Readers' Engine Questions


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A Brief Word

Last winter when in Australia for the National Rally, we renewed our friendship with Ian Johnston. Time is always very short when visiting with old friends, but we worked in as much time as possible. Ian completed a wonderful tractor book awhile back, titled The World of Classic Tractors. Its 260-plus pages cover a great many American-made tractors, such as the Sheppard, the Co-op, Mogul, Graham-Bradley and various others. Also included are some European tractors and some made-in-Australia models.

This is a delightful book, and much of it in color. Johnston's text is delightful to read and manifests great accuracy. If you are looking for a fine book on classic tractors, we highly recommend this title. In the U.S., it should be available through Amazon .com. The specific data is: The World of Classic Tractors, Ian M. Johnston, Kangaroo Press, 20 Barcoo St., Roseville 2069 Australia.

By the time this copy is in your hands during April, plans will be pretty well set for our planned journey to Germany, Switzerland, Holland and Belgium. As always, it is delightful to set up one of these tours, but we'll concede that the details are endless. Of course the HMT Rally in Holland will be a major highlight. If you've never been to this show, you're in for a surprise. Engines and tractors are mixed throughout the aisles, so you never know what you might find. The last time we were there the flea market was incredible, with probably hundreds of vendors on hand. We were also impressed with the craft displays and other items.

Our queries this month begin with:

37/5/1: Bull Pup Q; 'See the photo of a Bull Pup engine. The tag reads: The Fairbanks Company, Type BP, 1-1/2 HP, s/n B26970, 400 rpm. On my engine the end of the rocker assembly that works the exhaust valve is broken off, also, on the right hand side of the engine, standing in front and looking toward the flywheels there are two tapped holes about 1-inch apart. The two holes are on the side of the water hopper and just to the right below the data tag. I would like to know what these two tapped holes are for, or rather, what was fitted to them. May I hear from other Bull Pup owners?' Don Newcomb, 532 Kirk Rd., Rochester, NY 14612. E-mail:

A: The Bull Pup was actually manufactured by Bates & Edmonds at Lansing, Mich. The Fairbanks Co. did not actually manufacture engines, but served as a jobbing distributor.

37/5/2: Utilimotor Chester Frantz, RD 3, Box 183, Tamaqua, PA 18252, has just acquired a Utilimotor, made by Johnson Motor Co., Waukegan, III. He is looking for information on this engine so that it can be restored. If you can be of help, please contact Mr. Frantz at the above address.

37/5/3: Unidentified Pump 'See the photo of a pump I acquired. Cast on the top cover is 0-608-60. This pump was mounted with a 1-3/4 HP Associated Chore Boy when I got it. There are no other markings. Can anyone be of help in identifying this pump? Your help would be greatly appreciated.' George Flaig, 2740 E Mill Rd., Mattituck, NY 11952.

37/5/4: 2HP Fairbanks-Morse Q: 'I'm in the process of restoring a Fairbanks-Morse 1926 engine of 2 HP. It is fairly complete except that the carburetor (a fixed-jet style) is gone. There are traces of red paint. What is the correct color? Also, I've seen no mention of a 2 HP model, only the 1-1/2 and 3 HP models. The s/n is 658903. Any help would be appreciated.' Brian D. Ellefson, 4833 Edgewood Aue. N, Crystal, MN 55428.

A: We assume you are talking about the model with the metal battery box that held a Ford Model T coil. These engines used solid flywheels of an unusual 'dishpan' shape, thus the vernacular term, 'a dishpan Fairbanks.' Later in production, we don't remember the year, the HP was raised to 2 from the 1-1/2 HP as originally issued. These engines are red and black, the red being comparable to DuPont RS910.

37/5/5: Palmer Engine? 'See the photos of what is said to be a Palmer engine. It has a 6-inch bore and stroke. The unusual feature is that the cylinder head and the water jacket are both detachable from the cylinder. I need help to identify this engine, and also to see what the original ignition parts looked like, since virtually all of them are missing. Any help would be greatly appreciated.' Michael Bond, 3594 Test Rd., Richmond, IN 47374.

37/5/6: Vintage Garden Tractors 'See the photos of my vintage garden tractors. I have a Page garden tractor with s/n ZL6461217. I would like to find out when it was built, or other information on it. Also looking for information on a Homelite mower Model M26, s/n 922420, and a Jacobsen Model 62A Estair 26 8B26 2398. Any help would be appreciated.' Greg LeClair, 117 South St., #3, Waukesha, WI 53186.

37/5/7: Fairbanks 'Z' Q: 'I recently acquired a Fairbanks-Morse Z 3 HP with igniter ignition and throttle-governed. It has s/n 298216. What year was this engine made? The engine is complete except for the magneto. What type of magneto was used with this engine?' Arlan Benyshek, 1011 -280 Rd., Cuba, KS 66940.

A: Without a photo, we can't tell for sure about the magneto. However, if it is an igniter-style, then it most likely used a Sumter low tension magneto. A photo would really be helpful ... the magneto styles changed from time to time. Your engine was made in 1918.

37/5/8: R.E.O. Engine 'I have a R.E.O. Motors Inc. engine that I know nothing about. It was made in Lansing, Mich. It is Model 552, Type A, s/n 102642. It has a gear reduction of 2:1 for the v-pulley. Any information on this engine would be appreciated, including the correct color, or information on the engine or the company. Thanks!' Ray H. Schulz, 1207 Crestview Dr., Vermillion, SD 57069.

37/5/9: Eclipse Engine Harry Jarrett, 214 N. Judson, Fort Scott, KS 66701 sends along photos of a 2 HP Eclipse engine, made by Eclipse Motor Co., Mancelona, Mich., in 1907. 'The engine was sold by Geo. C. Christopher & Son at Wichita, Kan. Their name is on the engine and on the cart. This firm also sold other farm related items, including large steel arched buildings. I would like to find more information on this engine and the company that built it. Can anyone help?' Contact Harry at the address above if you can help.

37/5/10: Old Grinder 'See the photo of an old grinder. It was made by O.C. Harris, Waterville, N.Y. Re-patented August 1848. There is a bracket missing that I believe would hold a hand crank for turning the mill. It is only 13 inches high, so I doubt it was ever run by a windmill. I would guess it was used for cracking wheat for chickens. It must have been well cared for as there is little rust. If anyone has any information on this mill, including the color, please let me know.' Melvin Watson, 289 Birmingham St., Stratford, Ontario N5A 2T7 Canada.

37/5/11: Bourke Engine 'Does anyone know where I might find a Bourke engine? It was made from 1935 into the 1960s. Any information would be appreciated.' Aaron Beauchamp, 12508 SE 37th St., Choctaw, OK 73020.

37/5/12: Wolsely Vertical Engine 'I recently purchased a 1-1/2 HP Wolsely vertical engine, s/n 26206, Type WD8, made by Wolsely Sheep Shearing Co. Ltd., Birmingham, England. 1 am looking for any information including the original paint color and striping scheme, when built, etc. Mine has one flywheel and a homemade crank. Any information would be greatly appreciated.' Luke Kissell, 1323 Tannery Rd., Westminster, MD 21157.

A Closing Word

By the time you have this copy sometime in April, we hope to have shrugged off the winter doldrums. In fact, ye olde Reflector hopes to have started up an engine or two by that time. Isn't it peculiar how one can pull up a stool and just listen to that stack music? Last fall we acquired a nice Lister vertical diesel of about 6 HP. Even in rather cool weather, say 50 degrees F, it starts right off. Of course, part of this is the fact that the engine is in excellent condition, having had a new sleeve and piston prior to my ownership. That gets the compression back up to optimum, and that is a requirement for a diesel to run as it should.

As a youngster I remember having to help saw wood with a buzz saw for some of our friends. They ran the saw with an old 8 HP engine, the name of which I do not know. Anyway, the old engine probably needed some desperate work. It didn't sound too bad when we weren't actually sawing. Like all hit-and-miss engines, it took an occasional shot and then coasted. However, when working it fairly hard, it would develop an asthmatic wheeze from compression going past the piston. It is a sound I have never forgotten.

In the old days, there were different schools of thought regarding the fitting of pistons to cylinders at the factory. The majority of cylinders were bored on a lathe or, in larger factories, on a horizontal boring mill. Some of these old machinists could achieve incredibly good results. Those who insisted on better quality opted for an internal grinder, such as the Heald. Now here was a machine that could do a first-class job of grinding a cylinder! When operated from line shafting, as was customary, there was a literal plethora of belts and pulleys. The only Heald we ever saw working was in an old machine shop operated by two brothers, Paul and Marvin Gard. In their earlier years, they built up engines for racing cars, notably for the famous Gus Schrader, who originated in my locale.

Back in the late 1960s, Paul and Marvin, then about age 80, decided one morning they were going to sell out. Within an hour they had sold the building where they had spent their entire lifetime. Then they sold off the equipment. From Reliance Machine Co., ye olde Reflector bought the Gould & Eberhardt shaper, a planer, a Landis cylindrical grinder and numerous other items. We could have purchased the Heald grinder, but we dallied at the $300 price, and someone else bought it. Life has various regrets, and that is one we have always had.

Probably the most used of any equipment we bought there is the shaper. It was completely tooled, including a setup for cutting internal keyways. Like all the machines owned by the Gard brothers, it had the best of care and still performs very well. Originally we had it set up on line shafting, but another relocation forced us to set it up for electric motor drive. However, we retained the clutch and brake mechanism that came as original equipment. More of our machinists should use a shaper. We'll allow that a single-point tool might not work as fast as a milling cutter, but we can re-sharpen or replace the bit with ease. Milling cutters are expensive, and we have no equipment to regrind them.

Enough of our ranting for this month. We hope to see you here again for the June issue of GEM.

C.H. Wendel is a noted authority on antique engines and tractors. His books constitute a vital reference resource for collectors and hobbyists. If you have a query for C.H. Wendel, send it along to Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265.