It's What?

Single cylinder gasoline engine

Content Tools

170 Waterford Avenue, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada V2A 3T7

The first times I walked past it at Derenzy Lake, I didn't even know it was an engine. Then, last August of 1995, I happened to have two friends with me; Dave Morgenstern and Bob Laycock, both of them seasoned mechanics. They informed me that 'thing' was an old single cylinder gasoline engine. It was partially hurled, and to me, an engine was the last thing it resembled! When they explained a little bit about the history of these engines and how old this one could be, I immediately wondered about the possibility of getting something like this running. 'You can pretty well fix anything,' was the response.

A closer examination found the bottom of the water jacket to be cracked from one end to the other and it looked like the bearings were melted. After checking around we found evidence of a fire that had gone through the area perhaps 70 years earlier. Whatever the engine had been mounted on was also long gone. It appeared that it had been used to pump water out of the lake for irrigation purposes further down the mountain.

At this point:, we were only half serious about the whole deal. The biggest problem would be getting it out. To get to the site requires a one hour drive into the mountains, then a one hour hike to the lake. Any equipment needed would have to be packed.

The next brainwave we had was to use a helicopter. Even though the cost would be high, Dave and I decided to talk to the owner of a company called 'Eclipse Helicopters' of Penticton, British Columbia. Over lunch we explained what we wanted to do and asked what costs could be involved in flying the engine out.

Well, the answer just about knocked us off our seats. It turned out the owner was as much into this as we were! He said he would fly it out on a weekend for nothing! Needless to say, things suddenly went into high gear.

The altitude of Derenzy Lake is approximately 5,000 feet. The maximum lift capacity for his helicopter, at that height, was 1500 pounds. We had estimated the weight of the engine at somewhere between 1400-1500 pounds, so it was going to be close.

Early in November of '95 an attempt was made to get the engine out, but as the aircraft was down between two ridges, a down draft cut the lift capacity. The pilot was able to raise the engine only about two feet and that was it. After several tries he had to abort the job but he said he would try again soon when the weather changed.

Two weeks later, the second attempt proved successful and the engine was finally flown out. We weighed it on an electronic scale and it came in at 1565 pounds! Now we had to overcome the first hurdle of getting our new toy to a place where we could work on it.

Just before Christmas the engine was stripped down. Everything came apart reasonably easily until we got to the piston. It was rusted in so badly that we couldn't move it with a sledge hammer and block. It is soaking in penetrating oil right now. Our plan is to heat the casing by flushing the water jacket with hot water, then running liquid propane inside the piston in the hopes that expanding the outside and shrinking the inside will help break the piston loose. (Along with a little gentle persuasion with the sledge hammer.)

Another problem we have is identification. The nameplate is missing and we have no idea what make it is. I have enclosed two pictures and the following specs in the hope that perhaps you or your readers might be able to help us out:

Flywheels have 41' diameter; piston has 7' bore and 9' stroke.

Penticton is in the south central portion of the province of British Columbia. Around the late 1800s or early 1900s, mining was developing in a big way. Some of the engines used were similar to ours, although most seemed to be smaller. Some of the points they came from were Pennsylvania; Hamilton, Ontario, and even England. We have looked through one thick book, American Gasoline Engines, but couldn't find a match. We haven't been able to find a book on Canadian gas engines yet if one even exists.

There are other components missing as well such as the magneto and oilier.