Finding Another Old Engine

Hit-n-Miss Engine

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1 Piscataqua Road Dover, New Hampshire 03820-5206

Back in 1975 or thereabouts, I first started noticing hit-n-miss engines while driving around the back roads of New Hampshire. I remember not being that interested in them but I knew what they were.

When I later became interested in 1989 or '90, my wife and I took a ride to the one place I first saw them. It was at Lloyd and Miriam Wentworth's house in New Hampshire, thus beginning a long lasting friendship.

We did not know the Went worths at the time and did not call ahead. As we drove into the yard, they were on their way out to a funeral. A junker engine was what I wanted in order to learn something, instead of buying one that already ran. Of all the nice complete engines Lloyd had there, we settled for a 2 HP basket case in a dark corner for $100.00.

That was the first engine I restored, with the help of my good friends Bob and Bob. I have restored, fixed and sold a few engines since that time.

Once you've been bitten by the iron bug, you're always looking for another engine to work on to see how it operates.

Engines have a funny way of ending up in your possession. Some run cheap, some expensive, or they may take years to acquire, as this latest engine I have found. The engine is a 'Sihire,' as is etched on the brass name tag along with 'Free Gasoline Engines.' It does not state where the engine was made.

I cleaned it up a bit checking everything out. It runs okay, but I should have fixed the valve guide when I had the engine apart. The valve acts a little lazy in the guide, thus not giving good compression, giving you a weaker explosion and not the proper intake of gas-air ratio. I may try a different valve spring, but I don't think it will solve the problem.

The governor had to be adjusted and the gears were out one or two teeth. Someone had obviously taken it apart at one time. Being wintertime, the engine has been in the cellar, so I have it running at short times on camping fuel so the house doesn't get too bad. My wife always knows when I'm running something when she comes home. Once the heat goes on the fumes go through the whole house. It's not that bad, though. You can get to know what's running by the smell, whether it's an alcohol burner for steam, hot-air, gasoline or camp fuel for internal combustion.

The gas tank and the oil can appear not to be original, nor is the muffler.

Maybe I'll take it apart next winter and make a new valve and valve guide. Having a good deal of paint left, I don't think I will strip and restore it. Some things are better left as original as can be. Some of my engines I restore and some I like to just get in running order.

The great thing about this hobby is you don't get bored. You can just keep collecting different engines or you can sell the ones you get bored with and buy or trade for different ones.