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Author Topic: Engine quality: Packard vs. Rolls Royce  (Read 3473 times)
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« on: July 24, 2009, 12:13:39 AM »

Just read some interesting comments about the Mk. XVI in Bill Simpson's Spitfire Dive-bombers vs. the V2. The book mentions that the Packard Merlins 266 installed in Mk. XVIs we generally considered to be less reliable than the Rolls-Royce original Merlin 66 as installed in the (roughly equivalent) Mk. IX. It is claimed that in-flight engine stoppages created considerable concern among the pilots, and that this was considered to be an intrinsic quality of the Packard engines rather than a result of some isolated incidents.

This is the first time I see this being mentioned. Anyone has more information about the crew opinion on Mk. XVI vs. Mk. IX?

/M.
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NZTyphoon
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2009, 01:59:03 PM »

Hmmm, I've read elsewhere that the Packard Merlin was considered to be better than the R-R original! It seems to depend on which side of the Atlantic the information comes from. There may well be an explanation, but not because the Packard was intrinsically less reliable than the R-R.

According to Berger and Street Invasion Without Tears; and 150 octane fuel there were problems with 100/150 grade fuel (150 octane) fuel causing a build up of lead deposits on the spark plug electrodes in the V-1650s of the P-51s of the USAAF and in the Merlin 266s of the Spitfire XVIs. The adoption of 100/150 grade in aircraft of 2 TAF (Feb 1945) coincided with the use of the Spitfire XVIs on fighter-bomber missions against the V2.

Apart from this the USAAF didn't seem to have too many reliability problems with their Merlins, except in the early months of P-51-B/C deployment.
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2009, 10:40:30 PM »

Just what has crossed my mind - could be another example of the NIH (Not Invented Here) factor.
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Spits
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 12:00:56 AM »

Could it be a difference of factory control in regard to metalurgy or quality control.Also different workshop practices has a bearing on engine life. Embarrassed
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Edgar Brooks
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 10:01:49 AM »

Alec Harvey-Bailey, in "The Merlin in Perspective - the combat years," (a Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust book) says, "As one would expect, Packard built engines to very high standards of quality.  Technical problems were not dissimilar from those experienced on British engines and when comparing like with like modififcation standards there was nothing to choose between engine sources."
Edgar
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gilly617
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2017, 06:34:47 AM »

For what it's worth, I have reasonably regular contact with various modern operators/engineers and restorers of Merlin-engined aircraft.

Their unanimous consensus of the major difference between the Packard built Merlins and the ones made by Rolls Royce is that the Packard ones :

'Tend to keep their oil in the inside'.

Meaning the Packard ones leak less oil and appear to be manufactured to a higher standard.

Just my 10c worth.

Barry
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