S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Chrysler Multibank Engine Page keywords = Chrysler A57 multibank auto car truck tank engine ordnance Aberdeen Proving Ground Zvezda M503

08 Oct 2011, 13:40  ET
[Page created 08 Oct 2011;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
URL:  http://sbiii.com/chrymult.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/chrysler.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they are dropping WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have to scramble to transfer everything by then.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Chrysler Multibank Engine

Chrysler Badge

[The original Chrysler page grew completely out of hand and this had to be added;
please have a look at the original Chrysler Page, preceeding Chrysler Continuation Page 1, and succeeding Chrysler Continuation Page 3! (the latter has the Walter P. Chrysler story).]

These pages are basically unindexed but a HELP section is now on the last page and the Chrysler Links section (below) is being recreated.

Chrysler Imperial 8.

  '31-'32-'33 Imperial 8 Major Model Year Differences.

Imperial L-80/L*80 - the "Big Six".

Chrysler Links - parts and such.


WWII Chrysler A57 Multibank Tank Engine Page. {this page}   new (08 Oct 2011)

Model Chryslers.


I ran across so much more material on the Chrysler A57 multibank tank engine that I started this separate page.

I could have sworn I had this up on these Chrysler or Ordnance pages but couldn't find the heavier coverage I once had (including two photos of Canadian forces replacing an A57 in the field), so here we go again:

(Barmaglot photo - all rights reserved)
Chrysler A57 Multibank engine displayed at Imperial War Museum Duxford, Land Warfare Hall.

When engines were hard to come by during WWII, Chrysler engined one of the M4 Sherman medium tank series (the Canadian Sherman V)* with the really-strange A57 motor made from five (5) readily-available Royal 6 L-head engine blocks and heads, arranged in "W" fashion [ _\|/_ ], with a common crankcase and crankshaft, sort of like a weird cross between a radial and an in-line aircraft engine.  For a photo of this odd engine, see my Ordnance page 1; oh, heck, here it is, at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, courtesy of David Zatz (see his allpar.com pages:

A57 Tank Engine
(Bob Sheaves photo courtesy of D. Zatz - all rights reserved.)
[Image artificially lightened by SB,III to bring out detail]

* - Edgar (see below) says the engine was used in the M3A4 and M4A4 Sherman tanks.
{problem here - the M3A4 was the Grant/Lee}

One of the items I turned up was my ancient copy of one book in Chrysler Corporation's post-WWII flak series (which I'd bought new), Tanks are Mighty Fine Things by Wesley Stout, Chrysler Corporation, Detroit, Michigan 1946.  Here is excerpted text pertinent to the A57:

{Page 5, Intro.} - "In a critical shortage of tank engines, Chrysler Engineering put five standard automobile motors on a common shaft to power 7,600 tanks.  In the unprecedented time of nine months from the first discussion, the Corporation was making tanks with this multibank engine."

{Pp. 34-36; 1941} - "As a tank engine, Ordnance was using an adapted Curtiss-Wright radial air-cooled aircraft motor.  In June when Knudsen¹ had paid a visit to Chrysler Engineering, he had warned Keller² that aircraft engine manufacturing capacity was very tight and would be increasingly so, what with the ballooning Army and Navy air forces programs.  Training planes would eat up as many motors as service planes.  Moreover, the M4 would be five tons heavier than the M3 and the 9-cylinder Wright was not quite powerful enough for the added load."

"Could Chrysler, he asked, work out a tank engine which could be made on machines and tools existing in its plants."

"Two years is par for a new motor.  The only possible quick solution would be to use an existing automobile engine in multiple, one with a long background of successful use and already tooled.  In the Chrysler division, the Corporation had just such a motor and a tool-up.  Engineering combined five Chrysler 6-cylinder motors on a common crankshaft.  The design began with the premise of making a minimum number of changes in a standard car engine, this for greater speed of production.  With such limitations, it would not be an ideal tank engine, the Corporation warned the Army, yet it turned out to be a fine motor for the Sherman tank."

"Affectionately known to the armored forces as "The Egg Beater" or as "The Dionne Quints," this multibank engine drove 7,500 Sherman tanks.  Five thousand additional motors were built as spares.  In a competitive test at Aberdeen which began October 11, 1943, and continued until February 10, 1944, four M4A4 tanks with Chrysler multibank engines were entered against four tanks of each of three other engine types.  Three of the four Chrys)er-powered tanks completed the 4,000 mile marathon.  Of the other twelve, only one finished.  Ordnance reported that the Chrysler motor gave the most reliable performance, that its maintenance requirement was lowest, its power loss after 400 miles negligible.  Its oil consumption was bettered only by a Diesel tank engine." "The first experimental multibank motor was installed in a tank November 15, 1941, and ran all Winter in a test of 4,000 miles.  It was well that the engineers had moved swiftly, for by September 19th., H. L. Weckler was phoning Brigadier General Jack K. Christmas, deputy commander and Chief of Industrial operations of the Detroit office of the Chief of Ordnance, that the motor shortage was disturbing.  In nineteen days the arsenal had received only four Wright engines.  Though the motor shortage never actually halted the assembly lines, it was touch and go until the multibank motor was in production the next Spring."

(Chrysler Photo - all rights reserved)
{Page 43}  "Chrysler-Jefferson put five automobile engines
on a common crankshaft to power 7,600 tanks."

  1.  Knudsen = William S(ignius). Knudsen (March 25, 1879 - April 27, 1948), President of the Chevrolet Division of General Motors from 1924 to 1937,
        and of General Motors from 1937 to 1940.  Then a War Department production consultant (from 1940 until 01 Jun 1945).
        In January 1942, Knudsen was commissioned a Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army, the only civilian ever to join the Army at such a high initial rank.
  2.  Keller = K(aufman). T(huma). Keller. (1885-1966), then President of Chrysler Corporation.

(Chrysler Photo - all rights reserved)
{Page 81}  "Lowering the 3O-cylinder Chrysler multibank engine into a Sherman tank."

I also stumbled across a profusely-illustrated article by Julian Edgar on the Autospeed site, summarized here:   rev (12 Sep 2018)

For ease of reference, let's assume that the fan was at the front and the distributors and flywheel at the rear, since that's how it was installed in an M4A3 and M<$A4 Sherman tank.

02 Feb 2017 - Add The Zvezda M503 was a maritime in-line 7 6-cylinder bank (42-cylinders total), liquid -cooled, diesel engine built in the 1970s by the Soviet Union. It had 7 overhead cam shafts per bank, and its primary use was in Soviet missile boats that each used three of these engines {after Wikipedia}.   added (12 Sep 2018)

It has been described as a radial engine but it is NOT; it is an in-line multi-bank engine with a bore of 160 millimetres (6.3 in) by a stroke of 170 millimetres (6.7 in), giving a displacement of 143.6 liters (8,760 cu in)!

This engine may have had other applications, but due to its extreme weight (5,400 kg (11,900 lb)), it would have been limited to ground or naval applications.

A German tractor pulling team designed a vehicle, named "Dragon Fire", around a methanol-fueled version of this engine, said to weigh 3,200 kg (7,100 lb) including the gearbox, for use in the 4.5ton tractor pulling class, making 8,000 hp (6,000 kW) at 2,500 rpm.

More to follow!

[Please have a look at the original Chrysler Page,
Chrysler Continuation Page 1, the
Chrysler Continuation Page 2 and the succeeding
Chrysler Continuation Page 3, et seq.
(the latter has the Walter P. Chrysler story).]


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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Please visit the main Automotive Page, et seq.

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