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Reprinted from


Motor Cycling," June 1 , 1938

Reprinted from "Motor Cycling," June 1, 1938

A Silent and Fast 350 c.c Rotary Valve Unit Mounted in a Rudge "Ulster ' and Full of Interest

F E W days ago I received a cryptic message from the Editor: " Can you go to Bath immedlately? " Somewhat mystified I replied " Yes." The time was about noon a n d b y 3.30 p.m. I was being greeted ~y my friend, Mr. R. C. Cross, a t his fr~6riA:in LMidford Road, Bath. Until then 1 had been in the dark a s t o the purpose of my visit. I was enlightened when I saw a new Rudge " Ulster " fi:ted with t h e latest 350 C.C. Cross engine, which was due for shipment the next morning t o a large con tinental firm of motorcycle manufacturers. They a r e going to subject it to extended tests both on the road and the bench, with the ultimate object of using the linerless cylinder and rotary valve for aero work. This was interesting news and a n explanation of the " worlcs" was indicated, so we repaired to the office. where drawings were produced and subsequently the engine described b y the m.nestuo himself.

Engine Details
A standard Rudge Ulster crankcase, flywheels and connecting rod form the base of the engine; fastened to this by the normal cylinder studs is a n adapter plate 1 4 in. thick, whilst two vertical pillars are secured in this by fine taper heads. T h e " Y " alloy cylinder is spigoted into t h e plate, the spigot being a sliding fit; eight small springs situated between the adapter plate and the base of the cylinder hold the latter in resilient contact with the reaction ball on the brldge piece, whose function will be described later. A rubber " stocltinrr " sur rounds t h e cylinder base to form a n oil-tight joint. T h e cylinder casting includes the combustion chamber and the lower half of the valve housing, the upper half being quite separate from the cylinder. Across the top of the engine is a steel bridge secured to the two pillars by nut and locknut; this carries a half-ball which fits in a recess in the valve cap. T h ~ s reaction point is offset from the centre line of the cylinder so t h a t the bulk of the upward thrust of the explosion is taken via a hinge pin, situated between the two valve housings, o n t o the above-mentioned halt ball. T h e remainder of the load acts o n the t o p of the valve c a p a n d holds it against the sealing lips of the valve with suficient force t o prevent a n y leakage. T h u s it can b e seen t h a t the loading on the valve is a function of the explosion pressure in the cylinder. Nitralloy steel, with a Brinell hardness of 1,100, is the material used for the valve, which runs direct on t h e Y alloy valve housing. A 8 in. pitch chain from the existing Rudge half-time shaft enables the valve to be driven with a 1 to 1 sprocket ratio. T h e valve

spindle IS carried in a pressure-lubricated white metal bush, and is divided into two parts, which are coupled together by flanges. One flange is drilled with 22 holes and the other 24, allowing a Vernier adjustment, so t h a t a n extremely fine valve timing can be obtained. An Angus oilseal is incorporated in the chain case to prevent oil leakage from the white metal bush. Lubrication of the valve is carried out by a Best and Lloyd pump driven from the end of the valve spindle; the adjuster on this is interconnected with the throttle so that the oil supply varies in direct relati011 t o t h e load. A junction box under the petrol tank feeds t h e oil to the pump. This box, interposed in the return pipe from the scavenge pump, acts a s a small reservoir, which ensures that the feed pipe to the valve pump is always under a head of oil. A most important part of the lubrication is a springloaded scraper, which is placed in the lower half of the valve housing. Oil is pumped in o n one side of the valve housing and carried t o the other by the rotation of the valve, where it meets the scraper, and is carried into a recess a t the bottom of the scraper slot. At the back of the recess is a dlsc non-return valve which is actuated by fluctuating pressures in the valve housing, due to the alternate passing of the inlet and exhaust ports in the valve. From here the oil drains back into the sump via a hole drilled in the cylinder itself; before reaching the s u m p it passes a second non-return valve which has been found a help in obtaining 100 per cent. oil scraping efficiency.

Steel Wire Piston Rings

It goes without saying that the aluminium cylinder is linerless; the Y alloy piston is prevented from touching the cylinder by means of a special hardened Wellworthy ring on the top, and a series of guide rings made from high-tensile, square-section, alloy steel wire. down the skirt of the piston. This is a new departure and it is claimed t h a t they form a n excellent bearing surface on the aluminium, in addition to which they eliminate a n y piston slap, due to a "spring mattress " effect caused by their slight lack of circularity. T h e carburetter on this particular machine was mounted on the off side and in front of the valve d r i v e ; the exhaust port came out on the near side and matched up .with the standard Rudge near-side exhaust pipe. Mr. Cross then produced some figures which were obtained on a bench test; the maximum B.H.P. shown was 25 a t 6,000 r.p.m., this result was obtained on a fuel with a n octane rating of 66 and a compression

Reprinted from " Motor Cycling, June 1 , 1938

O n e o f the most interesting engines ever produced. ( T o p ) Henr? Luird seeing w h a t the Cross unit is capable of. (Left) T h e timing side, showing the rear o f the cylinder and the magneto mounting. (Right) T h e exhaust side. Note the near assembly a n d the rubber joint a t the base of the cylinder. T h e lower .picture shows the standara Rudge "Ulster" crankcase used and how the carburerrer is fitted.

ratlo of 109 to 1. A fuel consumption test a t 3,800 r.p.m. gave a figure of .43 pints per horse-power hour: on road test a figure of 99.2 m.p.g. was obtaineda performance which gave me seriously to think. Anyhow, a s the machine was complete and in good going order I asked if I might have a r u n on it. " Of course," replied Mr. Cross, " that is one of the reasons I wanted you t o come down." So away we went, Teddy (Mr. Cross's nephew) on my twin, Mr. Cross in a car and myself on the rotary valve job. Fortunately we agreed a meeting place, for

the two-wheelers went away in front. My first impression was t h a t I had a hot " 500 " underneath m e ; the acceleration was really good and a happy cruising speed of 60-65 m.p.h. could be maintained without a n y effort. U~ifortunately, due to t h e hasty departure from the Midlands, I had not with me our timing device, so a n y figures quoted are of necessity taken from the speedometer. However, this tallied a t 60 m.p.h. with my own instrument which I know to be within 2 per cent. accurate. I n obtaining the maximum speeds in the gears it was quite extraordinary the way the engine

Reprinted from " M o t o r Cycling," June 1 , 1938

turned over without any sign of fuss or distress. Second gear, 8.9 to 1, gave a speed of 62 m.p.h., and third, 6.79 to 1, 82 m.p.h.--both representing over 7,000 r.p.m. The best reading obtained in top, 5.48 to 1 , was 87 m.p.h. or about 6,250 r.p.m. Having obtained these readings I ~ndulgedin a spot of ordinary touring, two of my objects being to test the efficiency of the valve oil scraper, and to get a genuine impression of the mechanical silence. To achieve the first object I ran down a hill a mile long with the throttle shut off the whole way, then, having reached the bottom, 1 opened up and loolted round for the blue smoke. There just wasn't any and the engine accelerated away as clean as a whistle! The mechanical silence was quite uncanny, and 1 would almost go so far as 10 say it was the quietest engine that I have heard either on a car or a motorcycle. With the machine stationary the only noise was a slight " wooshing" from the chain drive, except, of course, for that from the air intake to the carburetter. Provided the ignition lever was used the job was flexible; in top and third 14 m.p.h. and 10-11 m.p.h. were the minimum non-snatch speeds. Getting away from these slow velocities required a little manipulation of the controls, otherwise there was a certain amount of knocking, which I thought came from the engine shock absorber. I t was close on 7 p.m. and I had to make the

Midlands again before 10 p.m., so I was forced to hand the job back to Mr. Cross and Teddy after I had only suficient to whet my covered about 25-30 miles-just appetite ! Thank you, Mr. Cross, for a most interesting and enjoyable afternoon. I hope to hear more of these rotary valves and linerless aluminium cylinders--and, perhaps, have one to use for a more prolonged period.


Diagrams showing the general arrangement o f the n e w 3 5 0 C.C. rotary valve Cross engine w i t h its "floating" a l u m i n i u m cylinder a n d steel-wire piston rings.


Temple Prcsa a d . , 5-17, Rosebetv Avenue, E.C.I.