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Old 05-03-2013, 09:26 PM   #1589
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Apr 2007
Location: Northern Utah
Oddometer: 344
Meteor Tank Engine

The Meteor tank engine is very similar to the Merlin. Both made by Rolls Royce, the same specialized tooling works for both. An acquaintance of mine works on Merlin's and he has a meteor tooling kit for them. The accessories, supercharger, exhaust and intake systems are different however.

The strangest thing about the Merlin and Meteor is that the valve seats in the cylinder heads are screwed into the head, not pressed like every motor I have worked on. As you might imagine they are put in with lots of torque. The valve seats have a central part for turning them in (very coarse thread) and then they machine the central part out as part of the rebuild, making the valve seat as it is removed.

The valves have 1/2" stems, and the exhaust valves have sodium in them for convection cooling as many piston aircraft engines did during WWII.

The Merlin's biggest challenge was keeping the tetra-ethyl lead in suspension (anti knock) in the very long intake track. Spark plugs were always a challenge (fouling with lead). With the two speed two stage superchargers wartime maximum power setting was 61 or so inches of mercury. The Reno racers run very exotic fuels (not gasoline), cooling by boiling over and over 90 inches of mercury as the race power setting. The charge cooling system (inter cooler) is eliminated because of to much restriction and the charge cooled by evaporation of the ADI fluid (methanol and water). Often the ratio of the supercharger speed system is altered as well.
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