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REO Runabout Engine Repair Questions

 REO engine ad

reo engine

reo engine
The REO 552A engine, as used on 1949-1950 REO Model WD-21 teel-type mowers. The Photos were shared by Donald Kinsey in the April 2005 issue of GEM.

Justin Keffer writes in to add his name to our GEM Experts list, along with a question about a REO Runabout reel mower engine he recently purchased. Justin writes:

“I own ‘Professor Piston’s Small Engine Repair’ and specialize in vintage small gasoline engines of the kind used in weed eaters, tillers, lawn mowers, etc. Specifically, Tecumseh, Tecumseh-Lauson, Lauson, Jacobsen, West Bend, Clinton, Ohlsson & Rice, Briggs & Stratton, Pincor and Homelite.

“I’ve recently purchased a 1953 REO Runabout reel mower engine, which I am attempting to repair. It is a 4-cycle, and is slightly slanted to the left when viewed from the blower housing side. It runs clockwise when viewed from the PTO side. I have been unable to figure out what colors I should paint it, what its points ignition timing is, the spark plug gap, etc. If anyone can help me with these problems I would greatly appreciate it. I also need a color copy of this engine’s original decal. The nameplate, identification tag and other decals are missing. The engine appears to be the same shade of faded green. I also need the carburetor settings.”

“The carburetor is a Carter. I’d like to keep it original and not swap it for a Tillotson. I also need to know where I can get points and a condenser so I can get this engine running. I plan to build a cart for this engine and make a new wood starter handle with new rope.”

Justin Keffer, 800 Pleasant Grove Road Limestone, TN 37681

According to an article by Donald Kinsey in the April 2005 issue of GEM, REO engines of the type you own were built from 1949 through 1958, with some 20 different models produced. Going by the year and application, your engine should be a Model 404-G, although the flat gas tank you show in the drawing you sent suggests it might be a Model 211-G. For 1953 the engine was rated at 1-3/4 hp, with a bore of 2 inches and a stroke of, we believe, 1-3/4 inches. We’re not certain of the stroke as the period flier we found is somewhat illegible. However, with a rated displacement of 5.5 cubic inches, that should be correct. The Carter carburetor is correct, although we can’t tell you which model it should be. The spark plug should be a Champion J11 gapped at 0.025 inch. The points are supposed to be gapped at 0.020 inch with the timing set at 22-1/2 degrees before top dead center at a rated speed of 1,500rpm. As for the color, it should be a dull green, as you note. Perhaps a reader can tell you exactly what paint to use and, we hope, provide further information on the engine. – GEM

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Help Herstmonceux Museum Identify a Generator Engine

generator engine 

We recently received a query from Terry Valeriano at the Herstmonceux Museum in Herstmonceux, East Sussex, England, about an engine that is believed to have been located there more than 100 years ago. Although the engine is long gone, for historical purposes the museum is eager to identify the maker. “We found this photo in a publication about The Eastbourne Aviation Co., where the same engineer – Charles de Roemer – installed the identical machine in Eastbourne to build planes for the Navy in 1911,” Terry writes. “We know the engine was mated to a Crompton DC generator providing 110/220 volts. The flywheel detail (holes in the rim) looks a bit like an Anson.” If anyone has any clues, please contact Terry at the museum, and let us know as well.

Terry Valeriano
Herstmonceux Museum

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Help Identify This Ice Cutting Machine

ice cutting machine 

I have enclosed an interesting photo of an early ice cutting machine. It has a 4-cylinder engine that powered the unit. I have never seen one like it. It does not have a valve cover on the engine.

David Kolzow
615 E. Union St.
Earlville, IL 60518

It appears to have a cross-flow cylinder head, which was somewhat uncommon in early multi-cylinder engines. Can any readers identify it?

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Who Made This Marine Engine?

marine engine

marine engine

marine engine

I would appreciate any suggestions readers may have about the possible manufacturer of this 2-cylinder, 2-cycle marine engine that I have loosely reassembled for purposes of identification. Family recollection has it that it was used to power a commuter launch in the early decades of the last century in one of the Kawartha Lakes to the north of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Thus, the date of manufacture could be any time from the late years of the 19th century to, say, the 1920s. Some years ago I rescued it from the bottom of the lake, where it was used as a boat mooring long after the original launch had been decommissioned.

The engine contained no maker’s plate or other identifying features. There was no evidence of original paint if, indeed, it had any – the assertive “Caterpillar” yellow is my doing. Almost everything else you see in the photos, except the piping and the timer, is original.

It may be that I need look no further than Peterborough for the manufacturer, since recent research shows that as of 1910 there were foundries and machine shops in this small town that either produced or carried a line of gas engines. Unfortunately, there were no photos in the ads that I have found to date.

Eric Jackson 

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Getting a Bessemer Gas Engine to Original Specs

Bessemer gas engine

Reader Bill Gingerich writes in about a Bessemer he recently bought. He didn’t send a photo, but did supply the following information from the engine’s tag, which reads: The Bessemer Gas Engine Co., Grove City, PA, Gaso Kero Type, No. A626 R.P.M.650 H.P.2. “I bought this engine in pails,” Bill writes, noting the fuel and cooling tank were missing. Specifically, Bill says he’s looking for information to help him get the engine back to original specs; whether that means making parts or buying them. He notes that he has a reprint book, but that it’s not clear. “I don’t have a computer or Internet, but you may leave a message; I will call.”

Bill Gingerich
24491 Cemetery Rd.
Spartansburg, PA 16434
(814) 654-7254

Bill’s Bessemer is a Gaso-Kero, a water-cooled, throttle-governed 2-stroke vertical of the type made by Bessemer Gas Engine Co. between 1913-1925. The image at right is from a Bessemer catalog. Gaso-Kero engines were available in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 hp sizes, and were known for being significantly lighter than their 4-stroke counterparts, making them, ostensibly, easier to move and set up for various farm chores. Although they appear to have had a fairly long production life, survivors are rare. If any readers have a Gaso-Kero Bessemer, we encourage you to send photos of your engine so we can share them.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Search for a Renfrew Engine Manual

Renfrew engine

A Stover Type Y showing Stover green.

I have just inherited a gas engine that has a tag from the Renfrew Machinery Co. It is 2 hp A with a speed of 500 rpm and a serial number of Y114917. This engine was running prior to it going in storage so it is complete. Is there someplace I can obtain a operating manual? I have NO idea how to run it. I would like to restore it to its original colors if possible because it is John Deere green right now. Any help would be greatly appreciated as I have failed to find any info.
Gordon Weller

As near as we know, Renfrew Machinery Co. of Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, never built its own engines, instead contracting engines from various manufacturers in the U.S. Known suppliers include Christensen Engineering Co., Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Sta-Rite Engine Co., La Crosse, Wisconsin; Hercules Gas Engine Co., Evansville, Indiana; and Stover Mfg. & Engine Co., Freeport, Illinois. Based on its horsepower and serial number, your engine is likely a 1919 Stover Type Y. Stover engines were indeed painted green, but a much darker shade than John Deere green. We don’t know what commercially available green is currently closest, perhaps a GEM reader can help Gordon with sourcing the correct color and an engine manual to help him get his engine running.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email

Seeking More Hummer Gas Engine Information

Hummer gas engine

Paul Luckman's Hummer gas engine follows conventional layout, with hit-and-miss governing, a spark plug and buzz coil, atmospheric intake valve and a single cast cylinder and water hopper. Photos by Paul Luckman.

I am hoping someone can come up with some information on Hummer engines. My engine is cast in one piece except for the wet head. The bottom of the main casting is open, similar to an Alamo. The engine appears well built. The engine is silver. “Hummer” appears in green stencils on both sides of the hopper. The serial number, 8283, is stamped in the head. It has a 3-7/8-inch bore and a 4-inch stroke. The crankshaft is 1-1/2 inches in diameter. I would guess it to be 1 hp. It has splash oiling for the crank end of the connecting rod with cast grease boxes for the crank lube. I would like to know who built it and when, as well as what its original color was.

Hummer gas engine

Hummer gas engine

Hummer gas engine

Contact Paul Luckman at 4006 Hall Center Rd., Walworth, NY 14568 or by phone at (315) 926-4455.

Hummer engines are something of a mystery. Hummer Manufacturing Co., Springfield, Illinois, was connected to Montgomery, Ward & Co. In 1916, Montgomery Ward purchased Racine-Sattley, which shortly thereafter was renamed the Hummer Plow Works, the Hummer being a popular plow made by Racine-Sattley. The company changed its name to Hummer Manufacturing Co. about 1931. Available information suggests Hummer didn’t start making engines until the mid-1930s, but those engines appear to have been air-cooled, not water-cooled. Wards marketed a 1-1/2 hp Sattley engine, and apparently sporadically marketed engines under the Hummer name. Yours is not the first to surface, although they appear to be quite rare. If you know more, please contact Paul and GEM.

Please send your questions and comments for Flywheel Forum to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265 or email