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SR71 Engine Buying Advice

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Powerplant, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. OldSchoolSS
    Joined: Jan 3, 2008
    Posts: 143

    from WI

    Sounds good. Post some pictures of the engine and the valley cover when you get it home. It would be interesting to see what the numbers on the block are.
  2. Will do... I have to get it off the trailer.

    Contact G. Brown. His cell is..651.245.2435
  3. Well... I just got back from picking this up. I really didn't want to divulge that they were sitting at the air national guard museum until I got my hands on it. I looked on google maps to find out where to go pick it up and panned down with the birds eye view and sure enough..... a blackbird was sitting in there stash with a yellow starter cart. This satellite photo is old though as the CIA took the plane and stuck it on a big pole in front of their Washington office building. It was one of the earlier version... the A12.

    Story turns out to be true.... still don't really know how to authenticate. But having the chance to talk to all the 10+ volunteers there today let me rest easy that these are indeed what Mr. Brown says they are.

    Cool bunch of guys... once I told them I had my A&P they were all asking for me to stop up on the weekends and help out. I appreciate all the time they spent with me shooting the shit about planes and hot rods. Who knows... maybe I'll pop in now and then. Being 2 hours away kinda sucks for that though.
  4. Take a look at the pics and let me know what you think. The things that stand out to me... Dry sump oil system? Sensor on the back of the right cylinder head looks to be aircraft. Are the engine mounts different? Weird crankshaft pulley. The guys said it had a arm on the shifter that was locked into place so it didn't switch gears while operating. The number near the valley tray is JW787.... the number on the back near the bellhousing is B 1364704 1, off to the left of that is a larger raised block. Head has B1196914J

    Pics below
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012
  5. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,559

    from Garner, NC

    JW is a '63 425 , the casting numbers support that as well.
  6. Pics...

    Attached Files:

  7. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

    Good stuff! It doesn't look like a dry
    sump, but the fitting above the oil
    filter look like they were to connect
    to an external oil cooler. The additional
    front pulleys were probably to drive
    the huge, non-automotive radiator
    cooling fan used on the start-carts.

  8. I thought the pan looked really small but I see all of them look that way after looking at some pics of other engines. I never thought of an oil cooler.... that must be what it is. These guys had the oil plug pulled and some bolts out of the water crossover and water pump... not sure what was up with that. They also took a huge pipe wrench to the pulley when they tried to turn it over and chewed that up. I can move the pulley by hand about 1/2 inch but that's it. Guess I'll have to wonder what the condition is until I can get it torn apart.
  9. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,710

    stuart in mn

    So my guess earlier was correct. :) Neat find! Back when they first got the A12 at the museum I got to go on a tour of the plane and all the stuff they got with it, and saw the start cart with your engine. Among other stuff they had a couple barrels of the special paint that was used on the plane, we were speculating it would be good for painting your car to avoid radar detection.

    I know a guy from my home town who was an SR-71 pilot (and flew the U-2 before that.) He had some interesting stories to tell.
  10. Yep.. you got it. I knew I was on to something when he told me it was at the museum.
  11. Dzus
    Joined: Apr 3, 2006
    Posts: 321


    So it was part of the A12 saga. Did they tell you all the work they put into retrieving it and putting it back together?

    425 looks good. Let's hope it's rebuildable.
  12. Let's hope it's rebuildable.[/QUOTE]

    2nd that....
  13. Yea.... they were quite proud of the work they put into getting it there and equally disapointed that the CIA took it from them. Seems they are at the mercy of the government with this and anything else they come across.
  14. GirchyGirchy
    Joined: Mar 17, 2011
    Posts: 207

    from Central IN

    Cool story - what do you have planned for it?
  15. Von Rigg Fink
    Joined: Jun 11, 2007
    Posts: 13,428

    Von Rigg Fink
    from Garage

    wonder if the CIA had a hard on for your 425 if they would come after it too?
  16. 36 ford 5 window
  17. I thought the same thing.... the goverment has been know to do less stupid things.
  18. I worked on them back in the sixties at Beale AFB Ca. while I was in the 9th OMS there . They were 401 dual quad with headers, high rise intakes, big cam and solid lifters due to high RPM's to turn over the Pratt & Whitney jet engines enough to start them. I seriously doubt that's one of them by what you said. Rags
  19. mart3406
    Joined: May 31, 2009
    Posts: 3,055

    from Canada

  20. After reading everything here? Sorry but I disagree.
  21. Just a quick update...

    I had a chance to start picking away at the engine bits. I'm removing what is believed to be a block that allows an external oil cooler to be incorporated. I removed the extra pulley on the front and found quite a well made snout / flange that attaches this to the original pulley. Holding it on were aircraft grade bolts actually lock wired in place. Also noticed the oil pan has 2 openings at the bottom that had threaded inserts braised in place to accept temp sensors I assume.

    I'm able to turn it by hand, let's just hope the block and heads check out ok when I go to rebuild it.

    That won't be for awhile though as I'm going to be using it for mockup while I build the chassis for my 36 Ford.

    All the starter cart accessories will remain in storage... I'll keep them with the engine.
  22. Yea... the guys there that helped me load it up were real cool. They would have talked my ear off if I had all day to stay there. I did spend a couple hours with them and had a blast.
  23. The guy I dealt with in obtaining the nailheads sent me some pictures of the guys at the museum tearing the starter cart appart.

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  24. I had worked on making parts for the plane back around 1983 or so. Them being at fueled remote bases makes lots of sense. Anywhere they could do a gas-n-go was an asset to the program.

  25. I don't think that it was ever officially based there. From talking with the museum folks it sounded like they obtained the plane and the cart well after the operating days were over... just something they were able to get their hands on for the museum only to have it taken away from them later.
  26. Relic Stew
    Joined: Apr 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,120

    Relic Stew
    from Wisconsin

    This video is just a cheesy simulation, but the sound effects are cool. Skip to 1:05 for the start-up carts.

    Last edited: Jul 25, 2012
  27. bangngears
    Joined: Aug 30, 2007
    Posts: 874

    from ofallon mo

    I was stationed at China Lake California in the 60s and our power carts were powered by Lincoln engines. Mc5 was there designation and would do about 25 mph. We had to drive them several miles to the launch site.
  28. 64T-bolt
    Joined: Aug 6, 2007
    Posts: 166

    from Kansas

    As an A&P and Air Force pilot with some time at Beale on the other black airplane and several thousand hours on another near 60 yr old jet in the inventory, I can offer a little insight. Almost all jet engines are started via an accessory gearbox mounted on the bottom of the engine (remotely on some fighters for combat survivability). These gearboxes typically have a quill shaft that drives the core of the turbine up to a certain speed (~20-25% compressor speed) at which point fuel and ignition is added. On the gearboxes one of 2 types of starter will be mounted; electric/starter generator, on small engines (think business jet), or an air turbine starter (think fighter or airliner). Air starters are spun by either an internal Apu, or external Apu. APu's are normally started by a hydraulic accumulator. Many old century series fighters and Cold War bombers were started with cartridges and an explosive charge that spun the starters, so they could be scrambled quickly without ground support equipment.

    The -71 motors could be started with air, or mechanically via one of these nailhead carts.. I've always heard these carts had everything from nailheads to big block chevy's..

    Bitchin find..
  29. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 1,710

    stuart in mn

    Bringing this back to the top -
    The September 2014 issue of Hot Rod has a two page article on the Buick start carts. It turns out they were built by Frank Kurtis. The article said there were 30 of them built in total, later start carts used big block Chevy marine engines.
  30. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,235


    In the very early 70's, my dad was stationed in Thailand, (Utapao, or however you spell it), working on B-52s. He said a Blackbird made an emergency landing there, and everything needed to get it airborne had to be flown in: parts, fuel, and the start cart, which he clearly remembers being two nailheads that were ganged together. They ran a shaft that went into the plane and started the engine(s). He clearly remembers the headers, and thought the stickers on the valve covers said Harry's Hot Rod Shop, Southern California.

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