Way back in 2008, we showed you the very early stages of Russell Sutton’s engine project. Using the top ends from 9 Honda XR600 engines, he’s built himself a 9 cylinder radial destined for use in an airboat. It’s been a long journey, and if you’ve been here for a while, you’ll recall he had a bit of a setback when, during the initial start up, the engine ran briefly then quit, the victim of failing cylinder liners leading to broken connecting rods. Not pretty, but Russell didn’t let that stop him at all, a quick tear down to analyze what happened and then back to work.
In this video, Russell shows us the result of his rebuild. In place of the six foot 3 bladed prop that will eventually be mounted, he has a water cooled disc brake to load the engine, and after starting it and letting it warm up, he gradually adds the load and the engine leans into it without a whimper, it sounds strong. It’s smooth at the higher rpms, and when he later throttles back, it settles into that beautiful idle you’ll recognize if you’ve ever been around radials, you can just imagine what this little beauty will do when he has it mounted on the boat swinging a nice prop. The 600 rpm idle brings to mind images of a biplane taxiing on the runway, pilot wearing the de rigeur goggles and silk scarf, about to lock the brakes for a run-up and mag check before takeoff. The sound of a radial does that, good stuff. Russell mentions in the video that when the prop is mounted for a real load, the engine will sound even better.
The internal pieces are gorgeous with lots of visual mechanical complexity and it gives you some idea of what Russell has done here. I love this engine and the entire project. Ingenuity, skill and amazing persistence all coming together in what is now a superb engine. Excellent! I wonder what the guys over at Honda think about this repurposing of their 600 single.
The new video is below, but be warned, it is long at about 14 minutes, but well worth your time if you appreciate projects like this. Check it out!