Melrose Park Illinois Buick Factory.

Data plate from a Melrose Park Buick engine.
A view of the almost completed factory in Melrose Illinois. This is a south facing view.
Buick executives and military brass looking over some of the numerous parts of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Liberator engine. There were 863 different parts for the R-1830 engine with the duplication of parts used in the completed engine being 6,266 total parts per engine.
Parts being laid out in their respective sub assembly’s at Melrose. Click here for another view.

Inspecting the pistons that were cast in Flint. These were matched according to weight just as automobile engines.

Installing the piston rings.

The master rods (at top) are being readied for assembly. Directly above are the regular rods. These were forged in Flint.

The barrel before and after machining. The raw castings and the basic machining was done in Flint.The barrel serves the same purpose as a conventional engine block.

This partial assembly shows the relationship of the barrel, head and crankcase. This is also a good look at the MASTER ROD.

These are the almost finished barrels that the piston travels in. They still require the holes drilled that will allow them to be bolted to the crankcase.

This machine would shrink the steel barrel of a piston cylinder to the aluminum head. The barrel and head were attached by the screw and shrink method. Both of these parts were made in Flint but sub assembled in Melrose. As stated earlier, the final machine work on the barrel was done at the Melrose facility. It is estimated that 50% of all machining and assembly was shared between the Flint and Melrose plants.

An assembly aid being shown on the center section of the engine crankcase.

Machining a Liberator crankcase at Melrose.

Machining a Liberator crankcase at Melrose.

Machining a Liberator crankcase at Melrose.

Machining a Liberator crankcase at Melrose.

The three parts of the crankcase creating a single engine crankcase. This is called the “Power Unit”. The assembled crankcase is now painted in dark green. At the bottom is the blower section. At the top is the cam component. This unit is actually six different sections.

Installing the crankshaft in the center sub assembly of the engine crankcase.

Sub assembly of the crankcase showing the cam and tappet area.

Part of a crankcase being inspected and the break-in room. You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used.

More assembly.

Assembly and evaluating.

Wire loom sub assembly. This photo was obviously taken at the exact same time as the one below, judging by the reflection in the upper left corner. Another view.

Wire loom sub assembly.

Installing the rear bulkhead for the reduction gear of the prop shaft.

Reduction gear sub assembly.

More assembly.

The tracks that these assembly stands moved along in remind me of the old craft method of assembly..see this photo.

More assembly.

More assembly.

Tightening a cylinder hold down nut with one of many special tools needed for this engine.

More assembly.

A nice looking engine.

Almost done.

The finishing touch.

The “V” for victory. This symbol was used anytime another milestone was completed.

Final test control room.

The final test was considered the “Acceptance” test.

Final test.

Final test.

Final test.

Final test.

The alternators used to capture the power of these engines during their initial break-in run. “Not even this power was wasted”. This resulted in an estimated savings of $80,000 dollars per month.

The break-in room with 84 test stations. Here is where the engines would have what was called a “Green Test” which would last for six hours. Once this test run is done the engine is completely disassembled and the parts checked for any defect reminiscent of the way Henry Leland did the Cadillac engines during the late teens and early twenty’s . Once the engine is reassembled it is sent to the final test cell and run for a further three hours to make sure it is producing the power it is required to. Notice the slip coupling in place on the prop shaft of this engine. This allowed the alternator to run at a constant 900 RPM. no matter what the actual speed the engine was running during the initial break-in run. You can super enlarge just about any photo on this blog for viewing small details. The way this is done is a little different depending on which browser is used. Notice the soda bottles under the engines when you enlarge the photo.

Getting ready for the Liberator’s first break-in run.

Muscling a finished engine.

Packing instructions. The moister detecting paper that is packed with each engine is shown in the bottom left corner. The photo with the red arrow shown farther below is this tag.

The shipping case. These instruction manuals can be found at the link show at the end of this post. You can enlarge them there.

Unpacking instructions are shown at the top with the vacuum seal being installed above. The red arrow above shows the water sensitive paper that would indicate the presence of moisture.

This shows the pliofilm bag being sealed and evacuated of all air.

Packaging at the Melrose facility.

Packaging at the Melrose facility.

Packaging engines for the trip to Willow Run Michigan. The huge Ford bomber assembly plant where these engines are headed was so near to the Melrose factory that no protective vacuum packaging was required. The vacuum packaging was for engines going into storage for future use. Links: Maintenance and service manuals complete. World War II Archeology in England R-1830 “Twin Wasp” Radial Engine prop-shafts Journey Through Buick. B-24 Liberator Liberator Engine work at Buick. Buick At It’s Battle Stations


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