A Brief Word

Unidentified Engine


Roger Suhr

Content Tools

With this issue we close out 32 years of GEM! It doesn't seem that long ago that the late Elmer Ritzman came out with the first issue of Gas Engine Magazine. At the time it was a thin little thing, but it concentrated on gas engines and tractors, and was the first such magazine to do so exclusively. Things have changed a lot since then; we well remember that in those days one could buy a real nice sideshaft engine of say, 6 or 8 horsepower, for $200 or less, even though at the time that seemed like quite a lot of money. About that time ye olde Reflector bought a very nice 9 HP Galloway engine for $32 on an auction, and worried all the way home of having paid too much!!!

Per the last issue of GEM, see our ad for the 1998 Germany-Austria-Holland tour. We've already gotten quite a few reservations, and as noted previously, we're taking a maximum of two coaches, or about 80 people. For those who were on our 1995 European tour, the 1998 tour will have few similarities. We'll fly into Zurich and make our way to the Rhine Falls area, namely the little town of Sthlingen where we'll be guests of Roland Porten and his wonderful engine and tractor collection. On the latter part of the tour we may be visiting Wim van Schayik's wonderful tractor and engine museum at Langen-boom in the Netherlands. Aside from these two stops the 1998 tour will be entirely different. We're already at work building some surprise stops into the itinerary, and in many ways, we think this is the best tour we've ever organized. The HMT, at the final leg of the tour, is Europe's premiere engine and tractor show, and will close out our journeys on a high note. If you're so inclined, kindly contact us at the address shown in our advertisement from the last issue of GEM.

We're pleased to tell you that our new book, Encyclopedia of American Farm Implements, is now on the market. Due to delays at the printer it did not arrive in early September as hoped, and when it did, a technical problem with bar coding on the back of the book necessitated the printing and affixing of a new bar code label for each and every book. This further slowed the process, but in the last few days of September our first shipment arrived.

Advance orders for our new implement book have vindicated our contention that collecting and restoring farm implements will be our next collecting wave. Farm tractors are pretty well bought up by collectors at this point, as are most of the gas engines. In many instances engines and tractors have become pretty pricey, leaving many enthusiasts in the cold. As yet, most implements have not become terribly expensive to buy and restore. Many seasoned collectors are now looking for implements to match their tractor, or small belt-powered machines to go with their engines.

Public thanks is long overdue to Richard Sabol, 1 Piscataqua Road, Dover, NH 03820. His advertisements have appeared in GEM. Mr. Sabol is an illustrator, and many of his beautiful drawings have appeared on t-shirts and other items. Some time ago, Mr. Sabol favored us with some of his pencil drawings depicting various farm scenes . . . they now occupy a place of prominence on the walls of our office!

Many thanks to the thousands of folks who stopped by our booth at the recent Midwest Old Threshers Reunion! It's always a pleasure to meet everyone, and hopefully, we can respond to everyone who leaves a question with us.

However, you folks have the advantage because there's just one of me and thousands of you. If we forget your question or lose any of those notes we have written, it's not that we don't care . . . the ol' cranium is already stuffed full of bits and pieces ... we sometimes wonder if hardening of the arteries doen't lead to hardening of the brain cells! Sometimes we can't remember something long enough to get it done!

Our first query this month comes from:

32/12/1 Lister Engine M. D. Wasemiller, 30 W. Hilton, Redlands, CA 92373 has a Lister ball hopper engine, similar to that shown on page 285 of American Gas Engines. He needs restoration information, especially concerning the fuel and lubrication systems. He would appreciate any information.

32/12/2 Superior Mills Thanks! To Al Diamond, 9345 Lemon Ave., LaMesa, CA 91941 for sending along some 1912 advertising concerning the Superior Mfg. & Mill Co., Springfield, Ohio. The letterhead shows their vertical gasoline engines of the time, but does not indicate the sizes that were available. In the next few months we plan to add some computerized scanning equipment and will be able to digitize the letterhead and include it within our column.

32/12/3 Taylor Vacuum Engine Q. I recently purchased a 2 HP Taylor Vacuum Engine in very good condition. Can anyone tell me anything more about it than is shown in the book American Gas Engines? Also, I have a 10 HP Lauson engine for which I would like more information, including when it was built. Finally , are there any plans for a revision of the book, American Gas Engines? Mac Macomber, 410 Plain Hill Road, Norwich, CT 06368.

A. If anyone can be of help on the two engines above, kindly do so. Regarding our gas engine book, we've considered several alternatives, and indeed, we would like to do something additional, something different, or perhaps a revised edition. However, due to several considerations, among them being the technical and legal aspects, we've had to shelve the idea for the time. Perhaps in a year or two we'll be able to provide our readers with an entirely new book on gas engines.  

32/12/4 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an unidentified engine. It has John Deere decah, but I don't believe it is a John Deere. The engine is water cooled and has a Tillotson carburetor with a patent date of 1928. It uses a Bosch high intensity spark system. All parts are cast iron. Any information would be appreciated. Roger Suhr, 321 Mears St., Chadron, NE 69337.

32/12/5 Trench & Marine Pump Co. Ted C. Rayner at Chesapeake Shipbuilding Corp., 710 Fitzwater St., Salisbury, MD 21801 writes that he has a pump from Trench &. Marine Pump Co. of New York City. It is Type SD, 2 HP, Size 3, and Shop # 3156. Any information would be appreciated.

32/12/6 Hines Traktor Q. Can anyone provide any information on a Hines Traktor with a 16 HP Kohler engine.' These tractors also used a Lornbardie diesel. These two engines were likewise used in the Tuff-Bill line of tractors made by Tri Traktor Co., Cumming, Georgia. Both tractors were similar to the Allis-Chalmers Model G tractor. Michael D.Morrell, 17290 NE 28 St., Williston, FL 32696.

32/12/7 Information Needed Q. Can anyone provide further information on the following: Alpha DeLava! upright, Model VW, s/n 73287; need year and horsepower.

IHC 1 HP Type M kerosene engine, s/n 53398; need year and paint color.

Woolery Model P, 5 HP railcar engine, s/n 3123; need year and owners manual. Also, would the gentleman from Louisville, Kentucky, who sent me pictures of Woolery engines for sale please send his name and address or phone number? Thanks. David Krueger, Rt 1, Box 35, Black Duck, MN 56630.

A. The IHC engine was made in 1920; the color is Adirondack Green, DuPont 84155.

32/12/8 Information Needed Q. I have an JHC vertical Nonpareil/Famous 2 HP, s/nKGl233; what is the year built? Also looking for some parts for this engine.

I also have a Root & Vandervoort vertical 6 HP, s/n S5038, and would like to know the year, correct color, and location of an instruction manual. What is the year built of a Waterloo Boy 2 HP engine, sin 72688? Richard Hunt, 10870 Mooney Rd., Elk Grove, CA 95624-9354.

A. The Nonpareil is of 1913 and is different in some respects from the Famous of that period. We have DuPont 5316 Green listed for the R & V. We have no numbers for Waterloo Boy and/or John Deere engines prior to 1923.

32/12/9 Alamo-Moline Connection? Q. What is the connection between the Alamo Blue Line engines and the Moline from Moline Plow Co.? Some of the parts look to be interchangeable. Art England, 204 -216th SW, Bothell, WA 98021.

A. Alamo built the Blue Line engines, and also built the Moline engines, as sold by Moline Plow Co. In addition, virtually the same engine was sold by Rock Island Plow Co. as the Rock Island engine. The Blue Line is blue, similar to DuPont 24160 or 67060; the Rock Island is brown, similar to 24590 DuPont, and the Moline is maroon, similar to DuPont 143. No s/n information is available.

32/12/10 Unusual Steam Engine Q. See the photos of an unusual two cylinder opposed steam engine. It has no numbers, and uses brass rotary valves. Any information would be appreciated. William Rees, RR I, Box 24, Franklin, IL 62638-9512.

32/12/11 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photo of an engine having a 4 x 6 inch bore and stroke, with 22-inch flywheels. It also has traces of red or tan paint with black and white striping. Any information on this engine would be appreciated. Edgar & Kristie Powell, 114 Elm St., Dyer, TN 38330.

32/12/12 Mead Crawler Q. Can anyone supply information on a small Mead crawler loader, powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine of 7 or 8 horsepower? It has real final drives, real steel pads and tracks, and real hydraulics. We believe it was built in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Any information would be appreciated. Michael D. Branigan, Box 244. Tuscan Road, Worcester, NY 12147.

32/12/13 John Deere G Rich Howard, Hysham, MT 59038 sends along a photo of his John Deere G. It has the block bored out 90 thousandths, new pistons, rebuilt head, along with transmission and final drives.

32/12/14 Novo Engine Q. I have a Novo engine, 4 HP, s/n 91923, and would like further information on it, as I want to pull a small corn mill with it. Dwight Robinson, 103 Lemuel Lane, Easky, SC 29642.

A. Your engine began life on July 10, 1925, and was shipped to Ransome Concrete Mixer Co., Dunellen, New Jersey. Some years ago we reprinted an operators manual for these engines but currently they are out of print.

32/12/15 Delco-Remy Starters Q. I am looking for information on the 12 volt Delco-Remy starter/generator that was used on the Cub Cadet line (and others) in the 1960s; specifically, I'm looking for troubleshooting, parts, diagrams, sources, etc. on these units. Les Hutchison, 73 Decorah Dr., St. Louis, MO 63146.

32/12/16 Superior and Witte Q. I recently acquired a couple of oil field pump jack engines and would like to know the proper color, when built, and other information on them:

Superior Gas Engine Co., Springfield, Ohio 5 HP, s/n 5004

Witte Engine Works, Kansas City, Missouri 6 HP, 98475K

P. Brown, 134 Wexford, Belleville, Ml 48111.

A. The Witte was made in 1952, but we have no information on the Superior.

32/12/17 IHC LA Engine Q. I have an IHC LA engine, s/n LA7608. It does not have a speed control, and I understand it was made in 1935. What is the correct color scheme? Dal Don-ner, 5208 Firewood Drive, Arlington, TX 76016.

A. We've always assumed that when IHC changed over from gray to red in 1936 that the color for the LA engines changed likewise at that time, but we've never been completely sure about this. Can anyone verify this?

32/12/18 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of an unidentified engine. I have been told that it was built by Hercules, also chat it is a Rock Island . . . no serial numbers are visible. Any opinions appreciated. Rich Howard, Hysham, MT 59038.

A. Per our Notebook, refer to the Webster magneto bracket number for an identification. Alamo will likely be 303K18A, while Hercules might be 303K30.

32/12/19 Unidentified Engine Q. See the photos of an unidentified engine. It has the serial number of DR57840, and uses a 5 3/8 x 9 inch bore and stroke. The flywheels are 3 inches wide and 34 inches in diameter. The engine uses a 2 1/8 inch crank. Any information would be appreciated. John Kilichowski, 5490 - 155 Ave. NE, Ardoch, ND 58212-9682.

32/12/20 Magnet Chargers Harold L. Mathieu, RR 2, Box 279, Chassell, MI 49916 would like information on the magnet chargers as made by H. L. Makelim Co., San Francisco, CA, Model No. M.S/N 296.

32/12/21 Buffalo Engine Q. See the photo of a Buffalo engine we are restoring, It is a Type RA4, s/n 169, four cylinder, 4 x 5 7/8 inch bore and stroke, 118 HP @1170 rpm. Any information on this engine that would aid in its restoration would be greatly appreciated. Duane E. Caldwell, Owensville Threshers Association, 512 W. Madison, Owensville, MO 65066.

32/12/22 Huber Crossmotor Q. We have a Huber cross-motor tractor, #2161, and have been told it is a 1918 model. The engine is a Waukesha with a non-detachable head; also the original carburetor is missing. What is the correct one for this tractor? Steve Davis, 654 US Hwy 20, West Winfield, NY 13491.

A. You are correct that it is a 1918. model, but we do not know the type of carburetor that was used. Can anyone help?

32/12/23 Information Needed Q. Can anyone tell me anything about a Lennox Kitty Trak with a mower deck and snow blower?

Also I collect Bolens tractors and attachments. I currently have a 1050 and a 610 (1055). What attachments are available? Service and parts information is also needed for the 610 as it has no working brakes, which makes it very scary to drive. Paul Curtis, 4409 N 128 Ct., Omaha, ME 68164-1976.

32/12/24 R & V Info Needed Q. I have a Root & Vandervoort 4 HP hopper cooled sideshaft engine, but need the layout of the fuel lines and dimensions of the coil and battery box. Any information would be appreciated. Kevin A. Behnke, 3325 N. 65th St., Wausau, WI 54403. 

32/12/25 Unidentified Engine Q. See the two photos of an unidentified engine. There is no nameplate or serial numbers. It gets gas and has a good spark, but will not fire, so I need some information on the engine. James R. Bishop, 17050 -200th St E., Hastings, MN 55033-8701.

A. It sounds simplistic, but the rule is: If there's compression and fuel and fire all at the right time, it HAS to fire. Perhaps the magneto is weak, and under compression there isn't enough fire to jump the gap. Perhaps the plug is too short or is otherwise defective. Sometimes however, the solution is not easy, because despite all our efforts we can't get an engine to run. Usually though when we find the problem, the solution is one that always stays in our memory. From a distance, it's impossible to diagnose your problem, but by keeping the three basic requirements of fuel, compression, and fire in mind, it then becomes a matter of eliminating the possibilities to find the problem.

A Closing Word

Recently we ran into a friend in the construction business. After a brief visit, he informed us that the maintenance man had quit, and that he would sure like ye olde Reflector to come and work for them on machine maintenance and various other duties. After looking things over, we were somewhat intrigued by the idea, and now spend many of our days repairing and servicing various kinds of construction machinery. It's very enjoyable, especially since the tasks at hand are always different. It's also a nice diversion that keeps us out on the cutting edge of what's happening in the construction business.

An example is just on the point of lubricants. After a lot of study and consultation with manufacturers, oil companies and the like, we've been able to standardize our lubricants, oil, grease, etc. and have established definite standards for oil and filter changes, etc. The point is, that we've learned a lot about lubricants in general, and how they have been improved over the years. For instance, it hasn't been that many years ago that No. 3 or No. 4 cup grease was the accepted standard. Now there are EP (extreme pressure) greases that do a much better job of keeping parts lubricated, despite heavier bearing loads. It simply reiterates what we've been saying for years, namely that we have no problem at all in using these high grade lubricants in vintage engines and machinery. We firmly believe that anything that will do a better job is what we should use, so for ye olde Reflector, the No. 4 cup grease of the past has acquired obsolete status ... we're going to use the best lubricants we can find.

In closing . . . there's perhaps yet a chance . . . have you drained your engines and tractors or would you rather go out next spring and find some pieces of cast iron on the ground that once belonged to the water jacket?