The Elto World’s Record.
IN my comments, which I made in these columns last month, regarding Mr. Charles Harrison’s latest achievement with “Non Sequitor III,” I made the assumption that the ” Elto ” engine used was a 1931 type. But I was wrong ; for, says Mr. Shillan in a letter to me,—” The motor is the same as that registered in March, 1930; whether the factory will make further improvements and announce them to the public in April next remains to be seen. They, of course, will not divulge details of their 1931 racing models at this juncture, and they are quite within their rights in keeping them secret until they are obliged to register them, which in America will probably be prior to 30 days of the New York to Albany race (which usually takes place at the end of April.”
Mr. Shillan also pulls me up with a jerk about the motor’s flywheel, for he says that the special committee, which sat to investigate details of his engine, agreed that this part was the same in weight as that specified by the factory in. the early part of 1930. The unit was, in fact, standard in every respect, in accordance with the blueprint filed with the M.M.A. All of which proves, once again, the truth of the adage “appearances are deceptive.” As to the presence of a Schebler on the engine, which aroused my curiosity, I learn that the model ” F ” Quad has been so fitted in the U.S.A. since August of last year (and is, therefore, approved and permitted as standard equipment by the M.M.A.) “None of the models, however, has been sent to England,” says Mr. Shillan., “for the simple reason that until recently we had ample stocks of model ” F ” Quads equipped with the Tillotson carburettor available for immediate delivery to our clients.” Hence, its appearing as a novelty to me.
Naturally, enough, Mr. Shillan was anxious that I should make these facts known to readers of Mown( SPORT in view of my previous remarks, and since he has so enlightened me I am impressed even more than before, with the wonderful performance of his craft in making 51.98 m.p.h. which now stands as an official’ world’s unlimited standard outboard record for 1930.
With most modern engines some sort of remote throttle control usually goes with the engine, and I
regret in certain cases, little can be done to alter these standard productions as these have been especially adapted to suit the uncommon type of carburettor peculiar to the large majority of outboard motors, particularly those hailing from America. Personally, I am quite faddy about my throttle control and like it to be “just so.” Really useful work can be put in by taking the outfit for a few practice laps, and finding exactly the right position for the lever, to suit the posture you consider to be most comfortable, giving, at the same time, consideration to the fact that as the throttle is only altered when cornering, the posture is not that when seated normally in the boat. You will be severely handicapped if after having carefully fixed the control, you find that when leaning inwards for a corner that the action of reaching the throttle is thereby rendered difficult, mainly because, as one has to adopt a squatting position in the boat, a good proportion of the weight of the body has to be taken on the arms.
A point to watch when purchasing throttle levers is that the Bowden cable is easily detached, for they should be left permanently attached to the boat in their correct position. If any difficulty is experienced in obtaining the panel type of mounting for the levers, the more common type with a bar clip fixing can easily be adapted by removing half of the clip, and then it will be found possible to bend back the other two tongues on the lever, to enable it to be bolted flat on to the wood in the desired position. As this is only a two point fixing nothing but bolts should be used, as it will be found that screws will eventually work loose. So far it has been assumed that the throttle is to be worked by a lever, but it has always been a source of wonderment to me that the motor-cycle twist-grip control, which can easily be fixed up on a piece of tube, flattened at the ends and bolted vertically to the side of the boat, is not in more common use. To work such a control only a wrist movement is needed, thus enabling a firm supporting hold to be made on the grip, helping to lock yourself in one position in the boat, which is essential, for quite often pilots have been thrown from their craft which have still remained right side up. I would like to suggest a further development of the twist grip idea. From the steering wheel cut away one segment, turn the two projecting ends outwards, flatten them by means of the blowlamp, and then drill a hole in each end. Obtain a suitable length of steel tube to take the twist grip and after having flattened the ends and drilled them, or rather cut a slot a one end to save yourself the trouble of meticulous occuracy of measurement, bolt it across the gap left by the removal of the segment of the wheel. With this arrange:nent both throttle and steering
may be quite easily controlled with one hand, an advantage which would be apparent in a long distance race.
Certain makes of outboard engine have their carburettor so arranged that the spring holds the throttle open. I need not elaborate on the result should a throttle wire break. There is, however, a remedy and that is an Arens aeroplane type control. This mechanism has the chief advantage of the Bowden control in so much that it is only fixed in two places and the casing is flexible but at the same time operates with a positive push and pull action, by utilising a stiff ” inner ” instead of the usual strand wire. The control is worked just as one worked the old hand pump force feed lubricator with a straight up and down movement. There is no spring used throughout and the only point to note is that the control needs fairly frequent greasing to ensure smooth working. (A description of the Arens system for aircraft use appeared in the November, 1930 issue of MOTOR SPORT—ED.)
Protection of Plugs.
All outboard motors, with but few exceptions are flat twins, and the plugs are naturally in somewhat of an exposed position, especially vulnerable from spray thrown up from the step of a hydroplane. It may be taken for granted that the plugs must have some waterproof protection of some kind, particularly if sea work is to be indulged in. The common type of umbrella protector is of course useless as it ceases to function in a hod-zoatal position. The Demo is however, excellent, and will enable the plug to continue giving a good spark when all but the points are immersed in water. The only difficulty is that they are rather too permanent a fixing on the plug. This can be overcome by starting the engine on a couple of spare plugs and then inserting the ones with the covers when the engine
is hot, a procedure which is always necessary if very hot racing plugs are used, especially with two-strokes which, having oil mixed with the petrol, are very critical on plugs.
Certain manufacturers hide their plugs behind quick detachable pressed aluminium covers, giving the whole job a very neat appearance. Quite the nicest of tdese is the Dunelt cover which is light, cheap and easy to manufacture. With this little device, the cover is a spring push fit over an aluminium flanged ring which is attached to the head bolts —the simplest arrangements are usually oest. I was so taken with them that I _Lave adapted them for other motors which .iave detachable heads, for which I must apologise to Dunelts—but theirs is the penalty of producing something good and useful.
Before finishing with plug protection I would like to point out that insulating tape is useless as a protector for it never has been waterproof, and functions on an outboard like a miniature sponge.
During the Poole Hundred, which incidently was quite the best race of the season in this country, several competitors merely pressed a button and shot off, while the majority were left pulling at their cords—frantically, soundly cursing the mule-like tendencies of their motors. The organisers with the development of the outboard at heart were right in staging a race with a standing start. But did it not put electric starters in a very false position ? Personally I regard electric starters as a prop to overcome the inability of every outboard motor ever manufactured to start with certainty except in the hands of an expert. Will the development of easy-starting receive the attention it merits if we accept electric starters with acclamation ? It means that we shall have to carry a car size battery about in future so that we are
enabled to start our motor. Further, no provision is made for cord starting on the electric starting jobs and I for one would never trust myself to a battery if I were taking the outfit to sea ; I should vote for the cord even if it took half-an-hour to start that way, because once the battery was dead, you would not have an earthly of starting the motor, and anyway I would not give a very long life to any wet battery in conditions of constant vibration, spilled acid owing to the seas, and the salt water itself. May we therefore hope that manufacturers will continue their efforts towards an easy starting high efficiency outboard ?
Quick Action Filler Caps.
I do not think that any will contest the point that the detail work on many outboard engines is bad. One is always coming across items which tend to show that the designer has never made any practical use of his outboards. Paramount among these items is the filler cap. At present we have to be content with a little screw cap very often not more than an inch and a half in diameter which requires about six turns to remove and then when undone, we find they are attached with a crude hairpin spring arrangement and a length of chain. It would be interesting to know how many filler caps are sold to every engine made. It is such little things as this that confine outboard to inland water and keep them from the open sea which is the proper home for a marine engine. As it is, I defy anyone to fill up an outboard in the slightest sea without some special pouring device for attaching to the petrol can, and odd fitments such as these have a habit of getting lost at the crucial moment ! The only really sensible cap to attach to a tank suspended over the water is one of the hinged variety with an orifice of at least three inches diameter. Further these filler caps are of the quick action type, while motor racing has proved them to
be quite petrol tight. F. M.