The ignition system and fuel tank


Roger Harrell

Content Tools

24/8/29 FBM engine

Q. I have recently found a Fairbanks-Morse 6 HP 'Z' engine like that shown on page 9 of the reprinted Catalog 80-V of Fairbanks-Morse Company. In order to restore this engine I need to know the dimensions of the piston and rod, and also need to find an instruction manual for same. How can I tell whether it had coil or magneto ignition? R.N. Holden, 2844 E. 12th Ave., Apache Jct., AZ 85219.

A. Your engine is not at all uncommon, so we would suggest that used parts might be available at an engine show, swap meet, or from a GEM advertiser. A 'want ad' might get you everything you need. Likewise, due to the popularity of these engines, several advertisers carry reprint manuals for this engine. All of this series used magneto ignition, and depending on how it is configured, it may have used an American-Bosch oscillating high tension magneto or the Fairbanks-Morse Type R rotary style.

24/8/30 Ideal Type V engine

Q. Does anyone have an engine like the Ideal shown in the photos? Mine is missing the fuel tank, and I would like to hear from anyone with a complete engine who could send me the proper dimensions for the tank, etc. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

Mike Dalpe, PO Box 4, Glen Gardner, NJ 08826.

24/8/31 10-20 Trac Tractor

From the two enclosed photos you will see that this is a 10-20 Trac Tractor which I hope to restore soon. The serial number plate is missing, but the engine number is TT688. The main frame casting date is 10-26-25. Of the five I know of here in New Zealand, mine is probably the oldest. 1 would like to know about decals for this tractor, and would appreciate any information on it as well. Mine is a Model 20, as compared to the 10-20.

Roger Harrell, 12 Newall Ave., Nelson, New Zealand.

A. If any of our readers can be of assistance to Mr. Harrell from faraway New Zealand, we urge you to contact him. We are sure he will be delighted. We here at GEM are most happy to serve as a clearinghouse and exchange of information to collectors worldwide.

24/8/32 Ottawa Drag Saws

Q. I am restoring an Ottawa drag saw, and have some questions regarding the mixer and fuel system. The mixer has a brass body about 11/2 inches in diameter and about 31/2 inches long. It screws into the cylinder head and appears to have been connected with 1/4 inch pipe fittings. Since the mixer is lower than the tank, it appears to me that the fuel will run out the carburetor if I open the throttle needle valve. There are not other parts in the carburetor as I found it. The parts list refers to a part called ''Needle valve with Fly' and I'm wondering if this part is missing from my engine. Any information will be appreciated.

Bob Learned, 1754 Curtner Ave., San Jose, CA 95124.

A. Without researching this particular carburetor, we suspect it might be of the Lunkenheimer mixer style. If so, a small poppet valve drops onto a seat, and in this seat is drilled a small hole which communicates with the fuel line. The valve is held shut by a light spring, and on the intake stroke the valve is pulled open, permitting fuel to escape into the intake air stream. Perhaps some Ottawa owners might be able to provide specific information in this regard. Ye olde Reflector has never worked on an Ottawa engine.

24/8/33 Yard Hand Tractor

Q. See the photo of a little tractor called the Yard Hand which I recently acquired. Any information on this tractor will be greatly appreciated.

Bernard Marvel, RR 1, Box 44, Browning, IL 62624.

24/8/34 What is it?

Hank Moore, 1025 Henry Moore Lane, Redding, CA 96003 sends along this photo of an unidentified engine. If you have the answer, let us know.


23/6/1 Unknown engine

Mr. Vawter's engine is an Armstrong, as pictured on page 17 of the May 1985 GEM. Joe Prindle III, RR 1, Box 239, Grand Marsh, WI 53936.

Calibrating Voltmeters

Some months ago a gentleman inquired about a standard to calibrate voltmeters. A laboratory uses a standard cell, but that would be impractical for the layman. I now believe I have an answer, and if the gentleman would contact me, I will give him the information. George Kadorf Sr., W9FSA, RD 3, Box 251, Lewistown, PA 17044.

24/5/32 Tractor Conversion

Trac Ford made an adaptor for the Model T, also a Staude Mak-a-Tractor was available. There was a Pul-ford and numerous conversions for cars other than the Ford, although it was the most popular. Numerous readers sent letters to us in this regard.

Midwest Utilitor

Several readers sent information on these tractors, and we thank all of you. In particular, we wish to thank Mr. Richard Durig, 1364 Eileen Drive, Xenia, OH 45385 for sending a large package of photocopy material and historical data on this company. Mr. Durig plans to have an in-depth article on Centaur Tractor Co. ready for publication in GEM in the near future.

24/6/27B Unknown engine

This is a Witte Model B engine. The serial number is stamped into the end of the crankshaft on the governor side of the engine. Concerning a serial number listing for Maytag, there was a list of these published in GEM three or four years ago. Richard D. Hamp, 1772 Conrad Avenue, San Jose, CA 95124.

24/5/39 Unknown engine

It is my opinion that this is a Fairbanks-Morse as used in the Sheffield 44-B Rail Motor Car of 1930 vintage. Charles Garrett Jr., 2660 Delaware Drive, Florissant, MO 63033.



This photo shows a small hot air engine using a beer can for a displacer cylinder, along with used parts of a shock absorber and oil filter. Two candles furnish enough heat for it to operate.


This is a photo of a ? 4 inch bore and 1 inch stroke hit-and-miss engine running a 2-volt generator. It is a 'Li'l Brother' engine using the Paul Breisch castings.


Here is grandson Bret Stach on a Colt garden tractor, balancing it on a balancing ramp. The tractor has a 9 HP Kohler engine with hydrostatic drive.

These three photos submitted by C.W. Stach, 1818 Harrison St., Hutchinson, KS 67502.


Carl Vogt sends this photo of a Fuller & Johnson Model NB model perched atop a copy of Encyclopedia of American Gas Engines. Only the flywheels are cast; the rest of the engine is fabricated from brass. The ignition system and fuel tank are in the engine base. The sole function of the magneto is to support the points and the spark plug wire. Carl Vogt, 4210 Dempsey Road, Madison, WI53716.


George G. Scott, Box 272, Outlook, MT 59252 sends this photo of his scale model IHC Mogul side shaft engine. Some time ago, George gave us the dimensions of the engine, but these are not at hand as we go to press. More importantly though, this looks to be a fine model.


It's always enjoyable assembling this column, but we must confess that on a beautiful, sunny summer day, the attraction to be outside working on an engine is almost as strong as the magnets on a K-W magneto!

During the upcoming shows, we hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable time, and we urge in the strongest terms that exhibitors and show directors alike, display their very best courtesy and common sense. Over the past quarter century the gas engine and tractor hobby has developed to the point that occasionally even the major news media, usually caught up in a flurry of world affairs, takes time to notice that there are thousands of us out here, all trying to preserve a piece of our past. The fellowship and cooperation of the gas engine and tractor fraternity is, we believe, one of the most unique aspects of our hobby. Using this perspective we can use our hobby as a learning experience, a time to make new acquaintances, and an opportunity to renew old friendships.

The purpose of the Reflections column is to provide a forum for the exchange of all useful information among subscribers to GEM. Inquiries or responses should be addressed to: REFLECTIONS, Gas Engine Magazine, P.O. Box 328, Lancaster, PA 17603.