The Real Boat Anchor Has Been Saved!

Doak sideshaft engine


Content Tools

Sent to us by Howard Ecdahl 1768 Lemans Street, Roseburg, Oregon 97470

5 HP Doak sideshaft engine now in the possession of Howard Ecdahl of 1768 Lemons, Roseburg, Oregon 97470.

The Doak Engine Company was formed in Oakland, California, in 1887. They made 3 HP to 100 HP engines. All were made of close grain cast iron and most were sideshaft.

This 5 HP sideshaft was probably used in the '20s or '30s in the dry season to pump water, and most likely heavy rains covered it up. My guess is that it was there for about forty years.

The next dry season was in the late '70s. Someone spotted it and decided to use it as a yard ornament. That is exactly what it was, for many years.

For years people just passed it by, until one day Will Tolen of Eagle Point, Oregon, took notice. He made arrangements to take it home, where he put it under a shade tree and chipped off all of the scale. He then put it in a barrel of oil and let it sit for a year.

Will Tolen and I both belong to Branch #9 (Pottsville, Oregon) Engine Club. At one of the meetings he asked me about the engine's fuel valve, which was missing. Then at another time he asked me about the governor. In this particular engine, it was a cone governor.

I formerly had a 10 HP Doak with a flyball governor. I, being legally blind, sold most of my engines, including a 10 HP Doak, to Ray Gardner of Bandon, Oregon. So, I couldn't help Will Tolen with his governor. After one of the meetings I asked him if the engine was for sale. He said, 'I'm not having too good of luck with it.' So, dismissing my bothersome blindness, I bought it--literally sight unseen. It was delivered on January 8, 1997.

I checked it out for a couple of weeks and then decided to make a sub-base for it. I used 8' channel iron, 2? by 10' sycamore wood, added wheels, and got it up off of the floor.

Ray Gardner stopped by one day. He said he would copy the fuel system valve and repair the ignitor.

Both flywheels had to be removed, as one was on backwards. The first shop was afraid of breaking it. The second said their press wasn't big enough. The third machine shop agreed to do the work.

The book says to use brake fluid and set it afire, but that didn't work. I tried kerosene, but that didn't work either. Using a five inch piece of steel pipe I had the piston pressed forward. Being a headless engine it can't go out the front. After having it pressed forward, I tried brake fluid again. Still zero! I decided to try a piece of 3' conduit from the ignition hole and an eight-pound maul. It started to move. It got back as far as the rings travel, but since the rings were full of rust the conduit just curled up. A bigger hammer was used and the piston finally came out.

The piston, wrist pin, and bearings all looked good. A new brass shaft was installed and sideshaft gears had to be copied and made. The governor weights and cam lobe were all that could be saved. Rocker arm, denton, crank guard and governor had to be hand molded. The engine had to be rebored and it needed a new sleeve. After getting the sleeve put in, I started adding the parts on the sideshaft.


All in all, it took seventeen months to get it all done. Now the engine runs and it's ready to pump water!

While the work was in progress, Branch #9 came to a meeting at my home. Everyone was very complimentary on the work. I found that very rewarding.

Now, I need some help. I borrowed a brass tag but don't have the engine number. Can anyone tell me a special place to find it? It's not on the flywheel, it's not above the keyway nor under the ignitor. I need help on this one.

Thanks, Ray, for all of your much appreciated help.