Restoring a 1903 5 HP Samson Gas Engine


| July/August 2004


1903 5 HP Samson Model N
Manufacturer:
Samson Iron Works, Stockton, Calif.
Model: Model N
Year: Circa 1903
HP: 5
RPM: 300
Serial number: unknown
Bore: 5-1/2-inch
Stroke: 10-inch
Flywheel diameter: 36 inches
Governor: Flyball, volume governed
Ignition: Low-tension
Cooling: Tank

Samson engines have always intrigued me, and I've always wanted an early Model N. Fortunately, a good friend helped me to acquire a circa-1903 5 HP 'web spoke,' so named by Samson collectors for the inboard counterweight cast into one of the 36-inch flywheels. Designed by John M. Kroyer, this Samson is a long-stroke (5-1/2-by-10-inch bore and stroke with a 2-inch-diameter crankshaft), slow-speed, volume-governed gas engine equipped with Samson's later-style one-piece igniter.

The past owner started restoration but, unfortunately, died before he could finish it. When I bought the Samson in 1998, it was set up on a cart with a cooling tank. Another good friend hauled it to my home in Modesto, Calif., and before I worked on it all 1 could do was sit and admire it for several days.

Samson engines are beautifully proportioned with large flywheels and turned connecting rods that are fitted with heavy brasses. Both valves - as well as the igniter - are mounted in the pre-combustion chamber. The governor is belt-driven using a balanced valve while a peculiar valve link controls the four-cycle events. All Samsons are tank-cooled, throttled-governed engines using poured babbitt for the mains and low-tension ignition.



If it's not one thing, it's another
Once the initial thrill of acquiring the Samson had passed, I began checking it over. For starters, the timing was so far advanced it wanted to take the skin off my hands even on retard. I reset the ignition and tried again, but it would only run for a little while and then die. But if I waited a few minutes, it would start right up again. While dealing with this problem, I learned a very important lesson. Studying the points under a magnifying glass, I noticed they were 'brassy' looking. Further inspection revealed someone had built the points up with brass brazing rod. I made new points to correct the problem and reassembled the Samson. I now had excellent spark, but the engine turned over too stiff. Checking into it, I found the main bearings were tight so I shimmed them as needed.

Now I had the Samson running, but the governor spindle shaft kept binding in the valve body. It turned out the shaft was bent and I ended up making a new one because I couldn't straighten the original to my satisfaction. Now the Samson governed properly, but the igniter trip rod kept sticking, causing the engine to die. I repaired that problem as well as the flooding mixer, which had a rotted-off fuel needle valve. Finally, the engine ran very well, never missing a lick.














SUBSCRIBE TO GAS ENGINE MAGAZINE TODAY!

Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Be sure to take advantage of the Square Deal Subscription Program.

  • No Missed Issues.

  • No Renewal Notices.

  • No Additional Cost.

The Square Deal Subscription Program is designed as a paperless transaction with automatic renewals at a preferred low rate.   With advanced electronic notification, a 100% satisfaction guarantee and an easy opt-out plan, the Square Deal Subscription Program is the best value, risk free, eco-friendliest way to subscribe.




Facebook YouTube

Classifieds


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265