Sun Power Engine


Bill Vawter

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Having attended or participated in a great many shows over the past twenty-five years, the Reflector is well aware of the sheer boredom in answering spectator questions like, 'What is it?' or 'What did they use it for?' These questions and others of a similar nature come up almost constantly. For those of us so fortunate as to be completely familiar with the evolution of engines and tractors, these questions seem silly and ludicrous. After all, we think, how could anyone NOT know what these engines were used for!

Perhaps the difficulty lies in part with what the Reflector perceives as a faulty introduction of the internal combustion engine to our youngsters. We haven't done a great amount of checking on this, but our initial reaction is that virtually nothing is taught in our schools nowadays about when or how the internal combustion engine was developed-not even the most basic and fundamental concepts. Curiously however, students generally learn some rudimentary things about the development of the sewing machine, the cotton gin, or the electric light bulb. To our estimation, the internal combustion engine should be at least on a par with the above items.

Given this general lack of knowledge about the development of internal combustion engines, it should not be at all surprising then that a great many people ask the question, 'What does it do?'. Having virtually no knowledge of what these huge engines are all about, the neophyte is often bewildered by the gigantic flywheels, or the huffing and chuffing noises, followed by an occasional bang. For the Reflector, answering questions that seem so simple that they should never be asked often is a trying experience, especially at a show that runs for several consecutive days. Perhaps the old adage of patience being a virtue applies here. If no one else educates our younger generation on even the basic points of vintage engines, who will take up the hobby? Answering some questions now, and trying to motivate others to join our hobby will help perpetuate a rich historical legacy.

23/6/1 Q. Can anyone identify the engine in this photo? It has a 31/25 inch bore and stroke. It appears to have been painted blue. All part numbers have a 'G' prefix. Bill Vawter, RR I, Box 78, Louisa, Virginia, 23093.

A. We looked at quite a few different engines, including the Sun-Power, but so far we cannot identify your engine.

23/6/2 Q. Gary Pegelow, SI W25765 North-view Road, Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53186, sends along an article in the March 10, 1988 issue of Machine Design. This article, entitled 'Bad Bolts Are Still Flooding the Country,' begins by stating, 'The editorial in our November I2 issue was a cry of alarm over the fact that counterfeit Grade 8 bolts have infiltrated the supply pipeline in the United States. The problem is serious when an engineer is designing for rigorous service involving high stress or high temperature.'

A. The Reflector and, we hope, every GEM reader, will appreciate Mr. Pegelow's letter. We caution our readers to be very careful in this regard, especially when replacing connecting rod bolts or other fasteners that demand the ultimate in strength and reliability. For several years now, the Reflector has used Grade 8 bolts purchased exclusively from a local Caterpillar tractor dealer. We're not necessarily plugging Caterpillar, but in our case, that's one way of getting Grade 8 bolts we can rely on. We are sure that they are also available from numerous other stores and suppliers around the country.

23/6/3 Q. I have a Fairbanks-Morse 2 HP 'Z' engine with solid 'dishpan' flywheels. The nameplate reads that it is a 'Ransome Special.' Can anyone advise the reason for this, also the proper shade of red for these engines? Felix B. Milligan, HCR 63, Box 27, Witter, Arizona, 72776.

A. We can't tell you a thing about the Ransome Special engine.

23/6/4 Q. What is the difference between the Ford Model A and the Model AA1 Also the Model T and the Model TT1 C.W. Nunley, 29I2 I0th St. NW, Canton, Ohio, 44708.

A. The Model A was the car, and the AA was a l 'ton truck. Likewise, the Model T was an automobile, and the T T was a 1-ton truck. Mixed into all this came the Model B of 1932. It featured a fuel pump and rear-mounted gasoline tank, compared to the front-mounted tank of the Model A. The Model B used a heavier crankshaft than the Model A also. After 1932 the Model B vehicles could be retrofitted with the new Ford V-8 engine.

23/6/5 Q. Recently we bought what looked like a John Deere i1/2 HP Type 'E' engine. After cleaning it up, the nameplate reads, 'Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, Waterloo, Iowa.' Can you explain this? Bob W. Bishop, III0 Lilac Court, Hastings, Minnesota, 55033.

A. Deere & Company bought Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in 1918. Apparently Deere continued to operate the firm under the latter name for several years, even though they owned it outright. Quite possibly the reasons for this might have been buried in now obscure legalities. Eventually then, the Waterloo operation became known as John Deere Waterloo Tractor Works.

23/6/6 Q. Can you tell me what a Farmall B N tractor is? No one in our area has heard of one. Alan E. Gehrke, Box 175, Willow Lake, South Dakota, 57278.

A. Having compiled a history of International Harvester some years ago, we were confident of finding a quick answer, but this was not the case. We presume however that it was a narrow-tread version.

23/6/7 Q.I need some information on a Weber Oil engine with the following nameplate information:

Weber 2-cycle Oil Engine, Type AB-13' x 14', #240. Mfg. K.C. Mo.

This engine ran on natural gas and pumped oil at Russell, Kansas. What was the year built, what was the original color, and does anyone know the scheme for the air starting mechanism? James R. Taylor, i3O5-2ndSt.,Friend,Nebraska, 68359.

23/6/8 Q. Would like to find information on a Silver King tractor s/n 3405-year built, color scheme, owner's manuals, etc. Also, many thanks to those who helped me with a previous question on Avery 'A' tractors. Richard Golden, RRI, Armington, Illinois 61721.

23/6/9 Q. Ray Jurgensmier, Rt 1, N10759, Hyway 151, Malone, Wisconsin, 53049, would like to hear from anyone with manuals or information on an IHC LBA engine, s/n 82610.

23/6/10 Q. Can anyone supply the year built for a Minneapolis-Moline UTU tractor, s/n 0114900220; also the proper color scheme? Aubrey Brewer, 7802 N. Kill-buck Road, Monroe Center, Illinois, 61052.

A. According to our records this tractor was built in 1955. We do not have the matching colors for these tractors. Also, we have had numerous inquiries on late model M-M tractor decals, but so far have not found anyone reproducing same. Send any information in this regard to the Reflections column.

23/6/11 Q. What is the year built and proper color for a Fairbanks-Morse 'Z' engine, s/n 3I30I4? Melvin Joenks, RR, Greenville, lowa, 51343.

A. Your engine was built in 1918. The finish is dark green, comparable to DuPont Dulux 93-72001.

23/6/12 Q. Can anyone tell me the age and correct color of a I1/2 HP Alamo engine? Also, I'm wondering why the belt pulley is mounted inside of the flywheel. Steve Boos, P.O. Box 12023, Staten Island, New York, 10312-0006.

A. We don't know of anyone with information that would enable dating an Alamo engine from the serial number, neither do we have the matching color listed for refinishing these engines. Perhaps some of our readers will oblige. Chances are that the pulley was moved to the inside of the flywheel to get proper belt alignment in a situation where space was very limited. It would really make little or no difference so far as overall life of the engine, or its running qualities are concerned.

23/6/13 Q. Milan Hochstetler, Rt 3, Box 233, Cumberland, Virginia, 23040 would like to hear from anyone with information on a Maynard engine. He has one of these, No. W3597 built by Charles Williams Stores Inc., and needs to know the original color, as well as the scheme for the ignition system.

23/6/14 Q. (1) Is there a way to know the difference between Middleditch, Bessemer, and Detroit 2-cycle engines, has 999 stamped on flywheels.

(2)   What is the story on Wonder engines? Surely made at Waterloo, lowa. Look like Faultless. Have dry heads and Lunkenheimer mixers.

(3) Is there a serial number listing for Associated engines?

Harold Probasco, Utah Antique Machinery Association, Huntsville, Utah, 84317.

A.. As noted on page 303 of American Gas Engines, the Middleditch engines began with a machine shop owned by Benjamin Middleditch. In 1913 Bessemer Gas Engine Company bought out Middleditch, as noted on pages 55 and 56 of the above title. Despite some similarities of design, we believe that Detroit Engine Works referred to on page 131 of the above title was a completely independent operation.

There were lots of 'Wonder' engines from Construction Machinery Corporation at Waterloo, Iowa. This company was a major builder of cement mixers and, especially in Iowa, one can find Fuller &. Johnson, Novo, and various other engines with the 'Wonder' nameplate. However, CMC did not build engines for their mixers! The engines were bought on contract, usually from whoever had the best price. That's why so many different engine makes appeared on their mixers. The Reflector vividly remembers a Stover CT engine on the cement mixer of a local contractor. Although it had the 'Wonder' nameplate, it was nevertheless a Stover. We reiterate-CMC did not build engines!

There is no serial number listing remaining on Associated. Various individuals, including the Reflector, have spent countless hours in this regard and, quite simply, all the records were destroyed years ago.

23/6/15 Q. See enclosed photo of my Associated engine. Would like to know year built, proper colors, and probable use for the engine. Any information will be appreciated. David Bostrom, RR 3, Box I34, Valley City, North Dakota, 58072.

A.. The Associated Colt was rated at 3/4 horsepower, making it a likely candidate to run a washing machine or some similar light duty. The Colt was first issued in the 1920's and was, compared to the standard Associated models, a complete and total failure. Many of the engines were returned to the manufacturer and remained in a warehouse at Independence, Iowa for a number of years, finally being scrapped. We don't have the exact color scheme for these engines.

23/6/16 Q. I bought a circa 1938 International Harvester engine with a Fairbanks-Morse pump attached. The engine runs fine but the pump is in bad shape. 1 also have a 7 HP engine with the following nameplate: LAFONDERIE DE PLESSISVILLE, PLESSISVILLE P. O., CANADA. Moteur No. 2010, RPM 450. Any information will be appreciated (see photos). John F. Hanlon, P.O. Box 88, Amherst, New Hampshire, 0303I

A. Chances are that repairs for the pump will have to be made by building up worn parts or making new parts from shop stock. So far as we know, no repairs can be secured, except perhaps from an identical pump of the same vintage. Chances are, however, that the same parts will be worn out on both pumps. Our files are virtually bare on the Plessisville engines.

23/6/17 Q. Can you tell me who made the Planet Jr. garden tractor and if they are still in business? Are any decals available for these tractors, and is there a color match to the original? Any information will be appreciated. Burl H. Gillum, 6637 Pendleton Dr. N.W., Roanoke, Virginia, 240I9.

A. S. L. Allen & Company, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania built the Planet Junior garden tractors. In fact, this old-time firm began building hand or horsepowered cultivators in the nineteenth century. As to proper colors we can't tell you, nor have we determined whether the company is still in business. We've never heard of anyone with Planet Jr. decals.

23/6/18 Q. Can anyone help in identifying the engine in the photo? The number T-4 is cast into the water jacket, T-I0 in the head, T-3 in the base, and T-2 in the flywheels. Also, our thanks for those who helped us identify the 40-70 Flour City, and a big thanks and greetings to Mr. Kinnard! Jim Luper, I00I Grant St., Traverse City, Michigan, 49684.

23/6/19 Q.Bud Motry, 20201 Arthur Road, Big Rapids, Michigan 49307, writes:

I would like to express my compliments to Mr. Wendel for his comments in 'An Opening Word' in the April, 1988 issue of GEM. The article on 'care, courtesy, and common sense' at engine shows is very timely and to me makes the difference between a good show and a mediocre one. We have approximately 25 shows in Michigan, and we find both kinds.

Keep up the good work in your 'Reflections' section of the magazine. It is the first section I read.

A.. Thanks Bud! For someone who never really wanted a vocation other than writing of the development of steam and gas power, an occasional letter like this makes our efforts worthwhile!

23/6/20 Q. William Miller, 3158 Golden Lake Road, Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, 53066 writes that he has a 21/2 HP engine, possibly built by Sharpies Separator Co., West Chester, PA. He needs the proper color, striping, etc., to restore it. Striping information is also needed for a Waterloo Boy engine. Any information will be greatly appreciated.

23/6/21 Q. As a former Iowan, I worked for William Galloway Company in Waterloo during 1937 as a young design engineer. I'm now retired and have become an avid woodworker, with my wooden model of a Galloway 5 HP model in the photograph below. These models are entirely of wood, including the nuts, bolts, cotter keys, and springs! (I do not sell these models). John O. Freeborn, 62 Possum Dr. N., New Fairfield,, Connecticut, 06812.

23/6/22 Q. Can you give me the proper green color for a 1927 Oil Pull tractor? Mine was not gray like some of the later ones. Clarence Burmeister, 3131 C.R. 128, Lind-sey, Ohio 43442.

A. We can't give you an exact color match-we once thought we could, but have learned that the color varied substantially during the years. Some old-time Rumely employees told us that especially in the last years, the company with the low bid is who sold them the paint-an exact color match wasn't the major factor in the decision. Hopefully, we'll get some input from our readers that might be able to establish some parameters we can all use.

23/6/23 Q. Fred Kurtz, Rt 2, Box 276, River Falls, Wisconsin, 54022 would like to hear from anyone with information on a Standard garden tractor built in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

23/6/24 Q. I recently acquired an Ideal engine as pictured on page 60 of American Gas Engines, and would like to hear from anyone with information on engine color, striping, and the like. Bill Arnold, Route I, Box 62, Petersburg, Indiana, 47567.

23/6/25 Q. A suggestion for those who might be considering writing an article for GEM with photographs; especially the photographs! Cameras see all the detail in the direction we aim them. We humans tend to concentrate on the object we are shooting and sometimes do not see a horrendous pile of junk in the background, or some other distracting, non-related activity, shadows, and so on. My point is this: if you are going to considerable effort to do a story about your favorite Fizzen-popper, go the extra step and really look at the composition of the picture you are taking.

Make that photo an excellent one to complement your nice work. In my opinion, there are some excellent examples in the March GEM. The excellent detail in the photos on page 27 and the top photo on page 19, to cite some. Conversely, the padlock on the door behind the cover picture engine might have been laid aside for the photo, the camera angle for the photo on page 22 might have been a little different so as not to catch the grandstand bleachers behind the threshing scene, and why not take a minute to close the door behind the advertising photo on page 63 so the engine would not be standing in front of a 'black hole'.

Please folks-I'm suggesting-not nit-pick in' your photos! Photos add so much to a story, and keep 'em coming with the stories. But if you don't allow the oil cans and rags around the engine, or old truck tires piled up behind the tractor, your pictures will be a lot better and will show the work you did in your restoration. M. G. Harr, 6818 S. Elizabeth St., Littleton, Colorado, 80I22.

A. We couldn't agree more-it's really too bad that sometimes a very nice engine is poorly presented in GEM, but after all, we can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, to quote the old adage, and we can't make a good photo out of a bad one. We might add that it is wise to shoot several different views in order to have something from which to choose. Professional photographers often shoot several rolls of film just to get a single picture! We don't advocate anything that drastic, but anything above that single photo is to your advantage. In this connection, we congratulate the people at GEM on their ability to get a printable image from photos that sometimes are horribly poor. To sum it up folks-we believe Mr. Harr presents some good ideas toward getting better photos in GEM.

23/6/26 Q.. I have a Stover 4HP engine, s/n 41766. The ignitor system has been replaced with a spark plug and a Bosch sprocket-drive magneto has been added to the engine. Was the Bosch magneto offered as an add-on kit by Stover? Would like to correspond with anyone having a similar engine. Glenn Burroughs, 317 Hunting Lane, Goode, Virginia 24556

A .. Possibly the Bosch changeover kit might have been available, through Stover, but we think it more likely that any independent Bosch magneto shop might have had this unit available. In fact, it was probably available with only slight modifications, for a great many different engines. We have not however, come across any specific information regarding these retrofit kits.

23/6/27 Q.. Can anyone identify the magneto in the photo? It was on a Fuller & Johnson engine used on a I923 Cold well self-propelled lawn mower. Any information will be appreciated. Lawrence J. Salber, PO Box 5, Petersburg, Nebraska 68652.

A .The magneto is a Dixie, and since these are rather plentiful, finding the necessary parts to put it in working order should not be too difficult.

23/6/28 Q.. What are the proper colors for an Empire 31/2 HP cream separator engine? Marc Couturier, 25 Markar St., Nashua, New Hampshire, 03060.

23/6/29 Q.. We need information, color scheme, ignition system data, etc. on a CASCO marine engine by Smith-Langmaid. Any help or information will be appreciated. Gordon E. Hopper, 75 Kendall Ave., Framingham, Massachusetts, 0I70I.

23/6/30 Q. I'm interested in trying to develop a presentation on the progress of power, animal and mechanical, which could be given to Civic Clubs and other groups. In doing this 1 need some slides that would show horse and oxen applications, steam engines, portable and traction, and some early internal combustion engines. Hopefully, some of your readers might have slides that would help with this project. 1 would certainly like to correspond with anyone who would have quality slides of this type. Perhaps someone has already developed a program like this and would share some information. David Hon-barger, jr., Rt 7, Box 287D, Salisbury, North Carolina, 28I44.

23/6/31 Q.. Would like to hear from someone with information on the Rock Island engines. Joe Bodnar, 306 Barron, Petal, Mississippi, 39465.

A . DuPont Dulux 93-24590 brown is a comparable color match.