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Ford V12 Aero Engine

Apophenia

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Flight, 21 Aug 1941, has a brief article on a planned Ford aero engine. Other than being a fuel-injected, turbocharged V12, there are not many details of this engine. Photo of engine mock-up attached.

http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1941/1941%20-%201909.html

Engine History picks up the story in "Aircraft Engines in Armored Vehicles":
http://www.enginehistory.org/featured_engines.htm

Ford Motor Company thought it would be easier to produce an aircraft engine of its own design than to license-build the Rolls-Royce Merlin. A revolutionary and innovative 60° V-12 was designed and built, but before it could be fully developed, the US became involved in World War II. Ford removed four of the cylinders, resulting in a 60° V-8 for tank use that developed 450 hp @ 2,600 rpm. Several variants were produced [the GAA, GAF, and GAN].

...In order to meet the need for a larger engine, Ford resurrected the V-12 as the GAC, which produced 770 hp and powered the T29 (6).

Drawing of Ford aircraft V12: http://www.enginehistory.org/Features/Tanks/Ford_1.gif

BTW, the Guiberson T-1020 9-cyl radial diesel is also mentioned on that page. If anyone is interested in the A-1020 aircraft engine see http://www.enginehistory.org/Diesels/Ch3.pdf for details, photos, and diagrams (including sections).
 

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J.A.W.

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Note the relatively rare (for large aero-engines) DOHC configuration..

In current Reno racing Merlin very high boost/revs (ab)use, the R-R SOHC valve gear 'dissolves'...
-according to Mike Nixon, Reno racing engine guru..
 

Apophenia

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http://www.acmp.com/blog/ford-aviation-division.html

"During World War II the Defense Department placed orders for Navy engines with similar specification to the Merlins and Allisons. Ford responded with their design. Ford had developed an aircraft engine similar to that of the Rolls-Royce Merlin and Allison engines of that era. It was a 60 degree V-12 with aluminum block and head, dual overhead camshaft, and 4 valves per cylinder. The intention of this design was to help Ford break into the anticipated large market for fighter engines. This engine was built to typical aircraft standards: it was light, high performance, and highly reliable. Everything was safety wired or staked with close attention to detail on every part. Available information suggests this design performed well.

However, this engine never went into production as an aircraft engine due to the US Navy’s decision to only use radial engines for its aircraft, and the Army’s contractual commitments to existing engine manufacturers. With the approach of war, increasing orders for the M4 tanks were causing supply issues with the existing engine. The U.S. Army decided they needed to source an engine supplier, so Ford removed 4 cylinders from the design and it went into production as a V-8."

Earlier, the Harry Miller 1200 cid V16 (for Ford's 1935 Indy 500 entry) was also a twin cam design (and supercharged). That engine was then adapted as an IV-1200 for the proposed Rider-Miller racing aircraft. Did the later Ford aircraft V12 owe anything to Miller's V16s, I wonder?
 

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J.A.W.

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If so, its odd that Ford stuck with the R-R Merlin under-square reciprocating dimensions.

Chrysler's (also stymied attempt) was a V16, but a 'hyper' high rpm job..
 

tartle

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Doing the math on engine formula gives you Merlin dimensions... nobody was copying ... also how do we know an engine (i.e. Ford) that did not go into production was reliable? The 3 A's apply Assumption> Assertion> Actuality
 

J.A.W.

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Ford evidently reckoned that they were 'improving' rather than copying, T.

They did not try to improve the R-2800, AFAIR - sticking to building the basic bomb-truck types..

So, the V12 was good enough for tanks.
& yet with all the other changes, - why did they stick with the Merlin long stroke recip' dimensions?
 
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joncarrfarrelly

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Apophenia said:
Earlier, the Harry Miller 1200 cid V16 (for Ford's 1935 Indy 500 entry) was also a twin cam design (and supercharged). That engine was then adapted as an IV-1200 for the proposed Rider-Miller racing aircraft. Did the later Ford aircraft V12 owe anything to Miller's V16s, I wonder?
The engines of the 1935 Miller-Fords were naturally aspirated Ford flathead V-8s, Miller and his crew designed and built the
rest of the front-whell drive car, but did not create a new engine design for that program.
 

RyanCrierie

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from

MINUTES OF THE FIRST MEETING OF
UNITED STATES TANK ENGINE COMMITTEE
TANK AUTOMOTIVE CENTER
Union Guardian Building
Detroit, Michigan
November 4, 1942

....

Colonel Green explained that the new Cromwell tank design was based on the use of the Ford V-12. It was the opinion of the committee that it would be impossible to consider quantity production of the Ford V-12 at this time.
 

Nick Sumner

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Erm, that statement is a tad misleading. From memory, the Cromwell tank engine was the RR Meteor, a de-rated RR Merlin, usually time expired for aviation use then rebuilt for tanks. Ford built Merlins under licence in the UK.
 

Hood

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Never heard of the Cromwell being designed for anything else than the Meteor.
As Nick Sumner says, its probably a carelessly worded statement.
 

Kevin Renner

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George Allegrezza said:
Interestingly the GAA is enjoying somewhat of a revival in automotive circles. Aftermarket parts are being produced and modern engine controls and fuel injection have been utilized. Given that it’s a 60-degree V8, it’s not ideal for automotive use, but it’s prodigious torque output more than makes up for a few vibrations here and there.
And with the old line about there's no substitute for cubic inches 1100 cid is a little over the top
 

Grey Havoc

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Now, now. Dismemberment, self-inflicted or otherwise, is strictly discouraged within these august walls. ;)
 

CaptianNemo2001

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I have been slowly working on my US Tank Engine Book trying to fully cover the GAB and GAC engines, (currently working through 5 years of GAA and company V8 stuff) but I saw this and figured I would mention that in file I have that the V-12 for the Cromwell isn't an outside possibility as I have mentions for it. I'd have to double check things but the Ford GAY was intended for the Centaur and indeed 20 engines were shipped over.

I do know that the British had on order 6,500 Ford V12s before October 1942 when the GAC was to start testing and before the Feb 1943 intended production date.

Currently half way through 42 reports on all the US engines and once that is done... its off to a long list of archives.
 

J Dickinson

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In Ponta's 1946 White Paper, it shows a drawing for a Ford in a Cromwell Tank, I have 3 complete V8 engines and parts for several more. Last June I also helped make the only GAC V12, we know of, in private hands run, barely, but we are going back to finish the job, maybe this summer, depending on the Virus situation. Captain Nemo, I would be interested in communicating with you, please contact me. We are also working up one of the GAF's to Aircraft Standards, forged pistons, different valves, balanced, dual turbocharged, dual engine management systems, fuel injected, propeller reduction gear, etc.

It seems that the information of the V12 Fords is not easily found, maybe we can trade information. Jim
 

CaptianNemo2001

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In Ponta's 1946 White Paper, it shows a drawing for a Ford in a Cromwell Tank, I have 3 complete V8 engines and parts for several more. Last June I also helped make the only GAC V12, we know of, in private hands run, barely, but we are going back to finish the job, maybe this summer, depending on the Virus situation. Captain Nemo, I would be interested in communicating with you, please contact me. We are also working up one of the GAF's to Aircraft Standards, forged pistons, different valves, balanced, dual turbocharged, dual engine management systems, fuel injected, propeller reduction gear, etc.

It seems that the information of the V12 Fords is not easily found, maybe we can trade information. Jim
I dont have an issue handing out the info on the V12s. For the V12 info I have 23 reports out of 42 gone through resulting in 12 entries atm for the V12. Which is a far cry for the Ford V8 72 entries over 23 report out of 42 that I have gone through. With the V8s there is some coverage on its development and the issue of the headgasket which there is some drawings of the different attempts at sealing it. There is the end results of testing (hours run before failure and the sort of failures and proposals for fixs) but not really the technical details on heat treatments and or materials used. One sole one-off mention of an proposal for an Iron version of the V8. Like the HL 210 vs HL 230. I haven't even started in on the V12 section (writing). The Ford V8 section is at 20 pages and its only covering the first 23 reports although I keep finding bits I missed when I re-go over the first 23 reports looking for other things...

The long term plan once the virus is done and the Ford sections are done, is to start hitting the archives.

My current project the last month has been writing up on the T19 Armored Car.

Jeremy.

Edit: You might also try the Tank, Cruiser, Centaur A27L, Cromwell A27M Group on Facebook.
 
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J Dickinson

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Jeremy, You certainly have more information than we do. There does not seem to a lot about the V12 here either and what we often find is hard to read because of serial copying, before we got it. I am looking for a clear copy of the Ponta White Paper, photos are bad, and pedulum damper drawing is not there, do you have one? One of the things we are looking for is more photos, especially those of the Aircraft engines, actually any photos or writings would be very much appreciated. We hope, within the next year, to be able to visit the Ford Museum Archives and see what we can find there. Are there any V12's in the UK? We know of four actual ones here is the U.S, three in protoype tank is museums, and the one in North Dakota we made run. It can from a midwest estate sale, of Merlin parts, our friend bought the whole lot, when deliviered, there it was. There is supposedly one in California in the hands of an unknown collector, and another in pieces somewhere in or near Pennsylvania. The Ford Museum, was reputed to have one, but does not seem to be now, perhaps the one we worked on was it, as they have periodically sold things off. I wonder if the GAB V-12 had the original 4 bolt main bearing caps, the North Dakota one has the later two bolt setup. It also has one dual spark plug aircraft type head. even though only one plug is used. The other head has the proper mill-outs for dual spark plugs, although only one is drilled. It's caburetors are messed up, although friend Willie has a brand new set, as it the gear drive to the magnetos. but again Willie has the parts to fix the drive as they are the same as the later V8's. This engine, although on its 1944 original pallet, has been run quite a bit. Its compression is down to about 110 lBs, while my military rebuild GAF has 150 plus. Perhaps the two of us can connect on the phone. Right now with the Virus, we can't do any physical work, maybe can do some research and writing. Jim, USA phone, 360-296-3940
 

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CaptianNemo2001

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I'll make a copy up of what I have. At least until report number 23. And then I'll DM it to you.
 

J Dickinson

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Thank you, I'll be looking forward to it. I will scam and send you what I have after I get your mailings, as I'll bet you have most I do, Jim
 

J Dickinson

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Absolutely. I had some trouble opening the files, in fact I could not get thelast two to open at all, I will try again tonite with the last two. What is remarkable is the amount of interest in the engine by the British Army. I am still waiting for the PonTa White Paper from the fellow in Canada, this whole shutdown here is slowing everything down to a crawl. Jim
 

CaptianNemo2001

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Absolutely. I had some trouble opening the files, in fact I could not get thelast two to open at all, I will try again tonite with the last two. What is remarkable is the amount of interest in the engine by the British Army. I am still waiting for the PonTa White Paper from the fellow in Canada, this whole shutdown here is slowing everything down to a crawl. Jim
I have Indexs for Reports 13-35 out of the 42 Reports so the next batch of logging engine info should prove faster. Currently finished going through several hundred pages logging all of the production projections for the T18 Boarhound. Which is my next planned article. I did download the files and they opened up alright. I do use 7zip and put them in a normal zip format. If I need to change it I can always do that.
 

CaptianNemo2001

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Spent some time logging the last of the entries today, using the indexs to save some time, so I should be able to crop and lable them tomorrow.
 

Kevin Renner

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As I understood it the thing that made this engine different from others of the era is the use of cast steel in place of forgings. Plus it employed side by side rods in the automotive manner instead of fork and blade style. In a related matter the 1100 ci V-8 version fitted to Sherman tanks has been finding it's way into the occasional high dollar hot rod.
 
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