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    Stockport, UK.
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    Motorcycles, railways, football, cricket, folk music, rhythm and blues.
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  1. Hello Doug: I've done a bit more digging, and the reference to Peter Brotherhood tractors came from an employee of the modern Peter Brotherhood company. I suspect he _may_ have confused the 30 BHP Ricardo petrol/paraffin engines fitted to the "Peterbro" tractors exported to Australia and NZ with the bigger Ricardo petrol engines fitted to the tanks. For what it's worth, searching the web for Peter Brotherhood tractors brings up plenty of references to the 30 BHP jobs but none at all with the larger engines.
  2. Pity the poor devils (if any) who were in there at the time.
  3. I'm sure you're right; a relatively shallow wet sump and the sort of angles His Majesty's Land Ships operated at doesn't sound like a good combination. I have, however, seen a comment attributed to Harry Ricardo in which he admits the narrowness of the main and large end bearings was a mistake and affected the engines' reliability. Of course I can't find it now.....
  4. The reference to exports to Australia and New Zealand was in connection with tractors built by Peter Brotherhood Ltd. A quick poke around the web has produced plenty of references to 'Peterbro' tractors, and although most of them have Ricardo engines, these are a later design and a lower horsepower than the tank engines. Likewise with the Fowler Gyrotiller, plenty of stuff on them but all with different engines, mainly MAN diesels. One of the design defects with the tank engine was a tendency to bearing failures as the large ends and mains were too narrow and required frequent regrinding. As the engines will now be around a century old, this might go some way to explaining why so few survive.
  5. One of the pictures with my original post, the engine painted black and hooked up to an alternator, is said to be at a museum in Auckland, so I strongly suspect this is the one shown in your photographs.
  6. I'm sure this is one of the functions of the design, but given the holes in the crosshead portion and the cast passageways in the crankcase I'm equally sure there's more going on to do with engine breathing as well. Perhaps this is a means of scavenging the crankcase, but this might promote oil burning in the cylinder rather than reduce it. Another interesting aspect of the design was the "barking dog" problem that afflicted the early engines. This intermittent and alarming noise turned out to be due to blowby past the rings, and was eventually resolved by optimising the ring clearances and ensuring that there was sufficient gas pressure behind the rings to ensure an effective seal.
  7. Hello Doug: I don't have any photo's of my own of the relevant area of the piston at the moment, although I could try to get some if it would help. In my reply to Andy earlier, I referred to the "quasi-crosshead" design, it looks as though Ricardo himself referred to it as a crosshead, so I should have left it at that. There are some pictures of sectioned engines on the IWM site here, which give a better idea of the engine arrangement and the piston in particular: http://bonesgarage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/RicardoPiston.jpg http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205249676 http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205249675
  8. Thanks Bob, I've had a good look around there, some very interesting stuff.
  9. Hello Andy ) Only one JKB at Mirrlees as far as I know, fortunately for everyone else who worked there. The sectioned engine is now out on loan to the Anson Museum, I gave it a good coat of looking-at after the lecture. They have two sectioned engines in fact, possibly both from Bovington, it's thought they might have been prepared as a training aid but I don't think anyone knows for certain. You're right about the peculiar arrangement below the piston, I've never seen anything like it elsewhere. It reminds me of the sort of thing you see on two-strokes, although the engine is definitely a four stroke. As I understand it, one of the problems with the Daimler engines used in the very earliest tanks was that they smoked like the devil and the enemy could see them coming from miles away by the plume of exhaust smoke they were puthering out. The Ricardo engine seems to have addressed this by improving the engine breathing, hence the strange quasi-crosshead design, and by improvements to the piston rings to reduce the amount of blow-by. I'd need to run all this past the chap who's doing the research, but this is the impression I gained from his lecture.
  10. I recently attended a lecture by a friend who’s been researching the Ricardo-designed petrol engines used in British WW1 tanks. They’re fascinating things in their own right, but I’m particularly interested as they were built, amongst other places, at the Mirrlees Bickerton & Day factory in Stockport where I used to work. It seems they had at least one tank as a test vehicle that used to roam the surrounding fields that later became a golf course. Some friends of mine would like to acquire a complete Ricardo tank engine and one of them has written a summary of the five engine types to help locate and identify possible candidates. He’s agreed that I can reproduce it here in case anyone has a surplus engine lying around. Unlikely, I know, but unless you ask, you’ll never know.... It is known that in addition to those used in tanks many were used throughout the 1920s for various applications including generating sets, power for various agricultural implements (e.g. Fowler Gyrotiller) and for light locomotives. Peter Brotherhood listed the Ricardo engine ranges for sale as part of its product range in the immediate post war period and also produced around 300 tractors using the 150 BHP engine which were mainly sold for use in Australia and New Zealand. The knowledge base concerning these engines is gradually increasing as more information comes to light from various sources. One key difficulty is that unlike the first Ricardo design rated at 150 BHP, later designs appear to be devoid of much in the way of manufacturer identity. The first design had the makers name, e.g. “Mirrlees Bickerton & Day” or “Brotherhood” clearly cast into the sides of the bedplate. We don’t know how many names actually appeared, as some of the smaller makers may have received ready finished bits to assemble. This means that describing the engine range is difficult when trying to locate other remaining examples around the world. The five designs in the range can be described as follows and are illustrated by the five photos below in the same order: 1) 150 BHP 6 cylinder ‘heavy’ engine This was by far the most common engine in the series with cast iron major components and most if not all have the manufacturer’s name cast into the bedplate which is visible in the side view of the engine 2) 100 BHP 4 cylinder engine This derivative of the original design was not produced in huge numbers before the war ended. The example shown below was installed into an agricultural unit by Fowlers of Leeds and is now on display at the Leeds Industrial museum in Armley. 3) 300 BHP V12 engine This engine was produced as a means of extracting twice the power for later tank designs fitted with armour plating and like the 4 cylinder was not produced in large numbers before the war ended. 4) 225 BHP 6 cylinder engine This engine was a development of the original 150 BHP with quite a lot of design changes and was produced in reasonable numbers towards the end of WWI. We believe this engine may have TS4 included in the number stamped on the side of the engine but no clues on the manufacturer. There is a beautifully restored example of this type built as a generating set in an Auckland museum, see photo. below. 5) 150 BHP 6 cylinder ‘light’ engine This variant was a lighter version of the 150 BHP design using aluminium major components but retaining many running parts of the original design. The photograph shown below was only recently discovered showing the aluminium light 6 cylinder on a test bed at the Mirrlees works in early 1919.
  11. John K. B. from Stockport, Cheshire here. I've been an occasional visitor to the forum over the years and marvelled at some of the restorations and the techniques involved. No military stuff in my fleet at the moment, and in the past I've only had Land Rovers (SIIAs, Air Portables, 101) and an Armstrong MT500 so nothing very armoured or exotic. Recently retired, I used to earn the monthly envelope working on diesel engines in ships, locomotives and power stations all over the world. As a result I have a profound aversion to airports and air travel which my partner is trying to get me out of so we can go to visit family in Australia. To get my engineering fix I work on the Talyllyn Railway when I get chance, their small fleet of diesel loco's usually needs something doing, or there's the steam engines and carriages if all else fails. Having told everyone for years that I didn't need another expensive hobby, I've succumbed to the live steam garden railway bug. There's a tenuous military connection there; one of my two 16mm:1 foot loco's is a Baldwin 4-6-0 built for the War Department Light Railways in WW1 and I'm building a rake of mobile workshop wagons for it to pull. The reason I've joined rather than just lurking is to do with engines for WW1 tanks, but I'll explain that somewhere more appropriate within HMVF. Cheers for now, JKB.
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