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  #1  
Old 16-08-18, 04:42
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Default How often to run the engine in a Centurion?

Hi, as I've mentioned in a few other posts, we plan on getting our Centurion up and running and I've had great advice here. So I have another question. I've seen and heard from various quarters how important it is to regularly run the Meteor engine to keep it in good health but I'm wondering about the reasons for this.

Let me just say, my experience generally (ie not Centurion specific) is either start a vehicle up and run/drive it long enough and at high enough rpm to get it up to temperature, circulate lots of oil, and charge the batteries, or don't run it at all, just bar it or crank it over and keep the batteries charged. I don't like just starting and idling an gasoline engine for a short time (or even a long time) because of fuel and moisture buildup in the cylinders and oil, plug fouling, etc.

So is it necessary to run the Meteor engine regularly and if so, how often and for how long? The tank will be regularly exercised in our spring and summer months but come November, we have a long winter season until May. What are the risks of not running the engine over this period, bearing in mind we will keep the batteries charged and the tank will be indoors with the temperature kept above about 10 deg C?
I've heard piston/ring seizing is a problem. Why is that? Is it rings sticking in the grooves, or rings sticking to the bores?
Thanks,
Malcolm
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  #2  
Old 16-08-18, 09:57
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Lynn Eades Lynn Eades is offline
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Malcolm, I am not the guy to answer your questions, but will say this;
When rings stick in the ring grooves, the engine looses compression or pumps/ burns oil- smokes. It'll still run, and may come right with use. When the rings stick in the bore that's a disaster that usually ends in seizure, or at least engine damage. Two quite different results.
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Old 16-08-18, 21:01
David Herbert David Herbert is offline
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Malcolm,
I think your instincts are spot on. If there are no issues like leaking coolant and a vehicle is kept in a dry and reasonably warm environment (ie. not outside in the UK in winter) running it for a short time and not fully warmed up is likely to cause more problems than were there before. I would expect that the relative humidity in your part of the world in winter is very low so there should be no condensation in the cylinders or anywhere else to cause problems. Rings do not just stick spontaneously, there is always a reason, usually either carbon build up or corrosion.

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Old 16-08-18, 23:12
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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As David stated above Malcolm, you are right on the money. Running ANY engine for short peroids of time is not good. Again, I am no Meteor expert, but the rules should still apply as to any other gasoline engine. Gas engines have a distinctive disadvavantage when compared to diesel engines. Gas "washes" down the cylinder walls constantly, removing precious lubricating oils. I would think that mothballing the engine for the winter storage time would be better than running the engine occasionally only to bring it up to temperature (where thermal expansion has done its work to bring the pistons to the correct operating clearance), and then shut it down after a short run. I did a simple mothballing on my carrier engine every fall, and never had a lick of trouble with stuck valves (a common flat head problem), pistons or rings in 21 years.
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Old 17-08-18, 02:32
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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What did you do to mothball the engine, Perry?

We have some Meteor engines here in various states of disrepair. I don't know where we got them from. One had the heads removed so I pulled the cylinder block on each bank to see what condition the pistons and rings were in, as at that time we were considering rebuilding an engine. It took a lot of effort to get the blocks, or skirts as they are called in the manual, off. This was b cause, on each block, the rings on one piston had seized in the bore with corrosion. Also, the rings on almost every piston were rusted and stuck solid in the ring grooves. The tops of some of the pistons were pitted with corrosion. Obviously, water had got into the cylinders at some time. Despite that, there was no corrosion damage to any of the sleeve bores and just some very light scoring. I thought they must be hard chrome plated, but apparently they're not. Some exotic Rolls Royce material, I guess. The condition of this engine indicates smaller amounts of moisture will rust the rings into the grooves, and larger amounts will also seize the rings to the bore. Maybe the ring material RR used to match the very hard sleeve bores was prone to corrosion?

Anyway, I think we won't run the engine routinely during the winter, maybe just put some oil in the cylinders and crank the engine over occasionally.

I'll also search some vintage aircraft forums to see if the need to run the engine regularly is legitimate.


Malcolm
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Old 17-08-18, 15:15
Perry Kitson Perry Kitson is offline
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I picked up this method from some old timers in the antique car hobby. I would do an oil change in the fall before putting the machine away for the winter. Then, with the engine"cold", lightly pour 10W oil into the carb as it idled, until it produced a nice smoke cloud for a 5-10 seconds, then shutting down the engine while still adding oil. This gets the oil onto both intake and exhaust valve stems, as well as the top end of the cylinder. Doing this with a cold engine, at an idle, does not give complete combustion, so does not end up with an appreciable carbon build up, as well as having more clearance before things heat up. Of coarse, pulling the plugs and adding some oil to the cylinders is good as well, it does not get oil onto the valves, but this is not a big concern for overhead valve engines.
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Old 17-08-18, 19:51
45jim 45jim is offline
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Default Centurion Engine storage

When we restored our Centurion in Calgary (now in Edmonton and still going strong) we asked the very question of our old hats. You see regular army vehicles sit a long time in open storage between exercises and on deployments the vehicles are left with a skeleton crew and often go untouched for 6 months or more. Our museum vehicles would be no different.

In fact, when the Strathconas had Centurions most were kept in Wainwright while Regiment was in Calgary (about 4 hours away). A team in Wainwright performed needed maintenance but the tanks mostly sat for 8 months a year!

In the museum, we found the old maintenance logs and they stated that tanks prior to storage were to be "prepared". This perpetration included full maintenance, oil changes and greasing or oiling of all moving parts. Engines (including the aux engine) were to be run until operating temperature was reached and if the tank was mobile, it was to be driven approximately 5 miles. After parking they were allowed to idle for 5 mins and then shut down. The next morning the plugs were removed and 3 teaspoons of 10wt oil was added to each cylinder and the engine spun to distribute the oil and plugs reinstalled. If the engine was not to be run for up to 1 year or more desicator plugs would be installed in the spark plug holes. I was told no one ever saw a desicator plug during their service.
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  #8  
Old 18-08-18, 17:08
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Would installing a block heater be useful? When I had my trucking company it was common to "plug" trucks in after they had sat for extended periods, even in the milder BC weather. If a truck had major engine work such as in an in-frame rebuild or god forbid a full out of frame rebuild, that truck never got started during break in until it was plugged in for several hours, preferably overnight...the big Detroits, 12V-71's were fitted with aftermarket pre-lubers from Luberfiner, this allowed you to push a button and watch the oil pressure from in the cab reach a certain point before you tried starting...much like the Russian/Soviet era tanks...might be cheap insurance compared to rebuilding a meteor? Should be a pretty easy installation in a vehicle with an external oil tank, and I believe Malcolm said the main fuel tanks were not currently installed...should give you plenty of room
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  #9  
Old 18-08-18, 19:44
eddy8men eddy8men is offline
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they don't like being left outside, the biggest problem i've had with cents is the clutch plates sticking/dragging, i also had this on the cromwell. you can either hold the clutch pedal depressed when stored, which i'm not keen on or make sure it's bone dry before it goes away for the winter. if the clutch does stick a good hose down with a steam cleaner will free it evereytime.
the meteor can be easily turned manaully if you want to avoid running it. on top of the starter motor you'll find a 7/16th hex bar turn it clockwise and this will turn the engine over (slowly)
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Old 19-08-18, 05:43
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Jeez, you guys are good!
Eddy, I rebuilt the clutch about 3 years go with the best parts from 2 used clutches we had and then went onto another project. But I covered the clutch up well, so when we checked the clutch recently, it still spun freely when disengaged, despite outside storage.

jdm, a preoiler, like our T54 has, would be great. Wonder how easy that is to install? But you know, considering we will run this Cent about 50 miles a year at the most, it's unlikely we will see any problems from bearing or bore wear in my lifetime!

45jim, great info! Now the question is do we do it the easy way and pour light oil into the cylinders through the carbs while idling like Perry says, or do we pull the intake side plugs and squirt the oil in? I kind of like Perry's way because it is easy, and also it gets oil on the valve stems to some extent.

Malcolm
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Old 19-08-18, 16:15
eddy8men eddy8men is offline
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malcolm i wouldn't over think it. cents are pretty squaddie proof and as long as they are stored inside i doubt you'll have any issues
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  #12  
Old 22-08-18, 23:29
45jim 45jim is offline
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Default Centurion Engine storage

The air intake horn location and the updraft carb of the Centurion may make it difficult to get the oil into the cylinders as you really can't pour from above with the engine running. You might be able to rig up a curved tube and follow Perry's method, it may work as well if not better than just oiling the cylinders. It just might be physically impossible for the engine to draw the oil up through the carb.
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Old 23-08-18, 12:27
maple_leaf_eh maple_leaf_eh is offline
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Default My innocent contributions

Fascinating conversation of by-the-book, use of the gray-haired archives, parallel job experience, similar actual experience, and mechanical curiosity.

(I am no expert, so please do not take my word.) I would think that if the biggest internal concern is the rings seizing against hard RR cylinder sleeves, then putting a barrier layer in there should be an important effort. Intuitively, I like the idea of pulling the spark plugs, adding machine oil directly, and deliberately turning the engine over would add that layer.

Batteries can be charged, changed and removed. Fluids pour and drain by gravity. Grease squirts in under pressure. Auxiliaries can be literally walked up to and problems addressed. Transmissions are oily by nature. Clutches though are always deep inside the hull, so whatever you do is better than nothing.

For what it's worth, I support dry storage versus outdoor storage. However, I had an unusual encounter with condensation on my M38A1 when there was a humidity pocket inside the shelter one late winter day. The water droplets formed on the vehicle could be wiped off like rain. I opened up the doors and turned on blower fans to move the moist air away as best I could.

In my other experience, if at all possible, heated indoor storage with batteries on tenders, and some form of monthly run-up cycle would seem like the best possible preservation. As I learned from a physiotherapist, muscles are made to move. Extend that to our hobby, ships are not built to stay in harbour.
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Old 24-08-18, 04:57
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Waaay off topic, here, but Terry, you mentioned batteries. What a problem that is for us. Something like 80 running vehicles get parked in the fall for their long winters nap. We don't have a program to look after those ~ 150 batteries because it's a thankless, and very time-consuming job. So come spring we have our fair share of dead batteries, some of which can be recovered, some not. It upsets me, but not enough that I'll volunteer to run the program!

And, in my opinion, running a battery program is quite skilled. You need to be physically strong, know enough about batteries to be able to connect and disconnect them without melting wrenches and battery posts, know how to carbon pile load test, take SG measurements, effective ways of charging them, new technologies that can restore a sulphated battery, and most important know when a battery is toast and further effort is futile.

What do others do?

Malcolm
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Old 24-08-18, 10:12
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Malcolm,

Very good question, I trickle charge about 10 batteries but they don't really like it, so I will be very interested to hear what other people do.

Jon
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Old 24-08-18, 11:03
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Malcolm, most automotive batteries these days are calcium batteries which apparently don't work very well with a generator. I just thought i'd throw that in to complicate things for you
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Old 24-08-18, 15:08
maple_leaf_eh maple_leaf_eh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malcolm Towrie View Post
Waaay off topic, here, but Terry, you mentioned batteries. What a problem that is for us. Something like 80 running vehicles get parked in the fall for their long winters nap. We don't have a program to look after those ~ 150 batteries because it's a thankless, and very time-consuming job. So come spring we have our fair share of dead batteries, some of which can be recovered, some not. It upsets me, but not enough that I'll volunteer to run the program!

And, in my opinion, running a battery program is quite skilled. You need to be physically strong, know enough about batteries to be able to connect and disconnect them without melting wrenches and battery posts, know how to carbon pile load test, take SG measurements, effective ways of charging them, new technologies that can restore a sulphated battery, and most important know when a battery is toast and further effort is futile.

What do others do?

Malcolm
I'm glad you spoke up about that part of the collection. I had the pleasure of a visit in May, to survey the V100 in comparison to the other V100 in Canada. (Nice machine, well restored, but it needs to run more often.) I saw the pile of batteries in the side shed.

It occurred to me that if the current crop of volunteers are skilled wrench pullers, restorers and troubleshooters, but as you frankly admit are not battery techs, maybe the collection needs to partner with an outside company to get a better routine in place. Not telling you your business, but thinking out loud. Imagine someone who knows exactly the things you mention and will do it for a tax receipt.

The collection where I kibbitz, burn gas and break things, has a facility not unlike Oshawa's but not as crowded. The crew chief has a monthly run up routine. Fuel doesn't go into most vehicles' fuel tanks, but is fed into the line with portable tanks. And, from what I've seen, a battery tender is wheeled around on some regular sequence.
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Old 24-08-18, 20:15
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Eades View Post
Malcolm, most automotive batteries these days are calcium batteries which apparently don't work very well with a generator. I just thought i'd throw that in to complicate things for you
Good grief. I didn't know that, Lynn!

Here's a quick explanation for others in my state of ignorance.

"What is a “Calcium” battery?

A Calcium battery is a still a lead acid battery; they are usually sealed maintenance free. Calcium replaces antimony in the plates of the battery to give it some advantages including improved resistance to corrosion, no excessive gassing, less water usage and lower self discharge. Silver is another additive used by some manufacturers, the addition of silver enables the battery to be more resilient to high temperatures.

Calcium batteries require a higher charge voltage than conventional batteries. If used in a deep cycle situation it is advisable to use a charger designed for calcium batteries of has a calcium charging mode to get the maximum life out of the battery."

Malcolm
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Old 24-08-18, 20:25
Malcolm Towrie Malcolm Towrie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maple_leaf_eh View Post
I had the pleasure of a visit in May, to survey the V100 in comparison to the other V100 in Canada. (Nice machine, well restored, but it needs to run more often.)

It occurred to me that if the current crop of volunteers are skilled wrench pullers, restorers and troubleshooters, but as you frankly admit are not battery techs, maybe the collection needs to partner with an outside company to get a better routine in place. Not telling you your business, but thinking out loud. Imagine someone who knows exactly the things you mention and will do it for a tax receipt.
Terry, the V100 has dodgy plugs. It was running very badly in May and sometime after that I tested, cleaned, and regapped the plugs. It then started well and ran smoothly. But when I saw it running again recently (as you say, it gets run rarely), it was running rough again. It needs 8 new plugs. (And the clutch needs bled.)

Not a bad idea about getting a third party involved. I can't see anyone doing it for a tax receipt, though! A cost benefit analysis is required!

Malcolm
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Old 24-08-18, 21:11
eddy8men eddy8men is offline
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over winter i used a 12v ctek battery charger on my cromwell. it worked well but would only do one battery at a time (the 24v version was 5x more expensive)
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Old 24-02-19, 04:35
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Malcolm

We have been running our centurion at least once a week, we try to get it fired up and run it around the property for 30-40 min (best chore ever) Fortunately Rick had all the fluids topped up and the coolant was good to -25c when it arrived, which if we ever see -25c here on the west coast I'm going to buy one of those stupid Donald Trump hats and move to Arizona, but I digress. As the shop is jammed full the Centurion has to live outside and in the interest of easy starting we keep a C-tek battery charger on each battery, a small thermostatically controlled electric heater in the fighting compartment keeps the moisture away, especially the "sweats" you get having the tank tarped in this humid climate, and finally two Temro heater magnets attached to the radiator header tank, this keeps the coolant warm and boy does it make the tank easy to start. I was going to add one to the oil tank but currently it is just too oily in the engine bay to be safe, perhaps once we get a chance to steam it all clean.

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Old 24-03-19, 18:31
MartinCummins MartinCummins is offline
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Default Pistons seized in bores.

No actual experience, but I remember my father in a garage in Llandudno, North Wales, UK, having to go around all those customers who had had their cars mothballed for the duration of WW2, take off the heads, and hammer down the pistons with a baulk of timber. Condensation was the problem!

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Old 25-03-19, 16:06
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Phil Waterman Phil Waterman is offline
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Default Stories lost in time

Hi Martin


Your comment on stories your father told you is a wonderful example of stories lost in time. Probably also spoke of rubber drives and having to mount tires on cars stored with the tires removed.



"No actual experience, but I remember my father in a garage in Llandudno, North Wales, UK, having to go around all those customers who had had their cars mothballed for the duration of WW2, take off the heads, and hammer down the pistons with a baulk of timber. Condensation was the problem!

MartinCummins."


I kind of doubt that we would see today's mechanics making house calls like that.


Thanks for sharing.


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Old 11-04-19, 02:01
MartinCummins MartinCummins is offline
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Default Rebuilding as part of the Service!

Thanks, Phil, for your kind words. Still, off topic, my Father remembered, as a very young child, around 1905, a French mechanic coming from the manufacturer of his Father's car (Either a Mors or a Darracq) and staying with the family while he updated the ignition from Flame to Electric. This took around a week, and said Frenchman managed to set fire to himself while brazing. As a young child, father was much impressed by the mechanic calmly throwing himself into the nearby horsetrough, and continuing the modification, somewhat bedraggled! True!

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Old 11-04-19, 06:11
Mike Cecil Mike Cecil is offline
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Default Electronic battery maintainers

I've used battery maintainers on my various batteries for years, both in the US and previously in Australia. They are different to battery chargers.

Never had a problem with a dead battery when using a maintainer. At around $30USD each, a cheap way to keep batteries fully charged but not 'cooked' or overcharged.

There were instances, of course, when a battery would not hold a charge, but each one has been well past its use by date, so not, as far as I'm aware, caused by the maintainer.

Outside storage V inside storage: the commonly accepted difference in the rate if deterioration is about 1:15, ie 15 times faster deterioration when stored outside. I knew of a motorcycle collector who had his collection in an area of cold & damp under his house. His solution was to more or less seal the room and leave a 40-watt incandescent light bulb on all the time: it gave off just enough heat to keep the cold and moisture at bay. Maybe that's a solution for the inside of a tank?

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Old 11-04-19, 22:58
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Also a handy item for keeping interior moisture at bay is a boat air dryer, you leave them plugged in and they give off just enough heat to keep things dry, I used them a fair bit when I had my trucking outfit. If you had a truck sit too long during winter here on the coast, the interiors would become damp and soon start to grow a nice furry green mold. The air dryer took care of that in short order. Perhaps 2 in a big tank like a Centurion, maybe one in the drivers hole and the other in the fighting compartment? So far I have a small electric heater with a thermostat that does roughly the same thing.
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