What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

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What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:41 pm

Has anyone seen any motors with similar holes in the cylinder wall? The Ford Special race at The Henry Ford, as well as our motor, have holes in the side of the cylinder wall, on the non exhaust side. THF racer motor has heavy steel rails, and a sliding slide with four corresponding holes:
IMG_1880.PNG
IMG_1881.PNG
There is a deflector shield over the slide and holes:
IMG_1918.PNG
It looks as if the slide was controlled by pushing (by hand or foot) this rod, that then pivots and moves the slide, either to open or close the four holes by matching up with the holes in the slide:
IMG_1919.PNG
It looks to me like this was a one time thing. There is no spring, and if you are operating this lever by foot, there would be no simple way to bring it back.

Below is the slide as it appears between the deflector and where the pivot rod meets it (firewall):
IMG_2283.JPG
I have a Ford drawing of the oil filler cap, which is similar to a T, except it isn't a breather cap. It's solid. That tells me there is no other breather on this car, except possible these holes in the cylinder wall.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:48 pm

Continued:

These are views of the slide from the bottom of the motor at THF. There is carbon around the area, indicating to me the slide was open, at least some of the time while the car was running:
IMG_2288.JPG
Below is an original piston. It seems to me the holes probably are always below the top two rings, and below the bottom ring:
IMG_1882.PNG
If these are simply breather holes, why the slide? When would a person want the holes closed? Would a person start the engine with the holes closed, then open when increasing rpm? The mains on these motors are pressurized, so I assume they were a higher rpm motor than a T. Lastly, I've found no Ford patents for this system. Ford was good about procuring patents whenever they built something different. Was this used on other motors? Is this at all similar to the ports in 2 cycle motors?

Thanks for any opinions and ideas,
Rob


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:00 pm

Looks to me to be a de-compressor for crank starting, once fired up kick it shut.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:20 pm

I would tend to agree with Kerry. That's what I thought before I got to his post. Odd that there are so many holes and only cuts off one ring out of the compression stroke. I initially thought it would be an oiler feature prior to start up but I cannot contrive a convincing argument for that.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Mike Lebsack-Iowa » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:27 pm

Hmmmm, a compression release could be a logical explanation. I have had 4 stroke motorcycles with large bores, high compression and no electric start. You simply could not kick start one of these without the compression release. That said it would need to seal completely or you would have compression loss. On the motorcycles the compression release valve is held closed by compression because the valve projects inside the combustion chamber. This is a very interesting topic.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:47 pm

Thanks guys. Would there be much compression loss by the third ring? How does this motor breath of not through these holes?

Thanks...


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by John kuehn » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:21 pm

It could be similar to the same idea used in air compressors. As in air compressors there is a momentary release of compression upon starting to get the compressor up to speed without having to start under a load.
Opening up the holes would help in turning the engine over for easier cranking then closing them up when the engine is running.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:24 pm

Compression increases when it gets behind the rings, maybe taking the 3rd out of the equation is enough to able an easier start?
as for a crankcase breather, mmm, blocking the breathing off completely would push oil out of every place it could, front and back of the crank seals if it has any? up the bores valves, you name it, it would be smokey the bear when running! :D


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Billdizer,Spencer In » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:59 pm

If closing those slides would pressurize the crankcase, what would that pressure be used for? Could it pressurize a fuel tank to force gas to the engine? In the piston pin/wrist pin, is there any way for air/oil to escape between the two top and the bottom ring, and out those ports? From the size of the ports, there must be some volume of gas going thru. Probably not a real high compression engine-there wasn't any spark knock reducing/high octane fuel available.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:11 pm

I read about a successful (or saw a YouTube video of it) of a 1910's era racer that had a lower engine exhaust system. I didn't pay attention but do recall hearing or reading that up to 80 percent of the exhaust went out this lower motor exhaust. The car had a L head intake and exhaust, with another exhaust pipe coming out the bottom of the non valve side of the engine. Unfortunately I wasnt' thinking of this motor, and didn't look into where exactly the second lower motor exhaust was coming from.

I've turned this motor and the one at THF over, without opening the cylinder ports, and they turn over fine (not as hard as a K). I can't imagine that at the slow speed of hand cranking they would make that much difference before any crankcase pressure could build. However, I obviously don't know.... :)


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:19 pm

With the oil and fuel of the day, it wouldn't take long for the holes of that size to carbon up, but like all high preformance engines maybe rebuilt after every race meet. :?:


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by DHort » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:41 pm

Rob

How far down are the holes from the top of the head?


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by HaroldRJr » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:44 pm

I'm thinking,...either additional scavenging of exhaust at high rpm, as the four holes look as though they are low enough to be just barely cleared by the top piston ring at bottom of stroke, or, maybe this engine was designed to have "wet" cylinder liners installed, and the four holes per cylinder are to allow for additional coolent to cool the "wet" liners,.....???


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by wayne sheldon » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:46 pm

I don't think I have much to offer on this. I have thought about it a fair amount since those holes were first shown on the old forum a year or two ago. For the life of me, I can't think of a really good reason for this. The only thing that comes to mind is that they were still in the early years of figuring out knowledge that we take for granted. It may have been some theoretically proposed idea tried and found pointless then forgotten.
If those holes are in fact always below the top two rings? They would have virtually no effect on compression or intake.
For this next part, I will throw around some VERY rough numbers. Consider, a reasonably well fitting piston, will provide about 80 percent of compression and/or intake/power etc, even with NO rings installed. This at running speeds, which is why compression testing drops off much faster at starter speeds. The significantly slower motion allows the leakage more TIME to leak down and give low readings. An engine without ANY rings installed can actually run reasonably well if brought up to a near running speed to start it.
With only one ring installed (per cylinder), any one of the three, provided there were no other compression losses, extreme wear on the cylinders, bad valves, head gasket etc, you could probably even crank start the engine. Any ONE ring on each piston would bring the running compression up to probably 90 percent of normal for a broken-in fresh engine. Although the ring nearest the wrist pin would likely guide the piston most smoothly and run longer before it broke something.
A second ring, any position, would bring running compression up to almost the full normal amount. The holes between the upper two and lower one ring would have almost no effect on the engine's compression.

I don't know if it was Murray Fahnestock or not, but years ago, I read articles written back in the day that many racing engines were run with only one or two rings installed. They did this, and recommended this, because at racing speeds, there was so little effect on the compression, but they theorized the drag on the cylinders was reduced enough to give a few more rpm and a bit more horsepower (that belief is disputed to this day, and I have never read a definitive study either way, lots of opinions, but few applicable facts).

If the holes are in fact below the top two rings at all times, but above the bottom ring only when the piston is in the lower part of its stroke, and below the bottom ring when the piston is in its upper part of its stroke? It would vent the crankcase somewhat. The holes appear to be fairly small, so they would limit the venting somewhat even when opened. The whole thing COULD be an attempt to control the venting, maybe a controlled "total loss" oiling system if there is no other venting of the crankcase. Vertical position would determine the duration of venting, and whether there is any crossover between the two pair of cylinders doing the venting.

The holes being below the top two rings, it cannot in any way be a compression relief for starting. Even venting the crankcase would make virtually no difference there.
I do suspect it was an idea tried, found not really beneficial, and not used much. Soon forgotten. I still haven't figured out exactly WHAT they were trying to accomplish.

I do suspect, that whatever they were trying to do, it probably needed more than a simple one-way slide foot control. whether a friction-hold hand control? Or levers that push and pull? Or springs somewhere? There had to be a bit more to it. I may be that there just isn't enough left of it to figure exactly what it did have, or do.
You might consider replicating some missing pieces from the other car at the HF just for appearances. Run it either closed with the crankcase vented, or open for venting, as long as there is not a compelling reason to leave the crankcase pressurized like many total loss oiling systems did need to be. You say the mains were pressure fed? How was the oil applied? Pressurized? Pumped? That could be important.
Other than that? I don't really know what else to do unless you do find something really definitive about just what this was.


Wow, five responses since I started typing! (Make that SIX!) (SEVEN!) Billdizer may have a point. It could possibly have pressurized a fuel tank, or oil supply?


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by RustyRim » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:18 pm

2 cycle boat engines have ports in about the same position

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by John Warren » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:23 pm

I would say that it definitely is exhaust or intake ports. Two stroke motors have ports similar. My best guess is for supercharging.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Billy Vrana » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:18 pm

I once saw an early hit and miss engine with an exhaust port at the base of the stroke as well as in the head. They called it a fluted cylinder. The exhaust note had a studder to it. The theory was it would use the velocity of the intake stroke to get a little more charge in the cylinder. Might have been what they were going for,


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Scott_Conger » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:30 pm

So long as those holes are continually covered by pistion and are kept contained within the middle and lowest ring, I don't see how it is for either intake nor exhaust. In any event if it was exhaust, the edges of the holes would be burnt if the engine had any time on this last build. My belief in it being some sort of compression relief is in the expectation that by opening the slide, you are effectively removing one ring from the 3 which would relieve compression some amount, though I would not suppose to suggest by how much.

All opinion and conjecture, of course.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:34 pm

Can't see it being a inlet or exhaust port of any sort like a 2 stroke, the piston doen't look like the travel will go low enough to exspose the combustion chamber to the holes.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:36 pm

Scott, beat me to it but thing along the same lines.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Raoul von S. » Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:14 am

By the look of the raised casting areas and considerable machine work, whatever the
intention, they went to a lot of trouble to build it this way. This was not an afterthought
or done on a whim.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by DanTreace » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:07 am

Rob

Looking at the Ford museum racer picture, seems the brass tube plumbing from the cover goes up front to the oil cap.
So might just be a mist oiling system to keep the cylinders lubed at high speeds. The holes are small and you noted evidence of carbon (oil burn).

The complete cover can then close off those cylinder holes if driver thinks sufficient smoke from the exhaust tells him to.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:23 am

Dan, I was thinking that was a water pipe, might need some clarification on that, Rob?

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Duey_C » Tue Feb 12, 2019 1:28 am

Thank goodness a few fellas have raised the fact that there were gas engines about the same time period with ports for cooling, exhaust, charge transfer or who knows what! :-)
I sure haven't fully understood all of those notions. :-)
Ooh! Now I gotta go back and really look at the pics above. Yeehaw! Thanks Rob for showing these!
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Poppie » Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:56 am

Rob, My take is that the four holes in the cylinder bore bleed off the blowby that has past the upper piston rings on the down power stroke. That exhaust gas would be near oil free (just like exhaust gas) and would not make a mess. You would then not need a crankcase breather. Regards....Neil M.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kaiser » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:27 am

In this short clip you can clearly see that the motor has extra holes drilled about everywhere possible to help with scavenging, a not uncommon use in those days in racing motors, it is also evident that the holes on the bottom of the cylinders do not have flames coming out, so..? are they helping the scavenging, or are they relieving crankcase pressure ? all depends on the placing of the holes relative to the travel of the pistons. are the open when the piston is at top: release of cranckcase pressure. are the open when piston is at bottom of stroke: to help scavenging of exhaust gases.
Why Ford would include a device to open or close the ports: a mistery to be solved !
I for one am very curious if it will be resolved, perhaps if the motor is run for the first time it will tell us why...
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:55 am

Thanks guys. I should have clarified, the plumbing that almost looks like it takes gas/mist from the deflector is actually the water pipe and inlet into the water jackets (not related). I'm not sure, but I believe the holes are situated so the top rings nor bottom ring pass below or above them (holes). Here is a video of the late Vic Zannis running the motor for the first time, about four years ago. He wasn't sure what the holes were for either, and blocked them off.

https://youtu.be/-oSrOZ4Zfo0
IMG_1924.JPG

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Charlie B in N.J. » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:33 am

Rob is it possibe to find out exactly where the piston is in relation to the holes? I'm questionong their use if they are not totally un covered at some point.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:52 am

I'll call Peter Fawcett this morning and see if they can tell how high and low the piston (and rings) pass. The stroke is 5 inches, so I'm thinking the piston must pass beyond at least one of the three sets of rings?
Thanks,
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by DanTreace » Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:40 pm

Rob

One more thought, found this in The Automobile, 1910 in article on aeroplane engines!

Maybe the Ford Special used these holes to help reduce temp. in the cylinders, claims made that more power is made at higher speeds.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:11 pm

Dan,
That makes sense, and the period is correct to think this may have influenced the designers.

Too bad there isn't a Ford Model M racer operators manual....


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kerry » Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:14 pm

If so, then there's still an issue or question of crank case pressure when completely shut off. :?: if no sign of a venter of some sort, it just can't be left to build up, it will pop a cork some place.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Wed Feb 13, 2019 6:58 am

Kerry,
We may have at least a partial answer soon. The racer is at Fawcett's Restoration in Canada, and Peter plans to start it in the next few days. It hasn't run that I'm aware of since Vic started it several years ago. Peter is going to run it with the holes open and shield off, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully there'll be video.....

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kaiser » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:29 am

Rob, good find by Dan, it seems logical IF the ports are cleared by the top of the piston on the down stroke.
From the pictures i can't determine if that is the case.
Another line of thought came to me last night, from working on early cars a lot my experience is they tend to like a lot of gasoline when cold and combined with cast iron pistons, rings and large bores, that results in considerable blowby when cold, which leads to dilution of the oil.
Could it be that the ports are there to get rid of (most of) the blowby when the engine is warming up, and kick it shut as soon as it is at working temperatures ? that would explain there is no return spring on the system, of course it would only work if the holes are positioned to always stay clear (above) the lower piston ring....
Really curious about how it runs !
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by John Warren » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:12 am

As far as the piston not opening the ports, It may have been designed with different pistons and changed after it didn't do as expected.
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:02 am

Thanks guys. It looks like there were five or more Ford Special racers. The two surviving, our motor and the racer at THF, have this same design. They are also the two largest of the Specials, at 300 and 410 cubic inches. The one at THF was also the last one made, coming out in mid 1911. The first Special racers began running in mid 1910, so I suspect if this feature wasn't successful it wouldn't have been used by the last racer. What's more it adds a little weight, and Ford racers were nothing if not efficient concerning weight.

Thanks for all the comments. We'll know a lot more as soon as Peter fires it up with the ports open.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by HaroldRJr » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:07 pm

Dan Treace - Appreciated your post Dan,....seems to somewhat support my "first choice theory comment" on my post at 4:44pm on Feb 11th when I mentioned "additional scavenging of exhaust at high rpm". That's my story and I'm "stick'n to it",.....(:^).....harold (:^)

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:10 pm

Well guys, Peter unblocked the holes, and it made cranking quite a bit easier (and it was a load before). He said the piston top does drop below the holes on the downstroke and the piston skirt goes just above it on the upstroke. What I don't know is if these pistons are as deep, long as the originals. So we know they help with cranking. Evidently Ford designers had enough compression built in to need to release the compression. I guess I know the holes are on the two big racer motors, but don't know about the other three or four smaller displacement racers. I also don't know if there would ever be an reason to open the ports while running, but I suspect you would close them ASAP to avoid an oil bath.

Thanks for you help and ideas,
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by DanTreace » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:49 pm

Thanks Rob for the update, what an interesting engine design.

And again, to you for re-creating its history of Henry Ford's first love, other than Clara......racing his machines!



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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by wayne sheldon » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:14 am

Nice, we now know more, and the pieces are coming together (literally and figuratively).
Is that Peter in the driver's seat?

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kaiser » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:07 am

Rob that clears at least some of the mystery, so it does both, help with scavenging and relieving cranck case pressure.
In a way working as some kind of decompression device, at least when the slide is open. all with the pistons you have in it now.
The only way to tell if it was configured like this from the start is if you manage to dig up the original drawings.
Thanks for keeping us up to date on the project, loving it all the way ! :mrgreen:
When in trouble, do not fear, blame the second engineer ! 8-)
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:12 am

Thanks guys.

Kaiser, fortunately, the racer at The Henry Ford has the same, although larger, engine, with a working cylinder port slide system. One noticibeable difference between our motor as with the one sent to France, and the racer at Dearborn?

3 dip pans on our racer and the wreck of the French Ford Special:

IMG_1696.JPG
Drawing for our (M-III) 3 dip pan:
IMG_2036.PNG
410 cubic inch racer at THF. This was the last racer, with features not seen on the first four. Lowered by raising the back few inches of the frame, straight front crossmember, and other later features, including a four dip pan. I believe this racer was built in mid 1911.
IMG_2037.PNG
The new racer was featured in this October 1911 Ford Times. The racer would only participate in two more events in 1912. Then the era of Henry Ford and Frank Kulick racing was over:
IMG_2038.PNG
[/size]

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:40 am

Wayne, I forgot to answer your question. That's Peter's son in the seat. They operate a third generation restoration shop outside Toronto.

We were exchanging pics trying to determine why the motor wasn't situated like the original photo. We determined the Ford Special had a longer hood to help hide the motor by placing the firewall two inches farther back on the chassis. This split photo shows how the last pan bolt is directly under the firewall in the original Kulick pic, while it's two inches forward on the re-created chassis. Problem solved (and now being corrected with a Torpedo hood and moving the firewall rearward:
IMG_2028.JPG


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by DHort » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:48 am

Rob

Looking at those two photos I also notice that the metal box on the right side of the firewall is different, larger box and larger cover? on top.
Am I correct in remembering that is where the magneto is housed?

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:01 pm

Dave, Ford was doing their best to hide the 300 and 400 cubic inch motors under the existing hood and within a Model T chassis. The 410 cu. in. racer motor at THF is so large there was no room for the mag (or anything else) under the hood so they ran a shaft from a gear off the cam back to a lunch box looking affair to the right of the passenger, just behind the firewall. The side pipe extends beyond the hood when closed, so you can see there is almost no room between the intake manifold and hood. The right bottom of the radiator shell is formed out to make room for the camshaft and mag drive gear cover.
IMG_2053.PNG
This is the "lunch pail" concealing the Bosch dual ignition magneto, with the side cover off:
IMG_2051.PNG
The fake "tank" on our racer concealed the rear cylinder. The 410 cubic inch racer used a Ford designed V nosed radiator in order to push the massive motor forward into the V of the radiator, eliminating the need for the fake cover to the rear of the firewall. The cap on the fake reservoir allows inspection and removal of the #4 cylinder plugs:
IMG_2025.PNG
The original builders must not have known a longer hood was used, so they had to make the fake tank a little longer than it originally looked in our "Kulick racer" photo.

Bottom line, these were racers with essentially a Chevy small block and big block size motor concealed in a Ford chassis.

A wolf in sheeps clothing.......

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor

Post by Rob » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:25 pm

I think all the suggestions were right. This youtube video of Ted Davis' original 1911 Franklin (Leno's Garage segment) racer. As Jay and Ted explain, Franklin used an auxiliary exhaust port at the bottom of each cylinder to evacuate up to 80% of exhaust. The racer has two large main exhaust pipes along with six smaller pipes coming from the bottom of each cylinder. I don't know if they had some type of automatic or mechanical valve system, or were just open ported like the Ford racer.

https://youtu.be/5f_vUbzh5l8

IMG_2057.PNG
From what I've read, the advantages of ports just above the piston top at the bottom of the stroke were twofold, providing compression release when cranking, and reducing temps while driving at high rpm.

Maybe the way to use this is open on start, closed at idle and normal running, then open at speed?
IMG_0560.JPG


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by wayne sheldon » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:40 pm

This is all so very interesting to me, and I know quite a few others as well. Again Rob, Thank you for sharing this journey!

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Thu Feb 14, 2019 6:39 pm

Wayne, it's thrilling to deal with one of these racers. Henry Ford and FMC created waves for over ten years racing their creations, from Sweepstakes and 999 until the last race in 1912, winning Algonquin Hill climb over much larger cars. Henry Ford and Frank Kulick were the primary drivers, and Ford operated on a shoestring budget compared with the other leading race car builders of the time.

It may seem surprising this little Ford did well in France, but in 1911 Ford Special racers placed Ford 5th among all car makers in number of wins.

And then it was over......


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Howard Tomlinson » Thu Feb 14, 2019 7:37 pm

A little off topic, but it's interesting that the 410 c.i. racer a the HFM has the front radius rod under the front axle. A feature not used on the production cars until years later.

The drivers back then must have been fearless. Like a friend told me about racing hydroplane boats "There are old racers and there are bold racers, but there are no old, bold racers!".

I find all this information very interesting and thank Rob for providing it.

H


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Aussie16 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:05 am

Rob ,really enjoying the detail and story of these early racers. The pictures of the car in the Henry Ford show quite a unique radiator. Would your car have had the same? Vic obviously has used just a standard brass radiator. Curious to see a bit more about the radiators used and there construction.
Love the look of the racer with the Super Vee style radiator out the front.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by wayne sheldon » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:14 am

I just had to know, roughly, how much wider that pan is compared to the standard issue Ford pans of the era. So Out I went into the down-pouring rain. According to one of the local news channels, we had just short of four inches of rain yesterday. Maybe half that today. Anyway, I zoomed in to the mechanical drawing above, found a good reference for the pan's width, then went out and measured one of mine. The "special's" pan appears to be about one inch wider based upon the width of the bottom cover. It could be a little more than that where the block is attached.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Kaiser » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:05 am

Rob, this is all great fun, i imagine you are having a great time unearthing all this AND having at least part of the original car too, you're a lucky man.
These open port engines were not uncommon in the early days of racing and aero engines, not that often seen in cars but a lot of the board track bikes had em, and planes too.
Most racing engines in those days ran on the rich side mixture-wise, so getting all that halfburned exhaust out and some fresh air in was a major issue to solve for the engineers and the bottom ports worked.
For street-use of course it was not an option, way too loud and messy, but for racing it worked just fine.
As a result horrendous falls on those oil drenched board tracks were very common and probably the main attraction 8-) , for car racing on dirt tracks it was not a problem.
I love to see how the Ford engineers tried their best to trick the public (and the race organisers) into believing the racers were just stripped standard T's :lol:
Keep up the good work
Leo
When in trouble, do not fear, blame the second engineer ! 8-)
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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:44 am

Howard, I noticed that the radius rod is under the axle on the last racer. When I've looked at pics before, it appears that was the only one with the RR underneath. I recall seeing a story that Henry Ford, after an accident with a T, was told by one of his close employees about the benefit of securing the RR under the axle, but that it still took years and many Ts before the change was made.

Wayne, I'll try to get a few basic measurements from Peter on the dimensions of the motor. A few T to racer motor part comparisons:
IMG_9327.PNG
IMG_9330.PNG
A few pics of the 410 cu. in. racer V nose radiator. Notice the solid oil filler cap, and how the radaitor had to have a "bulge" to allow room for the filler cap and cam/gear drive cover:
Attachments
IMG_9286.PNG
IMG_9283.PNG
IMG_9282.PNG


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by DHort » Fri Feb 15, 2019 11:21 am

Peter is going to make that car look like it just came out of the factory. He has great talent.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:30 pm

Dave,
Yes, Peter is great at fabrication and putting things together. Between he and Dean Yoder, along with people like Stan who have helped on projects, I've been very fortunate.

This pic of the Ford Special in France looks like there may be exhaust from the left side of the motor and around the firewall. Maybe from the ports if they were running them open?
IMG_2072.JPG

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by dlmyers » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:59 pm

Since the front wheels don't seem to be throwing up any dust does that mean that the cloud around the car is oil smoke and exhaust?
The old forums are a gold mine of information.

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:06 pm

I wonder if it is exhaust from the cylinder ports? This is another photo from the same hill climb. The Ford Special won it's class and came in second in all classes. Looks like smoke or dust on the drivers side from thre firewall back:
IMG_2085.JPG
Adding color may help distiginuish between dust and exhaust:
IMG_2081.JPG
IMG_2086.PNG


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by wayne sheldon » Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:54 pm

Some speculation. The dust kicked up by the front wheel is compact, and fairly thick. This to me would indicate that the road surface may be a bit damp, not from rain, but heavy air moisture. We see this quite a bit throughout Northern Califunny because of the cool damp ocean breezes blowing halfway across the state. France is also a "coastal state". Google maps places Gaillon France about halfway between Paris and the coast. So it very well could be wet coastal winds.
Furthermore, the fuels at that time were fairly crude, and similar to kerosene. The exhaust is often clearly visible in films of the era showing running cars. So, the notion that the exhaust should be visible here is at least somewhat sound. In looking closely at the clouds to the rear of the car, there are in appearance two. A heavier cloud similar to that behind the front wheel, only somewhat obscured by the finer cloud surrounding it. That finer cloud is most likely the primary engine exhaust swirling about the dust kicked up by the tire. It then stands to reason that the finer cloud seen alongside the left side of the motor could very well indicate that the holes in the cylinders are opened, and showing their function.
As I said. Some speculation.


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Billdizer,Spencer In » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:47 am

Presuming the slides area have some type of shield/deflector, when the pistons go below the port on the intake stroke, the air it pulls back in will be somewhat exhaust rich, not "fresh" air completely. This would make the system also a primitive Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, similar to the early designs introduced in the 1970's. The purpose of EGR is to introduce a small amount of exhaust into the intake system to slow the flame propagation within the cylinder and prevent spark knock (pinging) so that more advanced timing can be used with lower octane fuels. So, opening those slides would also allow more advanced timing, and more power as a result. Introducing the somewhat cooler air directly to the top of the piston as it starts the compression stroke would also help control detonation as well. So, you are not only helping get rid of exhaust, you are helping prevent spark knock, and allowing more advanced timing for more power. Makes you wonder if the engineers understood the EGR principal or if it was just an unintended side bonus?

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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Rob » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:13 am

This is a photo taken from underneath the Ford Special at The Henry Ford. It was obvious from carbon around the ports and shield that the ports were run in the open position a portion of the time. It's amazing to think this is the same seat Frank Kulick occupied when he beat the 200 hp blitzen Benz at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in the summer of 1911:
IMG_2095.PNG
Shield, just below the water inlet:
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Lowering the mile track record to 50 seconds from a standing start. In 1907 Frank Kulick went through the fence and was severely injured attempting to break the world mile record of 52.5 seconds, from a moving start with the six cylinder racer:
IMG_2101.PNG
IMG_2100.PNG


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Re: What are these holes in the cylinder wall of a Ford Special motor?

Post by Billdizer,Spencer In » Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:32 pm

It is amazing to think of the things that people have accomplished in the past, with equipment that to us, seems so primative that it is dangerous to stand near, let alone drive! To them, it was state of the art equipment, the best available to do the job at hand, a wonderful opportunity to set new standards, new records and to make progress! Having balls as big as church bells didn't hurt either! Other occupations such a flying one of those newfangled aeroplanes that were new at about the same time as race cars were, seem just as dangerous! It was a time of fantastic growth in mechanical technology. Also growing was electricity, telephones, beginning radios, record players, road construction equipment to make road building far faster, and all types of things that were dreams a decade before. People were transitioning from bicycles to autos at this time. Autos were slowly becoming less of a fad, and more practical transportation at least for local travel. The Wheelmen bicycle club, until recently, considered the cutoff date for safety bike to be included in our rides as 1918, the year they considered that bikes became mostly children's toys, rather than recreation and transportation for adults.

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