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K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

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Old 06-16-2004, 12:19 AM
  #1  
Dan Vincent
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Default K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

In 1954 K&B announced their new .09 addition to their popular line of greenhead engines. They already had them in .15, .19, .201, .23, .29, .32, .35 & .45 so I was glad to see an .09 being added. I waited and waited and K&B finally started producing them in 1957.

The first production run had a problem of the exhaust port sagging so they redesigned the case with a baffle in the center of the port to keep it straight.

Here are pictures of both types. K&B also offered accessory ring mounts for firewall mounting.

The Torpedo .09 was an amazing little engine and produced the highest HP per displacement of all K&B greenheads.
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Old 06-16-2004, 07:54 AM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Hi Dan,

Drat! You might know mine is the earlier one (sn 08349). I never had trouble with the exhaust port sagging though. Any idea what caused it?
The first .09 GH I had was installed in a scaled down Manx-Cat...boy did it go! I eventually sold that engine to a friend. The second one has never been run, but "someday" I'll get it in a plane.

The only green heads I have are the .09, .15, and .23.

I love to hear about these old engines. Brings back pleasant memories. Some of the engines you show, I have never heard of...but then you have many more .09's than I have engines.

Keep 'em coming!

George
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Old 06-16-2004, 08:03 AM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

George,

I think there are fewer no-web greenhead 09's than the web type so don't drat yet. The sag was just the result of a long exhaust port and early casting techniques.

I can't think of another glo-09 that could run with that K&B until the Cox TD came out in the early '60's.

The only other greenheads I still have are the .19, .29 & .32.

Wonderful little engine, great memories.
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Old 06-16-2004, 08:49 AM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Dan, I have a few Greenhead Torpedo/K&B's. I just recently picked up a Greenhead 15 RC. Unfortunately it was lacking the carb. Trying to find a carb for it. Any suggestions?

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Old 06-16-2004, 10:36 AM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Bob,

Ask around, someone may have a carb laying about.

Orrrrr...you could have someone make you a venturi insert similar to this one that converts my old Veco Series-100 .19 from RC to C/L.

The engine is a little dirty but you can get the idea.
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Old 06-16-2004, 05:37 PM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Dan:

I still have three Greenies. The 09 and 45 are stock, the 19 was narrowed for class A c/l speed. It was last run the year before A speed dropped to 15 size limit.

And the 09, just incidentally, is serial number 00122.

Pictures are 1) & 2), the 09. 3) the 19, and 4) the 45. And that's a genuine Froom spinner on the 09.

Bill.
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Old 06-16-2004, 06:17 PM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Bill,

You have a couple of good engines there. When the .19 came out in Silver-head (natural aluminum) the year before K&B went with the green...they immediately started breaking speed records in AMA Class-A. Same for Free/Flight.

Same with the K&B .15. Their first year in FAI competition saw them win the FF championship and .15 speed records. They were the best in the world at that time.

By the way, George Aldrich told me a few years ago you could pick up a can of spray paint at NAPA dealers that match the K&B greenhead color.
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Old 06-16-2004, 06:49 PM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Dan:

The reason the fins on the 19 aren't narrowed is that John Brodbeck personally, with his own little hands, put a new piston, sleeve, rod, and head on it at the 1960 Nationals (think it was '60) in Grand Prairie, Texas. He used to do that at every Nats. Take him ANY K&B engine at his little corner, he'd fix anything wrong with it and charge absolutely nothing. And since the engine was totally run out, everything but the case, backplate, and crank was replaced. Even new screws.

And Johnny gave me a prototype Wisniewski 15, later sent me one of the first production racing 29 engines of BW's design.

Contrast that to Duke Fox in his purple suit. He had all the parts in the trunk of his car, if you asked nicely he'd sell you what you needed. Full retail. Plus a delivery charge.

Bill.
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Old 06-16-2004, 07:15 PM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Bill,

John Brodbeck Sr. is one of the nicest people I've ever met. I did an article featuring his 3.5cc
outboard, (RCM 8/77) and we spent many hours on the phone.

He enjoyed talking about the early days and filled me in on many things.

They just don't come any better than John.
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Old 06-16-2004, 07:30 PM
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Default RE: K&B Torpedo (Greenhead) .09 engines

Dan:
ORIGINAL: Dan Vincent
...They just don't come any better than John.
Amen.

Bill.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:06 PM
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Default I had one.....

In my school days, I flew a McCoy .35 redhead on a ringmaster. It was all great. Then in the late '60's, I got a greenhead Torpedo .35, and it was SO much stronger! I ran it on a Flite Streak, and it was capable of anything that I was capable of, and more. I liked having the exhaust on the "wrong" side, because I favored priming through the exhaust and that made it easier. The engine got kind of a nasty temper if I put in too much though, and would kick back or bite my fingers. NEVER used an electric starter, just a leather glove. It kept me from bleeding, but it didn't reduce the pain much. Those nylon Tornado props hurt! So anyway, I fell in love with greenheads. Along about 1970, I built a flite streak Junior ( still have it, in good condition!) and put a greenhead .19 on it. That was just too much engine, so I put on my .09 greenhead. That wasn't quite enough for my flying style, and I tried a lot of different props to see if I could get more out of it. I put on an insufficient prop once, and badly over-revved it. Broke the conrod right in half. I had a welding rod that was supposed to weld aluminum with a propane torch, and believe it or not, it held for about a dozen flights! Wish I could get that aluminum welding rod again! I tried making a new rod myself out of 1/4" aluminum plate. After a LOT of filing it looked good, but the length was just a tiny bit off and it would NOT run. I tried again and did better, but it never ran as strong as with the original rod. Regrettably, I never had a .15 greenhead, so I put a .15 Cox medallion on the plane, and that was just right. It's still on there today.
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:38 PM
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I love the way these threads go on over the years. When you're talking about engines from the 1950's it's barely a tick of the clock.

Hard to to believe I turned 77 in July and my old engines can still be fired up and used today. The big issue today would be noise. Someone blabbing on their cell phone might complain.

I did fly a Jr.. Flitestreak with a K&B greenhead .19 on 60' lines and it was one of my favorite models, along with Satan Jr. which was also powered by Fox, McCoy and K&B .19 engines. Both models would multiple figure eights and extended inverted flights with a nice healthy pull on the lines. I never did crash either model and eventually traded them off.
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:27 AM
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Jr. Satan + McCoy .19 redhead was my leap into non-1/2A CL somewhere around '73-'74 IIRC, and my first experience with measurable line pull.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gcb View Post
The only green heads I have are the .09, .15, and .23. I love to hear about these old engines. Brings back pleasant memories. Some of the engines you show, I have never heard of...but then you have many more .09's than I have engines. Keep 'em coming! George
George, I recent got a used but strong .35 Green Head. After looking at Sceptre Flight engine tests, I'm really stoked. It is a tad more powerful than the Testors McCoy .35 Red Head. I've heard they are very durable, long running engines.

Red and Green, it's Christmas time (not to be confused with the Red and Green Show).
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Old 10-30-2016, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GallopingGhostler View Post
George, I recent got a used but strong .35 Green Head. After looking at Sceptre Flight engine tests, I'm really stoked. It is a tad more powerful than the Testors McCoy .35 Red Head. I've heard they are very durable, long running engines.
George,
Sorry for not seeing this thread sooner. The K&B is an iron/steel engine and needs 20%-22% lube. I prefer all-castor for those. Have not tried synthetic mix in them. Perhaps others will chime in who have tried synthetic.

As with all engines, how long they run depends on how you run them. The K&B .35 was often used in Combat, as was the McCoy .35. When the K&B .35 is used as a sport engine it should last well.

Good luck with your new engine.

George

Edit: Went back and read the engine test you referred to. Noticed they preferred 5%-10% nitro, 10x6 prop, and 25% castor fuel. Also noted that the cylinder is relieved below the ports and the piston is tapered below the wrist pin. They also mentioned that K&B recommended an hour of break-in.

Back in those times there was a controversy on whether an engine (iron/steel) needed to be broken-in. The CL guys said yes and the FF guys said no. Turns out that the short runs used by FF guys provided an excellent means of break-in...each run was a heat cycle. So both were correct.

One of the things I remember about engines of that vintage is that they don't like a small muffler...tend to overheat. If you need a muffler at your field, I would suggest a largish muffler or perhaps a tongue muffler.

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Old 10-30-2016, 05:16 AM
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George, I'm using 25% oil of which half is Castor, plus running these CL engines in a rich 4 cycle. I don't foresee a problem with that methodology. The K&B piston being a harder iron should easily last a while. So far it's working for the McCoy Red Heads, so it should last for a while (unless I pancake the engine into the tarmac).
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Old 10-30-2016, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GallopingGhostler View Post
George, I'm using 25% oil of which half is Castor, plus running these CL engines in a rich 4 cycle. I don't foresee a problem with that methodology. The K&B piston being a harder iron should easily last a while. So far it's working for the McCoy Red Heads, so it should last for a while (unless I pancake the engine into the tarmac).
Oops! You were typing while I was reading. Sorry for any redundancy.
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Old 10-30-2016, 06:53 AM
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George, no problem. Regarding mufflers, so far not required, I use ear muffs while flying. Know what you mean about larger chambers, certainly wouldn't put a Tatone Calumet muffler on these, a good way to cook the engine.
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Old 10-30-2016, 03:57 PM
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My Torpedo 19 doing it's thing. Some one gave it to me when I was 12 (that was 59 years ago) I run my plane bearing engines on methanol and 30% castor oil no nitro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAEEZkL13cM

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Old 01-06-2018, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Dan Vincent View Post
In 1954 K&B announced their new .09 addition to their popular line of greenhead engines. They already had them in .15, .19, .201, .23, .29, .32, .35 & .45 so I was glad to see an .09 being added. I waited and waited and K&B finally started producing them in 1957.

The first production run had a problem of the exhaust port sagging so they redesigned the case with a baffle in the center of the port to keep it straight.

Here are pictures of both types. K&B also offered accessory ring mounts for firewall mounting.

The Torpedo .09 was an amazing little engine and produced the highest HP per displacement of all K&B greenheads.
Dan, I am trying to refurbish my old K&B 23 and would like to change out the head bolts from phillips to hex cap bolts. Is there any info, anywhere in this world that gives me greenhead part numbers and bolt sizes? I assume they are english and not metric. I seem to be unable to find any cap head bolts that small. Any suggestions? Many, many thanks.
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Old 01-06-2018, 09:42 PM
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Hi, Ultracon46.

About the only thing that K&B's part numbers might do for you is to give you the sizes. It's easier than that.
Pull the head screws. You can leave the head in place undisturbed, the head gasket will likely still be good that way.
I *THINK* that they'll be 4-40 screws (#4 machine screws, 40 threads per inch), but don't quote me on that. Try screwing one of them into an ordinary engine mounting bolts' nut. Every one of those I ever had was a 4-40. If it fits without a whole lot of sloppiness, that would confirm the size for you. There's one more measurement, the length. That's the distance from the end of the screw to the underside of the head. Some engines have all of their head bolts the same length, some engine have some shorter than others.

You can try a hardware store (better an Ace or True Value than a Lowe's or Home Depot, you can actually get someone to help you find them), and take your old screws with you - if they don't have what you want, you can get them online. Here's one place, the link takes you to where you will see socket head cap screws. For screw that would look best on your engine, click on "alloy steel black oxide finish".
https://www.boltdepot.com/Socket_products.aspx?nv=l

And yes, you're right - there were no metric screw in any greenhead I ever messed with. SAE screws only, like we make here in the USA! The hex drive cap screws will be easier to use than Phillips, I think that you're making a good choice.

If your screws aren't all the same length, drop then in the holes in the head and rearrange them so that they all stand more or less the same height before you start threading them in. If a screw drops almost all the way in before you begin turning it, you won't get more than a couple of threads engaged before it's tight. That usually results in those threads being stripped out easily. Conversely, if a screw is standing way tall, it'll probably bottom out before its head makes contact or pulls down firmly on the engines head. If you buy screws the same length as those you took out, you should be able to get them all screwed down right.

Good luck!!
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Old 01-14-2018, 10:00 AM
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Default Greenhead .15RC

Originally Posted by BobHH View Post
Dan, I have a few Greenhead Torpedo/K&B's. I just recently picked up a Greenhead 15 RC. Unfortunately it was lacking the carb. Trying to find a carb for it. Any suggestions?

Bob Harris
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If you happen to run across a carb for your greenhead .15 RC - just wrap it carefully in bubble wrap and send it to me - I would have a use for it too..
By the way I think it is a cute little engine - somehow cuter than most of the other small engines.
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Old 01-14-2018, 01:46 PM
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Dan Vincent
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Old threads and K&B Greenheads never die. Glad to see we still love them.

My old .29, .19 and .15 were about as close to fool-proof and dependable with as much or more power than others of that era. Starting was always a snap, regardless of displacement.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ultracon46 View Post
Dan, I am trying to refurbish my old K&B 23 and would like to change out the head bolts from phillips to hex cap bolts. Is there any info, anywhere in this world that gives me greenhead part numbers and bolt sizes? I assume they are english and not metric. I seem to be unable to find any cap head bolts that small. Any suggestions? Many, many thanks.
I have stainless steel allen head bolts in most SAE sizes and some Metric. I will get back to you with your info shortly. I try to always keep the old bolts when I change them out because of resale value of the engine - some folks are picky.
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Old 01-14-2018, 02:55 PM
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Dan Vincent
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I like socket head screws and wish I had some back in the early '60's for the red head Testors .19. I was using the early shiny case version that blew fiber head gaskets at least once a week. Today I'd cut an aluminum gasket and lock it down with socket heads.

FYI, the later dull-case Testors-McCoy with lightning bolt was a much stronger engine.

.19 engines were fun.
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