A Brief Word

Farmall BN


Keith Horsman

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We don't have a large amount of correspondence this month, so this is our opportunity to include some related items that will hopefully be of interest.

Thousands of old engines are equipped with the Wico EK magneto. Technically, it's called a 'reciprocating inductor' magneto, since the armature opens both legs of the magnetic circuit, while the coils and magnets remain stationary. Various kinds of mechanical devices are used to operate the EK; all use a combination of pushrods and springs to provide a quick opening of the armature. The faster the break, the better the spark. Gummy or rusted parts materially retard the breaking action, and this results in poor sparking, and poor running of the engine.

The movable electrode on the Wico EK should open when the armature has moved 3/32 to ? inch from the magnet poles. This adjustment will give the hottest spark. Unless discharged accidentally, the magnets seldom need to be recharged. If this is required, it is not necessary to disassemble the magneto. All that is required is to take off the outer jacket, block the armature away from the magnet poles, and put it on the charger. Of course when recharging, unlike poles are placed adjacent to each other. There is nothing at all to be gained from reversing the polarity of the magnets. A cheap compass is all that's needed to determine the polarity of the magnets.

Wico EK magnetos seem to be prone to several ailments. One is that the original coils have a way of shorting out. Fortunately, replacement coils are available. The same holds true for condensers. The Wico EK uses one right hand and one left hand coil, so it's important to put them in their proper place. The points can also be troublesome, but this is usually caused by corrosion or possibly, oil on the points. Even the natural oil on your fingertips can cause problems. Oftentimes, a decent ohmmeter will show some resistance between the points, but there should be none; the meter should peg out to zero! An ohmmeter is one way of checking when the points open while adjusting the armature gap mentioned above.

Due to normal wear, the peg on the bottom of the Wico EK frame becomes worn, as does the matching hole in the armature. When this happens, the armature will not break both poles simultaneously; in other words, one breaks before the other. Under these circumstances, it's virtually impossible to get a good spark, or at least the best spark available from the EK. We recently proposed the idea of making a lathe fixture whereby the frame could be attached for the purpose of truing up the armature stud. The armature can then be bored out and bushed to fit the modified stud. Several readers have written to tell us that they have done exactly that, so chances are that someone can take care of this problem if you lack the machine shop to do it yourself.

Careful (and sometimes tedious) adjustment of the actuating springs is a necessity for certain trip mechanisms. Although several standard configurations are shown in the old catalog listings, it appears that the engine manufacturer usually built this part of the package. No doubt about it, some designs worked better than others.

Ye olde Reflector plans to be at the Brooks, Oregon show in late July, and the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion over the Labor Day Weekend. We're also going to the Ageless Iron Expo the July 4 weekend, but it will be history by the time you read this issue; we're assembling this copy in early June!

Several people have asked for more information on how to pour new babbitt bearings. Although we have no problem at all in sharing the information, we have some serious concerns about someone reading (or half-reading) the information, getting burned or otherwise injured, and then blaming us for their misfortunes. To give an example, several years ago the following situation occurred:

Some fellow bought an old F-20 Far-mall; it had a homemade buzz saw mounted on the front end. This fellow was sawing wood thusly, and the belt ran off, just as flat belts are prone to do. Well, instead of stopping the pulley and putting the belt on, he attempted to run the belt back on with the pulley in motion. It went on alright, along with his arm. Along with getting battered up a bit, it injured his shoulder . . . dislocated it, broke it, or whatever. Anyway, this fellow was in the process of filing a suit against International Harvester Company. It seems that someone found a picture in our book, 150 Years of International Harvester that illustrated a front-mounted buzz saw, and the presumption was that this was a factory outfit, even though the accompanying caption stated that it wasn't. So, ye olde Reflector was about to be called in as an expert witness, having authored this particular book. The whole deal must have been dismissed or otherwise settled, as we never heard any more of it. The moral of the story is that we don't want to get embroiled in any such goings on, but given the untoward propensity for people to file lawsuits nowadays, it sure does give cause to pause. However, if some of you would like to learn more about pouring babbitt bearings, we'll do our best, albeit with numerous warnings, disclaimers, and notices that you're on your own!

We begin our queries this month with:

30/8/1 Engine Prices Q. I have owned the following engines for over 25 years, and have never been able to get a value on them. I was hoping someone might advise:

Emerson-Brantingham 'Geiser' 6 HP, factory carriage, screen cooled, missing igniter, good condition.

IHC Mogul 15 HP, factory carriage, screen cooled, missing ignitor, good condition.

Waterloo Boy, factory carriage, running condition.

John Dudley, Hood, VA 22723.

A. We don't follow prices very closely, but suggest you scan the advertising pages of GEM for similar items, or inquire at some of the engine shows, or from other collectors.

30/8/2 Case Eagle Bank Q. See the photo of a Case cast iron bank that I recently found in a second-hand store. The owner said it was in the contents of a bam full of junk he bought. Can anyone supply any information on these banks? Richard McMunn, RR I, Box 1370, Villa Ridge, IL 62996.

30/8/3 Perfect Circle Lyle Bunnell, 12828 Marshall St., Crown Point, IN 46307 writes that Perfect Circle Division, manufacturer of piston rings has now passed the century mark. The company started out in 1895 as the Railway Cycle Mfg. Co. at Hagerstown, Indiana, and in 1900 became the Light Inspection Car Co. In 1907 Charles Teetor developed a new type of cast piston ring; two years earlier, he had built his first automobile.

During 1914 the Teetor-Hartley Motor Company was organized to build automobiles, and four years later the piston ring operation was sold off to form the Indiana Piston Ring Company. In 1921 the Perfect Circle trade name was adopted, and in 1926 the company took the name of Perfect Circle Company. The company merged with Dana Corporation in the 1960s.

30/8/3 Pattin Bros. Engine Q. I have restored a 20 HP two-cycle Pattin Bros. engine, and 1 would like to find out more about the engine, as well as the company. Any information would be appreciated. Myles Lamm, Rt 1, Box 175, Ellenboro, WV 26346.

30/8/4 Farmall BN Q. See the photo of my Farmall BN, recently restored. I have no idea how rare this model might be, as they were numbered right in with the Model A and Model B tractors. Any information on this tractor would be appreciated. Keith Horsman, 22593-420th Street, Havelock, IA 50546-7518.

30/8/5 Some IHC Questions Q. Who developed the IHC four-cylinder engines? Was this engine created from different engines? Also, were the red, the blue, and the green diamond motors once engineered by Diamond Reo? Were the 304, 345, and 392 truck engines designed by Diamond Reo at one time? I noticed with my 345 engine that it gets very hot. Is this because of so much nickel alloy in the motor? I was talking to a motor mechanic and he told me that these engines were designed with the same principle as the Caterpillar motors. Is this also because of the nickel alloy? Any information would be appreciated. Russell T. Carpenter, Box 279, Blue Factory Rd., Cropseyville, NY 12052.

30/8/6 Avery 5-10 Q. I have a 5-10 Avery and was hoping someone might be of help. I'm trying to pinpoint the year it was made; the s/n is 6259. My tractor has two steer wheels with the seat between the engine and the rear wheels. It has the round fuel tank. The rear wheels are about 6 inches wide with an extension of 6 inches. What color or colors did Avery use? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Fred Tomlin, 80 Fairground Rd., Elma, WA 98541.

30/8/7 Thanks! from Dick Brown, 175 Sonnet Ln., Gilbertsville, KY 42044. He writes: Thanks to everyone for all the pictures, reprint literature, pictures, and letters regarding 30/3/9 Unidentified Engine. We were pretty sure it was a Phelps, but now we know for sure. This is what makes the OLD IRON hobby so neat. Many thanks again to all.

30/8/8 Cushman Engine Q. See the photo of a Cushman 8 HP engine I found in Texas. I need information on the size of the cooling tank which 1 have to make; also any helpful hints in getting it restored. Joe Masberg, 15795 Hwy 15, Kimball, MN 55353.

A. Although we once owned one of these, and in fact, made the cooling tank, we don't have the dimensions. Hopefully, one of our readers can send you this information.

30/8/9 Witte Engines Q. When were the following Witte engines built?

2 HP, s/n 56104, 3 HP, s/n 77076, Dick Glover, PO Box 1530, Gard-nerville, NV 89410.

A.  They were built in 1921 and 1928 respectively.

30/8/10 Witte Engines Q. I have a Witte 3?  HP engine, Model B,  s/n 41703. The nameplate appears to have been stamped '3' and then had the 1? added. Any information will be appreciated. Ron Thompson, PO Box 96, Panacea, FL 32346.

A. Your engine was built in 1919. Most of the engine manufacturers raised their ratings on given engines at some time or other. Sometimes this involved just re-stamping the nameplate, for others it was raising the speed a few revs and then re-rating it, and in still other cases, the bore was increased perhaps an eighth or a quarter, and presto! It was a bigger engine. Curiously though, your engine is listed in the records as a 3 HP model, but it may have acquired the additional horsepower while sitting in a warehouse, waiting for shipment.

30/8/11 Go-cart Engines Q. While watching a go-cart race I saw the driver reach to the carb and make adjustments on-the-go. What causes this problem? How much maintenance should someone do to a go-cart engine to get reasonable performance out of the engine for the season? Lawrence Allen, 740 State St., Ottawa, IL61350.

A. We're not at all familiar with these engines; can someone be of help?

30/8/12 Old Compressor Q. See the two photos of an old compressor. The previous owner told me he personally knew it to be in use as early as 1920. It has an open crank with a bronze connecting rod. It was apparently made by the Brunner (sp?) Co., Utica, New York. It looks to me like it was not made to pressurize a tank, but had an air hose directly off the compressor, as there is an adjustable pressure release valve in the head. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Also, I recently acquired a two cycle engine. It resembles a Maytag in some respects, but the name tag identifies it as being made by Jacobsen Mfg. Co., Racine, Wisconsin. Another restorer told me he thought that Jacobsen was bought out by one of the Johnson companies in the 1930s. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Brian C. Ferrence, Box 78, Summit Station, PA 17979.

Readers Write

30/6/35 Red Paint Inside the Crankcase

Bob Lytle, 1679 Broken Rock Dr., Cottonwood, AZ 86326 writes:

In regard to this query, the main reason for painting the inside of an engine is to make the engine oil drain back more quickly. This is achieved by painting the entire inside of the engine with General Electric Glyptal paint. This is a very thick red paint normally used by electric motor shops and sold by large industrial paint supply houses.

The paint is thick enough to fill the pores in the cast iron and produce a very smooth surface. It dries immediately and will never flake off if applied to a clean oil-free surface. It's good for battery boxes, too.

30/4/9 Wico EK Magnetos Regarding this query, I have been replacing EK magneto pins and bushings for about 15 years. A lathe and mill, or milling attachment are needed. John S. Palmer, J &. E Engines, 1019 Audrey Ave., Campbell, CA 95008-6402

We think it would be terrific if Mr. Palmer would put together an article on this method of repair. (Ed.)

Model makers Corner

Reg Ingold, 37 Seaham St., Homes-ville 2286, Australia, sends three photos of various model making efforts. He writes: What you see is the result of 4 years of pure enjoyment (along with a lot of other restoration work on full-size engines). The disease has a good hold on me! They are, front to rear (MM-3): Economy, Atkinson, freelance, Gray, New Holland, Olds, Woodpecker, Domestic, and Galloway. I found all, bar one, castings and plans, very good. Thanks to all the people who put so much effort into the production of these casting sets. I also have a few hot air models, plus more coming.

A Closing Word

Thanks especially to the folks at Du-Pont, we're developing a sizable new listing of paint color numbers, and we'll be trying to match up others with the help of their Spectra Master book. It's a big binder with a virtual rainbow of color, and enables one to come up with a very close match to the original. It should be borne in mind however, that the nitrocellulose paints in particular, were very hard to match, even from one can to another. In fact, the paint companies recommended that with say, two 1-gallon cans, that the contents of both be mixed together so as to not cause a noticeable difference from one can to another. With this in mind, paint colors did (and do) vary, even from one can to another.

Whether nitrocellulose enamel, such as Dulux, or an epoxy material, such as Imron, use protective equipment with these materials! This includes a good mask with the proper cartridges. Those simple little face masks are no good whatever. They might filter out the actual paint particles, but they don't protect your lungs, and for that matter, the rest of your body, from dangerous isocyanates and other nasty things. Spray painting can be great fun, but please do it safely so that you don't lose your health, even temporarily, and can't enjoy your completed projects.