Tips on Rebuilding or Restoring

1 & 3 and 3-6 HP ELLIS ENGINES

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P.O. Box 292, Weeping Water, 'Nebraska 68463

Probably there are other people more knowledgeable on these engines, but these tips I have learned from experience and I haven't seen anything in print on this before. If I had, it would have saved me a lot of time and trouble.

NO. 1. When engine has been standing for some time, do not attempt to turn over or start before taking off oil pump and checking inside for broken or stuck parts such as slides and white metal cams. These cams were designed to break should slides be stuck to keep from ruining other inside parts.

NO. 2. After taking engine apart, check all parts for breakage and wear. Be sure to thoroughly check cylinder head, especially on 1 and 3 HP to make sure all water passages are clear and open. Do not remove pins or locking rings in position as a ported engine has to have them.

NO. 3. Distributor and Governor Shaft. These shafts and top distributor bracket are usually badly worn as there is no provision to oil them. The hole in distributor casting is just brass bushing installed-either oilite, or it can be drilled on inside next to cylinder for ?  zerk. This is almost not visible and then only to an expert.

On lower end of shaft is babbitt bearing, sometimes usable, bearing, sometimes usable, sometimes completely worn out. There is a small oil hole in inside bore of governor gear to oil this, but it is so small it usually fills up with dirt or foreign matter before engine is very old letting this bearing run dry. If this has to be rebabbitted be sure to get top of surface to be at least. 125 above casting so that governor gear carrier hard washer is high enough to let gears mesh properly, and the distributor disk is high enough that it doesn't drag on distributor holding casting. If you have to make a new cylinder mounting gasket, be sure it is not too thick as your cylinder height has to be so disk won't drag. We do the same thing on the bottom bearing as on the upper. On the front side of engine, or mixing valve side, above the crankshaft drill hole at an angle for ? zerk. If located right it is almost hidden behind gear guards. We know this is not original, but is a way to oil or grease these parts.

NO. 4. Air Intake. This is very touchy. Some engines have only a hole bored in cast, some have an aluminum or white metal insert held in cast with a pin. These are very easily repaired as you can take out sleeve, build up ID. and machine back to size. To finish, never use emery cloth, sandpaper or valve grinding compound. Real fine wet or dry sandpaper is permissible, but I usually finish these with pumice stone. It will not imbed in sleeve material-just wash off with water.

On the old style or cast iron, unless the sleeve has spun with the shaft, we do nothing. If for some reason the hole is out of round or not parallel to cylinder, we machine ID. just enough to clean it up. I have been unable to find an epoxy that will adhere to brass as there is too much soft carbon in it. We usually build these up with OX. acetylene and a low melting point bronze or bronzeachrome, then machine to size. It is very important to use accurate measurements as this is doing the same thing as the butterfly in an ordinary carburetor, except it is metering air only and an ordinary carburetor is metering gas vapor and air. If this is fit too tight or too loose it may cause engine to run wild as governor will not control engine speed. Also, when running engine at a show or any place where there is dirt, chaff or grass blowing around, if there is no intake screen and a particle gets caught in the sleeve the engine could run very erratically.

NO. 5. Governor. There are two types of governors used. Very few where the feet of the flyballs work in a recess or slot in the bottom end of a brass control sleeve to actuate mixing valve. Most have a double spring actuating device: a light spring on bottom below governor control washer, then a thrust ball bearing that air inlet valve rides on; a heavy spring inside mixer and under speed control screw. I do not have the exact length or tension of these so sometimes it turns out to be a trial and error method to get these synchronized.

NO. 6. Fuel System. This is very difficult for me to explain on paper. It is a very early form of fuel injection. Really too simple to explain once you get into it. Actually it is not a carburetor, but simply one check valve to keep fuel from returning to fuel tank and one check valve directly above this to keep fuel from getting too high in sight glass-about one-third to one-half full. It is important these are operating properly. If too low, engine will start hard, if too high, engine will flood and will even run after a fashion with mixing valve completely closed.

Do not try to screw out mixing valve as it will break off or bend distributor tube going into block. If for some reason you want to take it out, take off whole casting. Either engine seems to run well with valve open one-third to one-half turn, depending on the HP you desire.

NO. 7. Crank case, Crankshaft and Main Bearings. Be sure crankshaft is straight and not out of round. Since there is no adjustment to the sleeve type main bearings, you need to have a straight shaft. We have had some with the shaft broken. If so, don't despair. We have welded and reground these, and they worked out well.

End thrust should be controlled by radius on crank throw and on the inner end of mains. Be sure to get this centered in the case, as there is very little clearance in crankcase. Do not attempt to control end thrust by flywheels and oil pump gear.

I think I  have covered most things to have a nice running engine, but just a few more items: Be sure to use a good grade non-detergent oil. Be sure to have a good responsive coil. Also, have a good contact on distributor disk and a good wiper contact.

I wouldn't go to the time and trouble to write this only that I believe this to be one of the most advanced engines at the time it was built. I know of no other engine company at that time which had a ten year guarantee on their products. Also, it is my belief that it was thirty years too soon to sell an engine like this.

We have tried to do some research on the Ellis family, but to date has all been deadends.