Having observed our hobby for the past twenty five years, we have learned that collecting and restoring habits repeat themselves on an annual basis. Once again it is our observation that the show season must surely be past, and that our readers are once again in the repair and regroup process. We know this by the amount of mail we receive-this month's offering is especially large! Obviously there must be a large backlog of engines and tractors out there which will be restored this winter, and be ready for next year's show season. The barns, cribs, groves, and junk-piles have been pretty well cleaned out here in eastern Iowa, but we are confident that a substantial number of old engines still remain-they're just harder to find!
Sometime ago the Reflector suggested that someone knowledgeable about engine and tractor painting come forth with ways and means of getting the beautiful finish which makes a restoration really stand a notch above the others. So far we haven't heard much, but perhaps during the winter months, we'll get some input. So far as the Reflector is concerned, we've learned a few things by osmosis-watching others do the job. We believe that sandblasting is probably the best way overall to remove unwanted rust and debris. Prior to sandblasting though, it is necessary to remove grease and oil, especially that which has become stiff and hard. Sandblasting won't cut this stuff. Immediately after sandblasting a good primer coat is required, since castings will rust just from the humidity if left alone. The Reflector then goes to work sanding and grinding the worst areas of the castings, filling in the defects, and sanding some more. After numerous sessions of sanding, grinding, and retouching the bare metal areas with primer, the entire engine should be smooth, or at least as smooth as you would like it to be. The important thing is this-when you finally decide to put on the paint, every blemish you can see beforehand will be there afterward, and subsequent coats of paint will make these blemishes seem even larger.
During the past couple of years the Reflector has gone over to using DuPont Centari or a similar acrylic enamel. Make no mistake, acrylic enamels are expensive. In addition to the enamel you will need acrylic lacquer thinner for cleanup, acrylic enamel reducer to thin the material, acrylic enamel hardener, and other supplies. If you wish to put one or two clear coats over the finish, a special hardener is required, and this stuff is very expensive. It's not at all difficult to spend $100 to $150 on painting a 6 horsepower engine. Thus, we tend to use acrylics on those really nice engines, and use somewhat cheaper materials on the 'common' engines.
Our methods are probably incorrect much of the time, so we too could benefit immensely from some input by those familiar with the job. One thing we always do, no matter what, and that is to use a suitable respirator, especially when working with acrylic materials!
We have a huge number of letters this month, so here goes the first one:
22/1/1 Q.Gilbert Merry, RR1, Box 154, Lowden, WA 99360 writes: In perusing American Gasoline Engines you say as of publishing date the Palmer & Rey gas engine has not surfaced, but here is a picture of one that I have captured. The Hoyt governor patent covers the intake valve, and not the exhaust valve as you state in your book. The governor acts on the intake valve, controlling the amount it can open to regulate the engine speed. See photo 22/1/1.
A. Congratulations to Mr. Merry on acquiring a Hercules engine by Palmer & Rey! In American Gasoline Engines, page 377, our reference to this company was predicated only on information gleaned from the Patent Office Gazette. We hardly dreamed that one of these fine engines would appear!
22/1/2Jerry Willis, RR 1, Box 409, Simmersport, LA 71369 sends along some information on the Co-op E-3 tractors: In the late 1940's or early 1950's there were several Co-op E-3 tractors in Northern Wisconsin. Also at that time the Gamble's Stores sold the same tractor as the Farmcrest. This tractor was green colored, and I think they came from the same factory. I remember the neighbors had a new E-3 with a Buda engine.
22/1/3Q.Walter A. Taubeneck, 4213-80th St NE, Marysville, WA 98270 sends a photocopy of the Favorite engine offered by F. B. Fargo & Co. of St. Paul. This company had an extensive line of creamery goods. The Favorite was offered in sizes from 3 to 30 horsepower in 1900.
A. Although Walter's photocopy wouldn't reproduce for the magazine, we can tell you that the engine is actually a Lewis sideshaft model built by J. Thompson & Sons, Beloit, Wisconsin. It is identical to the engine shown in the upper left corner, page 511 of American Gas Engines.
22/1/4 Q. What is the proper paint color and striping for a Rock Island engine? Walt Nieland, RR 2, Carroll, IA 51401.
A. DuPont Dulux 93-24590 brown is a close match. Our color illustrations don't indicate any striping, but that may not always have been the case. For your information, the 1? HP model sold for $53 in 1921.
22/1/5 Q. What is the proper shade of gray enamel for a 1929 Caterpillar Fifteen tractor? Were the decals red? Also on page 7 of the October 1986 GEM are the trucks under the Abenaque 5 HP built for an engine, or were they built for some thing else? Bill G. Slack, RR 1, Box 163, Brady, NE 69123.
A. We do not currently have the proper shade of Caterpillar gray in our files, but we do recall that the decorations are in red. We can't answer anything on the Abenaque question.
22/1/6 Q. I have an air-cooled Aermotor engine with the following markings: Z162 on main bearing support; Z161 on left bearing support; 81Z on large camshaft gear; Z2 on flywheel, etc. From this information can anyone tell me the approximate age and horsepower? The engine is coil and ignitor fired with serial number CNCSC. A close guess on the original color would be appreciated. Glenn Bur roughs, 317 Hunting Lane, Goode, VA 24556.
A. The Reflector can't tell you much about the age of this engine, and it appears from previous articles in this column that there were different colors used at various times as well, but light green seems to surface most commonly.
22/1/7 Q.Jesse Livingston, RR2, Box 118, Troy, TN 38260 sends a photo of what is believed to be a Sears battery charger, possibly made by General Electric, but not known for sure,. Painted dark green, plywood base is about 12 x 16 inches, and appears original. Starter button on the backside, as well as an automotive spark coil. Can anyone positively identify this engine? What is the purpose of the small coil next to the filler cap? Does anyone have an instruction manual for this engine?
A. We can't be positive regarding the manufacturer of this engine, so perhaps one of our readers might have some literature that matches up. Are you certain the 'wire loop' next to the tank filler cap isn't a very small tube that serves as a fuel tank vent?
22/1/8 Q. I have a 20-35 'E' Allis-Chalmers, s/n 7254. According to the fenders it should be a 1925 model, but the motor has only two valve covers (the early ones had four covers). Also the wheels have large hubs instead of the small ones like on the first tractors. My questions: is this a modified version or is it a production model? Also, did all 20-35 tractors have 'Allis-Chalmers' printed on the radiator? Andrew L. Michels, 302 Highland Ave., Plentywood, MT 59254.
A. Your s/n 7254 is definitely a 1925 model. A-C production records are a bit hazy on the point, continuing to call this model 18-30 until 1930, even though the company raised the rating to 20-35 in early 1922. This was merely a change in numbers that resulted from Nebraska Test No. 83. (See Nebraska Tractor Tests Since 1920.) The original 18-30 used four individual valve covers, each having a sight feed oiler; this was changed prior to 1925 so that only two valve covers were used, even though the cylinder head was virtually identical throughout the entire production period. We are not sure of when the wheel hubs were modified, so decline a comment on this point. However, we would suggest that your 20-35 is indeed a production model. After checking with some A-C enthusiasts we have learned that at least three different top tank configurations were used, and not all of these had the name cast into the iron.
22/1/9 Q. Enclosed are two photos of a J. L. Weald steam power unit as manufactured at Vallejo, California. The color is bluish-green with yellow lettering. Not much is known about this steam engine or its maker, a John Loring Heald (a distant relative). Evidently he had a foundry in the San Francisco area and built various items. I once heard that he built a gold dredger which was to be barged to the Yukon but sank just outside the Golden Gate. I would appreciate any information you can provide on this engine. John 'jack' Heald, Fordson Tractor Club, 250 Robinson Road, Cave junction, OR 97523.
22/1/10 Q.Ervill Goolsby, RR 7, Box 207, Anderson, SC 29621 sends a photo of his Walsh garden tractor and would appreciate hearing from other owners, or some one with information on it.
22/1/11 Q. I have a New Idea No. 2 Vari-Speed engine. Although I already have gotten a lot of information on it, I still need the year built (s/n 1589) and the proper shade of green. Bernard Richter, 242 Liberty Blvd., Machesney Park, IL 61111.
A. We don't know of a serial number list for the New Idea engine, although it is possible that Avco New Idea might have some information. Our understanding is that this engine was painted in the typical New Idea Green available at most paint stores.
22/1/12 Q. Can anyone provide detailed information on the carburetor, hot tube ignition, and proper color for the VanDuzen walking beam gas engine pictured below? Copies of original advertising information would be very helpful, and we would like to correspond with anyone having such an engine or knowing of one. IL-MO Gas Engine Club, Jim Phillips, 20 Oak Park Drive, St. Peters, MO 63376.
A. Page 526 of American Gas Engines lists a number of the VanDuzen engine patents, and possibly these might be of help in the proper restoration of the engine. Some of the early patent drawings were highly detailed.
22/1/13 Q. I have a C4U Cushman vertical engine. It uses a radiator rather than the cooling tank. Do you have an estimate of its age, and what is the proper color scheme! It looks as if it was green and yellow, but what shade? Was there any pinstriping? Are any instruction books available? Vince Mikulanis, 11863 Serena Road, Lakeside, CA 92040.
A. We believe the C4U used the same green as the earlier verticals, comparable to DuPont Dulux 93-67213-H. We are not sure about the yellow enamel, but doubt there was any pinstriping. It would seem that the instruction manual for the so-called 'binder engine' would contain sufficient information if a book for the C4U is not available from GEM advertisers. The C4U is probably of 1930's vintage.
22/1/14 Q. I have three Grand Haven tractors and was very happy and surprised to see an article on them. My tractors all look like the one on the cover of the September GEM except for the shield over the exhaust pipe and the shield behind the seat on mine isn't covered on the side. Earl Hilsinger in NY said in his article that Grand Haven built two models, the BC and the CC, but all three of mine are Model AV8. One uses a Briggs & Stratton 22 engine, and the other two use Wisconsin engines. Haven't gotten much information from Grand Haven Stamped Products in Grand Haven, Michigan except that they were made in the 1940's and 1950's. Would like to hear from any Grand Haven owners so as to determine which models used Briggs & Stratton, and which used Wisconsin engines. Also would like to know more about their design, original colors, etc. Grand Haven Enthusiast, Jim Young, 13066-17 Mite Road, Gowen, MI 49326.
A. We can't be of much help on the Grand Haven, but perhaps someone in the locality might have worked for them or collected some of their literature over the years. Perhaps advertising in the local newspapers might get some answers.
22/1/15 Q. Would like to find any information on a LeRoi 1-cylinder engine s/n 60138 (see photo). It uses a Zenith carburetor, Eisemann magneto, and runs counter clockwise. It was found with an unsalvageable Domestic mudpump. I have heard of 2 and 4-cylinder LeRoi engines, but not the 1 -cylinder. How rare are these engines, and about when was it made? Another questions: where can I find decals for Fairbanks-Morse 'Z' engines? Dave Banas, 663 Alpine Drive, Southbridge, MA 01550.
A. The late 1920's and early 1930's saw the adaptation of high-speed designs to a stationary engine market that was already dying because of REA power lines. The LeRoi line, very popular at the time was indeed built in a single cylinder model, but production figures are no longer available. 'Rarity' when applied to engines (or any other collectible) is a subjective term that means different things to different people. However, we would suspect that production figures of this particular engine were rather low, making it a rather difficult engine to find. Possibly one of our readers might have a manual that you could obtain on a photocopy basis. Regarding the Fairbanks-Morse 'Z' decals, ye olde Reflector risks getting burned by stating that even though these are available from several GEM suppliers, in reality, the 'Z' had no decals nor did it have any striping. We concede that decals make the engine far more attractive than its original scheme of dark green enamel with no adornment whatever, but the fact remains that production models of the 'Z' show no striping or decals-only a huge brass nameplate.