Michigan built engine

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12234 Harris, Carleton, Michigan 48117

I have been collecting engines for about six or seven years now, but a Michigan built engine has eluded me all this time. That is hard to believe, with all the different companies that were in this state. I have a soft spot in my heart for Michigan built engines. Not that I think they're better or anything of the sort, but another part of the hobby that I enjoy in my travels through the state, is going to small towns to see if I can still find the old factories where they were built. I enjoy this as much as collecting engines.

A friend and fellow collector, Ed Laginess, had this New Way. I was talking to him about it and suggested that he should restore it. He said that he didn't have the time and asked if I was interested in it. Well, let me tell you, I could not believe my ears, a Michigan built engine and a New Way on top of that! I feel that the New Way is a very collectible engine-with two-tone paint, upright, air cooling, raised letters on the flywheels, gold striping and flowers-well, I could go on and on if you know what I mean. I said, 'Yes, of course'. He gave me a good, fair price. Now I don't have a lot of money and I had picked up a drag saw a few months earlier, so all my engine money was gone. I asked if he would hold it for me until I could come up with the cash.

Isn't it funny how you can come up with money for a worthy cause when you put your mind to it? The first order of business was a tailgate sale at the engine club. I went through the garage and filled up the back of my truck with treasures that I could part with.

This netted me a tidy sum, but a long way to go. The next things to go were an old air conditioner and a pick-up bed cover. Close, but not quite. I had changed the siding on the house so I took the old aluminum siding to the scrap yard. That did it! I had the money I needed.

The only bad thing about this engine was that I picked it up late on a Saturday afternoon. We were leaving on vacation early Monday morning, so absolutely no time could be spent playing with my new toy with all the getting ready and packing. I did enjoy my vacation and I did enjoy coming home and heading for the garage.

The New Way was like any old engine. Some parts missing and some were broken. The normal missing parts were the muffler, cylinder oiler, check valves for the fuel system, air intake piping and belt pulley. Some of the very important parts that were still with the engine were the fuel mixer, ignition system, priming cup and the sheet metal air cooling shroud. I did not think much about the shroud at the time, but it would have been a tough part to replace. This one was rusty, but in very good original condition, so the engine must have spent most of its working life inside somewhere.

When the engine was put to rest with the muffler and air intake missing, this left the cylinder open to the elements. But you know those bugs that build their nest out of mud? They had completely blocked off both the intake and exhaust. This kept the cylinder dry and rust free. It took about a year and a half to find or make up missing parts and two trips to the Portland, Indiana Show.

At the Portland Show in 1990, I met up with Ed Grimsey, who had not just one New Way, but a whole line of them. All but one was completely restored and they all looked beautiful. We talked New Ways for a long time. I told him about the check valve I made up for the fan shaft and how proud I was that it worked and everything. Ed smiled and said, 'Now block it off'. I asked why. He said when the engine has been running for a time, it will pump so much oil up to the fan shaft and the fan will blow it all over the cylinder where it would run down and cover the complete engine. Ed also had decals made up and sold me a pair. I was very happy to get those. And naturally, the talk about paint came up. I told him that I thought . that I had a very early built engine and the green on it looked very dark. He said to look at the color on the engine ,he had not restored yet. It was a very dark green like on mine, so I did my best to match it. I think we were very close on the red too.

Now, when you get a new and different engine to repair and restore, it raises a series of questions. This New Way was no exception. But when you are done restoring it, you have the answers to most of them. Among the different and unusual things about this engine is the engine tag itself, for starters. It does not have the typical round logo that I have seen on all other engines. It does say New Way and it gives only one patent date, December 6, 1904-with the serial number of 1119 I am guessing the year to be about 1907. The engine does not have an oil drain for the crank case. It did have a 1/4 plug on the top side in front of the engine to add oil, but I could not tell if it was supposed to be there or not. So I plugged it and installed a larger 3/8 plug in the back to add and remove the oil from. There is also no fuel tank drain.

Another thing about the engine that is very confusing, is under the camshaft gear housing. There was an arrangement of six different bolt holes that were plugged off and painted over. The only thing I could think of is that it was a change or update in production. The last thing is an oil shield and seal. The shield is made from the same thickness of metal as the shroud and it fits over the main bearing cap. The shield edges were folded under and made a gutter to channel the oil back to the block where it would run down to the oil catch basin at the base of the engine. The seal was made from cotton cloth folded and pressed to about a one inch wide strip wrapped around the crankshaft and tied into place.

Now, if anyone out there has any information on early-built New Ways and would like to share it with me, I would be very happy to hear from you.