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Historical odd engines

  1. Oct 31, 2009 #1
    I am starting this for a couple reasons. First is that I wanted to post a link to a tech article on Smokey Yunicks engine. Popular mechanics article on good, old, google books, search: smokeys engine. link below (hope it works)


    The other thing I was hoping was we could start a thread on engines built, I mean actually built, that do NOT fit the bill as a normal engine. As engineers, techs, and motor (petrol) heads I thought this place could disect a lot of fact from smoke and mirrors. It should help out all the experimenters among us to not spend years developing yet another square, triangle, or any other polygon wheel that doesn't work.

    I was surfing and ran across a 2nd engine I really don't know what to think about. Its called a Noble Plasma engine. Joseph Papp is often associated with it, but I have found odd references to that type of engine in other, older sources. I am wondering if the combustion chamber was working like a neon light (or something like that)

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2009 #2


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    It's rare you get an opportunity to use that in a conversation.
  4. Nov 3, 2009 #3


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    2-stroke outboards converted to steam power.
    Man, Smokie was the cheater to beat all cheaters. (Almost) everything that he did was within the rules as written, but not quite legit. Like the 5/8" diameter fuel line that held more gas than the actual tank. Or the nitrous canister camouflaged as a fire extinguisher. Or the hydraulic suspension that allowed the car to clear the height-blocks and then drop to a more effective level. Or the Bondo all over the underside for aerodynamic advantage. Or...
  5. Nov 3, 2009 #4
    Smokeys engine is BS, i've read up more and more on it since the last time it was posted. More and more things just don't add up about it, im convinced it wasn't doing what he said it was doing.

    Napier Deltic engine gets my odd vote.

    The BRM V16 gets my hstorical vote because it sounded amazing.

    EDIT: OP you are a sucker for the crackpots and scammers aren't you.
    "This is the Papp Noble Gas Plasma Engine that runs on the five Noble Gases. No intake, no exhaust, developing tremendous torque and would run for approximately 7000 hours continously before refueling. Joe passed away in 1989, taking the Gas Formula with him."

    Bit convenient really.

    LOL check out his wiki page, he said he had a submarine that could do 300mph.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  6. Nov 3, 2009 #5


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    Some suspicion here that perhaps Smokie's cheating wasn't restricted to the track... :uhh:
  7. Nov 3, 2009 #6


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    I've always found http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_stroke_engine" [Broken] such as the crower six-stroke pretty interesting. An extra power stroke with water injection seems like a good way to help reduce energy expelled through the exhaust, although it brings some interesting issues with respect to lubrication.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Nov 3, 2009 #7


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    Not if you have a Mazda RX-8. Great car.
  9. Nov 4, 2009 #8
    "OP you are a sucker for the crackpots and scammers aren't you."

    now xxchrisxx, whats that supposed to mean? lets all play nice...lol

    this post was to be for all of us to list, support, debunk, etc...

    I didn't say I believed the papp gas engine.
    smokeys on the other hand, that thing just has way too many people that knew he was driving it for many years in daytona
    there were actually 2 or 3 of them still at his shop 2 years after the auction, after his death.

    toyota supposedly mad an offer, but smokey being a WW2 vet, pacific theater, well...
    I think he had some views about selling to a japanese company

    danger, do you have a link on the outboard steam engines?

    and, as smokey said: "its not cheating if it didn't say you couldn't do it"

  10. Nov 4, 2009 #9
    I mean, you seem curiously drawn in by engines with totally unrealistic and nigh on crackpottish claims.

    Trust me when I say that, if someones come up with an engine that has no drawbacks over an existing design and its better in everyway. Only 1 person 'knows' how to make it work. It can't be replicated. Said person has a reputation for being less then fully honest. Then the person dies taking the secrets to the grave.

    That person is lying about what the engine is acutally doing.

    You've heard the old saying:
    "If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is."
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2009
  11. Nov 4, 2009 #10
    in this day and age, distrust of the status quo is ripe, which makes it a very fertile feild for a lot of the bizarre claims.
    its the: "Mr x made a carb/pump/attachment/widget that does y, but the foul large companies killed him, but I found it now and offer it to you for a one time good deal, but don't tell anybody" syndrome

    on the other hand, I believe that in some cases, people do find better ways to do things, thru shear trial and error, mainly because they weren't told "it won't work"

    on the subject of the "nobel engine" does a florescient or neon tube actually increase in pressure when the charge excites the gas? could that be how it was supposed to be running?
  12. Nov 4, 2009 #11
    This is true as it happens all the time. However in those cases, the phenomenon can be repeated by external people using the instructions given.

    When people try to recreate this engine, using Smokeys patents, they always inevitably fail to get the same results. This is basically using his instuctions as to how to build the engine.

    Repeatabillity is the acid test between a crackpot and a true innovation.

    It's baically the equivilant of falsifying academic results.
  13. Nov 4, 2009 #12


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    The Bolinder and the Deltic have always given me some inspiration. And some of the next generation of DI spark ignition engines are going to be pretty exciting too.
  14. Nov 4, 2009 #13


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    I regret that I can't give you a specific link. This was way before personal computers, let along the internet, existed. I read about it in an issue of either 'Hot Rod' or 'Car Craft' magazine in the early to mid 70's. I still have all of my magazines, but they're boxed up in a C-can in my yard. I don't know how long it would take to dig it out.
    As nearly as I can remember, the device was based upon a 35hp Johnson 2-stroke outboard. The nearest that I can figure is that the intake must have been through the sparkplug hole, with the normal exhaust port being used for that purpose. The reason for that conclusion is that a normal 2-stroke intakes through the crankcase. I can't see steam being mixed with oil as a good thing. (Not to mention that the bottom end isn't designed to be heavily pressurized.)
    The boiler was a coil of 5/8" pipe in the trunk, with what was essentially a tiger torch blowing down the middle. It was tested with fuel ranging from coal dust to nitroglycerine, although I think that they settled upon propane. The whole thing was installed in a fibre-fab kit car such as a Bradley GT. It ran the quarter-mile in something like 10-12 seconds, with a peak of .9 g's acceleration. As I said, it was a very long time ago, my memory is fuzzy at the best of times, and I don't know any math to corroborate the performance claims.
    I did give me an idea, though, which I've never been able to afford attempting. If the claims for that system are accurate, I've been wondering what would happen if I ganged a couple of 3-cylinder Wankels together and tried pumping steam into them. I'd still like to try it some day.
  15. Nov 4, 2009 #14
    0.9 g acceleration with all-wheel drive is possible with static-friction rubber on the road. With 2-wheel drive, it may be possible by melting some rubber.

    Here is an interesting site if you like old steam tractors and engines:

    Bob S
  16. Nov 5, 2009 #15
    that thinking (outboard and wankel) is one of the directions I have been going in personal experimentation. I have some very "interesting" ideas along that line, but never thought of the wankel. I was thinking along the line of a hydraulic pump/motor to run steam thru, but I still like the recip. engine cause you can really get all the expansion and bigger torque #'s out of the steam. I really want to put together, on a shoe-string, an attempt at the steam land speed record. The brits made a good try, and (lucky for me, not so for them) only pushed it to just under 150 mph. (only cost them $400K) I believe that a closed system, minimal water loss system with a "non-fire" boiler may be the answer. reduces the mass of the car by reducing how much water you need. that way the return "back-up" run is a cake walk. and no fire=eco friendly (going green faster than #$%%) 200 mph target

    anyone here want to try a run at fame? I have the core chassis already (74 dodge charger body, large body, chassis that can carry some weight, low drag coef) and losts of parts. I have my own fad shop in the back yard, and a buddy with a mill. just need brains and warm bodies...

  17. Nov 10, 2009 #16
    dr dodge
    How did you reference back to that particular issue? There are several issues that I'd like to find.

  18. Nov 11, 2009 #17


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    Great link, Bob! I foresee several otherwise unused hours prowling around that site.
  19. Nov 12, 2009 #18
    if you are talking about the popular mechanics mag, went to google books and searched "smokeys engine"
    While on the subject, I have had a "mini project" going on for a couple years. Searching google books for any old mechanical and engineering stuff. I have down loaded close to 150 books on pdf. the pictures on some of them will just blow your mind

  20. Nov 15, 2009 #19
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  21. Nov 16, 2009 #20
    a 4 cyl radial, now thats cool.
    4 weed-eater engines on a scotch link, Ill bet that thing sounded different
    look how little the car is with the guy next to it

  22. Nov 16, 2009 #21
    I don't recall the name of the engine, but there was an old WWI propellor engine where the drive shaft was fixed and the entire workings of the engine spun while attached to the propellor.
  23. Nov 17, 2009 #22
    I have seen one of those. its on static display at the commerative air force hanger in san marcos, tx (I think my wife was wondering why I was "inspecting it" for a 1/2 hour or better...its just a motor...lol)

  24. Nov 18, 2009 #23
    Was it the "Gnome"?

    It is described in this article:

    "This article is about a type of piston engine with a rotating cylinder block. For the pistonless Wankel engine and other engines described as "rotary", see rotary engine (disambiguation)."
  25. Nov 19, 2009 #24


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    All true and he always leaves out the solution to the one big problem that would prevent the engine from lasting long enough to put into a production car.

    None the less, it's a great story about an engine developed by a very interesting person. And, the stories about Yunick's dishonesty are a bit lacking in honesty, themselves. The story of creating a Chevelle with every part exactly 7/8 th the size of a factory Chevelle never quite explains where and when he manufactured all of these new parts (he obviously developed a machine that could shrink matter). Okay, his car really wasn't a shrunken Chevelle, but, yes, he probably did violate just about every other rule with that car.

    http://canepa.com/inventory/racecar_1/Smokey%20Chevelle_1/index.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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