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1956 3 piece piston Babe Bee hits 13680! Babe_b10
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Post  Admin on Sat Oct 08, 2011 7:48 pm

1956 3 piece piston Babe Bee hits 13680! -1411
My 1956 3 piece piston Babe Bee has gained 3000 more RPMs! It used to only be able to peak around 10,000 but after replacing the reed with one made from a floppy disc, it has jumped another 3000! (the pic above makes the backplate look like the brass like finish has worn off, although it is weak around the edges, it is still there)

Before

1956 3 piece piston Babe Bee hits 13680! -171010

After

1956 3 piece piston Babe Bee hits 13680! Imag4010

Since it does have a 3 piece piston (like in the earlier engines), I don't know if I should be worried about it failing due to its loose connecting rod. I did run a over used early 70s Black Widow with a piston that was well past a resetting, I picked it up for only $8 at a flea market. I believe I ran it about 4-5 times before hearing a muffled "pop" and the engine unable to turn over, loose but wouldn't fully turn over. I then noticed the con-rod and piston were now 2 separate pieces. I fitted a reset and adjusted sure start piston it in and it ran perfectly! I have that engine pictured on my site.
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Post  Cz10 on Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:14 pm

Wow... Another relic of the past in the background...


Isn't a 3 piece piston (try saying that 3 times fast) made of unobtanium? I am just a beginning Cox design student (all I knew were Garden variety bees, TDs and Medalions), so I'm not familiar with what a 3PP Wink is like...
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Post  jetpack on Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:26 pm

Too bad there is no way to transfer an aluminum rod over to a new piston. I think that has a big influence on how your getting those numbers.

I've never measured the weight difference but I know its got to be a good savings.
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Post  Admin on Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:49 pm

1956 3 piece piston Babe Bee hits 13680! 12292210

They were used until early '57 in Space Bugs, Space Hoppers, Thermal Hoppers, Space Bug Jrs, Strato Bugs and early Babe Bees. I have only had 1 3 piece piston so I have no idea if it should have some play between the piston and con rod.
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Post  Admin on Sat Oct 08, 2011 10:06 pm

jetpack wrote:Too bad there is no way to transfer an aluminum rod over to a new piston. I think that has a big influence on how your getting those numbers.

I've never measured the weight difference but I know its got to be a good savings.

You have a '56 Babe Bee don't you? Have you noticed how the crankshaft weighs less then a modern Babe bees crank? You can actually see the webbing is thinner in a early Babe Bee. It also has the thinnest .049 cylinder I have ever seen (thinner then a average thin cylinder). The aluminum connecting rod does feel lighter then a regular steel one although, because of the clips and rings holding the thing in, who knows if the whole piston assembly is lighter then a regular piston. I do have the engine sitting next to me right now and I could take it apart and weigh the piston but the cylinder is on there good and I really don't want to put another mark in the corner of the exhaust port...
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Post  jetpack on Sun Oct 09, 2011 2:32 am

I had a hard time with my cylinder and left small marks on mine. It was unmarked before I got my hands on it Mad

It did strike me as being the most delicate looking cylinder I've seen. That is why I was so shocked it was still unbent.
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Post  Admin on Sun Oct 09, 2011 4:28 am

When I got this engine, it came with a bunch of other mixed parts for other engines. If you didn't see in the wall of shame, I have some pictures of the original tank and crankcase. It was very corroded! Other then the extreme corrosion, the engine appeared to be in perfect condition. I pulled the cylinder (leaving the first marks ever put on it). I was very scared that I might twist or bend the cylinder so I was closely watching that while removing it. The engine looked as if I am the first to see the inside of it since 1956. I had to replace the crankcase and tank bowl. I couldn't find a early Babe Bee crankcase so I had to use one probably off a 1959-1962 engine. For the tank, it couldn't have the "Thimble Drome" etched around it so I had to use a 1970s bowl. I did however use the original crankshaft, backplate, needle, cylinder and piston. The original glow head was in perfect condition so I did what I do with all good condition old glow heads, I display it on old engines I have on my shelf. I have replaced the crankcase twice on it now, the first one was ruined after letting a friend use it on his "Snow Buggy" thing he made. I could have kicked his ass after what I heard he did with it. He used a damn electric starter to start it (and not knowing the needle has to be out a whopping 4.5 turns). Other then using it as a pusher engine (it always did like to start backwards for some reason, perhaps originally used on a prop rod...) he pushed hard enough on the crankshaft that the crankcase has worn to create some excessive play between the crankcase and driveplate. After yelling at him and what not, I replace the crankcase again using the original crankshaft.

I have always liked this engine as it starts on one flip and yes usually backwards no matter what way you flip it. The backplate used to be a bright brass color but it is starting to wear off as like I said, I like to play with this engine the most and handling it seems to wear the finish off and tarnish the aluminum. Unless I state it is "special" in some way such as saying it has a 3 piece piston in a ebay auction, the most I would probably get for it would be around $10. So no prize to anyone else, but I like it so it most likely will never get sold.
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Post  Mudhen on Sun Oct 09, 2011 11:58 am

I've restored "plenty - o - cox" engines. Along the way I learned a few tricks to aid the restoration without marring the engine. But - and that's a big but - there's a caveat. All restorations involve risk. Having said that, here's one way to attempt to remove the cylinder without twisting it or disfiguring the exhaust ports.
You'll need: Cox wrench, small bowl, rubbing alcohol, toothbrush, sandwich baggie, small propane torch, small cloth towel, compressed air, (compy air,) Q-tips, super fine steel wool, (grade “0000,”) maybe WD-40, maybe a propeller and prop screw, and finally the willingness to risk injury to yourself and damage to the engine.
Step1
Submerge the engine in rubbing alcohol.
Let the engine soak for about 30 minutes. Periodically remove the engine and clean it with the toothbrush. Depending on how much dirt is on the engine exterior, you may have to do this several times. Avoid letting the engine soak for periods longer than thirty minutes. In some cases, doing so, the alcohol will begin etching the aluminum parts and they wind up with a gray colored texture that is difficult to remove. Once the engine is fairly clean then move on.
Step 2
Remove the glowhead.
Some glowheads are rare and very difficult to acquire. To be safe, just assume it is rare. Blast the engine with compy air and make sure the tank is drained of alcohol. Have the engine as dry as possible. Fire up the propane torch and set it with a low flame. (No longer than an inch and a half in length.) Imagine a point half way between the top of the cylinder and the upper exhaust port. Gently “fan” the flame across this point around the entire circumference of the cylinder. Avoid letting the flame touch the glowhead. The object is to warm the cylinder, but not get hot, while the glowhead stays relatively cool. (Another way to accomplish the same task is to invert the compy air and blast only the glowhead.) You’ll only need to warm the cylinder slightly. Then, holding the engine in the rag - double over the sandwich baggie, place it on top of the glowhead, attach the wrench and remove the glowhead.
Step 3
Removing the cylinder. First answer: Is the piston stuck at or near TDC, closing the exhaust ports?
YES – Believe it or not, trying to force the piston to move can result in pulling the connecting rod right through the stamped aluminum retainer. So don’t try it. Allow the engine to soak in rubbing alcohol for another 30 minutes. Using the Q-tips, soak the tip in alcohol and clean the cylinder and upper piston. Then dry it with compy air. Using a bright light, inspect the upper surface of the piston. Does it have a ring of rust? If so, then that’s a whole other topic. (However, if it has only very mild rust, let it soak in WD-40 for at least 24 hours. Then continue -) Tear a piece of steel wool; “roll” a piece between your palms to form a cylindrical shape. Soak it in rubbing alcohol, insert it into the cylinder; apply gentle pressure and begin to spin it inside the cylinder. The object is to remove as much of the congealed oils and light rust as possible. Soak another Q-tip and clean again. Attach the propeller. Put a few drops of oil on the piston, and into the exhaust ports. Very, very, gently rotate the propeller left and right, using only small ¼ inch rotations. You’re not looking for crankshaft movement, but piston movement. Sometimes, this is all you’ll need to free the piston. If it moves, but feels “thick,” then remove the fuel tank and allow it to soak again in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes. Afterwards, gently, “work” the prop left and right. The alcohol will begin to break up the oils and free the piston.
NO – Move the piston to BDC. Make sure the fuel tank is still attached. (for leverage)
Double over the baggie; place it between the prongs of the cylinder wrench. “Wiggle” it into position between the exhaust ports. Don’t force it. Just wiggle it into position. You want as snug and tight a fit as possible, so you may have to triple fold the baggie. The baggie will take up the slack between the cylinder and wrench, and it will prevent metal-to-metal contact. Once the wrench is into position, fold the excess baggy upwards, and away from the crankcase. You can wrap a rubber band around the excess baggie and cylinder to hold it above the crankcase. Light up the propane torch and adjust the flame as before. “Fan” the flame around the bottom, left, and right hand sides of the crankcase, but don’t let the flame touch the cylinder. The object is to slightly warm the case. Grip the engine tightly in the rag and loosen the cylinder.
Hopefully a “ta da” will follow and the cylinder will loosen. But if it doesn’t, let the engine cool and you can repeat the process.
Anyway, I hope this helps.
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Post  andrew on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:12 pm

Mudhen --

Very nicely written post with good tips on dis-assembly.

Heat and solvent can be your good friends when working on old engines.

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Post  SuperDave on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:47 pm

In removing frozen cylinders (but not pistons) I've had good success by using two small pieces of soft wood (like pine) and small vice.

Place the frozen cylinder between the two pieces of wood and then clamp them LIGHTLy together in the vice. (Lightly meaning enough slightly indent the steel fins into the wood pieces).

Then twist the crankcase CCW. Very often this frees the cylinder from the crankcase.

Works for me.
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Post  nitroairplane on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:25 pm

andrew wrote:Mudhen --

Very nicely written post with good tips on dis-assembly.

Heat and solvent can be your good friends when working on old engines.

andrew

Yes and your mortal enemy if not used with caution.
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Post  nitroairplane on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:26 pm

SuperDave wrote:In removing frozen cylinders (but not pistons) I've had good success by using two small pieces of soft wood (like pine) and small vice.

Place the frozen cylinder between the two pieces of wood and then clamp them LIGHTLy together in the vice. (Lightly meaning enough slightly indent the steel fins into the wood pieces).

Then twist the crankcase CCW. Very often this frees the cylinder from the crankcase.

Works for me.

Same way i do it but not good for anything smaller that .010 Embarassed
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Post  andrew on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:48 pm

nitroairplane wrote:

Yes and your mortal enemy if not used with caution.

Indeed, very true. I suppose I should have added, "Try this at home, but not at the same time!!!" Very Happy
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Post  nitroairplane on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:50 pm

andrew wrote:
nitroairplane wrote:

Yes and your mortal enemy if not used with caution.

Indeed, very true. I suppose I should have added, "Try this at home, but not at the same time!!!" Very Happy

yes put some ether in the engine and hit it with a blowtorch Smile
ONLY KIDDING NEVER DO THAT,not that anyone here is silly enough to try it.
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Post  Admin on Sun Oct 09, 2011 1:59 pm

Great tutorial Mud! I do like to have spotless cylinders. Very Happy I enjoy buying rough Babe Bees and other cox engines off ebay and get them running good. I clean them up but I rarely "restore" the aluminum finish (scratches, tarnish, slight corrosion...). I have only restored the aluminum finish on one engine.
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Post  Carl on Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:11 am

back then, i never really cared what the engine looked like as ling as it worked. i would stick the wrench in the exhaust ports and rip it off. now i regret that, my black widows cylinder has exhaust ports that look trashed now. when i was removing the cylinder on my black widow once, the wrench slipped and chipped out a small piece from the exhaust port. i thought i had wreaked the engine for good that time. i eventually worked the chip out of the cylinder with a worn out piston and some fine steel wool.
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Post  PV Pilot on Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:20 am

I have a set of thick rubber jaw covers for my vice that grip and clamp quite well, then If I need to be a bit more aggresive with less give, I have some dead soft aluminum angle coated with the rubber tool dip stuff that slide in between the vise jaws.
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Post  warrenlead on Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:30 am

I have always found a bit of gentle heat from the heat gun freed any stuck engine and also helped with un doing tight parts. I used a warm oil bath once but after that found the heat gun works just as well.


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Post  PV Pilot on Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:17 am

warrenlead wrote:I have always found a bit of gentle heat from the heat gun freed any stuck engine and also helped with un doing tight parts. I used a warm oil bath once but after that found the heat gun works just as well.



Yep, a heat gun or hair dryer helps tremendously.
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