'The Brewster Green Machine'

Stover marked Engine

Stover marked Engine

Content Tools

10 Woodhaven Drive, Poquoson, Virginia 23662

After coming this close (- -) to buying an engine and not succeeding, I still kept looking for a lonesome engine in need of restoration. Wanting to share my frustration with someone, I told my Uncle Pat in Pennsylvania. He said that his mother had a gas engine and would probably sell it to me. He suggested that we call her to get some information about the old gas engine. This was the info obtained: Stover Manufacturing and Engine Company, Freeport, Illinois, 2.5 HP, 575 RPM, type CT-2. I thought that it was small enough, so I got it approved by my dad and gave my uncle an honest price that I would pay for the engine. Mrs. Williams approved the deal, and I thought about the fact that I just bought an engine that I hadn't seen and didn't even know what it looked like. I drew a picture of the engine that I came this close (- -) to buying, mailed it to my Uncle Pat and let him add onto the drawing until it looked like the Stover I bought. He assured me that the engine had run just four or five years ago. I couldn't wait to see the engine for myself.

I waited for about two months until November 3, 1987, when my grandparents arrived here in Virginia in their van with my Stover in the rear. The engine had a coat of John Deere green paint to keep it from rusting over the last fifteen years when my uncle's father bought it. My grandpa told me that he and my uncle had tried to start it, but all it did was backfire and hop around a lot. I thanked my grandpa for bringing the engine from a dark shed in Pennsylvania to my house down in Virginia.

Keep in mind that I was only fourteen when I bought the engine, and I knew absolutely zero about restoring a hit and miss engine! I spent hours after school just turning the flywheels and watching all the moving parts move around. Then I took off the crankcase cover just to see the parts inside. After seeing how the actual engine worked, I began to fiddle with the battery, coil, and point ignition device. I used a straight coat hanger, inserted it in the sparkplug hole, and felt around to get the timing straight between where the piston was and when the exhaust valve and points opened. I set the timing correctly, replaced the original broken sparkplug and filled the gas tank with gas, hoping that was what it ran on. I held my thumb over the mixer's air inlet as my dad turned the flywheels to prime it. Then my dad hooked the car battery up to the coil and set of points. On the third turn of the flywheels, the Stover let out a pop and I watched the flywheels turn hoping it would fire again, but it didn't.

One day, Mr. Barden came over for a visit. He saw the engine that I was working on and said that he knew someone that had a collection of old gas engines, and that he would introduce him to me. On February 2, 1988, I was introduced to the most friendly and helpful engine collector I ever knew (actually he's the only engine collector I know)-Mr. Larry Phillips. He ran his engines for me so I could see how they worked, and then we left to see my engine. I explained the problem to him about my engine not starting. He solved that problem that very same night! He took off the Stover's gas line and found a stuck check valve. I thanked him and he gave me C. H. Wendel's Encyclopedia of Gas Engines and some copies of Gas Engine Magazine. Thanks to GEM I was able to purchase a Stover instruction manual and Stover decals. To eliminate the battery and coil rig, I purchased a magneto, a magneto bracket, and a rocker arm all from Ed Deis when I was in Pennsylvania on vacation. I previously ran it on the battery and coil rig since those magneto parts were missing.

Once school vacation began, I spent nearly every day working on cleaning my engine. After buying all of those parts and things, I wasn't about to pay to get mine sandblasted. I found that a rust brush and a can of paint remover works just fine. After cleaning all of the disassembled parts, I sprayed them all with primer and waited forever to get the paint. I found a good paint store in the Yellow Pages, but it took my dad twenty more phone calls to find the original color of paint, Brewster green. I painted a fancy gold trim over the green, and tried to make my Stover look as original as possible. I even went as far as to make some stained wood skids and a stained wood tool box, both with Stover marked on them which looked like the originals.

When it came to reassembling the engine in late August, things worked out fine because I had remembered where all of the parts were supposed to go. I put oil in the crankcase to get it ready to run only to find that the cam cover gasket was leaking oil. I took the flywheels off and supposedly fixed the leaky oil gasket.

It was now ready to roll, but as I turned the flywheels I heard a loud pop and flames shot out of the muffler. I took the flywheels off again (by this time I was really getting annoyed), finding that I had put the gears in off by a few teeth, although I was positive that I had it set right before.

Now that everything definitely was in time, I attempted to start it. It ran, but it never got up to speed, or in other words, 'idling'. I solved that problem by moving the push rod up the side rod until it ran perfectly.

I had to mow a lot of lawns and baby sit a lot of kids, but being able to own a 'Brewster green machine' was well worth it!!