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Readers' Engine Questions

Two-cycle Ellis gasoline engine

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39/1/1: Ellis Gasoline Engine Q: I purchased a 3 HP vertical two-cycle Ellis gasoline engine, serial no. 1109. Does anyone know the year of manufacture for this engine? I don't know much about the engine since this is the first one I've come in contact with. I'd like any operator's manuals or maintenance instructions for it. Also, what kind of fuel does it use? Does the fuel have to be mixed with two-cycle oil? Also, what type of oil should I put in the oiler that pumps to the engine cylinder? Any help would be appreciated. Arvin C. Ellis, P.O. Box 1304, Oil City, PA 16301; (814) 676-2031.

A: There's very little information available on the engines made by Ellis Engine Co., Detroit, Mich. According to C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, Ellis engines came on the market about 1910. Wendel suggests 1915 as the company's last year, but it may have been active until 1916. In addition to running clockwise or counter-clockwise, the 3 HP engine was rated as a 1 -3 HP, its output dependent on one of three throttle settings. Surviving engines are few, but with any luck an Ellis owner will contact you - and us - with helpful information on these unique engines.

39/1/2: Two-cylinder Fire Pump Q: I recently acquired a two-cylinder, 12 HP diesel engine with an attached water pump. It came off a Great Lakes freighter, which was being scrapped in my hometown of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. The unit was used as a fire pump on board the ship.

I went on the Internet to find the year of manufacture and found that there is no information about this particular model, only listings for newer units. The engine is a Petter, made in England. It has a tag that reads: Sigmund Pumps Ltd., Gateshead, England Type: PENEK GL4A, Serial No. 828308. Another tag on the engine reads: Main Guys Ltd., Montreal, Canada.

The modern engines I researched on the Internet are listed as Lister-Petter. I would appreciate any information about this unit. Ron Baer, R.R. 1, Port Colborne, ONT, Canada L3K 5V3; (905) 835-1951;

A: Your engine is an air-cooled Petter AVA manufactured by J.B. Petter & Sons, Yeovil, Somerset, England. The AVA was introduced in 1950 and stayed in production until at least 1961. These were available in single-and two-cylinder configurations. Petter and rival R.A. Lister Co. Ltd., Dursley, Gloucestershire, England, merged in 1985, and the Petter factory closed the following year.

39/1/3: Domestic Engine I recently acquired a Domestic gasoline engine from a friend. I offered the former owner $50 sight unseen, and he took me up on it. At the time I didn't know the make of the engine, but I soon discovered it was a Domestic side shaft engine. It has a 4-inch bore and stroke with a side-mounted pump. The identification tag is missing.

I would like to save this engine, but I don't have any information on it. If anyone with information about Domestics could help me out, I would greatly appreciate it. I enjoy GEM very much. Ronald Williams, 916 Sington Road, Morrisdale, PA 16858.

39/1/3A and B: Domestic side shaft with direct-connected water pump. Judging by the engine base this is a 1-1/2 or 2 HP Type A built by Domestic Engine & Pump Co., Shippensburg, Pa.

39/1/4: Unidentified Engine: I need help identifying this engine. On the brass tag it shows: JK4967U, RPM 775, 1-1/2-2 HP JK. Other identifying features include: a water jacket indented to allow for the Wico magneto (missing in photo); magneto bolts through the water reservoir; it is a kerosene engine, and the carburetor is mounted in an unusual manner; the fuel tank filler can be installed on either side of the engine; it has a splash oil system like a John Deere (no drip oiler); and most casting numbers begin with GE45 and 10-5-30 (which I assume is a casting date).

Any help greatly appreciated. Bob Hitchcock, P.O. Box 1543, Overton, NV 89040;

Flywheel Forum is a place for readers to ask questions and share information on their equipment. If you have a question about your engine or tractor, please send it along to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265;

Rusty Hopper's Modeler's Corner

This column came about after sitting down over a few cups of coffee and talking models with GEM editor Richard Backus. I wondered who looks at models and why, and it seems Richard and I have different views of what is a model or just a working toy.

Richard thinks a model is something copying a production item, but I think a model is any running item, and it can be made out of anything. An air compressor can, with a little work, make a beautiful engine. And an old discarded or broken engine can, with patience and ingenuity, be turned into a nice side shaft engine. If you look into many of the fine casting kits available today, you will find many of these are not patterned off of an existing engine.

It's fun to go to a model show and see what someone with only an idea and time on their hands can build. I have seen milling machines in model form that look better than the full-size machines they were patterned after, along with washing machines and other items that make you feel small in the field of model building.

I have also seen freelance models of engines and such that look like they should never run but do, and very well. And yes, the model engines, trains, boats, and tractors that are patterned off of full-sized units are nice.

This issue launches this column, and as long as Richard will have me do this, I will try and look into all the different aspects of model making, and I hope you will let me know your thoughts on what this column should do. I may be old, but this dog still enjoys learning new tricks. These tips will be for your thoughts only and your fuel lines may vary. - Rusty Hopper

Have a tip you think other model makers should know? Send it to Rusty Hopper care of Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265, or e-mail: