Flywheel Forum

Readers' Engine Questions

| January/February 2004

39/1/1: Ellis Gasoline Engine Q: I purchased a 3 HP vertical two-cycle Ellis gasoline engine, serial no. 1109. Does anyone know the year of manufacture for this engine? I don't know much about the engine since this is the first one I've come in contact with. I'd like any operator's manuals or maintenance instructions for it. Also, what kind of fuel does it use? Does the fuel have to be mixed with two-cycle oil? Also, what type of oil should I put in the oiler that pumps to the engine cylinder? Any help would be appreciated. Arvin C. Ellis, P.O. Box 1304, Oil City, PA 16301; (814) 676-2031.

A: There's very little information available on the engines made by Ellis Engine Co., Detroit, Mich. According to C.H. Wendel's American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, Ellis engines came on the market about 1910. Wendel suggests 1915 as the company's last year, but it may have been active until 1916. In addition to running clockwise or counter-clockwise, the 3 HP engine was rated as a 1 -3 HP, its output dependent on one of three throttle settings. Surviving engines are few, but with any luck an Ellis owner will contact you - and us - with helpful information on these unique engines.

39/1/2: Two-cylinder Fire Pump Q: I recently acquired a two-cylinder, 12 HP diesel engine with an attached water pump. It came off a Great Lakes freighter, which was being scrapped in my hometown of Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. The unit was used as a fire pump on board the ship.

I went on the Internet to find the year of manufacture and found that there is no information about this particular model, only listings for newer units. The engine is a Petter, made in England. It has a tag that reads: Sigmund Pumps Ltd., Gateshead, England Type: PENEK GL4A, Serial No. 828308. Another tag on the engine reads: Main Guys Ltd., Montreal, Canada.

The modern engines I researched on the Internet are listed as Lister-Petter. I would appreciate any information about this unit. Ron Baer, R.R. 1, Port Colborne, ONT, Canada L3K 5V3; (905) 835-1951;

A: Your engine is an air-cooled Petter AVA manufactured by J.B. Petter & Sons, Yeovil, Somerset, England. The AVA was introduced in 1950 and stayed in production until at least 1961. These were available in single-and two-cylinder configurations. Petter and rival R.A. Lister Co. Ltd., Dursley, Gloucestershire, England, merged in 1985, and the Petter factory closed the following year.

Leo Zugner_2
7/19/2009 1:31:04 PM

Does anyone have or know of a starting procedure for a 1-3HP Ellis two stroke engine? Thanks

Leo Zugner_2
7/19/2009 1:28:20 PM

Does anybody have a starting proceedure for a Ellis 1-3HP two stroke engine?


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