation had changed. Instead of having a long time to play with all the bits, my wife had suddenly changed her mind and in order not to lose a rare opportunity I had ordered the shell from R. W. Davis. This meant that I had to deliver, within 6 months, a fully working engine complete with reverse/reduction gear to be installed into the shell.

Time was now critical and the only option was to build up the spare unit. The above photographs show the built unit prior to fitting to the engine, fitted to the engine and finally painted ready for delivery.

The story continues below :-

Work to build the near perfect unit.

These two photographs below show the cleaned main case after all the paint had been removed, several suspect threads for studs heli-coiled and the forward/reverse shaft fitted after the oil seals had been replaced.

Views internally showing the fork that operates the mechanism for selecting forward, the relined brake band for selecting reverse and it fitted in place.

Page last updated 20 December 2005

Michael Clarke - 2009