Downey Drilling Restores 1999 EDSI Ewbank M-100-RC Drilling Rig

Published On: April 30, 2024By Categories: Drilling, Newsline

Downey Drilling Inc. of Lexington, Nebraska, recently completed the restoration of its largest drilling rig, the 1999 EDSI Ewbank M-100-RC.

The reverse circulation drilling rig, which is on the cover of the long-time popular NGWA Press book, Transfer of Technology (see photo), was purchased by Downey Drilling in 2013 with 900 hours on it from Raymer Water Supply Contractors in Marne, Michigan.

Downey Drilling brought it to Nebraska, made a few modifications to fit its operation, and put it to work in spring of 2013 drilling predominately large irrigation wells. The rig has drilled wells in Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. It has been as deep as 1800 feet but normally drills in the 600- to 900-foot range with a 30-inch borehole × 16-inch steel casing/screen.

As the rig served Downey Drilling well for 10 years, the company knew by late summer 2022 that it wanted to update and modify the rig. It began planning for the upgrade beginning in December 2022, and over the course of the next year, while the rig was still operating, Downey Drilling designed, engineered, and worked with vendors and manufacturers to secure the components necessary.

“Some components had a very long lead time, and some components we did not know the exact condition as the rig was still working,” says Tom Downey, CWD/PI, president of Downey Drilling and National Ground Water Association president in 2006. “With the rig being 25 years old, coupled with wanting very limited downtime, we chose to secure new parts and components in most cases.”

All the parts, components, etc. began arriving in late summer 2023. The rig was brought into Downey Drilling’s corporate location in Lexington, Nebraska, from its Garden City, Kansas, office on December 10. It stripped the rig down and began the process (see photo gallery below).

“We built a 20-foot wide by 16-foot high by 80-foot-long paint booth to accommodate the derrick and drill frame,” Downey says. “All in all, everything went to plan. We made some revisions and built an entire new control panel and console.

“Many components were repositioned and replaced including the power unit, compound case [now a gear box], all hydraulic pumps and motors, fuel tank, cat walks, crown shafts, and bearings. The project was completed on April 1 and the rig headed to Garden City on April 5.”

All rig photos courtesy Downey Drilling Inc. in Lexington, Nebraska.

The rig has a new C13 CAT Tier 3 500 HP engine. Downey commends his machine shop, fabrication shop, mechanics, and others in his company along with Adam Messenger and Isaac Perez for their leadership on the project. In addition, Downey thanks these companies for their part:

  • Kohl Welding and Machining LLC—Jeff & Pat Kohl
  • NAMCO Machine & Gear Works Ltd.—Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Power Engineering & Manufacturing Ltd.—Waterloo, Iowa
  • Universal Hydraulics—Hastings, Nebraska
  • Drilling Supply & Manufacturing/DSM Fluid Power—Austin, Texas
  • Kanamak Hydraulics Inc.—Garden City, Kansas
  • Red Fern Electric LLC—Ed Lashley.

Transfer of Technology was published originally in 2003 and reprinted multiple times. The content of the book was first a series of articles from 2001-2003 in Water Well Journal. Author John L’Espoir received the NGWA 2003 Technology Award of Excellence for his contribution of the “Transfer of Technology” series published in WWJ.

Click here to learn more about the downloadable book that has 31 chapters covering topics such as mud pumps/flow, centrifugal pumps, mast designs and hydraulic systems to electric systems, drilling systems, rig repairs, old machinery, and safety.

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