Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Woodn't believe it

New piston for a long stroke engine and a piece of machined aluminium.  Please note that workshop cleanliness is not too important when making wooden pistons.

Many years ago a work mate told me a story about a friend of his who, in the fifties had bought a pre war Rolls Royce. This friend of a work mate apparently paid a weeks wage for it, only a few pounds and maybe just £500 in current values. So a great bargain. It ran beautifully, smooth, quiet and was everything you would expect from such a quality car. Having stopped for fuel on the way home however, he couldn't get the car started again and completed the journey behind a tow truck. His local mechanic had a look at it and after stripping down the engine he reported finding a load of wooden pistons. This apparently worked because each induction stroke cools the piston enough to stop them burning. But when stationary the pistons char and disintegrate. Being unable to find replacement pistons the car was eventually scrapped.

Of course I never believed a word of it. But until today I never thought to Google it. There are several similar stories, all referring to a third party experience, much like my own, but no admissions from an 'engineer' with a wood lathe. If anyone has proof, I want to see it.

As pistons for my Montesa 348 are getting scarce I may try a wooden one sometime however, what with it being a piston ported two stroke it might be quite complicated.

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