Associated Colt engine


John Hamilton

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This issue presents some unusual logistical problems-it is being compiled just prior to the annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion and the World Plowing Matches which follow immediately after. By the time this copy is in your hands, both events will be history, as will be the annual shows for hundreds of other groups around the country.

Living here in east central Iowa and operating our bookstore in the Amana Colonies provides this writer with an unusual opportunity this fall to meet many, many people from a great many different states and countries. For the writer, meeting people of such diverse talents and interests makes it a truly rewarding experience to operate our bookstore here at Amana. A case in point:

Earlier this summer a middle-aged couple came into the store. From their accent we assumed them to be from outside our country. The assumption was correct-this couple was from New Zealand! Since they were obviously interested in books relating to early farm equipment and engines, we struck up a conversation-a conversation that resulted in an invitation to New Zealand! A great many engines and tractors still exist in Australia and New Zealand, thus a trip to these faraway countries would undoubtedly be most interesting. Meanwhile, many other travelers stop by our Amana store, and it's always interesting and enjoyable for us.

As previously noted, this particular column is being completed in late August to avoid scheduling conflicts. Because of this, and also since our volume of mail is usually down this time of year, this month's column will be somewhat shorter than usual. We begin with:

23/11/1 Q. John Hamilton, 461 Algonquin Place, Webster Groves, Missouri 63119 writes: I need some help on an Associated ? hp From the enclosed photos, what is the make and model of the magneto? Has something been broken off the mag? Can someone help me with the wiring? It looks like the magneto was hooked to the governor. I presume the colors are red and silver. When was it made? Will appreciate hearing from anyone with information on this engine.

A. This is an Associated Colt engine built for awhile in the 1920's. The basic engine is shown on page 37 of American Gas Engines. The one you illustrate is equipped with a magneto. We have no specific data, but if memory serves, this magneto was built by Associated, perhaps with the aid of some OEM parts. We also recall the Colt being blue rather than red.

23/11/2 Q. My father and I recently purchased an early horseless carriage made by Charles H. Black in Indianapolis. We believe that this car was made in the early 1890's and would like any information your readers might have on this car. Obviously we are particularly looking for information on the engine. We have seen that it takes a one-cylinder or a two-cylinder horizontal stroke engine. The original was water cooled. It may have been an adaptation of an air cooled engine. I do not know if this was possible, however, we have seen one with a water jacket on it. Any information will be appreciated. Brent D. Jones, 1219 Circle Tower Building, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204.

A. Your horseless carriage and its engine draw a blank for the Reflector, but perhaps one of our readers might be of help to you.

23/11/3 Q. Where can I get an ignitor for a 2 hp Bull Dog engine? Alton Wrisley, Willsboro, New York 12996

A. We would suggest a 'Wanted' ad in the next issue of this magazine, or perhaps you might find one at one of the engine shows around the country.

23/11/4Dennis R. Lewis, 224 Miller, Pratt, Kansas 67124 needs information on an Earthmaster tractor, s/n C1871. It was built at Bur bank, California. Any and all information will be appreciated.

23/11/5The following letter is submitted by Gary Robinson, 1805 Washington Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68107:

My wife is writing this for me in hopes you will print it. I have five 1? hp engines, two of which are Model E John Deere. I have started these two John Deere's at least a thousand times.

July 29, I went to start one of the John Deere's-somehow the way I took a hold of the crank-my right thumb got caught between the spoke of the flywheel and the magneto. You can imagine what happened to the thumb. Time will tell on how the thumb will come out. I only hope this will help someone else, because it can happen to anyone.

23/11/6 Q. I have a motor attachment for a reel-type lawnmower, as illustrated in the photo. It is a cast aluminum base plate with a two-cylinder Maytag engine. The nameplate reads: Le Claire Manufacturing Company, Le Claire, Iowa. I need information on how the chain drive connects to the mower reel, also mounting and operating instructions for this attachment or any available information or literature. Jerry Nance, 609 South First, Odessa, Missouri 64076.

23/11/7 Q. I just bought my first engine, an IHC LA, s/n AA1868. When was it built, and where can I find an instruction manual? Steve Smith, Box 101, Hallam, Nebraska 68368.

A. Your engine was built in 1935. A reprinted instruction manual should be available from any one of several regular GEM advertisers.

23/11/8 Q. Can someone supply the correct ignition wiring scheme and the proper oil/fuel mixture for a Fairmont engine? L. T. Odland, 225 Oak Street, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.

A. The Gas Engine Guide published by GEM is one of several booklets describing various wiring diagrams. We would think the oil/fuel mixture to be largely dependent on the type of two-cycle oil being used-some of the new products require far less oil than was needed in days gone by. Obviously, to under-lubricate will cause serious problems, but over-lubricating creates billows of needless smoke, wastes your money, and accumulates all kinds of junk in the engine that doesn't need to be there.

23/11/9Ralph Leid, 33 N. 5th St., Coplay, PA 18037 needs the proper color scheme for a 2 hp New Holland engine.

23/11/10 Q. I recently acquired this 5 hp vertical engine sold by Fairbanks Company under their 'junior' trademark. The s/n is 4738. It was apparently used as a pump engine in an eastern Massachusetts cranberry bog. The engine is identical to the Blakeslee on page 590 of American Gas Engines. The carburetor is identical, and this engine uses a pull-type valve rod as did the Blakeslee. Did anyone else use this style of valve mechanism? Any information will be appreciated. James P. Paquette, 60 A High Street, Uxbridge, Massachusetts 01569.

A.The Bulldog of Bates & Edmonds is one engine using the pull-type valve mechanism, but beyond this similarity, we honestly doubt there is any connection between the two companies.

23/11/11V. C. Puckett, Gainesville Iron Works, P.O. Box 1889, Gainesville, Georgia 30503 writes: We need some help in establishing a history of the General (s/n 1 FA 1198) built by Cleveland Tractor Co.

Also, on page 191 of Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors you list the McKinney Traction Cultivator Co. as being at Gainesville, Georgia. Our company has been in Gainesville since 1889 and was a foundry for more than 75 years-this would include the years that McKinney was in Gainesville. Any information on the McKinney would be greatly appreciated.

Also see the photos given below of an engine which we have had trouble identifying. Again, any information will be appreciated.

23/11/12J. D. Franzen, 11501 Shirley St., Omaha, Nebraska 68144 sends us some photos of his very first restoration project, an Associated Hired Man, 2? hp model. Mr. Franzen asks several questions:

1) Can this engine be dated from the serial number?
2)  In the September 1988 GEM you list the recommended color, but is there an accent color?
3) The various return springs seem to be located incorrectly. Can anyone tell me how they are to be placed?
4)  The back set of trucks have been modified. What is their original appearance?
5)  The fuel tank has been poorly repaired. Where can I get it rebuilt so as to look like the original?

A. In answer to 1) No. 2) Associated used a silver color on the cylinder. 3) Hopefully you'll hear from another owner who can advise about the springs. The same holds true for 4) and 5). Unfortunately, there are some things that are almost impossible to convey within a magazine column-it virtually takes an up-close look at another engine sometimes.

23/11/13John B. Mulford, Jr., Upper Lake Road, Lodi, New York 14860 sends along some very interesting data on spark coils from the July 1962 issue of Antique Automobile Magazine, official publication of the Antique Automobile Club of America, entitled:


By Conrad H. Zierdt, jr.

At 11:30 P.M., Don Chapman and I had finished reassembling my 1911 EMF engine, and were ready for the first start since 1928. It went on the second crank pull; a delightful moment which we terminated to put water in the radiator. Back to the crank, and a complete blank. No start, traced to no spark, and soon solved by substituting the coil and condenser borrowed from my wife's modern Lincoln.

The lovely old mahogany-boxed coil, of Splitdorf manufacture, had an open secondary winding. The reason was simply 40-odd years of moisture and corrosion, penetrating the wax impregnation of the coil and eating off the wire. The wire insulation inside the box was also badly deteriorated. The coil had been sparking internally during our brief initial run, burning the wire ends until they were too far apart to spark at cranking speed.

I considered rewinding the old coil (the inner end had parted) but hesitated to tackle the job with hand tools. Another coil box might be found, but the chance of its being in better shape was small. As a simpler solution, I decided to try a modern coil mounted in the old box. The combination works very well, idling down to 150 RPM on either battery or magneto (after recharging magnets on the mag), which is better than a substitute old coil would do. The modern coil is better designed and is made with modern core iron and insulation; it is also hermetically sealed to prevent moisture deterioration and is thus, overall, a better replacement. Since my 'operation' on the EMF coil, several people have asked me to do likewise for theirs (Maxwell owners seem to be particularly unfortunate, for a good reason) and it seems that our experience may be of use to other car owners.

Of the many ignition forms which have been used, the high-tension magneto and the low-tension coil (with low-tension magneto and/or battery) are the most widely applied. The high tension mag uses no external coil, and its repair is outside the scope of this article. The (1) battery and vibrating coil, (2) battery or magneto and vibrating coil (Model 'T' Ford), and (3) battery or magneto with fixed coil and distributor (EMF, Maxwell, and many others including modern cars) systems may have their defective coils replaced by substituting later ones. In any of these systems, the spark is generated by interrupting the flow of current in the coil primary by opening a pair of contact 'points' in series with the coil. A condenser connected across these 'points' absorbs the spark generated by the opening, slowing 'point' erosion and giving a hotter secondary spark to the plugs. (See Fig 1). In the vibrating coil systems (1) and (2) the points are opened by the magnetic pull of the coil core, break their own circuit, and then vibrate rapidly as long as electric current is supplied to them; these coils generate a continuous 'shower' of sparks. In the usual vibrating system, one coil (with vibrator) is used for each cylinder, connected directly to its spark plug. In the fixed coil system (3) the 'points' are opened and closed by a cam on the magneto or contact breaker shaft, and generate only one spark for each cam lobe as it briefly opens the 'points', just as on modern cars. In these fixed systems, one coil is used for all cylinders and the successive sparks are fed to the proper cylinders by a 'distributor' geared to the same shaft as the cam which breaks the 'points'.

One common special case is the 'master vibrator' system sold as a replacement for 'T' Fords, in which one set of vibrating points served all 4 coils, with the cylinder to be sparked selected by the 'timer'; this system risked all on the continued good performance of one set of vibrating 'points', but saved having to adjust several coils. Another 'special' is the 2-cylinder Splitdorf system used on Maxwell cars, which used a fixed coil with 'points' on the magneto, but no spark 'distributor' on the mag; the coil box contained effectively 2 coils, both sparking simultaneously at each 'point' opening, with one spark firing the cylinder on its power stroke and the other spark 'wasted' by occurring the other cylinder between the exhaust and intake strokes. Both spark plugs connected to the coil box, in this case.

The 'fixed' and 'vibrating' systems used different types of coil primary windings, with the vibrating system having a considerably lower coil resistance, and thus drawing a larger current if the points remain closed. This fact should be considered when choosing a substitute coil.

Before beginning substitution work, it is well to make sure that the coil is at fault. I prefer to do this on the bench, first with a battery and then with the mag rotated by hand. Connect a piece of wire to the high voltage (spark plug) terminal and bend it so that it comes within ?' of the ground or negative battery terminal on the coil box (See Fig. 2). Then connect a good battery to the proper terminals, leaving one of the 2 wires loose so that it may be 'tapped' on the terminal to make and break the circuit. If no spark jumps the ?' gap when the battery circuit is 'tapped', remove the switch cover (if there is one) and short-circuit the switch with another wire; then 'tap' the battery connection again-if you get sparks this time, the switch is at fault and should be repaired. The condenser may also be at fault; this is more difficult to diagnose without measuring instruments. If you can get a spark across a l/16' air gap, but not ?', try connecting a modern-car ignition condenser across the 'tapping' connection (See Fig. 2). If this gives a good spark, the condenser is at fault and must be replaced (it can sometimes be put under the coil box top cover, and connected inconspicuously). If the added condenser makes a good spark, the old one need not be removed or disconnected, as it is 'open' and will do no harm by remaining connected. A leaky or shorted condenser is more difficult to diagnose; the only effective test method (without instruments) is cutting one connection to the old condenser and trying a substitute as above. This may be difficult, as the old condenser will usually be bedded in wax with the coil, and will require a major operation to disconnect. In this case, I would proceed to substitute a modern coil/condenser anyway.

The above discussion applies to 'fixed' coils; for 'vibrating' coils the test method is the same, except that the battery connections are made solidly, rather than leaving one free for 'tapping'. If the vibrator buzzes and sparks at the points, but the secondary spark will not jump a ?' gap, try connecting a modern-car ignition condenser across the vibrating points; if this makes a good spark, the old condenser is defective. (See Fig. 3). If the vibrator does not buzz, file the points lightly with an ignition point file and then try adjusting them over the full range; if still no buzz, the coil is probably defective.

If the coil checks OK on battery, it may be tried next on the magneto, either on the bench or the car (Model 'T' must be on the car). Should it not work on mag (try minor adjustment of 'vibrator' points before deciding) the mag probably needs work.

Should you find the old coil defective, the next step is removing the 'insides' from the box. Chipping or gouging them out may 'lose' the connection pattern for you and may split the box; I prefer to take off enough of the box to permit the wax or tar to drain out and then heat the box in an oven (or electric roaster), gradually increasing the temperature until the wax or tar melts and drains, leaving the coil exposed. This method destroys the finish but not the box. Most waxes and tars will melt at 200-300 degrees F. The coil is usually blocked in place with wooden blocks; these can be knocked out and the internal wire connections in the box carefully sketched before cutting (or unsoldering) the connecting wires to remove the coil from the box. The condenser will usually be taped to the coil; it may be separate, however, and its connections should also be sketched (see Fig. 4).

Choose a modern car replacement coil to fit inside the coil box, for 'fixed' coil replacement. A 6-volt coil of Model 'A' Ford size will usually fill the bill; it will do no harm to crack off insulation from the high-voltage terminal in the top center, down to the brass insert, to reduce the height. Cut off the mounting bracket, if it doesn't unscrew, as it usually gets in the way of connections. The dome-shaped early V-8 Ford coils also fit some places where others won't; their mounting 'ears' may be cut off to make them fit, if necessary. Then make the necessary electrical connections, using new wire (spark plug wire for the high-voltage connections) and soldering where required. Don't forget to connect the modern condenser, matching the coil you use, in place also. Then put the coil into the box and pack it in place with wooden blocks and strip rubber (from old inner tubes) so it won't rattle. Keep the high-voltage wire and terminals well clear (at least Vi') of other wires and terminals. If a 'safety spark gap' (usually a porcelain block with 2 metal points, about Vi' apart, mounted on it) was used, connect it inside the box, with high-voltage wire, to the coil 'hot' or center terminal and the ground terminal (it is thus in parallel with the spark plug, and saves the coil insulation if a spark plug wire breaks or is left disconnected). The terminal of the 'modern' coil marked 'Gnd' or '-' should go to the points, and the '+'or unmarked terminal to the switch or battery. The condenser should go from the coil 'Gnd' or '-' terminal to chassis ground, so that it is in parallel with the points. Some very good connection references, for a special case, may be found in Dyke's Manuals.

For vibrating coils, I know of no better replacement than the'' insides' of Model 'T' coils, which are readily available and cheap. If these are too large, I can only suggest having your old coil rewound (an expensive operation) or finding another. In most cases, however, 'T' coils can be fitted, possibly by grinding or cutting off the excess iron core wires or strips which protrude beyond the ends of the coil winding. The 'T' coil connections (see Fig. 5) will have to be wired to match the original coil box. In most cases, worn points on other vibrating coils may be replaced with readily available 'T' points, either by grinding the spring steel blades to match the old ones or by removing the points from the 'T' blades, using an acetylene torch to melt the brazed connections, and rebrazing these new points into the original blades. In this latter case, the blades must be retempered after the brazing.

The 'double-secondary' Maxwell-Splitdorf fixed-type coils are a special case, which I have solved partially satisfactorily by using two Model 'T' coils without their vibrating points. With the wood split off, two 'T' coil 'insides' will fit inside the Splitdorf box, and are connected as shown in Fig. 6. Note that an extra condenser is required, connected as shown, to give complete spark absorption at the points and a good secondary spark. I have converted a couple of Maxwell coils this way and the owner reports they work well on battery but not on mag. The mag may be weak or the coils may draw too much current; I have not checked this. It should be possible to mount two early Ford V-8 'dome' coils in this box; they might be connected either in series or parallel for best effect, depending on the magneto characteristics. If in parallel, the original condensers will be O.K., if in series, a condenser should be added as in Fig. 6. I have not tried this setup, but believe it will work.

The replacement coil setup should be bench tested before installation (and before refinishing the box); if possible, it should also be tried with the magneto, on the car. If it is O.K. on battery, but not on mag, it will probably be worthwhile to have the magneto repaired, or at least the magnets recharged. Refinishing of the coil box is the last step; since these are usually veneered, it is well to examine closely for moisture-loosened veneer and to reglue it with water-resistant glue (which may be applied by slitting the veneer with the grain, if blistered, and forcing glue into the slit) before final finishing.

You may contact John Mulford for further advice in this procedure.


German Engine Developments

In the July GEM it was mentioned by the Reflector that he has acquired some information in German about the development of German engines. Would it be possible to send some copies of pictures and captions regarding this information?

It is indeed possible, but first we would prefer to get the material organized, a task that will be completed this winter. In fact, a coming issue will illustrate Otto's Atmospheric engine as it appeared in an Otto catalog. It is of course printed in the German language.

23/7/29This engine is a Coldwell lawn-mower engine. It is missing lots of parts. I have a complete one with some of the original decal on the gas tank, and would be glad to send a color photo if needed. Dennis Shim-min, PO Box A, Lewellen, Nebraska 69147.


Since there were no models in the August GEM, I am sending a couple of photos of an opposed piston freelance model I built. It has a 13/8 inch bore and 1? inch stroke. Of hit-and-miss design, it uses 8 inch flywheels. It runs real nice, and surprisingly smooth. J.T. Hanson, 111 Fairway Dr., Grenelefe, Haines City, Florida 33844.

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.