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Author Topic: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems  (Read 3577 times)

Offline Tim Wescott

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McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« on: May 23, 2022, 10:06:16 PM »
So, a McCoy 35 Readhead followed me home from the 2019 NW Regionals.  I had intended to stomp the plane it came attached to and put the engine on the wall.  Instead, I was overcome by some weird impulse and rebuilt the plane so that it was straight.

I am not getting my head wrapped around making this engine run right.

  • Fuel is about 25% castor, 14% nitro (it's Sig 20/15 with 8 ounces of castor added to the gallon before decanting any fuel)
  • Compression seems really good, both cold and hot
  • The engine is neither loose nor tight -- it feels like someone broke it in properly before I got it
  • Starting is tedious, but OK-ish -- it's pretty typical for me with an engine that I don't have experience with, actually
  • Prop is a 10x5 Graupner
  • Tank is a 4.5 ounce uniflow from Brodak
  • Airplane is a true-to-the-kit Walker Firecat, complete with the original crappy plywood on the nose
  • The engine is not mounted super firmly -- see the line above this one

My first flight it was way rich.  It barely got off the ground, but once in the air settled into a solid 4-stroke, breaking into a nice 2-stroke on maneuvers.

That was my only flight -- the next three times I got it started, it'd run until I got to the handle, then die.  It would pretty much go quiet, then give one last burst, then really quit.  I'm pretty sure that last burst is how a McCoy Redhead says "neener".  First try was with the needle cranked in four clicks.  Second try was backed out two clicks, third try was with it put back where it was for the actual flight.  Except for the engine note while I was walking out to the handle, the behavior was pretty much the same each time.

So -- aside from trying to fly a plane with a McCoy Redhead on it, does anyone see anything wrong with my setup, or what I might be doing?
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Offline Shorts,David

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2022, 10:57:38 PM »
My McCoy redhead runs pretty great. In fact, because of the continuing rpoblems with my Oriental, I may be bringing the old ringmaster with the McCoy to northwest this weekend. But beats me how to help.

Online Ken Culbertson

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2022, 12:40:20 AM »
I had the un-unique honor of having to run McCoys for most of the time I was in the Air Force mainly because the BX had them for $4.00 and it was either that or 40 cans of Olympia, so you know how dedicated I was.  The NVA is a piece of crap, the whole thing.  If not alligned properly or it is loose, it will do just what you are experiencing, and it sounds like it is loosening or has rotated some.   Another place to look is the mounting screws for the backplate.  One of the upper screw holes goes into the case and it will leak if the screw is not tight.  We used to put pressure fittings on them for combat through that hole. Yes combat.  I had an ongoing combat series with an F-4 GIB with Yaks and Mustangs.  Sometimes we actually got both engines running at the same time. 

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Offline Dave Hull

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2022, 12:49:54 AM »
Could be a number of different things, but one thing to consider is poor fuel. I had a jug of formerly good stuff that started to cause the exact same symptoms on a (gasp!) Fox .35. Different jug of fuel--problem solved.  I then repeated testing with the original jug and it would run until I got as far as the handle. Neener!

But, your additional concerns about the wimpy structure of the front end begs the question of whether you just have a fuel foaming situation going on. I'd take the engine out and mount it firmly on a 2x4 about 4' long. Put an eyehook on the opposite end from the engine. Put two eyehooks along the left side of the 2x4 about 1/3 the length of the board back. Connect your stooge to the rear hook and connect your flying lines--with handle--to the side hooks. Then, with landing gear, tank, and other accoutrements all in place, start the engine. Walk out to the lines. Observe whether the engine now runs steadily, even after you pick up the handle. Cast a jaundiced eye to make sure it knows you are making a critical judgement, and that threats of landfills are not idle, passing talk. If necessary for a high-confidence test, release the stooge and let the ProStunt mockup complete the required rulebook roll---and then continue practicing the roll until your proven-good Mickey Three-Fiver runs dry.

Then go fix the airplane.

The Divot


PS--The technical reason for all the test run equipment is to validate as much of the setup and running conditions as possible, but without the complications of the airframe. And, you have to fool the motor--Mickeys are known for getting the best of the situation for those who are not used to their nefarious ways....

PPS--The Mickey wants a healthy prime in the exhaust port. Just putting four or five drops down the vesspucci is just doing things the hard way. And, if you say you can't port prime because you gots a mufflerrty on 'er, well then, that's half the problem right there. If it has good compression and it won't start with a good port prime then yer plugs shot. No three ways about it....

Offline Jim Kraft

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2022, 09:08:49 AM »
Just for surety, change the plug. McCoys need a hot plug, and sometimes just changing the plug will make the difference. I have flown both 35's and 40's for years. They are great 2-4 stunt engines that usually run very consistently time after time. They do not vibrate as bad as Fox 35's. There only weak link is the sintered iron piston which wears at a rapid rate.

That can be rejuvenated with care by taping the head of the piston to expand it. The domed piston will spread the top of the piston to restore compression. Once you get the hang of starting McCoys they start very easy. I usually had first flip starts in competition. I have built and flown 4 Magicians with McCoys, and seldom had a problem with any of them. Except for plugs. Change it and see what happens. It may also be that there is crud in the old tank on the plane. A filter would take care of that if you have room. But filters get plugged up too.

Just a suggestion. Ya gotta start some where. Hot plugs in McCoys are essential.
Jim Kraft

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2022, 11:45:38 AM »
Well, the motor was very wiggly.  I don't know if this is the problem, but it's certainly a problem that needs overcoming anyway.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2022, 09:42:50 AM »
More detail: the doublers on the nose are made out of door veneer (mahogany?), which is very soft.  The motor was bolted on top of that, and it was all a crushed, spongy mess.  So I cut a pair of strips out of hardware-store aluminum, chiseled out the veneer under them, and epoxied them in.

Then I went to the Regionals and tried a practice flight to decide whether I was going to enter in Old Time or not.  Things were much better, but I still had enough issues that I decided not to fly.

Right now the thing has much too hard a break, it's too sensitive to the wind, and it leans out about halfway through the flight.  I just have the vent sticking up above the motor, pointed forward -- I'm going to revise that so it's picking up the dead space between motor and tank, or is otherwise not facing directly into the wind.  In addition, I'm going to pop the back off the tank again and check that there's no obvious leaks in the vent tube, and probably move the vent outlet forward to try to defeat the bubbles that I'm seeing in my fuel line.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Jim Kraft

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2022, 10:24:37 AM »
I had much better runs on McCoy Red Heads on a standard vent tank. They would speed up a little at the end of the tank, but just enough to give a little more power in the clover. For Old Time it should work great on a standard vent. Just plug the uniflow and leave the filler vent open and try it. It worked well for me, but it may not help you if you have other issues. Leaky back plate or base gasket. McCoys are usually pretty well behaved. They shake less than Fox 35's, and have a softer break normally. And they need a hot plug. Is it well broken in?
Jim Kraft

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2022, 10:33:37 AM »
... Is it well broken in?

Seems to be.  It feels like it has the perfect combination of smooth running and good compression.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Colin McRae

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2022, 05:21:19 PM »
I have 4 McCoy 35's. 3 are on models and run great. One is new - never run.

I run 5% nitro and 29% all castor oil (I get my fuel from Brodak). (These old engines need a lot of oil if you want the engines to last.) And I recommend all castor. They also need a standard 'long reach' glow plug.

My field notes:

My experience is that they need a 'really good' prime (really wet) to start. I plug the venturi w/ my thumb and flip prop like 12-14 times to prime. Then allow venturi to be open and flip prop vigorously maybe 6 times to get all the fuel into all parts of the engine. Then apply glow power and flip start. My engines then usually start up in 3-4 flips. Have not needed an electric starter. I must be doing something right as all 3 engines start up fine.

I use fuel pressure from the muffler. My needle setting is around 5-6 turns to start. Then I adjust right to the 4-2-4 break point, then open needle maybe 1/8 turn to ensure a bit on the rich side. Once the model is the air it leans out a bit which is typical. But functions fine through all maneuvers.

One thing I notice is the engine starts better when cold. Not so easy to start hot or warm. So, I let it cool off before restart. (I am usually a bit dizzy anyway so cool-off time between flights not a problem for me.)

Offline Steve Helmick

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2022, 01:41:55 PM »
The picture Tim posted looks like an original McCoy/Testors glowplug. I'd suggest swapping that out ASAP for a genuine new long reach idle bar glowplug with Ohlsson Corporation ancestory. Bad fuel or bad glowplug seems likely. The 10-5 Graupner prop should work very well.

I like Graupner props a lot, and the size seems appropriate for a .35. Their 9-4 works well on a .25LA, and the 11-6 worked very well on my (retimed) G.51. I think SIG bought Graupner, but don't think they did much (if anything) with their line of stuff. Graupner and Kavan both folded their tents at about the same time that SIG bought Graupner. Not sure what happened with Kavan. Sad...   D>K Steve 
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Offline Colin McRae

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2022, 04:03:53 PM »
So, a McCoy 35 Readhead followed me home from the 2019 NW Regionals.  I had intended to stomp the plane it came attached to and put the engine on the wall.  Instead, I was overcome by some weird impulse and rebuilt the plane so that it was straight.

I am not getting my head wrapped around making this engine run right.

  • Fuel is about 25% castor, 14% nitro (it's Sig 20/15 with 8 ounces of castor added to the gallon before decanting any fuel)
  • Compression seems really good, both cold and hot
  • The engine is neither loose nor tight -- it feels like someone broke it in properly before I got it
  • Starting is tedious, but OK-ish -- it's pretty typical for me with an engine that I don't have experience with, actually
  • Prop is a 10x5 Graupner
  • Tank is a 4.5 ounce uniflow from Brodak
  • Airplane is a true-to-the-kit Walker Firecat, complete with the original crappy plywood on the nose
  • The engine is not mounted super firmly -- see the line above this one

My first flight it was way rich.  It barely got off the ground, but once in the air settled into a solid 4-stroke, breaking into a nice 2-stroke on maneuvers.

That was my only flight -- the next three times I got it started, it'd run until I got to the handle, then die.  It would pretty much go quiet, then give one last burst, then really quit.  I'm pretty sure that last burst is how a McCoy Redhead says "neener".  First try was with the needle cranked in four clicks.  Second try was backed out two clicks, third try was with it put back where it was for the actual flight.  Except for the engine note while I was walking out to the handle, the behavior was pretty much the same each time.

So -- aside from trying to fly a plane with a McCoy Redhead on it, does anyone see anything wrong with my setup, or what I might be doing?

One item you did not mention was the glow plug you were using. The McCoy 35 runs best w/ a long reach hot plug. I have also used a med-hot plug and the engine would run 'OK', but the hot plug operates better. Also, when you initially start the engine w/ the power still on the glow plug, and when you remove the power from the plug, if the engine speed drops a bit, then the plug you are using is not 'hot enough'. Brodak sells the Fireball hot long plug for $4. Really good price in today's world. I realize the low $4 cost would imply a 'cheap' product, But I have had no issues w/ the Fireball plugs to date.

I also use uniflow tanks and run fuel pressure from the muffler. Much more consistent engine run throughout the flight. Our club requires mufflers. Brodak also sells a strap on muffler for the McCoy 35. The muffler from Brodak does not come w/ a pressure tap/nipple. I simply added a nipple so I could run fuel pressure. Also, if pressure is used, the needle will need to be set a bit leaner when compared to a vented tank. With muffler pressure, my needle setting (McCoy 35 stock NVA) is right around 5.5 turns which puts the engine right at the 4-2-4 break point on the ground.

I also have used a Fox 35 NVA that I got from MECOA. The Fox 35 NVA on the McCoy runs pretty much the same as the stock McCoy NVA. Engine runs fine w/ the Fox NVA.

Offline Wayne Rice

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2023, 08:50:33 AM »
Hello  everyone new member here question i have a fox 35that has never been started do i have to take it apart to clean it before i start it? also does it take a whole gallon of fuel to break it in? thanks for any advise.

Offline Ty Marcucci

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2023, 09:13:50 AM »
HI Wayne. I would remove only the back plate and check for "stuff" in the case.. Other wise taking it apart is not a good idea.  As to break in, it can take up to a gallon to break in a Fox..Be sure to use 25 to 29% castor

 oil fuel, 5 or 10% nitro., but run it at a rich 4 cycle  for the first ten minutes.. The piston grows on a Fox as it is made of "mehanite", a porous iron.  Fly it after 30 minutes on a test

stand, rich, not too lean, for a few tank fulls.. Do you have the original paper with it?  Use those instructions.  Mine are from past experience..Let it cool to the touch between runs.   H^^
« Last Edit: May 05, 2023, 03:06:28 PM by Ty Marcucci »
Ty Marcucci

Offline Peter in Fairfax, VA

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Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2023, 01:30:33 PM »
... made of "mehanite", whatever that is. (I understand it to be leaded iron) ...

It's a particular kind of cast iron, of known properties and qualities.  I toyed with building my own engines a while back -- the classic piston/sleeve combination that was used up until the ABC, AAC, and other alphabet-soup engines was a cast-iron piston (usually Meehanite) and a leaded mild steel sleeve.  It's still the recommended combination for the home shop builder, because for an ABC or AAC engine you not only have to get the alloys just right, but you need to find a shop that'll do the hard chroming for you, or you need to build a plating shop in your garage.

So there's lead in there somewhere, but not in the piston.

That leaded-steel callout for the sleeve is probably where the notion of lead made its way into your mind.  Leaded steel is supposed to be much easier to machine -- I ran out of ambition before I ran out and spent a bunch of $$$ on steel for cylinder sleeves, so I don't know how much it outperforms random bits of steel picked up at the scrapyard.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Tim Wescott

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2023, 01:33:12 PM »
AFAIK Ty's recommendation for the engine break-in is spot on.  If you have or can get hold of the manufacturer's break-in instructions (and if the manufacturer was/is reputable) just follow them.  The only "addition" to make is that if the instructions are really old and they just say "oil" they mean castor oil only.
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The problem with electric is that once you get the smoke generator and sound system installed, the plane is too heavy.

Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2023, 02:11:54 PM »
Hello  everyone new member here question i have a fox 35that has never been started do i have to take it apart to clean it before i start it? also does it take a whole gallon of fuel to break it in? thanks for any advise.

     Hi Wayne;
     Ty is correct on the basics of the Fox .35 and other old engines of this type. The simple way to look at it is, that the engine parts are iron, more or less and need the castor oil for lubrication and it also carries out excess heat with the exhaust. The pistons are made from an iron powder that is put into a mold, then fired in an oven, where the powder melts and forms the part. The process makes the parts pretty porous. The cylinder sleeve is machined steel. The length of time it takes to break in an engine depends on how closely the parts fit together when the engine is assembled. It can vary for several reasons and be anywhere from just loose enough to go together to hardly enough compression to run!! Check out the back side of the engine as Ty suggested, and if all is well, and you need a new gasket, just make one from a heavy piece of card stock from some junk mail. Many of us use old playing cards. Cut out a blank a little bigger than what you need, poke a hole with a hobby knife in one corner and run a screw into the hole. then repeat with the other two screw holes. You may have to put a few washers on the screw so it will snug down tight. Take a hobby knife with a new blade and run it around the inside of the opening to cut out the center hole, making it as neat as you can. Take all the screws out, place the back cover back on, tighten down the screws, and you can now trim the outside. If you have any doubts about whether this will leak or not, just put a thin layer of any kind of gasket sealer on it. You now have made a gasket and are ready to run it in.  Use fuel with all castor oil or a mix of synthetic with it. It must be the 25 to 29% total oil that Ty mentions. Modern fuel will have to have oil added in the area of 8 ounces to a gallon or so. Check back with us when you get fuel and we can help you with that because it can vary from brand to brand. You want to use a 9-4 or 9-5 prop for the break in. That keeps the load on the engine more manageable so it doesn't get too hot. Set up your test stand with a 4 ounce tank and some tools like a glow plug wrench, hemostats or needle nose pliers and such. Mount the engine and tank. Make sure the bottom of the tank is at least as high as the engine mounts. YOU DO NOT WANT THE MUFFLER ON THE ENGINE AT THIS POINT!  Hook up some fuel line with a filter in line, install the prop and you are ready to go. Open the needle at least 7 or 8 turns. It does need to be out that far is it has an original needle valve on it. Choke the engine with your finger over the venturi for two of three flips, then attach the igniter battery and give the prop a smart flip. When it starts, leave the igniter battery on for a while until you get the needle set at the correct setting for a rich, 4 stroke sound. Don't let it run too slow, or too fast. When the tank runs out, let it cool like Ty said, then repeat. You might find that the engine will back fire or kick back, and that will loosen the prop nut, so check the prop nut from time to time. Run the next two tanks like that, and hold a piece of light colored card board in the exhaust flow carefully for a second or so while it's running, to catch some exhaust. While breaking in these old engines, parts will rub together and wear microscopic bits of metal off, and this will appear as dark streaks or even a solid black color coming out of the exhaust in the oil. This is something that you are going to watch for. After 6 runs or so you can lean it out just a bit, and now and them while running, pinch the fuel line for a fraction of a second so it will lean out into a 2 stroke, and then come back to the setting it had. If it stay at the higher RPM and comes bac slowly, it still needs more running. Check the exhaust for metal as you go along, and listen to the engine as you pinch the line and such.  The old Fox needles leak air around the needle threads so We put a length of fuel line over it to seal them off against the venturi and the knurled wheel. cut it just a bit longer than what you are seeing at this point. count the turns as you take the needle out, slip the fuel line over the needle, and turn it back in the same number of turns. By the time you get a dozen runs on the engine, you should feel some difference in how it flips over and it should feel a bit more loose.  The fuel line pinch test will get better. The number of runs to get to this pint can vary depending on how tight it was to start with. If the exhaust is starting to get more clear, toy can mount it in a model and fly it at a easy needle setting and see how it reacts to climbing and diving. You will be the best judge here for when to start flying stunts with it at this point. Continue to check the exhaust as you clean up the airplane. Take the plug out and soak it in some acetone or brake cleaner to clean it and check the coil. the coil should be nice and round shape. I don't normally do this, but with the price of plugs these days, it's worth the effort to get get every flight out of one that you can!! And a little cleaning now and then might help. Check back here with any questions.
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Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2023, 02:26:23 PM »
It's a particular kind of cast iron, of known properties and qualities.  I toyed with building my own engines a while back -- the classic piston/sleeve combination that was used up until the ABC, AAC, and other alphabet-soup engines was a cast-iron piston (usually Meehanite) and a leaded mild steel sleeve.  It's still the recommended combination for the home shop builder, because for an ABC or AAC engine you not only have to get the alloys just right, but you need to find a shop that'll do the hard chroming for you, or you need to build a plating shop in your garage.

So there's lead in there somewhere, but not in the piston.

That leaded-steel callout for the sleeve is probably where the notion of lead made its way into your mind.  Leaded steel is supposed to be much easier to machine -- I ran out of ambition before I ran out and spent a bunch of $$$ on steel for cylinder sleeves, so I don't know how much it outperforms random bits of steel picked up at the scrapyard.

   We always refer to these as having an 'iron piston and liner" but they really are two different metals. If you are going to have to pieces of metal rubbing each other, you want dis-similar metals, and one does not have to be brass or bronze depending on the RPM and load. The oil just helps it along and takes away the heat of combustion. The CNC sewing machines I was working on for the last part of my working days had almost no bushings of any kind in them, next to nothing for grease required in them except for on bevel gears, and only occasional oiling with a clear sewing machine oil that never seemed to get dirty!! Steel shafts turning in machined hole in cast iron frame work and such. These were Tajima brand and made in Japan. The engineering on them was pretty amazing. We had some pretty old ones that had never had any major parts changed in the at all! The metallurgy of the parts in an engine is obviously important, and anyone that runs a later version McCoy knows that !! I've run Foxes pretty lean in my days when one thing or another went wrong, but I never seized one, and only ever had one rod break and that was on a classic great run in my Dragon and while waiting for the tank to run out after possibly the best OTS flight I ever flew, that is when the rod came out the side of the engine, and the prop/spinner flew off!!
  Type at you later,
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Offline Ty Marcucci

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2023, 09:47:52 AM »
Aha, now I remember the thing about the lead being in the liner, as the piston was millions of tiny balls of iron squeezed and heated together..  A piston made of iron dust was how it was described to us youngsters back in the 50's.. I'm 82, so my memory is dusty. H^^
Ty Marcucci

Offline frank mccune

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2023, 08:25:34 AM »
       To Peter in Fairfax, Va.

       Thanks for the information re Meehanite.  I was always ignorant as to what it was but this article answered many questions.

         Stay well,

          Frank 

Offline Dan McEntee

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Re: McCoy 35 Redhead run problems
« Reply #21 on: May 26, 2023, 09:47:10 AM »
       To Peter in Fairfax, Va.

       Thanks for the information re Meehanite.  I was always ignorant as to what it was but this article answered many questions.

         Stay well,

          Frank

      This has been mentioned in discussions about Fox and McCoy engines for almost as long as SH has been in existence. Search that word in the forum and I would think a lot of information could be found. This was a common way of making many small parts back in the day and many old engines have pistons made this way. It would be a reasonable assumption that any diesel engine made in that time frame would be similar, and would require the heavy oil to help with the piston to cylinder seal.
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