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APRIL I6TH, 1942



By G. GEOFFREY SMITH, M.B.E. (Exclusive Illustrations by M. A, Millar) PECIMENS of the newest German liquidcooled engine brought down over this country "-^L, have been stripped for inspection by aircraft engineers. By courtesy of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, Flighthas examined several of these engines captured intact, and is pleased to add details to the series of aircraft engines already reviewed in these columns. Features of the engine include a variable Rear end of the Mercedes-Benz, showing the general disposispeed supercharger, direct petrol injection into each tion of the supercharger, magneto and other auxiliaries. The cylinder by mechanical pump and injectors, and the main air duct from the supercharger is connected to a gallery induction pipe between the two inverted banks of cylinders. inverted V cylinder layout common to German ' ' inline ' ' engines, with provision for a cannon firing through the airscrew hub. engine under review is approximately 68in. long. Routine maintenance is not easy with German engines, which may Famous aircraft engines which have been described account for the special study of easy means of detachand illustrated in Flight in recent months'include the ment and replacement. Auxiliaries for that reason are Bristol Hercules (November 27th, 1941), the Rolls-Royce always mounted on the engine unit. It is estimated that Merlin X X (February 26th, 1942), and the Allison C.15 overhaul of the engine is needed every 100 hours so that (March 26th, 1942). Each engine represents the highest ready interchangeability is of paramount importance. development in design in their particular class, the liquidThe twelve cylinders, in banks of six, are set at 60 deg. cooled " i n - l i n e " types, including engines produced in to the crankshaft which drives the airscrew shaft through Britain and America respectively. a pair of gears housed in a casing at the front end of the crankcase. A second important feaThese detailed particulars of Gerture which characterises the Daimlermany's most noted engine of the Benz is the hollow airscrew shaft liquid-cooled typethe Mercedesthrough which a cannon fires from a Benz D.B.601Nprovide students mounting at the rear end of the of design with information and lllusengine. It seems safe to assume that . ---(Rations from which many interesting the necessity of providing room for comparisons of the power units of the cannon for armament purposes has influenced the basic design of the various countries can be made. engine, especially in regard to the D.B.601N, of which some details of auxiliaries at the rear, in contrast to earlier examples brought down in this the layout of the Merlin or the Allison. country were given in Flight of A third point which constitutes a November 7th, 1940, differs most major difference is the system of notably from the Merlin or Allison in direct injection of fuel into the ' that it is an inverted power unit, as cylinders, a practice employed on all indeed are all other service "in-line " German service engines. engines of German origin. Its capacity of 33.9 litres (bore and stroke Internal Details 150x160 mm.) is much larger than either the Merlin (27 litres) or the The cylinder blocks are one-piece Allison (28.1 litres), but smaller than alloy castings, which include the the fourteen-cylinder Hercules (38.7 cylinder barrels, water jackets, cylinlitres). The net dry weight is 1,4001b. der heads and valve pockets, and and with all accessories 1,5401b. Notpassages for the four valves to each able for its rugged design, the engine cylinder. Into each barrel is screwed has a compression ratio of 7 9 to 1, a cylinder liner in dry contact with German engine designers have the cylinder block, and when the ^Uiays favoured large cylinder capablock is fitted into position, the six city and lower boost pressures than liners project into the crankcase. A are employed on British engines. In ring, internally threaded on to screwed The crankshaft is carried in seven leadother words, the power developed is portions of the projecting sleeve, and bronze bearings in the crankcase, little greater than our own engines of with'gear teeth cut in its outer face, which is well braced with ribs and is of smaller capacity, put being larger they is utilised to pull each cylinder sleeve considerable strength. In the lower naturally present a greater frontal inwards against machined faces on the side can be seen the tubular mounting area than British engines. The through which the cannon fires. inside of the crankcase.







D.B.601 N

(Left) A section of the D.B.601N cylinder block sawn through to show design of cylinder walls, coolant passages, valve ports and valves. (Above) The single camshaft on each cylinder block operates two inlet and two exhaust valves per cylinder, shown reversed. Rollers are interposed between cams and rockers. t h e pinion on the crankshaft having 36 t e e t h engaging with 56 teeth on the airscrew shaft gear wheel (1.55 to 1 ratio). Another type has a ratio of 1.88 to 1. A feature of the D.B.601 a n d other G e r m a n aircraft engines is t h a t t h e airscrew a n d its h u b are attached direct to t h e reductiongear shaft by a serrated face-to-face joint, a n d not in the normal m a n n e r b y a n horizontally splined coupling between the h u b - a n d airscrew shaft. T w o C a m s for F o u r Valves T w o inlet and two exhaust valves are fitted to .each cylinder in inserted valve seatsboth inlet and exhaust valves being stellitedwhile the exhaust valves are sodium cooled. T h e valves are operated t h r o u g h short rockers, a n d ball joints are interposed between rocker and valve stem. One c a m successively operates an inlet a n d e x h a u s t valve per revolution t h r o u g h t h e a r r a n g e m e n t of rockers, t h u s t w o cams only, are required for t h e four valves. T w o sparking plugs per cylinder are located o n - t h e outer side of t h e engine, and their firing points are directly opposite t o the fuel-injection nozzle in t h e combustion c h a m b e r . Being inverted, the MercedesBenz engine has no s u m p , a n d oil draining from t h e crankshaft a n d connecting rods gravitates t h r o u g h fore-and-aft drain pipes t o t h e lowest point in t h e crankshaft casings (rear end), where scavenge p u m p s driven from t h e camshaft pass t h e oil back t o the oil tanks. Since clear fore-and-aft space is required for t h e m o u n t i n g of a cannon a t t h e rear of t h e crankcase, t h e supercharger h a s necessarily h a d to be m o u n t e d with its impellor axes transverse to t h e centre line of t h e engine to place t h e bulk of the supercharger volute casing on one side, a n d n o t in t h e positions found in t h e Merlin X X , Allison? or other " i n l i n e " engines. As no c a r b u r e t t o r

T h u s the cylinder block, as a whole, is fixed to the crankcase by six rings per block, a n d there are no rubber gaskets, either in t h e block or in its assembly in t h e crankcase. I n order to rotate the rings for assembly or dismantling, a special tool, fitted with a small gear wheel, is engaged with t h e gear teeth c u t in t h e rings a n d t h e n r o t a t e d b y h a n d . T h e coolant circulated in the cylinder jackets is water, with the addition of 50 per cent, glycol as an anti-freeze. T h e crankcase is of considerable depth, a n d the cover on top is a flat duralumin lid held in place b y a n u m b e r of small studs a n d n u t s . A six-throw balanced crankshaft, weighing 150 lb., runs in seven plain lead-bronze bearings, a n d each bearing structure is stiffened b y a transverse rod qcross the crankcase webs above the bearings, a n d is retained b y external n u t s . T h e main bearing of each pair of connecting rods on t h e crankpin has three tracks of rollers (72 rollers per bearing), retained in split duralumin cages, b u t the single-blade connecting rod has a plain lead-bronze bearing only, over the outside of the roller bearing, E l a b o r a t e precautions have been t a k e n by special serrated joints in t h e halves of both forked a n d plain rods t o register the bearings for accurate assembly a n d smooth working, a n d the retaining nuts are splined (not machined hexagonally) for special tools during assembly. Three compression a n d two scraper rings are fitted to each of the pistons, which have concave heads, and the gudgeon pins float in t h e piston bosses, domed ends being fitted to prevent scruffing of t h e cylinder walls. The gudgeonpin phosphor-bronze bearings are a fixture in t h e connecting-rod smallends. T h e airscrew reduction gears are of normal design, b u t are contained in a very short a n d compact housing

Components of the supercharger, including the impellor and unit carrying diffuser vanes.




Germany's Leading In-line Engine




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Part-sectional d r a w i n g of the liquid-cooled D.B.601N of 33.9 litres, bore and stroke 150 x 160 m m Ft,., * ** engine a r e the twelve plunger in-line direct injection p u m p , and the fluid coupling which provides an infmitelv v S ! g . r i the s u p e r c h a r g e r drive. B.H.P. at 2,600 r . p . m . is 1,270, which for a weight of 1 5 4 0 m 120 In ' h ^







Components of the fluid coupling which provides the infinitely variable drive for the supercharger impellor. exists on the Mercedes-Benz, the super< harger can be mounted on the engine, b u t a bevel gear operating a t high speeds has to be introduced t o t r a n s m i t t h e drive through a right angle to the impellor, which rotates a t a p p r o x i m a t e l y 10.39 t o 1 crankshaft speed.

When the cylinder blocks are in position on the crankcase two handoperated spindles and pinions are. employed to rotate the geared locking ^ rings when the latter are screwed In position on the cylinder liners. a n d a fuel injector in one of the cylinders. F u e l is injected a t 15-20 l b . per sq. in. into t h e combustion c h a m bers. T h e p u m p plungers are operated by 12 cams on a camshaft within the p u m p body, the camshaft being r o t a t e d b y gears a t t h e rear end of the crankcase a t half crankshaft speed. A twin gear-type p u m p a t t h e rear of the engine supplies fuel under pressure t o t h e injection p u m p from the m a i n petrol t a n k s in t h e aircraft, a n d between these t w o p u m p units is fitted a de-aerator for abstracting air from the fuel before t h e latter reaches t h e injector p u m p s . F o r the purpose of injecting fuel into the cylinder, the injector nozzle unit is of complicated construction a n d is built u p of a n u m b e r of p a r t s shown in t h e sectional d r a w i n g . I n addition t o an internal l a b y r i n t h filter. for t h e fuel, there is a s p r i n g - l o a d e d , ^ non-return valve to eliminate combustion pressure reaction on t h e fuel flow, and also internal lagging of the fuel nozzle t o prevent gassing of t h e fuel during injection. T h e complete unit screws into t h e cylinder block in t h e same m a n n e r as a sparking plug.

Fluid Supercharger Drive Four gear wheels and a fluid coupling comprise the driving mechanism of the supercharger. A t t h e rear end of t h e crankshaft, a large gear wheel t r a n s m i t s t h e drive through a spring-loaded cush h u b to a smaller gear wheel mounted on a fore-andaft layshaft. At the rear end of this layshaft is a crown bevel wheel engaging with a small bevel pinion which rotates t h e driving end of the fluid coupling. T h e driven side of this coupling is splined t o t h e impellor, and t h e complete coupling a n d impellor r u n s in ball bearings. F r o m previous descriptions published in Flight, it will be recalled t h a t oil is fed into the fluid coupling b y two engine-driven One pair cf Mercedes-Benz p u m p s , one maintaining a constant oil connecting rods. The main bigend bearing has three tracks of supply suitable for operating the superrollers, while the bearing of the charger a t ground level a n d low altitude, single blade rod has a leadwhile the second p u m p supplies extra oil for bronze liner. higher altitudes. Oil is supplied to t h e coupling t h r o u g h t h e hole A and t h e n passes out of t h e shaft B t h r o u g h small holes to the curved pasBoost Pressure sages C of the driving member. By centrifugal action t h e oil is flung into t h e passages of t h e driven m e m b e r D a n d T h e ratio of fuel-air s u p p l y t o t h e cylinders is governed so provides a fluid drive. This form of hydraulic drive by the boost air pressure, which, in t u r n , regulates (by is duplicated on the opposite end of the unit to balance servo action) the precise q u a n t i t y of fuel metered into the end t h r u s t . The coupling is t h u s an infinitely variable cylinders. Injection is also automatically controlled by gear, with a minimum slip of i\ per cent, under the most altitude conditions, air t e m p e r a t u r e , etc., also b y servo favourable conditions of drive. I t provides lower boost action. Boost pressure is, in t h e first instance, controlled pressures a t sea level a n d automatically increases t h e direct b y a t h r o t t l e located in the pressure air stream boost as altitude increases a t or above the supercharged between supercharger and cylinders, and operated b y the height. pilot, b u t a second t h r o t t l e in t h e same air flow is a u t o matically a c t u a t e d b y servo mechanism so t h a t , should t h e T h e supercharger forces air t h r o u g h a pipe of large diameter to a galler" induction pipe between the cylinder boost pressure rise above a certain point, t h e second blocks, which feeds the cylinders via elongated passages to t h r o t t l e overrides the effect of t h e pilot's t h r o t t l e , a n d the inlet valves. t h e engine continues to run under safe conditions of supercharging. Direct Fuel Injection A t m a x i m u m emergency power of 1,270 b . h . p . a t A fuel-injection p u m p unit, having 12 plungers in a row, 2,600 r . p . m . a t 16,270ft., t h e boost pressure is 7.81 l b . / is located under the engine between the cylinder blocks, sq. in. F o r take-off, a t 2,600 r . p . m . , 1,200 h . p is a n d a 3 m m . bore steel pipe is fitted between each p u m p developed with 7.81 l b . / s q . in. boost pressure. An in-







D.B.601 N
(Left) The cylinder block is secured to the crankcase by a geared locking ring on each cylinder liner. (Below) Section of the fuel injector fitted to each cylinder. A 3 mm. bore pipe feeds fuel into the labyrinth filter, from whence the fuel passes a nonreturn valve to the nozzle provided with six small jets. The lagging is employed to prevent vaporization of the fuel by local heat.

(Above) The Bosch twelve - plunger injection pump and a few of its parts. The camshaft with twelve cams for operating the plungers is of special interest.




genious mechanism allows for increased boost a n d power for take-off for the duratioruof one m i n u t e . W h e n opening up, t h e pilot gives a n increased m o v e m e n t t o his t h r o t t l e lever, which also operates a clockwork gear in the control mechanism. This clockwork device keeps the t h r o t t l e a t its e x t r a opening until a small slipstream-operated windmill retards t h e opening a t the end of a m i n u t e , a n d the engine t h e n returns to its normal full-throttle power. There is also a n o t h e r mechanism on t h e engine, interconnected with t h e t h r o t t l e a n d t h e oil-pressure system, b y which t h e spark plugs are cleaned b y t e m p o r a r y a d v a n c e m e n t of t h e ignition when t h e engine has been s t a r t e d u p from cold ,.^p\Jjen t h e plugs tend t o oil up), r e t a r d a t i o n of ignition to normal being restored shortly afterwards. Engine Auxiliaries At t h e rear of t h e engine, a n d driven b y gears from the crankshaft, are t h e gun-interrupter mechanisms (for Me log), Bosch dual magneto, and electric generator. Electric or h a n d starters can be bolted to t h e casing a t the rear end of t h e crankcase below t h e m a g n e t o a n d driven direct t h r o u g h a dog coupling to t h e crankshaft. Below the cannon m o u n t i n g are located the t h r o t t l e mechanism and main oil filter and fuel p u m p s , a n d all external fuel and oil pipes are wire wound a n d flexible, with banjo connection fittings. T h e twin delivery centrifugal coolant pump a n d main oil-pressure p u m p s are located between the cylinder blocks a n d in front of t h e m a i n oil filter. Net d r y weight is 1,400 l b . , b u t with all accessories, coolant header t a n k , piping a n d airscrew control gear, etc.,

t h e weight is 1,540 lb. T h u s , a t 1,270 m a x i m u m b . h . p . at 2,600 r . p . m . , a figure of 1.20 l b . / h . p . is obtained. A feature of German design is quick interchangeability. T h e D . B . engine designed for rapid d e t a c h m e n t and replacement in t h e aircraft is complete with auxiliaries. I t has electron cantilever bearers of s t u r d y section supported by four rubber-metal reinforced mountingstwo high up a t t h e forward end of the crankcase a n d t w o a t a lower position a t the rear. Garburation Features I n comparing t h e major features of t h e Merlin, Allison a n d Daimler-Benz, it is interesting to note t h a t t h e three engines h a v e entirely different systems of introducing air a n d fuel into t h e cylinders. W h e r e a s c a r b u r e t t o r s of normal design are fitted t o t h e Merlin, a n d air-fuel m i x t u r e passes as a homogeneous stream through the supercharger, t h e Allison has a triple v e n t u r i c a r b u r e t t o r which passes air only t o a point in the supercharger intake elbow where it meets a metered flow of fuel issuing from a single jet a n d supplied under pressure from t h e fuel p u m p in t h e engine, t h e jet supplying fuel for t h e 12 cylinders. I n t h e case of t h e D . B . , air only is conveyed direct t o t h e combustion c h a m b e r s , where i t meets t h e fuel sprayed from the injector nozzles just before the ignition point. A short curved intake on the port side of the engine cowling conducts air through a wire mesh grid to the supercharger impellor. V.D.M. propellers are used, t h e m o t o r with its pitchlimit control and filter u n i t being carried on a b r a c k e t supported b y the engine crankcase. As t h e controlling energy is separate from the engine, t h e airscrew can be feathered with "the engine stopped. The blades are interchangeable, a n d a blade can be removed for inspection a n d replaced in a b o u t 20 minutes. T h e t o t a l weight of t h e airscrew is 304 l b . , including t h e m o t o r b r a c k e t a n d wiring.

Bore Inches 5.4

Stroke Inches 6.0

Capacity Litres 27.0

Comp. Ratio


Weight Lb.

Lb. per h.p.

Merlin X X

6:1 1,175 at 2.850 17,500ft. 1,240 at 2,850 10,000ft. 1,090 at 3,000 ' 13.200ft. 1,270 at 2,600 16.2:50ft. r.p.m. at r.p.m. at r.p.m. at r.p.m. at



Allison C.15 Mercedes-Benz D.B.601 N

5.5 5.9

6.0 6.29

28.1 33.9

6.66 : 1 7.9 : 1

1.340 1.540

1.23 1.20

Companion articles in this series of descriptions of prominent aircraft engines of the war appeared in the following issues : BRISTOL HERCULES November 27th, 1941. ROLLS-ROYCE MERLIN XXFebruary 26th, 1942. ALLISONMarch 26th, 1942.