Gas Engine

Content Tools

969 Iron Bridge Mount Joy, Pennsylvania 17552.

This is a story about my husband's 8 HP throttle governed New Way gas engine manufactured approximately 1917.

Ed Grimsey, 969 Iron Bridge Road, Mount Joy, PA 17522, owns this 8 HP throttle governed New Way engine, which dates approximately to 1917- For the story of its restoration, see 'Grand Daddy, The Product of Perseverance,' written by Ed's wife Lucille, inside this issue.

One winter afternoon several years ago, my husband Ed, our son Eddie, and our neighbor Paul Brubaker drove up the steep driveway to our home. They had been to John Ritter's Engine Shed. In the bed of the pickup truck was a huge, rusty, old New Way gas engine. To me, it looked like the 'Grand Daddy' of all New Ways! Those flywheels looked so gigantic! I stared at the thing with a frozen smile on my face while my mind rapidly calculated the amount of work necessary for this massive mess to look like its smaller predecessors. I shrugged and thought-'It will take him all winter to get ready for the spring shows. Ed, smiling and very happy, was oblivious to my reaction. Little did we know what lay ahead before this 8 HP engine would be operative and finished.

When 'Grand Daddy' reached the top of Ed's priority list, he began, as he had in every other restoration, with a complete disassembly of the engine. Needed were new wrist pins, wrist pin bushings and a new camshaft bushing. Also, Ed had to fabricate new valves. He adjusted the mains and rod bearings, sandblasted the total engine, and prepared it for painting. (I think the paint preparation is his favorite part). He sanded, filed, and sanded again until the time was at hand for the final prime coat. Suddenly things started to depart from normal. Let me explain.

Ed has a self-made portable work stand for restoring engines. It has wheels so that he can move it around easily. It was while Grand Daddy was on this cart that disaster struck! Ed had just finished wet-sanding the engine, and had forgotten to replace the grate over the floor drain. By now I'm sure you know what happened-one of those wheels made a straight path for the small, 4' hole in the basement floor, and 'Grand Daddy' toppled over. You could say that the project almost went 'down the drain.'

I was in the kitchen when I heard the crash followed by complete silence, no fussing nor cussing. I rushed down the steps to the basement to see if my husband was still alive. He was in shock- staring at his 'Humpty Dumpty' pile. I was so dismayed at the sight that I was unable to utter a sound. I quickly retreated upstairs. The mess remained status quo for about four weeks, completely forsaken until the mental and emotional trauma faded.

With great apprehension, he tore it apart once again. It was then Ed made the discouraging discoveries that the side of the crankcase was broken and pushed out, the main bearing and its mount plate were broken, and both connecting rods were bent. With little heart left for the project, Ed placed 'Grand Daddy' in a corner for six months until he had the 'grit' to start all over.

Gathering up new found courage and determination, Ed sandblasted the block and the crack, 'v'd' it out, welded the main bearing, and straightened the connecting rods. As a result of the straightening and welding, it was necessary to pour new babbitt in the mains and rod bearings. Then it was back to 'square one'-on the cart-this time with the cover on the drain.

During the next several weeks, little by little, piece by piece, Ed added many necessary items to complete the job. (Wives know these as pipe and little brass things.)

Next he turned his attention to the big flywheels. It was an evening in July when he painted them. After spraying the first coat, a thunder storm of great intensity roared through Lancaster County. You guessed it, the power failed. With a spray gun in one hand and a battery operated lantern in the other (praying for enough air in the tank to last), he finished the job, not knowing until daylight what it would look like.

Encouraged with the results, this persevering restorer knew that things were looking up, and that it was time to get 'Grand Pappy' cranked up and going. After trying three magnetos with no success, Ed hooked up a battery ignition to get the engine started.

Believing that this project was in need of much prayer support, if 'Grand Daddy' was to get to Portland, Indiana, I began asking God to give Ed the wisdom and patience to finish the job on time for the Tri State Gas & Tractor Show, which was his goal.

When the engine finally started, it ran on one cylinder only. Summer was passing quickly and the pressure was increasing. After two days of intense trouble-shooting, Ed surmised that the intake-valve-cage gasket had blown out on one cylinder. So he fabricated a new gasket of a different material, and with that second cylinder decided to cooperate. Whew!

The next step was to get a 38' wide engine through a 36' basement door. Time for more prayer and maneuvering. First Ed removed all four wheels and the axles from the newly varnished trucks, setting the frame on 4 x 4's, and cocked the engine approximately 45 degrees. This allowed him to get one end of the crankshaft past the doorway. Then he moved the engine over so the other end of the crankshaft would clear the door jamb. For four hours he either crawled over the engine or walked a-round the house to get to the other end of it-a weary task, to be sure. At last, the engine emerged from the basement waiting for the wheels to be rein-stalled. There was no noticeable damage to the engine or the house during this phase. Thank God.

When the time came to bring the engine up the hill to the upper driveway area, Ed discovered his farm tractor battery was dead. Now he had to rely on his not-so-trusty, very old Wheel-Horse to pull it up to the trailer for loading. I couldn't look-but HE MADE IT! I had visions of the chain breaking and the engine rolling down the hill to the road. I guess you could say my faith was in need of the Wheel-Horse too.

With the pressure off, we breathed sighs of relief. By 8:30 P.M. Sunday night, August 23rd, we were ready to take off for Portland. Ed found a magneto and installed it with success. He also purchased a nice New Way double coil to be added this winter. To our delight, the engine ran very well all week at the show. We believe many folks enjoyed watching 'Grand Daddy' and listening to the unusual rhythm as he chugged along.

By now you may have guessed that I had technical support and encouragement from Ed while writing this story.

We hope that anyone experiencing difficulty with a restoration will be given a new boost and will remember that perseverance in restoration is a necessary virtue.