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Re: TO20 TE20 Cracked block Epidemic STUDY topic.

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09-24-2012 17:19:22

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There are several reasons for the Continentals to have cracking problems. These engines were designed and produced in the post WWII era wen the Allies bombed most of the world"s industrial capacity to dust. There was great pent up demand for manufactured goods in the post war years also. The combination meant that factories were running overtime to produce machinery for domestic use and to support the Marshal Plan for a recovering Europe. Most likely quality control suffered and the casting technoloy of the time was not nearly as good as it is today. Add to that a design that did not take into account this impact of the casting technology and the QC that didn"t look very hard for these things and it"s no wonder there were a lot of marginal blocks produced and shipped. The result is that these Continental engines are prone to cracking.The likely failure modes were just out and out weak webs between the cylinders in the early failures and fatigue failures in the same section of the older blocks. The original Z129 on our TO-30 had the tension rod fix on it and it worked well with the fix but was just plum wore out when I replaced it wth a remanufactured block that had a furnace braze repair on it.
The N series blocks were based on the Model T engine and they were well below the state of the art in engine technology even in the "40"s. But they were a proven, robust, thirty year old design that could be made in vast numbers. They were ~ 20% poorer in output at the same displacement than the Continental Z120 mainly due to the superior volumetric efficieny of the Z120"s overhead valve design.

Those are some of my opinions regarding your question.

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10-01-2012 19:27:41

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 Re: TO20 TE20 Cracked block Epidemic STUDY topic. in reply to Jerry/MT, 09-24-2012 17:19:22  
The 9N engine was based on one half of a Mercury V8. When the first 1932 V8s came out about half of the blocks were scrapped for cracks. In WWII Ford built some of the Jeeps. Their blocks cracked. Willys blocks did not. It has to do with how the blocks are treated before they are machined. Slow cooling, long curing, perhaps. More expensive engines had a handful of Nickle put into the ladel before pouring. This added toughness. Hudson engines had bores very close to each other, but I'm not aware of cracking. I've worked on the small Case and Allis Chalmers engines. More often than not, they are cracked. Frost is suspected, since the radiator drains don't empty the blocks. The cracks didn't seem to ruin the engines however.

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