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Wonders may not EVER Cease!!

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DMiller View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Wonders may not EVER Cease!!
    Posted: 08 Dec 2022 at 4:51pm
From another forum Looked up Ford GAA Series Engine, built in 1940s for Sherman Tanks.  Jeez Louise, and these same people developed the "Y" Block FAILURE mess.  And the Current EngaNears developed the current line of junk.



Edited by DMiller - 08 Dec 2022 at 4:52pm
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steve(ill) View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steve(ill) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2022 at 5:32pm
GAA was originally designed as a 12 cylinder aircraft engine.. GOVT wanted a V8 ... Ford stepped up and modified the V12 to a V8 in a timely manner to put in the tanks... Had a decent record in service.. Not bad for 1940 era.... Why knock them ?

I had a 351M - V8 in a 1978 F150 ... That thing was a MONSTER ... Again, i dont understand the basis for " bad" ... ?   Have had FORD trucks for 40 years .. Have had pretty good luck with the motors and transmissions.
Like them all, but love the "B"s.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dp7000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2022 at 7:29pm
I’m 61 years old. Bought my first new Ford truck in Oct 78. I’ve had a dozen or more since. Never had an engine or transmission failure. Had a vortex in a GMC throw a rod. Also had a Grand Cherokee that spun a bearing. I’m a full time farmer and that’s been my experience.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thendrix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2022 at 8:12pm
Been a few Ford's in my family with mixed results. Dad had a Courier that seemed to do pretty good as far as I can remember. Pawpaw had a 1990 F250 with the 5.8(?) and a, I'm guessing, E4OD. Seemed like he had constant transmission problems. According to a cousin that was a transmission man, the problem wasn't in the trans but in the torque converter being to small for that transmission in that size truck. Then I had a 1986 F250 with the IH 6.9 and a C3. That was a joke. I had 2 good days while I owned that truck. The day I got it and the day I sold it.
"Farming is a business that makes a Las Vegas craps table look like a regular paycheck" Ronald Reagan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 Dec 2022 at 10:21pm
Sherman Tank was built with a variety of engines. Continental 9 cylinder radial from the M3 tank. Then the Detroit Diesel 2-6-71 engines hooked to a common gear box.Chrysler produced a multi bank 5 six cylinder engines bolted together in a cluster to form a common drive. The best was the Detroit 2-6-71 but the Army used gasoline for all of their vehicles and did not want to carry 2 fuels so those tanks equipped with Detroit Diesels were sent to the Marines as the Navy had diesel and some were sent to the Russians who used diesel engines and they liked the Sherman's. The Ford GAA V8 was originally a V 12 developed from the Rolls Royce Merlin engine and Ford tried to sell it to the Navy but they didn't want it as they used Air Cooled Radials that were lighter. The Army then requested a better engine for the Sherman and Ford took 4 cylinders off of the V 12 and made the V8 and it served well in both the M4 Sherman and M26 Pershing until Continental developed an air cooled V12 fuel injected engine that served in the M47 and first M48 Patton Tanks. The Continental V12 was converted to diesel and served with later M48 and M60 tanks until replaced by the Lycoming Turbine in the M1 Abrams.

Edited by klinemar - 08 Dec 2022 at 10:24pm
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Thad in AR. View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thad in AR. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 5:11am
Originally posted by DMiller DMiller wrote:

From another forum Looked up Ford GAA Series Engine, built in 1940s for Sherman Tanks.  Jeez Louise, and these same people developed the "Y" Block FAILURE mess.  And the Current EngaNears developed the current line of junk.



What’s wrong with the Y blocks?
I tend to like them.
Still a lot of them running today.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tbone95 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 6:41am
Originally posted by thendrix thendrix wrote:

Been a few Ford's in my family with mixed results. Dad had a Courier that seemed to do pretty good as far as I can remember. Pawpaw had a 1990 F250 with the 5.8(?) and a, I'm guessing, E4OD. Seemed like he had constant transmission problems. According to a cousin that was a transmission man, the problem wasn't in the trans but in the torque converter being to small for that transmission in that size truck. Then I had a 1986 F250 with the IH 6.9 and a C3. That was a joke. I had 2 good days while I owned that truck. The day I got it and the day I sold it.
A diesel connected to a C3 in a truck?  Yeah, that doesn't sound too good.

We've had pretty good luck with Ford trucks, even better luck with Ford cars, with one exception.  I had an 86 T-Bird.  Loved that car.  Cheap, comfortable, reliable.  Couldn't kill it.  I sold it with over 200,000 on it because neither the AC or windows was working at the time.  Big mistake, as the replacement was a Monte Carlo POS edition that was nothing but trouble, should have fixed the Bird, I saw it on the road for most of the life I fought that damn Monte.   When I sold it, it still started with the flick of a wrist, used no oil, ran perfect.

Last 2 "farm trucks" have been GMC's.  They're OK.  I like the 2001 better than the 2009, we still have both.  The bumpers must've been made from GI beer cans, and not the modern aluminum ones.  They've rusted completely off, while a 92 Ford we still have is solid.  The tailgate cables have been replaced multiple times, some on recall, and I think they finally made 'em out of something that will last, because the last set have been on many years.  Whoever routed the brake lines should be fired for sure.  But they run good and are reliable enough.  A couple Taurus cars and a couple Sables were awesome.  

*edit* the T-Bird was not the "exception" I eluded to! haha


Edited by Tbone95 - 09 Dec 2022 at 6:45am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Codger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 7:24am
I've had several "292", and "272" engines over the years which have been relatively trouble free. Still have a 1959 build 40KW Onan genset I removed for a new Kohler install several years ago that gets used regularly. Starts right up and no problems with it  being both gaseous and/or gasoline powered. Small parts are seemingly still easy to acquire also.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steve(ill) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 8:47am
A couple Taurus cars and a couple Sables were awesome. 

I bought the son a 1999 Sable to run back and forth to college  20 years ago... Ran it way over 200K miles .... Bought another when he graduated to run back and forth 100 miles a day to work.. Ran it over 200 K miles.... He has a 2016 now and the daughter has a 2019 .... Never have to do much of ANYTHING to them for maint..... and get 30 MPG.... i agree, they are awesome..
Like them all, but love the "B"s.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 8:57am
Y-Blocks, first mod, Overhead oiler line as rocker shafts starved.  Bottom end was Meh, but valve train junk.  Dragged more than a fair share of them out to install 'W' 289 Engines that could get decent upgrading parts for.  The other Swap was for FE Big Blocks but required more extensive frame/drive train mods.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote thendrix Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 9:18am
Originally posted by Tbone95 Tbone95 wrote:

Originally posted by thendrix thendrix wrote:

Been a few Ford's in my family with mixed results. Dad had a Courier that seemed to do pretty good as far as I can remember. Pawpaw had a 1990 F250 with the 5.8(?) and a, I'm guessing, E4OD. Seemed like he had constant transmission problems. According to a cousin that was a transmission man, the problem wasn't in the trans but in the torque converter being to small for that transmission in that size truck. Then I had a 1986 F250 with the IH 6.9 and a C3. That was a joke. I had 2 good days while I owned that truck. The day I got it and the day I sold it.

A diesel connected to a C3 in a truck?  Yeah, that doesn't sound too good.

We've had pretty good luck with Ford trucks, even better luck with Ford cars, with one exception.  I had an 86 T-Bird.  Loved that car.  Cheap, comfortable, reliable.  Couldn't kill it.  I sold it with over 200,000 on it because neither the AC or windows was working at the time.  Big mistake, as the replacement was a Monte Carlo POS edition that was nothing but trouble, should have fixed the Bird, I saw it on the road for most of the life I fought that damn Monte.   When I sold it, it still started with the flick of a wrist, used no oil, ran perfect.

Last 2 "farm trucks" have been GMC's.  They're OK.  I like the 2001 better than the 2009, we still have both.  The bumpers must've been made from GI beer cans, and not the modern aluminum ones.  They've rusted completely off, while a 92 Ford we still have is solid.  The tailgate cables have been replaced multiple times, some on recall, and I think they finally made 'em out of something that will last, because the last set have been on many years.  Whoever routed the brake lines should be fired for sure.  But they run good and are reliable enough.  A couple Taurus cars and a couple Sables were awesome.  

*edit* the T-Bird was not the "exception" I eluded to! haha



I misspoke. It was a C6 not a C3. Would've been ok if not for the vacuum regulator breaking and leaking and being unavailable. Wasn't a work horse by any means but would've done ok I guess. When the vacuum regulator started to leak shifting STOPPED
"Farming is a business that makes a Las Vegas craps table look like a regular paycheck" Ronald Reagan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tbone95 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 11:00am
I was thinking. . . couldn't believe a C3 wouldn't have ever been put in a truck! Haha, but guess I went with "ya never know!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tbone95 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 11:03am
Originally posted by steve(ill) steve(ill) wrote:

A couple Taurus cars and a couple Sables were awesome. 

I bought the son a 1999 Sable to run back and forth to college  20 years ago... Ran it way over 200K miles .... Bought another when he graduated to run back and forth 100 miles a day to work.. Ran it over 200 K miles.... He has a 2016 now and the daughter has a 2019 .... Never have to do much of ANYTHING to them for maint..... and get 30 MPG.... i agree, they are awesome..
And very very safe.  My mom and niece were in one where they got hit very hard, Tboned hard right at the driver front tire/ driver door.  Hit so hard it buckled the opposite side of the car diagonally.  They both were fine.  Another one, a lady got offset -head on by the farm yard by a Suburban.  Her left arm was pretty mangled where the 'burb climbed the car, but she was good.  One helluva hit.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tadams(OH) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 2:14pm
  Some people just like to run down what they don't have

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steve(ill) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 4:19pm
every company has problems.. Some more that others... Dont matter if your talking about trucks, bicycles, light bulbs or socks.
Like them all, but love the "B"s.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DMiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 4:39pm
Yep.  Can remember the Cam and bushing problems on NT Cummins, blower drive failures DDs, GMs better idea 2.8l V6 or the 4.4l V8 and who can forget Cadillac 8-6-4 ignition system.  Won't even go into Chrysler.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 8:03pm
Starting procedure on a M4 Sherman equipped with Radial engine https://youtu.be/oymXPYTDapI
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 8:06pm
Ford GAA V8 start up https://youtu.be/W2ghTjFtNPo
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 8:14pm
Sounds of all 4 M4 Tank Engines https://youtu.be/Z88gEaY0BeY
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote steve(ill) Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Dec 2022 at 9:12pm
that radial even sounds like an airplane !!
Like them all, but love the "B"s.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thad in AR. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 6:24am
Originally posted by klinemar klinemar wrote:

Sounds of all 4 M4 Tank Engines https://youtu.be/Z88gEaY0BeY

That is an awesome video
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Dec 2022 at 7:24am
Regardless of what many believe, the United States was vastly unprepared for War in 1941. And the first tank designed by the Ordinance Department was a mess! Riveted armor,main gun that the whole tank had to turn in order to aim! When automotive engineers and Companies got involved the put together and constantly improved the M4 tank from the M3. They had to find a good power plant and did with the Ford GAA.The Continental Radial was still an aircraft engine and had problems with oil consumption when idling and being hand cranked before starting. The Chrysler Multi bank was hard to work on and required the tank to be built longer so it would fit! The Ford GAA was the answer and allowed America to mass produce more than 3-4 times more Tanks than the Nazis!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 1:16am
"The Ford GAA V8 was originally a V 12 developed from the Rolls Royce Merlin engine and Ford tried to sell it to the Navy but they didn't want it as they used Air Cooled Radials that were lighter."

This is not accurate, in that the GAA is not IN ANY WAY related in any design to the Rolls, other than it exists only because FORD originally intended an aluminium V12 to serve as an aircraft engine in similar context of the Merlin.  The GAA's donor V12 was an entirely Ford design, which was begotten in response to military demand for aircraft engines... Henry and Edsel's hopes were to manufacture it as a US replacement for Merlins and Allisons being installed in US aircraft, however, that niche was already well-filled.

Rolls-Royce's interest in licensing, was simply to get more Merlins into Britain so that their Hurricanes, Lancasters, Spitfires, and Mosquitos would have engines.  R-R's engine manufacturing was primarily done in Glasgow, Derby, and Manchester... and simply could NOT keep up with airframe demand.  Once DeHavilland Canada started building Mosquitos, and Victory Aircraft was manufacturing Lancasters in Toronto, the concept of having engines built in Detroit, and trucked over to Toronto, made a whole lot more sense than trying to ship engines from Glasgow to Toronto, or empty airframes to Britain.  Packard, however, was BUILDING 'American' Merlins... and like Henry, Packard had to basically REDESIGN the R-R engine, so that it could be effectively mass-produced under what R-R called "The American System"... using tolerances for quality control, and applying Quality Assurance to make certain they'd have a statisically proveable product.  (this is in contrast to the intricate hand-fitting 'craftwork' philosophy that was utilized 'over there').

Henry's bigger inclination with respect to aircraft engines, would be to attain an internal sourcing of power units for Willow Run...  rather than ship in radials manufactured by those who weren't in his food-chain.  Just so happened that the 'short' version (GAA) was accepted as a power unit option for the M4 chassis, which happened to also find a home in the M10A1 "Wolverine" tank destroyer.

"The Continental Radial was still an aircraft engine and had problems with oil consumption when idling and being hand cranked before starting."

The Continental R975-C1 was a Wright Cyclone radial, of aircraft lineage, and it WAS air-cooled, and like ANY engine, low cylinder pressures at idle prevent rings from seating, and with a few cylinders being inverted, they DO pass a bit more oil.  Hand-cranking before starting is SIMPLY to prevent forcing the engine over TDC with a cylinder being flooded with fuel or oil... and this is still a wise practice maintained as SOP in many circumstances today (the startup procedure on modern diesel-electric locomotives includes low-speed current-limited cranking with load sensing, just to detect a hydraulically-locked cylinder).  Later revisions of the R975 addressed many of these issues to excellent effect, as it was also utilized in the machine that replaced the often Ford built/GAA-powered M10 tank Destroyer-  the SIGNIFICANTLY FASTER Buick-built M18 Hellcat tank destroyer.

"The Ford GAA was the answer and allowed America to mass produce more than 3-4 times more Tanks than the Nazis!"

This is generally misleading.  Out of the 49,234 M4 Sherman Tanks built, FORD was responsible for only 1690.  Fisher Body (aka Fisher Tank Arsenal) built the other for a total of 6940 M4A3 Shermans,  making the M4A3 (GAA powered) effectively the LOWEST PRODUCTION QUANTITY of all M4 Shermans built.  42,294 came out with either the radial (in several flavors, gas and diesel) a twin diesel, or the 5-bank Chryser.  Hardly a case of 'saving the day'.

'Production of 3-4x times more tanks' can be much easier attributed to the fact that there were huge bomb craters in every major dam in the Ruhr valley, collapsed smokestacks in every KRUPP steel facility, an no electricity in Essen.  One can further attribute this to the fact that German tanks of the WW2 conflict were made in factories basically 'built-in-place' using the same hand-fitting concepts that Rolls-Royce used in building engines... not the 'interchangable tolerances/moving-assembly-line' manufacturing operations of the USA.  It's just an apples to bricks comparison.


Edited by DaveKamp - 12 Dec 2022 at 1:36am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 4:55am
Dave my information on the Ford GAA being similar to a Rolls Royce Merlin comes from an individual long since passed away who worked for Ford stating Ford procured a Merlin engine in the late 30's and tore it down to examine how it was built. And as for Ford only building 1600 engines my information disagrees!The GAA-series engines were used in other U.S. military tracked vehicles as well, and all told, more than 28,000 of the monster V8s were manufactured between 1940 and 1950. Experts estimate that somewhere between 500 and 1,000 of the engines are still in existence today.Jun 17, 2021. I do agree that the aerial bombing campaign helped win the war. My neighbor was a Tank Mechanic in WW2. He told me the Continental Radials were trouble and required a lot of maintenance. There is a concept that the Germans had the best tanks. That is not true as their tanks were mechanical nightmare's. And I'm not proclaiming the Sherman best Tank of the war. It was good enough!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 9:41am
I didn't say that Ford only made 1600 GAA Engines-  They made 1690 M4A3 tanks with GAA engines.  Fisher (Body) Tank Arsenal made 6940 M4A3 tanks with GAA engines.

Fisher Body Tank Arsenal made more quantities of the M4 Sherman using any ONE of the OTHER variant prime movers, than the GAA.

In contrast, the Rolls-Royce production in Manchester, England, was done at Ford's Trafford Park, Manchester plant... and there were significantly more Merlins manufactured THERE, than GAA's made HERE...  30,428

A great read on this, is by Sir Stanley Hooker:  "Not Much of an Engineer"  (Stanley was an engineer for Rolls Royce)

Henry Ford recinded his offer to build Merlins in the USA in July 1940.  Packard went on to build 55,523. 

Ford produced 15197 GAA engines for military applications.  They manufactured the GAF and GAN engines (which went into M26 Shermans) the GANs (in the T23 and M4A3E2), and the GAC (the 12-cyl version) in the T29 and T32.

It was a very neat engine, but the aluminum construction made it too expensive to find way into the over-the-road truck or heavy equipment markets.  Great fun to see one in an occasional hotrod, but they're 1500lbs of low-RPM torque, thus limited out around 500hp.  Couple that mass into a chassis suitable, and you have something that rides like a truck, accellerates like a freight train, steers like an ocean liner, and drinks like an '80's hair band.  Would I own one?  Certainly-  just for the amusement of STARTING it up, and listening to a ghastly beastie engine... and a piece of multifaceted industrial history.  I certainly couldn't afford to DRIVE it... LOL

The GAA best asks the question of WHY did Ford insist on running the flathead V8 so long after the war, when everyone else realized the benefit of overhead valves... and the answer is best made with a question-  Why did Ford insist on sticking with mechanical brakes all the way up to 1937, when everyone ELSE had realized the benefit of hydraulics.


Edited by DaveKamp - 12 Dec 2022 at 9:45am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 9:55am
My Grandfather's brother was a tanker, and was the first notified when Grandpa was shot in Bastogne... he drove something like seven Shermans... he was one of the ones lucky enough to survive more than one.  No, they weren't a magically superior machine- the gun was weak, the armor was not stopping many Wermacht guns, particularly an infantry Panzerfaust.  What the Sherman WAS... was manufacturable, agile, and light enough to transport TO the theatre, and pass over soft ground, light bridges.  It did NOT set any example of what we'd identify as a 'main battle tank', and it wasn't intended to be.  Now, when the Brits went Bosephus and crammed their 17-pounder into the M4's skull sideways, it became a serious armor-killer.  When GI's salvaged Rommel's shore defense caltrops and turned them into hedgerow spades (aka "the Devil's Cowcatchers"), they broke the stalemate of the Normandy Lowland's 'meat grinder'.  (If you've ever walked down those roads in person, and considered what an allied infantry man faced, you know exactly how important that feature really is).  The tankers stripped ANY loose metal they could (particularly old track segments) from ANY destroyed machines (even Panzers) and hung it like a big steel 'kilt' around the Sherman, for extra armor... and THAT worked pretty well too, and that's what begat the 'composite' and 'reactive armor' techniques we have today.

The M4 Sherman was significantly better than the M3 Grant/Lee more serviceable and more reliable than the Wermacht's machines, but mostly, it was significantly more economically viable, because the basic rule of ground combat is, and will always be, that "He who arrives at the battlefield the Earliest, with the Most, will prevail in battle" (Hannibal Barca proved that)...  but "He who can produce the most, for the longest time, will win the war" (Henry Kaiser proved that).  A critical part of the battlefield logistics, is that SOME ASPECT of your battlefield needs can be met using 'indigenous resources'... meaning, you can find and exploit resources IN the combat arena, rather than rely on resources coming in from your rear.  The M4's most impressive capacity, was to easily shed it's transmission and driveline from one end, power unit from the other, and be able to either accept others' components, or DONATE to others, to turn a viable combat unit back into action. 

The German tanks were basically all hand-built- no two were identical, and they were basically all welded shut... so when one lost a transmission (and they were heavy, so they did), they were dead-in-the-water... a 'monument'.  They were built under a totally different philosophy, and most of the numerical significance were built PRIOR to the timeframe we (cooperatively) leveled the Ruhr valley.  But Hitler gets a lot of credit for the failure of Wermacht production... had there been someone more able (and less drug-induced) at the controls, they would have significantly more scientists and engineers in the factories, than in gas chambers...  They would have had interchangability and rapid service in mind, design for faster production, and they would have been capable of putting the Czech production at Skoda to use, rather than reduce it to human rubble.  He was just plain dumb, and we should all be thankful for that.


Edited by DaveKamp - 12 Dec 2022 at 10:08am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote klinemar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 10:29am
Dave,I believe we both agree that Hitler was his own worst enemy! I read a book written by a Combat Engineer in command of a Battalion from Normandy to the Rhine. He told of blowing bridges during the Battle of the Bulge so that German tanks could not cross. And he said the Germans did not have the same bridging capabilities as we had, nor could they repair equipment in the field like the U.S. could. The Tank mechanic neighbor told that the Germans would shoot a Sherman until it caught fire if their first hit did not explode the ammunition because a burnt Tank has the armor changed and isn't repairable.If the Germans had the ammo to expend! The Germans and their Allies put up a fight,though for a bad cause!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DaveKamp Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 6:09pm
Blowing bridges is a basic defensive tactic... it is the denial of access by advancing troops... it, and other similar operations date back a thousand years (that's where we get the term 'burning bridges', as explosives weren't quite up-to-task in the Byzantine era).

During the allied advance east, every river (being a natural obstacle) offered opportunity to be a 'fall back' position for a counterattack, with the only detailed difference being that WW2's mechcanized character made ANY bridge crossing by tanks already somewhat of a challenge-  many of the bridges they'd included as examples, were centuries old, built of stone, and not concieved of 60+ ton loads.  [Frankly, I get the willies every time I walk or ride a bicycle across some of those...]

But you're spot-on about bridges.  A Sherman, and most every other allied machine during the early period after D-day, was basically less than 65,000lbs.  Any German tanks it came up against at that point, were either lighter in weight, lightly armored, and lightly gunned (and there were many) than the later 'heavy cats'.  From what I see, the primary advantage of the German tanks which allied M4's faced, was mostly due to substantially superior ballistics of the guns they mounted, and the fact that they used these guns, as well as towed antitank or multi-use (like the 8.8cm) being properly placed for complex ambush... aka 'kill boxes'.  The lesson here, is that only thing that beats having a properly prepared battlefield, is to keep the battlefield moving such that it cannot be 'set up'.  Kesselring set that example with his strategy in Italy, and Patton demonstrated how aggressive motion and erratic actions dissolved battlefield planning by virtue of havoc and confusion...   he was absolutely right about "$#it through a goose"...

re. shooting Shermans, A disabled tank that's been shut down and abandoned could be recovered, repaired and returned to action...
but if just ONE guy stays behind... a disabled tank is still dangerous, like a 'wounded, cornered animal'... and an M4 Sherman had an electric-over-hydraulic (rather than engine PTO-drive, or manually-cranked) turret slew and elevation will still operate even if the engine, transmission, tracks, bogies, etc, are all messed up.

One guy can stay behind, hiding in the dirt under the escape hatch, invisible to infantry... and waiting for the right moment.  With one AP round left in the chamber, and having already measured the distance and elevation, formulated the firing solution, but leaving the gun in a depressed and slewed condition, that one guy can quietly climb up, watch that spot through a periscope (that's been 'doctored' to look wrecked), and when a target stops on the proper spot, he runs the slew and elevation to the precalculated point, squeezes the trigger, and drops down under the belly, and crawls towards safety out-of-view.  It is essentially a very effective trap.

The antithesis to this 'trap', is for a German soldier (usually an elite SS) to put on a tattered infantry uniform, and lay down on or alongside the road with a couple of dead bodies, atop a Panzerfaust... and when an allied tank approached, sit up, shoulder-up, and knock out the tank with ease... and this is why the bow-gunner of a tank will constantly be aiming, and shooting at dead bodies along the path of travel.

It's like a game of chess... pawns, knights, rooks, and bishops work best, when worked together.

Then there's the M18 Hellcat TD... basically, tank-killing gun on a high-speed Christie suspension, powered by the same radial.  No significant armor, but that's why it'd go 55mph...Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote DiyDave Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Dec 2022 at 7:43pm
Can't talk Shermans, without Oddball...Wink

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