Letters & Miscellanies

Fairbanks-Morse Rings, Waukesha Engines, Wajax Pump and Engine Show Poetry


Twice bitten: Jerry Ellison's money-making 6 HP IHC M.

Andrew K. Mackey

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Fairbanks-Morse Piston Rings

In regard to query 39/5/7 in Flywheel Forum in the May 2004 issue about piston ring retainers cast into Fairbanks-Morse pistons: It is very important that they be retained and used, if the engine is to retain compression.

The purpose of the protrusions is indeed to keep the rings from rotating in the ring grooves. On the horizontal engines, especially in the larger engines with bores over 4 inches, the rings will tend to rotate. This results in numerous problems. First, if the ring ends are all in alignment compression can escape the combustion chamber. Secondly, The escaping gases will create hot spots in the cylinder, drying the oil and creating more wear on the cylinder. Finally, blow-by pressure will blow the oil supplied by the oiler for the piston and wrist pin back into the oiler -or worse, out the vent and onto spectators and the engine. The oiling to the wrist pin on the FM engine is marginal at best, and a loss of oil will quickly lead to bearing failure at the wrist pin. Insufficient oil on the rings accelerates wear, resulting in deterioration of compression, and it all just snowballs.

The FM 6 HP engines also have locaters, and one I owned had the locaters filed off. The wrist pin failed three times in four years, the rings twice. All four times the piston was removed, and all the rings had rotated to ends-up position. It wasn't until I worked on a second 6 HP that I saw what was missing from my engine. By all means, keep the retainers.

The ends of the original rings were cut at a slant, and retainer grooves were cut into the bottom edge of the ring. On straight-cut rings, I ground a groove into the ring, approximately 3/4-inch from the ring end to help preserve compression. I hope this helps.

26 Mott Place Rockaway, NJ 07866, mackmotr@aol. com

Fairbanks-Morse Compressor

The Fairbanks-Morse engine in the April 2004 Gas Engine Magazine is definitely a Model M Waukesha. I once had a small generator with an FM tag on the diesel engine that drove it, but the engine was an Onan.

I retired as service manager for a Waukesha distributor after almost 40 years servicing Waukesha engines. I have a great deal of Waukesha literature, and I am glad to share.

Ralph Olmsted, 120 Guadalajara St., New Iberia, LA 70563-1368

Money-making IHC 6 HP M

This is the only engine I have that has made me money: Cars have hit it two times - it's my best engine! It's a 6 HP M. It froze and busted too badly to run again.

Jerry Ellison, 549 Ray Ellison Road, Vilas, NC 28692

Rust Project

A few years ago, a monthly called Skinned Knuckles ran a series on different kinds of rust cover paint - i.e. Rustoleum, Corrless, POR, etc. It was very interesting to watch the progress of this project: some worked, some did not.

I wish GEM could do a project on different rust-stopping films that we could spray or brush on our finds until we are able to start work. We need a product that will cover and protect every part -front, back, top and bottom.

I have tried WD-40: it works for a while and then is gone. Linseed oil is messy, but works better. When I retired from the Navy, we had a product called Fluid Film. It seemed to work well. I think this would be a great project that would help all of us, since we buy more than we can fix and some units sit for years! Just an idea, hope you can help.

Bill Irwin, 1706 Brush Creek Road, Glade Valley, NC 28627

Great idea, Bill! We'll certainly kick it around. In the meantime, we'd like to hear feedback from readers on Bill's idea, and maybe even get new suggestions along the same lines. - Editor

Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609-1265; rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

Wajax High-pressure Pump

About 1997, I attended the January swap meet at Avon Park, Fla. While walking the many rows of goodies, I saw this interesting but odd-looking engine. The owner was from Canada, and we had a very nice visit discussing what turned out to be a portable high-pressure pump designed for fighting forest fires.

We had a lengthy discussion about the pump and what it was worth. My plan was to leave early Saturday morning, so I packed my truck Friday night, leaving enough space just in case we agreed on a price. We did, and I now own this Wajax high-pressure pump powered by a water-cooled two-cylinder, two-stroke engine.

With the information on the brass tag and the help of a computer friend, I was able to locate the factory, Watson Jack Hopkins Ltd. of Montreal, Canada, which is still in business.

I called the plant, talked with the manager and gave him the tag information. He identified the unit as a 1940 emergency forest fire pump. During our conversation, I asked if an owner's manual was available, and his secretary found the only one. She faxed the complete book, page by page.

I found the engine to be in very good condition, and the high-pressure pump was perfect. The engine runs great and with a good spark. Because it is water-cooled, I only run it for a couple minutes at a time.

But this high-pressure, water-cooled pump rig is difficult to show-and-tell, so with my wife's blessing I made a glass-top table using the pump as the base. It is now displayed in my sun-room overlooking Lake Gaston in beautiful North Carolina.

N.E. Vandeveer, 247 Pineview Drive, Henrico, NC 27842

My Tree

Dedicated to the women at Flywheeler Park:

By Dot Vandenbergh

38 U.S. Highway 51, Pana, IL 62557

I'm a Flywheeler and proud to be,
I love the grounds, most precious 'My Tree.'
Uncle Sam and flowers, farm fish flying high.
Bring smiles and good cheer as folks walk by.
They tell me they're anxious to get through the gate,
To see me and 'My Tree' they can hardly wait.
Things to look at and reminisce about.
Sometimes seeing something they can't live without.
Loving every show, I give my all,
Dressing 'My Tree' for a Flywheelers Ball.
Now, you might think 'it's only a tree,'
Gee, Dot, how great can a tree be?
Health problems limit some ladies walking,
The guys go to the field and leave them here talking.
We all got acquainted, they leave with a smile,
Yes girls! Coming to Flywheelers is very worthwhile.
Let it be heard! We have girl things like these:
The women's building, Red Hot Foxy Flirties and Mad Hatter Teas.
And, God willing, 'My Tree' and me.