Allison V-1710 vs. H.S. 12: another what if

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Clay_Allison, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    What if, to compete with General Motors, Ford had decided to get into the aircraft engine business and acquired a license for the H.S. 12Y engine and developing it themselves in much the same way the Russians did, perhaps pushing an improved version with 100 octane gas to 1200 RPM (100 HP more than the soviets managed, but we had better gas and manufacturing tolerances). Eventually they would try to market it to the U.S. govt in competition with the V-1710 (as the V-2200).

    Much like the DB-601, the V-2200 would be able to operate at greater altitudes with a single-stage supercharger because of its greater displacement and with the vast manufacturing power of Ford, and the mass production genius of Henry Ford himself behind it, could it have beaten the V-1710 out of some contracts, maybe just to be placed in the best V-Fighter airframe on paper in the U.S. (the P-51A)?

    P-51As with higher altitude performance in North Africa could have saved a lot of British and American lives.
     
  2. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    According to one account Ford did try to get into the aircraft engine business. It is claimed they got the Merlin drawings before the negations fell through and they provided the inspiration for the a V-12 engine by Ford, Ford is supposed to have spent 2 million dollars and two years before giving up. Ford did salvage something from this when they chopped the middle 4 cylinders from the design, removed the supercharger and it was adopted to power M-4 tanks.

    This airplane engine business isn''t quite as simple as it looks.

    The Hispano engine needed a LOT or reworking to make it competitive with Allison, Merlin and DB engines. of course it was a bit older than these engines, reaching flight status several years earlier.

    The Russians used it because they had to. The had taken out a license and gotten assistance from the French starting in 1935, so it took them 4-5 years (and a few thousand engines) to get to 1100HP. The Hispano company themselves were working on a replacement in 1939-40 called the 12Z. This had a number of major changes from the "Y" series engines.

    The 12 Y was a very light engine for it's size, weighing several hundred pounds less than an Allison, Merlin, DB or Junkers. This meant it didn't have the strength to withstand substantial increases in power. The Russian M 105s did gain weight. It had 2 valves per cylinder and an archaic intake system and porting. H-S superchargers were none to good either. French were working on changing those even on the later "Y" models let alone the 'Z"

    The Russians beefed up the crankcase and crankshaft ( I believe?), redesigned the cylinder heads to use 3 valves and incorporated a 2 speed supercharger drive instead of the original single speed. Critical altitude in high gear was about the same as a "C" series Allison.

    To be competitive Ford would have had to redesign the crankcase, crankshaft, cylinder heads, the entire intake system (using 6 blow through carburetors has got to go) and a probalbl a bunch of other stuff.

    Please note that the 12 "Y" 50 model, even newer than the engine used in the Dewoitine D.520 was good for 1100hp for take off but only 1000hp at 10,800ft. I believe that was with a NON Hispano supercharger.

    Please see the VK-106 and VK-107 For Russian developments of the basic design. Granted without invasion, bombing and relocation of factories the US would have been faster in implementing changes.
     
  3. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    This is the basic Jist of what I was thinking. Plus the US probably had better materials to work with and better Gasoline.

    I thought of the Hispano because it's an old enough design that Ford could have acquired it when the Allison was in its infancy. Also because Henry Ford had some kind of animosity toward the English, eventually driving the production of the V-1650 to Packard. If not for that, he could have acquired the Rolls Royce R design and refined it into a production quality American Griffon as the V-2240.
     
  4. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    During the mid 1930s Ford could have acquired license build rights to all sorts of aircraft engines. I suspect they could even have acquired license rights to the DB601, as Kawasaki (Japan) did during 1937. But they need motivation to do so in the form of a U.S. Army Air Corps contract.
     
  5. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    #5 Clay_Allison, Feb 3, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
    Considering the esteem in which Ford was held by Hitler, he very well could have gotten a contract to build the DB601. I think that would deepen distrust of Ford in Washington, however.
     
  6. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    What makes the DB601 better than the Allison?
     
  7. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    Displacement, primarily, allowing a higher critical altitude with a single-stage supercharger.
     
  8. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    The RR Merlin was originally developed as a private venture, without government funds. It's what you call a speculative investment.
     
  9. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Only until 1936
    Once production contracts for F36/34 were signed, PV-12 became very much government funded
     
  10. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure if the Ford organization could have done it on their own, Especially in that time line. Ford had little experience with aircraft engines or even high performance engines and the Hispano needed almost a complete redesign to end up were the Alison wound up in 1940-41.
    The better gasoline isn't as much of an advantage if the basic engine (crankcase and crankshaft) won't stand up to the the combustion pressures of the higher boost the better fuel allows. see the much shorter overhaul times of the boosted Russian engines and they did have some beefing up over the parent engine.
    Ford would also have to redesign the entire intake system from air scoop to intake ports in the heads if not the cylinder heads themselves. This might be beyond their area of expertise, seeing as how it seemed to be beyond most other American manufacturers at the time.

    Ford more likely than not could not have acquired the "R" engine. It was a special racing development of the Buzzard. The "R" series of engines (19 made) differed from each other in small batches and many of them ran on exotic fuels. It's main importance to the Merlin and Griffon was in showing R-R what was possible and giving them practice in problem solving under pressure. Aside from the bore and stroke it is questionable how much of the "R" was actually carried over to the Griffon.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Not much actually.

    It used a different approach to a number of things. Some were better, some might not have been so good.

    The larger displacement for weight traded displacement for RPM ( the 601 series couldn't rev as high).
    The DB engines made much more extensive use of roller bearings. Allison happened to make the bulk of their money producing hard shell bearings for other aircraft engine companies until late 1939 or so. The hard shell bearings may have worked just as good and been much cheaper. Somebody once said you use ball/roller bearings when you don't trust your plain bearings.

    American carburetors may not have had the negative "G" problem the English carburetors did, removing one advantage of the fuel injection system. Carburetors were also much cheaper and simpler than fuel injection even if they didn't offer quite the same fuel economy or performance. The carburetors may have allowed more flexibility in "running rich" to aid in cooling when overboosting though. The Fuel injection certainly didn't offer the evaporative charge cooling that the carburetors did though. So just in the fuel system each method had advantages and disadvantges-- which was better?

    The 601 did have a better supercharger drive once the fluid coupling was adopted but the early versions with a single speed gear drive would have showed little advantage over the Allison there.
     
  12. Clay_Allison

    Clay_Allison Active Member

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    I've been doing some reading on Ford, and I wonder if they might be a bad subject for this "what if". I had read about HF's 1000 planes a month boast and used that as a basis for their interest in aircraft engines, but Henry Ford was about as well loved in Washington as Howard Hughes. Those two could have gotten together to build an awesome plane that nobody would want to buy.

    Before I propose an alternative, which had more potential, the HS12Y or the RR-Buzzard?
     
  13. Markus

    Markus Banned

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    And as Shortround6 reminds us the US government was ordering next to no Allisons for years; 79 between 1934 and 39 to be specific. There was no real market until the P-40 won the pursuit competition in April 39.
     
  14. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I'd guess the HS-12Y
    but not so's you'd notice. The Buzzard was, by the sounds of it, a good engine and at 800hp was healthy for the end of the 20s. It's only opinion here, but the Buzzard led to the R series used in the Schneider Trophy machines, rather than being used itself. This is pertinent as both the Buzzard and the R series were racing engines. It was effectively a scaled-up Kestrel and had a very limited production run of 100 units.

    I don't think the Hispano powerplant had an awful lot of stretch in it, the Soviets took it on and reinforced just about everything, crankcase, crank etc; supercharging may or may not have brought about performance gains as that aspect wasn't ever particularly good in French hands.
     
  15. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I will say that Ford did build ( 14.3 million of govt money) the first second source factory for R-2800s. Their engineers went to East Hartford P&W and essentially duplicated it. It was at least tripled in size in just a few years and delivered 45,637 engines before the end of the war. Money was received on Sept 17 1940 with ground broken the same day, please note that this just a few months after the R-R deal falls through. As far as duplicating the P&W factory, was P&W doing that good a job or did the Ford guys just figure to go with what worked and change things later?

    as far as the Buzzard goes, it probably had more potential but in it's original version it weighed about 200lbs less than a Merlin and would certainly have needed beefing up in order to produce competitive (or superior) power.

    The "R" gained about 400lbs, not all of it just in a bigger supercharger:lol:
     
  16. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    With such a tiny order I'm surprised GM kept the V-1710 engine production line going. They had to be losing money.
     
  17. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Buzzard was used to power Flying boats for the most part so I would say it was more of a workhorse engine.

    The construction that was needed to stand up the BMEPs and RPMs used in the late 20s-early 30s with 70-80 octane fuel compared to what was needed to withstand the BMEPS achieved with 100 octane and above fuels is rather different. Considering that the IMEP pressures would be even higher in proportion on a WW II engine than a 1920s-early 30s engine and strength of construction becomes even more important.

    While it is air-cooled the evolution of the Wright R-1820 is rather interesting as it is about the only engine to go from the late 20s-very early 30s to post Korea. It about tripled in power doing so but I am not sure there were any interchangeable parts between an early engine and late model engine except for a few odd nuts and bolts.
     
  18. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    I've just had a quick look-see
    and you're right - I didn't know that; I'm still pretty sure it was used as a race engine though
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    GM had a large production facility in Germany. Why not move the Allison engine division to Europe? It can compete with Junkers and Daimler-Benz for V-12 contracts. Surely RLM will purchase at least as many as the U.S. Army Air Corps. When DB601 engines are reserved for the Me-109 and Me-110 the German produced Allison engine get used in the He-100 and Fw-187.
     
  20. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    As I have been saying, they were losing money.

    And that is not counting the fact that the Army was over 900,000 in arrears on work already successfully completed in the Spring of 1939. If they hadn't gotten the production contract for the engines for the P-40 fighters in April of 1939 there is a good chance GM would have stopped the engine program (other divisions of Allison, like the bearing division were doing well)
     
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