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Cox model engines are used to power small model airplanes , model cars and model boats. They were in production for more than 60 years between and The business is named for founder Leroy Roy M. He started L. Cox Manufacturing Co. Inc, which later became Cox Hobbies Inc. On February 7, , Estes Industries stopped producing Cox engines and sold all of their remaining inventory mainly spare parts, to several private buyers from Canada and the US.
One of the new owners of the remaining Cox engine and parts inventory has launched a website  with an online store. Millions of engines were produced.
Although the production of the engines ceased some years ago, engines made as far back as the s are still sold "as new" and are in abundance on eBay worldwide.
The Cox range of model engines were the brainchild of entrepreneur Leroy Roy M. The Cox. Once running it is disconnected and operates in the same manner as a diesel engine. Fuel intake to the engine is controlled by a simple needle valve and venturi system.
In a reed valve engine the valve is drawn open by suction as the piston moves upward on the compression stroke. As the piston moves down on the power stoke, the pressure in the crankcase causes the reed valve to close. One characteristic of a reed valve is that the engine will run in either direction; an advantage for a "pusher" model but a disadvantage if the engine is finger started, as it may start in the wrong direction.
The Cox engines employed a starting spring which kept fingers free of the propellor and generally ensured correct rotational direction. On rotary valve engines the process is similar except instead of a reed, a rotary valve is used incorporated in the crankshaft , which opens and closes as the piston moves up and down. The rotary valve is more efficient and adjustable at design time as there is a larger and clearer path to the crankcase than in the reed valve setup, but such engines can run in only one direction; pusher configurations require a special propeller, sometimes difficult to find.
The Cox line of reed valve engines designed prior to used a rear reed valve induction system. In the late s they played around with rear rotary valve induction as used in the RR1 before moving forward with front rotary valve induction for their Tee Dee and Medallion lines.
This engine was the first designed by Cox but included some major parts i. It employed a twin reed valve which was later used for the Space Bug. The engine was a major engineering achievement for its time, by incorporating reduction gears, fuel tank, flywheel and muffler all into one "Power Pak. When slightly more power was needed for the Thimble Drome Special car to obtain more speed, a slightly larger version of the.
The Space Bug was the first engine built entirely by Cox. Back then there was no market for Radio Control and Free Flight hadn't been considered by Cox at this time.
The piston and cylinder were made from mild steel bar stock and the crankcase and fuel tank were cast aluminum. The Thermal Hopper is basically a Space Bug without the fuel tank. It has a needle valve and venturi mounted on an aluminum plate instead. These were designed for free flight and could also be used for control line flying. It allowed the user to put a fuel tank of their choosing on. The engine output was recorded at 0. Basically the same engine as a Space Bug but included a two piece fuel tank which was cheaper to make than the original Space Bug tank.
The tank itself is turned aluminium while the tank back is red, yellow or blue plastic from the Space Bug Junior but is modified to include an aluminium pick-up tube and a larger hole to expose the venturi that is integral to the aluminium tank.
The later Babe Bee tank was simply a further developed version of this tank. Beware of fakes! The classic Babe Bee was the first engine Cox produced with an extruded machined anodized bar stock aluminum crankcase.
This crankcase was machine made and was much cheaper and faster to make than the cast aluminum crankcase of the earlier models.
This engine was also supplied in thousands of RTF Ready to Fly airplanes sold in department stores worldwide. It has an integrated 5cc fuel tank. Max output power was recorded around 0. Buoyed with excitement from the Babe Bee , Cox wanted to make a half size version of the Babe Bee. It was a Pee Wee. The Golden Bee is a Baby Bee that has a larger 8cc , stunt vented fuel tank and has been anodized gold.
The larger tank allowed the planes to fly longer while the stunt vents allowed the airplanes to fly inverted without fuel running out or the engine cutting out. The first versions of the Golden Bee had a single bypass intake port but later versions had two bypass ports making them slightly more powerful. QZ stands for Quiet Zone. It is a Babe Bee with a muffler, twin bypass port cylinder with no sub piston induction and a high compression glow head. An attempt to regain the power loss caused by the muffler.
Very similar to the later QRC engine which reportedly worked better. Cox also sold the muffler, cylinder and high comp. In the s noise became an issue and the Cox engineers discovered that when adding a muffler the engine would lose significant power. This problem was alleviated by installing a cylinder with no sub piston induction.
This engine was designed for small radio controlled model planes. It has a plastic clunk tank and an unusual cast crankcase. The Leisure Dynamics team thought that cast crankcases would be cheaper to produce, however they discovered that there were many manufacturing defects and they were difficult to machine, resulting in a high failure rate, so they returned to the tried and proven machined aluminum bar stock crankcase.
This engine was designed for the radio controlled model planes. It is basically a Baby Bee with a clunk tank and a muffler throttle. The engine has an additional fin on the larger glow plug which dissipates heat better allowing the engine to swing a larger propeller. This engine has a red 8cc fuel tank and a black crankcase.
Original engines did not come out with 5 fin glow plug. The 5 fin glow plug came later in the Catalog. The same engine as the Texaco above except that it has a smaller 5cc fuel tank which is also red. First appeared in Cox Catalog. The RR1 uses a rear rotary valve intake rather than a reed valve in an attempt to achieve more power. The engine came after the Babe Bee and looks very similar with its anodized, machined extruded aluminum crank case and fuel tank.
The power improvement was negligible so Cox reverted to the cheaper easier to build Babe Bee. A left and right hand rotary valve was made, as were left hand 6x2 glass filled nylon props for the RR Some versions have a blue tank, others have a clear anodized tank. There were two versions of the tank back as well, to fit the corresponding tank. The Space Hopper was Cox's first attempt at a beam mount high performance reed valve engine plus the first steps towards their greatest engine, the Tee Dee series.
The engine was basically like the Thermal Hopper was to a Space Bug. That is a Babe Bee without a tank, but a venturi and needle valve relying on an external fuel tank. The engine looks similar to the Sportsman engine with a machined aluminium crankcase and rear induction via a reed valve with the needle valve assembly and venturi similar in appearance to the later Tee Dee series.
This engine was short lived and made way for the Tee Dee in Due to their similarities to the Tee Dee that followed some of the parts crossed over from this engine to the Tee Dee. During the 70s a couple of Cox engineers were playing around with different coloured Babe Bee and Golden Bee parts and came up with an all-black engine with a red spinner.
They hopped it up a bit with a dual bypass cylinder from a Super Bee 1 , a black Golden Bee tank and a slightly larger 0. The Black Widow was born. These engines were marketed as a High Powered Combat Engine. On later Black Widows the red rubber spinner was replaced by a red anodized aluminum Tee Dee style spinner.
In the late s some Black Widows were produced with the a dual bypass slit exhaust cylinder. The slit exhaust was to prevent fires. The Killer Bee was an attempt at making a fast reed valve engine from information that had been learned over the years of racing and competition. It had a tapered cylinder with SPI and lighter piston similar to the Tee Dee, a stronger balanced crankshaft and a new reed valve shape.
They had a Yellow plastic needle valve. Later in Estes produced a Killer Bee that had none of these features but looked like the original Killer Bee except for the needle valve. Some unscrupulous people are producing fakes and selling them. Check to make sure the engine is the "real deal" before purchasing. The Killer Bee existed so that modellers could fly the same plane in two competition classes i. This engine has exactly the same performance as the There is a legend that two thin lines or grooves in the piston skirt are for positive identification but this is incorrect.
The Venom was Cox's last attempt at making a really fast mouse racing engine. Again taken from ideas learned from years of competition, this engine put all those ideas into an off the shelf product. It used the Killer Bee crank shaft loosely fitted into the crankcase, and a cylinder with porting very similar Tee Dee cylinder and tapered like the Tee Dee and with a lightened piston like the Tee Dee.
The rest of it was like a Black Widow. The problem was that the production engine was not the same as the prototype.
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