Continental Engine


Peter Brown

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During the past few months we have again heard of some horror stories involving vintage engines and tractors. By the time this issue is in your hands, some of us will be thinking about getting started again. Thus, we again direct your attention to the use of extreme care.

We think it is important to remember that when these old engines and tractors made their appearance, safety was not always a big priority. Some engines did not have so much as a crank guard, and others were taken off ages ago. These old engines and tractors were not built as toys, and were not intended as such! Of course, we're not trying to scare anyone away from our wonderful hobby, but we're certainly trying to get everyone to exercise due caution. A few don'ts:

DON'T ever put your face or body in front of an engine opening. For example, if there is trouble with the igniter or plug, stay away from the opening when turning the engine over. Remember you are forcing the explosive mixture out of the hole. Believe us, it can explode outside the cylinder! A friend of ours was seriously burned on the face and chest in just this way!

DON'T allow gasoline to leak or drip from your engine, especially if it has any chance of igniting. Fix the leak or solve the carburetion problem.

DON'T have a grease rag or wiper, loose shirt sleeves, or the spout of an oil can anywhere near the moving parts. If the timing gear catches the spout of the oil can, it will have your hand drawn into the mechanism before you can let go!

DON'T leave your engine unattended. Some engines are designed so that if there is a governor failure the engine will shut down automatically. Most are not so designed, and your favorite engine could end up sending shrapnel over a wide area.

DON'T set up without a fire extinguisher. Maybe it won't be your engine, but that of your neighbor. Having an extinguisher handy could mean the difference between a minor cleanup or the complete loss of the engine.

DON'T try to lift or move an engine in any unsafe manner. Take the time to do it right. Much better to spend a little extra time than to spend the next few weeks with a backache (or worse).

DON'T forget that this old equipment was built to work, not to play. Now that we've decided to preserve some of our mechanical past, let's get some enjoyment from it as well. Ye olde Reflector can tell you that it takes the edge right off the enjoyment when you have your hand all garfed up from some stupid stunt. About 20 years ago we were helping to crank an R&V Triumph engine. They have a crank handle in the flywheel, but since we're afraid of these, we decided to crank it by the flywheel rim. What we failed to notice was that there is almost no clearance between the inside of the rim and the push rod bracket pin. Running two fingers past this pin tore both of them up pretty bad, in addition to ripping off one fingernail instantaneously. It took several weeks to get everything healed up, and we have the scars to prove it. Now this sounds pretty gruesome, but then it is intended to be... The moral of the story is to keep your hands out of places where they shouldn't be!

DON'T use a crank in an unsafe manner. Fold your thumb inside the palm of your hand when cranking. If the engine kicks, at least you won't tear your thumb off at its roots. Try to stand back a little so that if there is a kick or backfire, the crank won't come around backwards and break your arm, your wrist, or both. And never, never, ever try to start an engine or tractor by spinning it. Always pull up on the crank, and never try to start by pushing down. Be sure that when the engine starts, the crank doesn't fly out of your hand and stay on the crankshaft. When it finally does fly off, there's no telling where it will go.

DON'T criticize ye olde Reflector in the next issue by telling us to quit harping about safety. Some of us who should know better (including yours truly), don't. Many of our readers have taken up our hobby in recent years, and perhaps no one has ever told them of the potential dangers. We think they should have this information.

Some of our recent mail indicates that there are a great many American-built engines lurking about in Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and on the European Continent. Curiously, a number of these are very rare engines here in the U.S. How they made it thousands of miles across the sea is unknown, since some of these engines were built in limited numbers, and by companies that did little advertising. Perhaps it is time that we devote more attention to some of these rare birds.

Within the next few weeks ye olde Reflector will be completing a history of J. I. Case Company. After that, it will be a few months before the editor, publisher, and printer all do their part. Meanwhile, we'll begin compiling our vest pocket guide of engine and tractor information. Thus far, we have come up with no additional serial number listings or paint colors beyond those previously published. However, the paint color list keeps growing, and should provide a reasonably good guide. If anyone has additional information, kindly send it over to this column.

Several people have contacted us regarding additional books on sawmills. Some time back we compiled a little book called The Circular Sawmill. However, there is virtually nothing that we know of regarding the history of sawmills. If anyone knows of other books in this regard, please let us know so that we can pass the information on to others.

During the next few months we'll be getting further details on the Great Fuller & Johnson Engine Reunion scheduled for 1992. Mr. Verne W. Kindschi at Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin is spearheading this expo. We understand this will be a one-shot deal, and it sounds like a special event that we can look forward to.

Several months ago a group in. Australia attempted to put together a tour of some shows and other attractions. For several reasons, the tour was postponed. Due to the present hostilities, it appears that the tour will again be postponed.

Our first question this month is:

26/4/1 Richards & Steinfeld Engine Q. I have located an engine built by Richards & Steinfeld in New York, New York. It is about 1? horsepower. I'm in the military, and spotted the engine in a little shop in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The owner of the store wouldn't sell it, though. She had it and a few other old items that all were from a coffee grinding outfit. I'm interested in getting any information on it. Michael Trotter, 4715 Delores Dr. NE, Olympia, WA98506.

A. We've never heard of this one. Without a photo we can't give you a lot of information, but it could be a very old one. On the other hand, it could be a later engine endowed with the nameplate of the above firm. Send a photo of it, should you get down that way again.

26/4/2 Stover Engine Q. I have a Stover 4 HP Type T engine. It has a lever on the cylinder head. The lever is spring controlled, and moves slightly when the rocker arm touches it. Can you explain the purpose of this lever? Shoop Hopkins, RR 1, Box 267, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805.

A. The lever is a fuel-saver lock. It is intended to drop in place against the intake valve to keep it from floating on the idle strokes of the engine. Actually, quite a few engines used this device, although the form of the mechanism varies greatly. Since the automatic intake valve has a very light spring, the movement of the piston on the idle strokes can cause the intake valve to flutter slightly. This wastes fuel, as well as depositing a substantial amount in the mixer bowl, or as overflow that can be a potential fire hazard.

26/4/3 Unknown Engine Q. My name is Sam Mende, and I am twelve years old. I'm restoring a single cylinder two cycle engine that belonged to my great-grandfather. The Wico magneto is FG A, and the engine serial number is 013203. Someone gave me your address and said that you might be able to help me with information and/or parts for this engine. It uses a Champion C-7 spark plug. Can you help me to complete my first restoration project? Sam Mende, 71 Pine Hill Road, Hummelstown, PA 17036.

A. Perhaps some of our readers can tell from the serial number what kind of engine we are talking about. Is there anyone who would contact Sam and help a new collector get started?

26/4/4 C.O.D. Tractor Royce Granlund, Box 88, Milnor, ND 58060 would like to hear from anyone having any information on the C.O.D. tractors. He has one, and needs more information.

26/4/5 Continental Engine Q. I'm 15 years old, with no gas engine background. I purchased a Continental engine, Model 406, s/n 376,906. Could anyone help me find the year, horsepower, color scheme, or other helpful information? See Photo 26/4/5. Peter Brown, 1058 S. Meridian Rd., Mason, MI 48854.

A. Can anyone help Mr. Brown on this engine?

26/4/6 Montgomery Ward Engine Q. I have an engine purchased from Montgomery Ward, Engine No. 15859, 1? XK. It differs from the Sattley engines described in American Gas Engines. It has a throttling governor style and has insert bearings in the connecting rod. Any information will be appreciated. Wayne D. Rowell, PO Box 6, Wilmington, VT 05363.

24/4/7 Unidentified Engine Q. I am restoring an old engine with the nameplate reading, 1? HP E, s/n 25337. There is no other name on it. Any information would be appreciated. Also what is the age of a Fairbanks-Morse 1? HP 'Z', Style D engine? Michel E. Buquoi, 353 E. Airport Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70806.

A. Your engine was built somewhere between 1914 and 1923 by Hercules Engine Works, Evansville, Indiana. Having no photo of it, we would guess that it could have been sold by Sears & Roebuck or perhaps by Jaeger.

24/4/8 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an engine I cannot identify. It is on a homemade stand and measures 16? inches high, with a cylinder bore of about 2 inches. The crankshaft and connecting rod assembly are shown in Photo 8-A. The outside pulley is gear driven by a gear on the back of the flywheel. The pulley has a single groove in it. It appears to have two connecting rods, both running on roller bearings. There is no apparent oiling method for these bearings. One con rod seems to be jointed and offset from the other.

At the top of the cylinder is a cone. Around this cone is what appears to be a burner, which will move up and down on the cylinder. Attached to the burner is a regulator and fitting. Judging by the missing screws, some of this engine is not original, or is missing. There are no numbers or markings of any kind. Any help will be appreciated. Paul A. Stratton, 3576 Falling Spring Road, Chambersburg, PA 17201.

26/4/9 Ideal Engine Q. See the photos of an Ideal 2 HP engine. The shroud and serial plate are missing. I need to know approximately when this engine was built, also the proper color. Any information from Ideal owners would be greatly appreciated. Jack Wynings, 1130 Manitou Rd., Hilton, NY 14468.

26/4/10 Ideal Engine Q. I'm restoring a ? horsepower Ideal engine. It is identical to the one on page 32 of the November 1990 GEM. According to the paint listing in a recent GEM, it is Martin Senour #817 Mercury Outboard Green. After talking directly to Martin Senour and also directly to the Mercury Outboard Motor Company, I find this paint is not available anymore. So, can anyone advise the proper color to use? Also I have a ? horsepower Duro engine, but have no idea as to its proper color scheme. Ivan Williams, 3521 Paris Ave., SE, Paris, OH 44669.

A. We're not sure either, since we have no Martin Senour listings, new or old. Perhaps there is a matching number available from Sherwin-Williams, DuPont, Ditzler, or some other company. Any input will be appreciated.