Smart Sattley Gas Engine Restoration

Some creative techniques were required to get a very rough Sattley gas engine running again

| December/January 2010

While visiting a fellow engine collector who lives just west of Wayazata, Minn., and has restored many of his gas engines, we got to talking about restorations and reading about some of the hard ones that have been done, such as the one described in Peter Rooke’s “The Rusty Rescue” articles in Gas Engine Magazine (December/January 2008 to April/May 2008). My friend said, “I have a Sattley that is almost that bad – just not that rusty.”

In need of some TLC
He wasn’t kidding. The flywheels on the Sattley were loose on the crankshaft and had worn away about 1/4 inch of the crankshaft metal. The rod bearing had gotten loose and spun into the connecting rod. This looked bad!

In addition, the pulley side main bearing cap was a poorly homemade part, brazed with a piece of pipe, two flat steel parts and possibly the worst repouring of babbitt I have ever seen. The head was freeze-cracked and repaired with a very poorly done braze (possibly by the man who did the bearing cap job). The cam and crank gears had chipped and broken teeth. The governor weights, which were in the water jacket, needed to be brazed back together. There was no sign of a magneto or any linkage to it. A steel pin protruded from the cam gear, and a piece of hacksaw blade bolted to a block served as a timer. An old tin lawn mower tank was fastened to the rotten wood skids and a copper line served as a fuel line. An old threaded bicycle inner tube stem had been made into a check valve in the fuel tank and brazed to the copper line.

My friend said, “If you want a real challenge, here it is!” I bought the Sattley and my friend said, “Let me know how you do on it.”

Getting started
At home, a few phone calls for parts came up empty. I planned to buy a parts engine and put the two engines together to make one good one, but no such luck.

I looked at the crankshaft for a while and decided to weld the area that was worn down. For several days, I made one welding pass in the morning along the shaft, starting at the keyway, and the same pass in the evening. Since this didn’t get the shaft too hot, it didn’t distort. However, it wasn’t straight to start with, so I straightened it by using chains, a 3-foot piece of railroad rail and a hydraulic jack. The crankshaft was then turned on the lathe and polished smooth.