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I think I’m leaning towards the prototype camp still. I have just sent Paul Childs an email detailing all of the part numbers that I’ve found inside the engine. We’ll see if he can identify it from the photo’s, otherwise it may be that the person that built it used a combination of parts from established manufacturers to cut down the cost of developing a new engine.

All of the steel parts are now being gently stripped in the acid bath. The piston has flatly refused to budge from it’s safe little hideout in the barrel and so I’ve given it a bath in boiling oil for an hour this afternoon to try to free it off. It will have a soak in the cooling oil for 24 hours then I’ll have another go at it; if all else fails then I’ll put it under the press to see if it will move, but that will be a last resort and only if I know that I can get a replacement piston (just in case!).

Has anybody successfully managed to clean aluminium castings gently by soaking them, or is the only way to do it with a brass brush and lots of elbow grease?