Sandow by Detroit

A running engine just needed a little TLC


Photo of the rusted oil catch ring on the crankshaft.

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A few years back I repaired and restored an Ellis. This piqued my interest in Detroit-built 2-cycle engines. I started looking for and found a 2-1/2 HP Sandow, made by Detroit Motorcar Supply Co. Everyone just calls them Detroits. It was very nice and complete: It even had the original fuel and cooling tanks - and it ran. That does not happen to me very often. There were some old repairs on the engine, but they all looked good.

When I started the restoration, everything needed some type of rebuilding. The fuel feeder needed a new cork float and fuel needle valve, and I made a new valve for the air intake. The big trouble was coming up with a fix for the oil ring on the crankshaft, which was partly rusted away.

Not being able to make one out of sheet metal like the original, I ended up making it in two separate parts. The "L" shaped lip that catches the oil was turned out on a lathe, while the backside was cut out of sheet steel and the two parts were welded together.

Another problem that had to be dealt with was a heavy rust build-up inside the crankcase. I am sure when the engine was used on a regular basis this was not a problem. The inside was sandblasted, primed and painted. I hope this will be a good fix; only time will tell.

When all the repair work was done, it was run under load for three days. In the company sales literature, they refer to this engine as the "Amazing Detroit." I have to say I was amazed at what a little workhorse it is. I won't make all the claims the manufacturer does, but I will say it is a very nice running engine.

Contact Paul Frasier at: 12234 Harris, Carleton, MI 48117; (734) 654-8163.