Posted May 7th 2012 7:15PM
Russell Sutton is a man after our own heart. The craftsman has spent the last four years building a nine-cylinder radial engine using a smattering of Honda XR600 singles for his airboat. After a little trial and error, Sutton discovered his creation is happier running on liquid propane gas instead of gasoline. Years of hard work finally paid off when he recently started his monster creation for the first time. The elegant radial fires with a puff of smoke before settling into a perfect hum. Unfortunately, the success is quickly marred by the sound of mechanical failure.
As it turns out, the cast piston sleeves Sutton used in his creation can't withstand the abuse of the radial. In addition, some of the pistons required shaving in order to work with the different stroke. Unfortunately, the shaving caused the pistons to delaminate their crown, causing further trouble. Despite the issues, Sutton seems to take the failure in stride and plans to correct the issues before firing up the engine one more time. We could all learn a thing or two from his resilience. Click here to check out a few videos of the engine. If you want to skip ahead, check out the second video around the 2:30 mark.