Readers' Engine Questions


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A Brief Word

In the February issue there were numerous comments about repairing flywheels. Without going into the engineering details of stresses, forces and other technicalities, let it be said that ye olde Reflector is adamantly opposed to repairing flywheels. Our attitude is, 'If it's busted, don't use it.' While there are some people who likely can repair a flywheel in a satisfactory and safe way, there are many others who think they can. Why take the risk? Cast iron has a way of turning to shrapnel. We just don't think it is worth the risk.

In the same connection, there were numerous comments about shrink fits. Now in the case of a cracked hub (say around the keyway), an iron band shrunk over the hub is a good idea. However, don't take our word for it, talk with a professional engineer if one is available to you, or at the least consult a text like Machinery's Handbook before calculating the shrink you desire.

Some of the figures we saw in the February article will give too much shrink, and others will not give enough. Again, if you don't know what you are doing, go to someone who knows, and preferably not to some windbag who has all the answers to everything. We're sure you folks tire of us incessantly talking about safety, but that's the only way we can prevent a tragedy.

Remember, too, that the tragedy can happen in your own back yard, perhaps with your grandkids. Accidents don't just happen at engine shows or county fairs. Nowadays, in our sue-happy world, if it can be proved that you knew there was a problem ahead of time and did nothing about it, that's called negligence. If that is proved against you, somebody else is gonna own what you now call yours. Please be careful!

The March issue arrived while we were typing this copy in early February. We note the article about magnet chargers. We heartily agree that the more amp-turns the better job you will do of recharging a magnet. The matter of permeability is also important.

However, we have always charged a magnet by putting it over the poles, and after energizing the coils we tap the magnet lightly with a piece of brass (or a brass hammer). This helps rearrange the molecules within the magnet.

In a plain spark coil (as used in ignition), rapid decay of the magnetic field is essential. In a magnet charger it is desirable as well, but not nearly so important. One time we had a couple good-sized chunks of that laminated steel that is used in transformers etc. This stuff is dead soft, and won't retain magnetism for any length of time at all. We never got a chance to use it in building a charger because someone (we don't even remember who) talked us out of it for the same purpose.

When charging magnets, the top pole pieces need to be perfectly smooth and not covered with rust and crud. The same holds true for the bottom of the magnet poles. Take a few minutes to clean these surfaces first. The better metallic contact at these two points, the better will be the magnetic circuit when you have the charger turned on. On my magnet charger, I ground the pole faces on the surface grinder. You can also use a nice, true, smoothing stone to do the same thing.

In the last issue we were particularly impressed with the article by Jerry Toews on the Pioneer, as well as Keith Kinney's article on the Clarke Gas Engine Co. We're truly impressed with the fine articles that have been appearing in the last few months!

This month we have quite a few inquiries, and we begin with:

37/4/1: Nelson Bros. Jumbo 'See the photo of an engine I got last spring. My engine is a 2-1/2 - 3 HP model, s/n C3462. I would like to correspond with someone having one of these engines with igniter ignition rather than spark plug.' [These engines were made at Saginaw, Michigan. J John M. Edgerton, 27 Loon Lake Rd., Bigfork, MT 59911.

37/4/2: Unidentified Engine 'See the photos of an unidentified engine. It has a six-spoke flywheel. One of the pieces lying near the engine has the part number of BN-80. The color looks to be a blue-green. Any help would be appreciated.' Danny Shields, 479 Wonderful Lane, Owingsville, KY 40360.

37/4/3: Nordberg Diesel 'See the photos of my 15 HP Nordberg diesel. It is Model 4FS1-AH, s/n 1AH256. The engine has a 4 x 5--inch bore and stroke. I am restoring the engine, and would like to find any information pertaining to it, especially in determining its age, etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.' Dennis G. Anderson, 2592 Saunders Rd., Vinton, VA 24179-6311

37/4/4: Economy Engine Q: I would like to find some information on my 5 HP Economy engine, s/n 19897. I would like to know when it was made, the correct color scheme, etc. Any information would be very helpful. Wayne K. Vos, 12948 3rd Ave., Victorville, CA 92392.

A: We suggest you contact Glenn Karch who writes the Hercules Engine News article each month in GEM. His articles also include his home address as well as his e-mail address.

37/4/5: Stover Parts Q: I have a Stover engine, 3 HP, s/n W67665. It is missing the magneto, fuel pump and piping. Can anyone point me to a source for the needed parts? My engine was built for Brackett, Shaw & Lunt at Somersworth, N.H. Robert A. Farrenkopf, 33 Thomas Rd., South Weymouth, MA 02190.

A: If anyone can provide some sketches and/or photographs, we are sure that Mr. Farrenkopf would be most appreciative. Stover built a lot of engines for BS&L. This company was a large jobbing house, and provided Stover with a major distributor in the New England states.

37/4/6:Cletrac Model 35 Q: I am restoring a Cletrac Model 35, s/n 2406. I think it was built in 1934 or 1935, but I would like to find out for sure when it was made. I also would like to find the original color for the Cletrac. Marvin Crom, 190530 Carter Canyon Rd., Gering, NE 69341.

A: All we have ever found is the total production period for the Cletracs, so we can't help you there. We have the following paint numbers listed: DuPont 017D Orange, plus Martin-Senour 3728 and Ditzler 60583 as crossover numbers.

37/4/7:Wizard Riding Mowers 'I have a Wizard 11 HP riding mower that needs the drive belt and the mower deck belt. An owner's manual (or copy) would also be of help. This mower was made about 1985, has a 38-inch deck and is Model GLS 115 A48. It is s/n 407 LA 622. Who built this machine for Western Auto, and is there still a parts source? Any help would be appreciated.' David Mozol, 213 Mozol Lane, Oden, AR 71961.

37/4/8:Ottawa Buzz Master 'I would like to find more information on an Ottawa Buzz Master (brush cutter) with a posthole digger attachment. [This was a combination buzz saw and a brush cutter with dangerous possibilities.] I also would like to find information on a Novo centrifugal pump outfit-it looks like a Novo LF two-cylinder engine. A final question: What is the correct batch mix and slump for a concrete block-making machine?' Ray W. Rodgers, 4535 Rodgers, Nashville, IN 47448.

37/4/9: Lufkin Engines Thanks to Ronald Parks, 1405 Nabors Lane, Odessa, TX 79761 for sending along some photocopies regarding the Lufkin-Cooper-Bessemer engines. This query appeared in 37/2/3.

37/4/10: Jumbo Engines Alistair G. Forteath, 54 Main St., New Elgin, Morayshire, IV30 6BH Scotland is looking for information on a 1 HP Jumbo, Model T, s/n 10174. It was sold in England by Detroit Engine Co., Market Place, Brentford, Middlesex. If you can supply him with any photos or other information on this engine, please write to him. He is especially in need of information on the carburetor and a few other missing parts.

37/4/11:Associated? Rich Howard, Sarpy Rd., Hysham, MT 59038 sends along some photos of what he thinks is either an Associated or a United engine. It has a 3-7/8 x 5-inch bore and stroke. The flywheels have a part number of A82. If you can be of help to Rich, please contact him at the above address.

37/4/12: Information Needed Q: See photo 37/4/12A of a single-cylinder diesel built by American Marc. Any information on this engine would be greatly appreciated. Photo 12B shows a brush saw with a Wisconsin engine and Jeep wheels. It is equipped with a 28-inch saw blade. I would like to find information on this unit. I also would like to know the year built on a Witte 2 HP, s/n B26328. Vernon Achord Jr., 14218 3rd St., Santa Fe, TX 77517.

A: The American Marc is of World War II vintage. It wasn't marketed more than a few years. The Witte was built in 1925.

37/4/13: Fairbanks Company Q: The article in the June 2001 GEM, stirred my interest. I have a very similar engine but mine reads 'The Fairbanks Company.' However, this engine is also very much like the Blakeslee on page 59 of American Gas Engines. Did Blakeslee build this engine? Or possibly Bates & Edmonds? Was there a connection between them? Further information would be much appreciated. Gordon Hawk, P.O. Box 156, Geneseo, NY 14454-0156

A: Fairbanks Company at New York City sold numerous makes of engines over the years. The company was not connected with Fairbanks, Morse & Co., but apparently some of the Fairbanks family was involved in the firm. It is entirely possible that Blakeslee built this particular engine for Fairbanks Company. This writer has a catalog of the firm, and while most of the items are 'Fairbanks' the majority are identifiably built by someone else. At least so far as engines go, this writer is convinced that Fairbanks Company never built any, but instead, they contracted with Blakeslee or whomever. When the contract was up, they usually moved on to another brand, probably looking at the price they could get for a block lot of engines.

A similar situation can be found with the so-called Waterloo-built engines. There were a dozen or more different gas engines that all have that Waterloo Boy appearance. Indeed they were built at Waterloo, Iowa, by the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co., but had nameplates of some other firm that was essentially a marketing organization, or as in the case of Fairbanks Company, was essentially a jobbing house. We suspect Gordon's engine is indeed a Blakeslee, and as such is indeed a rare bird.

37/4/14: Ottawa Log Saw 'I am contemplating the restoration of an Ottawa log saw, 5 HP, s/n TE29801. It is missing the magneto, but otherwise appears to be complete. I would like to find further information on this unit, including the correct magneto. [It uses the familiar Wico EK]. Any help would be appreciated.' Arthur Dwight, 201 Butte View Dr., Bolingbrook, IL 60490-1538.

37/4/15:Montgomery Ward Hammermill Q: I have a Model No. WB9A M-W hammermill, and would like to run it with a gas engine. What speed should it run? How many horsepower will I need? The mill is a 7- or 8-inch size. Jim Zimmerman, 3128 Mitchell Line St., Orchard, IA 50460.

A: A 7-inch mill would require 12 to 20 horsepower for real production. For demonstration purposes though, you could run the mill slower, say at 1,200 to 1,500 rpm and probably get by with a 6 HP or 8 HP engine. Originally, the mill likely operated at 2,500 to 2,900 rpm. We'd suggest a throttle-governed engine because of the high speed you are using. If the mill is going to run at 1,500 rpm, and has a 4-inch pulley, then if the engine is running 400 rpm you will have to use a 15-inch drive pulley on the engine.

37/4/16:Early Vertical Famous Chuck Balyeat, 1 East San Patricio Ave., Mathis, TX 78368, is looking for information concerning an early vertical IHC 3 HP Famous he is trying to date. Chuck writes:

'After some difficulty, I was able to determine the number on this engine was LA167. Being a low number, that led me to wonder how many of the real early 3 HP's were still in around, and if a GEM reader might have one.

'I find it curious that the LAI67 identification plate has a low number and raised letters, FAMOUS name, and no water pump. I also hear there is more than one IHC number list, so some might be a matter of contention as per date.'

Contact Chuck at the address above or call him at (361) 547-9103, or e-mail:

37/4/17: Thanks! ... to Howard Fischer, 107 Cedar Ridge Dr., N201, West Bend, WI 53095 for sending along some information on the elusive Sumter magnetos. It is greatly appreciated.

37/4/18: Thanks! ... to Harvey D. Cain, 70621 M-62S, Edwardsburg, MI 49112. Sometime back Harvey sent us one of those gib key pullers he has been advertising in GEM for several years. It is a welcome addition to the toolbox. This tool is great for pulling gib keys, provided of course that some rocket scientist didn't drive the key in with a post maul, making it virtually impossible to remove. We've actually seen engines where some knucklehead drove the key in so tight as to actually split the flywheel hub! In these cases, the gib key is usually minus the head anyway from attempts to pull it. At that point, arm yourself with some long drills and prepare yourself for a long job of removing metal a bit at a time!

A Closing Word

Thanks to all who sent inquiries this month. You have posed some very interesting questions. If you can be of help to anyone, we encourage you to do so. Perhaps next summer you will have a question for which you'd like an answer. Likewise, if people respond to your query, please do the honor of sending back your thanks!

We have things pretty well in place for our tour to Germany in July. The spaces are pretty well taken, and we look forward to the tour.

We are also quite intrigued by the possibility of saving at least some of those big Cooper-Bessemer engines down in Kansas. We'll allow that removing one of these is a big job and takes some serious equipment. On the other hand, there won't be another crop of these engines, and once they are gone, they're gone forever. We hope to hear more of this effort, and hope that all goes well. The important thing is to rescue the engines, AND the foundation drawings. Without the erection drawings, life is gonna be pretty tough when it comes time to remount them.

That's all for this time - we hope to see you here next month.

C.H. Wendel is a noted authority on antique engines and tractors. His books constitute a vital reference resource for collectors and hobbyists. If you have a query for C.H. Wendel, send it along to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.