Today I managed to get my hands on a Bristol Hercules engine! The contact I made a few weeks ago at the Newark aero jumble came good, and true to his word Graham had a few engines around. The one in the picture didn’t look too bad on first inspection, but it had stood with no exhaust manifolds for some time and the sleeves were quite rusty. Some of them looked pretty bad, I doubt that the barrels could be removed without causing damage. (and that’s the last thing anyone wants!).
However, there’s another engine stored elsewhere that is apparently in much better condition. I will need to go back again to see it, as access to that part of the airfield needs to be pre-arranged. Graham is kindly sorting this out, along with (hopefully) the loan of some special spanners. The nuts holding the barrels on are almost splined and will certainly require care in removal to avoid damage.
Looking at the amount of room to swing a spanner, particularly on the rear bank of cylinders, an ordinary hex nut would be no use. You couldn’t swing a spanner through the 60 degrees required to get on the next flat, so Bristol came up with a solution.
Graham seems a nice chap and is willing to help. With any luck, this time next week I might have some actual parts!