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288. Coming together


Yesterday was absolutely exhausting. I drove three legs of three and a half hours each from Ludlow to Henstridge to Old Warden and back home, loading the trailer with Theo’s help at Henstridge (2 hours) and unloading the fuselage at Old Warden (another hour). But the fuselage is in the right place so that the engine can be refitted as soon as it’s reassembled.

As you can see, 1264 is sat between some VERY illustrious neighbours!

Phil also gave us the old cylinder liners, and for those who are into engineering porn, here are some details.

Here they all are. My wife has suggested we should run a competition for the most creative use for them. My initial thought was door chimes, but as they don’t make any significant sound at all, I’m sure someone can come up with something better!

This is an original cast iron liner. It’s only 1.5mm (1/16in) thick, as is the steel cylinder wall, so removing it has to be done very, very gently. The Shuttleworth technique is to tap it to fracture it, and as you see it comes out quite neatly.

There were three that looked quite different; these are made of nodular cast iron which is far more ductile, and were a pain to remove. Some brave soul had to cut almost all the way through the liner with a Dremel or something similar, and then a drift had to be very, very carefully driven between liner and cylinder to peel it away. Thank goodness the cut didn’t go all the way through!

It’s interesting that it’s the ductile iron liner bores that have been damaged the most – here’s one.

Here’s the worst of the cast liners by comparison. Bear in mind that was run for half an hour at full power with just the residual oil on the cylinder walls – the oil supply was switched off. Even more remarkable then, that most of them were completely undamaged, but since they were on the outer limit for bore, we decided to replace the lot.

So a very productive day, generally.

The one cloud on the horizon, (apart from the bill, of course…) is that because about half a dozen Collection machines have thrown little technical issues, our engine rebuild may not be completed quite as quickly as we’d hoped.

But it should cause any major hiccups as far as we can see.


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  1. Six of one and a quarter dozen of the other materials doesn’t sound clever at all… Intelligent move to replace them all I would think, especially as you’ve spent the money on new pistons, but I don’t have to pick up the bill. I suppose the big question you must be asking yourself is whether there’s anything else about this engine that’s sub optimal and will hit you in the pocket in the forseeable future…

  2. We’re very confident about the rest. The big ends are fine – thank goodness; the main bearings are also fine, though they are slightly more easily replaceable. I think there’s every chance with the new rings and pistons that we’ll be able to get full power out of the engine for the first time, which I’m really looking forward to. It would be great to be able to replicate the original performance figures as quoted by Martlesham Heath.

  3. Ted Timberlake permalink

    Curious about the mixed metals for the liners. Could they have been as original or a replacement at some later date? Also the differing wear. Hopefully, as you say, the overall rebuild will up the game of the performance. Good luck.

  4. We’ve got no positive information on the use of nodular iron, but since the material was only invented in 1945, it’s clear they weren’t fitted in 1917!

    Anyway, we’re absolutely delighted with the quality of what’s being refitted, and I can’t wait to get her in the air again and see if it’s made any difference!

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