Sent to us by Owen W. White 48 Cascades Road Pakuranga Auckland,
In the centre of Owen White’s floor stood another ‘no
name’ engine that Barry Cardiff brought along for the experts
to identify. This engine was thought at first to be of the Villiers
family, it is air cooled with the usual cowls etc., quite compact,
with an external Wico mag, year about 1950. Finally it was settled,
for want of a better name, JAP of about 5 HP.
On looking around Owen’s Engine Shed you can see the hours
of work that goes into our hobby. Owen is one of our first club
members and has been working away at his engines and now has
several nicely finished units.
One in particular that took my eye was an Amanco with, according
to the book paint job, black, silver and deep red, even finished to
the transfer stage. If it runs as good as it looks it will get 10
out of ten.
But, alas, no, it doesn’t, or leastways, it didn’t.
‘You know fellows’ said Owen, ‘I’ve done everything
to the b…dy engine to try and get it to go. We’ve checked it
over fifty times. We’ve cranked and cranked, and when I got
tired Margaret took the handle, when she wore out her cranking arm
the daughter cranked, all to no avail and so there it sat, nice to
look at but no-go.’
Well, in our club we have Roger Walton. It is said if Roger
cranks it and cranks it the right way he can get any engine to go!
Well, I should say, eventually. With 20 experts on the job Owen was
confident something would happen. This was a good opportunity for a
‘How-to-do-it and What-to-do’ in a won’t-go
This Amanco was made about 1915. Battery start switch over to
generator to run. Perhaps not original but when Owen got this
engine it, like a lot of others, had no mag, no this and no that
etc. Consequently Owen made the low tension generator out of
several other units.
He even, I believe, made the drive gear from a piece of ?’
plate, marked it out and got stuck in with a hacksaw and a file.
The result is a first class gear. I wonder where some people get
the patience to do those sorts of jobs.
Anyway getting back to the starting business. As Roger was
checking through the normal things, he was explaining to members as
he went along. Remembering, of course, Owen has completely
dismantled this engine. So valve timing checked, petrol in tank, in
fact all the normal checks were done and explained.
An odd help from the experts such as ‘perhaps there are too
many coats of paint on the flywheels and they are out of
balance.’ or ‘Is there any spark left in the spark plug or
too much water in the hopper?’ Owen mentioned what could be
done with some of the suggestions.
Meanwhile, Roger was quietly going over Owen’s work. Now
Roger is a great deducer; when it comes to deducing Roger is the
best, so I’m told. Well in this case he scored a bull!
With spanners flying in every direction, he soon had the
carburettor on the floor and, in his hot little hand, he held the
gasket that fits between the carburettor and cylinder head. You
guessed it-no hole! When you make a gasket, Owen was reminded, you
are supposed to punch all the holes, especially the one that allows
the gas into the cylinder. Owen was a little red but said,
‘Margaret made that gasket, she makes all my gaskets. You
can’t trust the help these days’. Five minutes later the
Amanco was running as good as it looked.
Next to be started was a Boothmac, which runs very well. There
is a lot more work to do in Owen’s shed and if it’s
anything to go on from what he has done already he should have a
nice collection eventually.