Part three of three: Restoring a 2 HP IHC Nonpareil


The new needle valve. The 1/16-inch pin locks the brass to the needle stem.

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The fuel mixer required attention, as its cover, drain screw and needle valve were missing. I obtained a casting for the mixer cover, which I shaped and fit with a small piece of chain to prevent loss.

The fuel mixer was the same as a 2 HP Famous, so I was able to measure the needle on another engine.

I made the body of the needle from 1/4-inch silver steel 3 inches long, which was tapered to match the valve seat and then lapped in the seat to ensure a good fit. I turned the dial from a piece of 1-1/2-inch outer diameter brass, 1/8-inch thick at the edge, reducing to a 1/8-inch-wide step of 1/2-inch outer diameter where it was pinned to the valve stem. The other work on the mixer body involved making a new drain screw for the underside and cleaning the pipe threads.

The threads of the air inlet pipe were badly corroded and the choke disc had no wire handle. I found a new piece of pipe for the inlet, and as I didn't have a die, it was screw cut on the lathe to a 1-by-11-1/2-inch thread standard, rather than taper pipe thread. The overall length of the pipe was 7 inches so the inlet cleared the cylinder side and lined up in the recess just above the cylinder mounting bolts.

I tapered a piece of 1/8-inch diameter steel to be slightly larger than the hole in the disc and inserted it into the air inlet, covering it in Locktite and press fitting it into the disc.

Water and fuel pumps

The pumps already had new rams fitted before I bought the engine. All I needed was to find some graphite yarn to pack the glands.

The eccentric to drive the water pump was bent and I suspected a seized water pump was the culprit, resulting in the break around the hole for the pin to the pump ram. This had been welded and re-bored to work while bent! I decided to try and improve it but realized that if I tried to straighten the arm, the cast metal would most likely break. Therefore, the first step was to make a jig to gauge progress in straightening and, if necessary, hold the pieces for repair. I was prepared, if necessary, to repair the eccentric by breaking and joining the two pieces.

I applied some heat and straightened the arm, but as suspected, a hairline crack appeared. I cleaned this out to a "v" with a small grinding wheel on a Dremel and filled it with braze. I used braze instead of a cast arc rod, as it melts at a lower temperature, and coupled with a gradual reduction in heat would be less likely to make the cast metal brittle and more liable to fracture.

After reducing the bend in the arm, I set the eccentric up on the milling table to bore out the hole for the pin to the pump arm so it would be square to the action of the eccentric. I bored this out to 7/16-inch and turned a sleeve on the lathe 0.0001-inch smaller and silver soldered it in place. I then drilled the locking screw hole through the sleeve and retapped the thread.


The next task was to make a new set of gaskets. Fortunately, the remains of the old gaskets came with the engine so I was able to measure their thickness.

Before starting to cut the gaskets, I made two new punches from silver steel, 3/8-inch and 7/16-inch diameter. I drilled holes 1/4-inch deep in the steel 0.031-inch smaller than the diameter and chamfered the edge with a center drill to a sharp edge, which I polished with a fine file. I heated the cutting edges of the punches to cherry red and quenched them to harden. Next, I polished with wet-and-dry paper and annealed.

Fortunately, I had a large amount of scrap lead sheet from when I repaired my roof and this is ideal as a base to punch into. The cylinder head gasket was 0.0625-inch thick, the main bearing plate 0.015-inch and the remainder 0.008-inch.

Skid and wheels

The original skid was rotten on one side and at some stage had been cut down. The cross pieces were perfect so they were retained.

Two pieces of 4-by-3-inch timber, 5 feet long, were found. I reduced the wood in width and height 6 inches at both ends and rounded them off. I cut recesses in the inside to join the cross members and threaded some new 3/8-inch rod to replace the broken cross bolts. The support plank for the fuel tank was retained and I found new 1-inch thick planks to provide support for the water tank.

The new side pieces were almost white, so I made a mixture of creosote and old black engine oil, and liberally applied it to the new wood. After allowing it to soak in, I applied heat with a blow torch to dry and singe it. I repeated the process over a number of days until the new wood looked like the old.

The next step was to find some wheels and fit them to the skid so I could move the engine without giving myself a hernia. Some 13-inch wheels were reclaimed from a nearby farm, and while they were not the original IHC style, the curved spoke had a pleasing look about them. To keep the overall height of the engine as low as possible, I decided not to build a turntable but instead to use brute force to turn the new cart. This, I later found, was a mistake.

I decided to copy the basic style of the IHC axle system by making a plate to fit under the skid with bolts to cross pieces across the top. The underside plates were made from 3-by-3-1/2-inch pieces of 1/8-inch steel and the top cross pieces from 3-1/2-by-3/4-inch 3/16-inch steel. The mounting bolts were of 5/16-inch outer diameter.

I pinned stub axles and welded them into some old metal tubes, which in turn were welded directly to the underside plate, again to reduce height. According to a parts list, the original axles were 38 inches wide, but I worked to a width of 32 inches so as not to take up too much valuable storage space. New washers, retaining pins and several coats of rust-preventing black paint finished the wheels.

After fitting the axles to the skid, and ensuring they were square, the planks to support the water tank were fitted. It was necessary to cut relief holes in the underside of one plank for the axle mounting bolts and clamps in order for them to fit as a level surface.

Oil gauge

The glass was missing from the oil gauge and I managed to obtain some 5/8-inch diameter glass tube, cutting off a piece 2-1/4 inches long with a diamond disc in my Dremel. I made a couple of new cork gaskets to complete the repair.

Fuel tank

The fuel tank did not present any hazard from gas fumes, as it had been empty for such a long time. I filled it with water to test that there were no leaks and it passed. To ensure there was no unwanted muck in the tank, I poured some lead shot in it, shook it around then flushed it out with water. This was repeated until water came out clean, as the first wash produced a lot of grit. I then allowed the tank to dry thoroughly.

Flywheels and governor

The edges of the flywheels were badly pitted, so I mounted them on a mandrel and skimmed them using the horizontal feed on my milling machine. I had to employ various items of equipment to get the right clearances; in some cases it was not their designed use!

The original mounting plate for the governor was broken so I made a casting from this with a weight also being cast for the one that was missing. After a general cleaning of the casting, I squared the base of the mounting plate using the milling machine, then drilled 1/4-inch holes in the lugs for the weights and 5/16-inch holes for the mounting bolts.

I set up the replacement governor weight, drilled the pivot hole and the spring and eye-bolt holes. The eye bolts were missing so I threaded 2-by-1-3/4-inch lengths of 1/4-inch steel for 1-1/4 inches of their length. I heated and flattened the remaining part with a large hammer to form the plate for the eye for the spring, which I filed to shape and drilled.

I also replaced the pivot pins with two new 2-1/4-inch lengths of 1/4-inch round steel, with 2-1/64-inch holes at each end for the retaining split pins.

Inspection cover (hand plate)

The original hand plate was missing, but I was fortunate in borrowing one I could use as a pattern for casting. I trued the edges of the casting on the lathe and drilled four, 3/8-inch diameter holes for the securing bolts.

The lettering of the casting was not as good as the original, so I spent a little time with the Dremel and Tungsten cutters to clean it. Finally, I stamped the engine number (deciphered from the end of the crankshaft), speed and horsepower on the plate.

Water pump

While a new ram came with the water pump, it still needed a little attention. The lower threads in the casting (inlet) were badly corroded and indeed missing underneath the basket valve. This was operated by the lever to switch the water flow on and off. The result of this was the seating ring and the basket did not touch when the valve should be closed. Rather than bore out the casting and insert a threaded sleeve, the simplest solution was to increase the thickness of the seating ring, and this was achieved by brazing a 1/8-inch-thick brass disc onto the ring and drilling to size. This still allowed just enough thread for the inlet pipe to engage properly.


In normal circumstances, I prefer not to paint a restored engine, but in this case there was so much rust damage and mixture of old and new parts that I felt I had no option.

The rust had been scraped off all parts while they were being restored and before final assembly. I gave all external parts two coats of a zinc-based primer. In the case of the parts that had been badly corroded with rust (base plate, crankcase and cylinder), they were given a coat of my filling primer. This is simply a quarter tin of primer into which I had stirred some proprietary decorating wall filler, until it made a thick paste. I liberally applied this with a paint brush and sanded smooth when thoroughly dry. If any bare metal was exposed, this was primed again with ordinary primer.

I purchased a brushable synthetic paint from the local parts store, getting a standard royal blue, which appeared a close match to fragments of old paint found on the engine. I gave all the parts at least two coats. As it was winter when painting and not too warm in my workshop, I put the parts near a gas fire and placed the tin of paint on the side of the range cooker to warm and thin it before applying for a better finish. On smooth surfaces I lightly sanded the primer with 600-grit wet-and-dry then wiped the surface clean with a tack cloth. I was also careful not to do anything that would raise dust in the workshop for some time prior to painting and while the paint was drying.

Despite taking care, I made some mistakes and had some paint runs. I kept these parts warm for two to three days for the paint to cure then rubbed them down with 150-grit wet-and-dry until smooth. They were cleaned and painted again.

I generally don't paint nut and bolt heads until after assembly, and then just apply a couple of light coats so they can be removed easily.


I placed the fuel tank in the base casting, which was bolted into position, and fit the fuel pipes to the tank, but only a loose fit in case they needed adjusting when I fit the pump and mixer.

The crankcase was next, after cleaning inside with kerosene to ensure there was no metal or grit, as it had been standing in the workshop for some time. Following the fitting of the crankshaft and securing the bearing plate, I fitted the oil gauge and the crank, and liberally oiled and turned them by hand to ensure free movement.

I had already fit the piston in the cylinder using a ring compressor and attached the connecting rod. In addition, shims had already been cut to ensure a running fit of the connecting rod to the crankshaft. Using the prepared gasket, I put the cylinder in position on the crankcase and bolted the connecting rod to the crankshaft. As there were new bearings, piston rings and sleeve, I decided to work the engine by hand to bed in the parts. The connecting rod securing bolts were only initially finger tight at the big end, which I gave a liberal coating of oil. I also sprayed the top of the piston. I fit a flywheel on the opposite side of the gears then turned it by hand for five minutes in one direction and five minutes the other direction. I repeated this for a few minutes at a time over several days until the new parts had loosened. The big end bearing bolts were then tightened and wired.

Next, the completed cylinder head was fitted and compression tested - it was good and it would take some effort to turn the engine under compression.

Finally, I fit the gear wheels, and fortunately the alignment marks were still visible, except on the magneto gear wheel. To set the timing of the high-tension magneto, all I could do was use the breaking of the points after setting the retard lever in the center position. I set the spark slightly before top dead center. To help with setting up the engine I used an ink marker pen to scribe a temporary reference line on the flywheel.

I fit the fuel mixer, pump and completed the fuel pipe work. It had been necessary to research the pipe layout, which differed from the Famous engines. While taper threads should be tight, to make sure, I wrapped some PTFE tape around the threads. Once the pipe had been tightened, I removed all the visible tape with a sharp blade. I left painting the pipes until they were all fitted, as using the pipe wrench would make a real mess of it.

As the water pipe threads had been badly corroded in both the side of the cylinder and head, I coated the threads of the new pipes in a gasket sealant to ensure a water-tight fit. The only downside of this was that they would be difficult to remove at a later date.

The layout of the water pipes was straightforward apart from the section between the pump and the cylinder. Normally, this would be a diagonal taking the shortest route, but as this engine had a magneto it had to be routed around it. The cooling system was completed with some black rubber hose from a car heater to fit either side of the water pump between the pump and the pipe work.

Governor/exhaust pushrod

I fit and adjusted the exhaust pushrod assembly so the exhaust started to open at the start of the upstroke and close before the fuel inlet downstroke. At the same time, I tested the operation of the governor lever to see if it would engage. Through wear on the cam, the follower was not lifting enough to allow the end of the governor lever to engage. As I could easily make a new plate for the end of the detent arm if necessary, I decided to grind it to fit rather than repair the cam and/or make a new wheel for the follower.

Once the floating governor sleeve and flywheels were in place, I fit the governor weights along with new springs. I had some old springs that just needed some trimming to fit, although further adjustment would be required to adjust the engine speed when it was running.

Odds and ends

During the course of the restoration it was necessary to make almost a complete selection of nuts, in some cases milling oversized hexagonal bar stock to the correct dimensions. Shipping such items to the UK from the States made it prohibitively expensive to order replacements.

The keys for the flywheels were not in good shape. They were repaired by welding the worn steps, which were then ground to shape.


I had a spark plug that would fit, although a little shorter than the original, then I wired the magneto.

Once the engine was assembled, I filled the crankcase with oil - just sufficient to cover the dipper. I oiled all moving parts, and filled and tightened the grease cups. I adjusted the drip oiler to give four drops a minute, filled, fitted and opened.

I poured some fuel into the tank and worked the fuel pump by hand to fill the reservoir in the mixer. I opened the mixer valve a full turn from closed and retarded the magneto to reduce the possibility of kick back.

Holding the inlet valve open to get over the compression and get the engine turning quickly for the magneto to work at its best, I turned it over, released the inlet valve, lifted the choke and nothing happened! It took a bit of experimenting to discover the fuel mixer needed to be opened for more than one turn.

Eventually the engine fired and I was able to start adjusting the governor, the inlet valve spring tension and the magneto timing so it would start regularly. However, it was firing on a rich mixture and not running at its best. It worked better with some load on its flywheel and I got the impression that it did not like idling.

A tip from a friend prompted me to reduce the size of the hole in the air intake, thus enabling me to close down the mixer needle. This produced a much better running engine and I eventually made a small wooden plug to partially close the air intake.

I now have a rare engine up and running and another bit of history restored.

Contact Peter Rooke at: Hardigate House, Hardigate Road, Cropwell Butler, Notts, England, NG12 3AH; •