We don’t have a large amount of correspondence this month,
so this is our opportunity to include some related items that will
hopefully be of interest.
Thousands of old engines are equipped with the Wico EK magneto.
Technically, it’s called a ‘reciprocating inductor’
magneto, since the armature opens both legs of the magnetic
circuit, while the coils and magnets remain stationary. Various
kinds of mechanical devices are used to operate the EK; all use a
combination of pushrods and springs to provide a quick opening of
the armature. The faster the break, the better the spark. Gummy or
rusted parts materially retard the breaking action, and this
results in poor sparking, and poor running of the engine.
The movable electrode on the Wico EK should open when the
armature has moved 3/32 to ? inch from the
magnet poles. This adjustment will give the hottest spark. Unless
discharged accidentally, the magnets seldom need to be recharged.
If this is required, it is not necessary to disassemble the
magneto. All that is required is to take off the outer jacket,
block the armature away from the magnet poles, and put it on the
charger. Of course when recharging, unlike poles are placed
adjacent to each other. There is nothing at all to be gained from
reversing the polarity of the magnets. A cheap compass is all
that’s needed to determine the polarity of the magnets.
Wico EK magnetos seem to be prone to several ailments. One is
that the original coils have a way of shorting out. Fortunately,
replacement coils are available. The same holds true for
condensers. The Wico EK uses one right hand and one left hand coil,
so it’s important to put them in their proper place. The points
can also be troublesome, but this is usually caused by corrosion or
possibly, oil on the points. Even the natural oil on your
fingertips can cause problems. Oftentimes, a decent ohmmeter will
show some resistance between the points, but there should be none;
the meter should peg out to zero! An ohmmeter is one way of
checking when the points open while adjusting the armature gap
Due to normal wear, the peg on the bottom of the Wico EK frame
becomes worn, as does the matching hole in the armature. When this
happens, the armature will not break both poles simultaneously; in
other words, one breaks before the other. Under these
circumstances, it’s virtually impossible to get a good spark,
or at least the best spark available from the EK. We recently
proposed the idea of making a lathe fixture whereby the frame could
be attached for the purpose of truing up the armature stud. The
armature can then be bored out and bushed to fit the modified stud.
Several readers have written to tell us that they have done exactly
that, so chances are that someone can take care of this problem if
you lack the machine shop to do it yourself.
Careful (and sometimes tedious) adjustment of the actuating
springs is a necessity for certain trip mechanisms. Although
several standard configurations are shown in the old catalog
listings, it appears that the engine manufacturer usually built
this part of the package. No doubt about it, some designs worked
better than others.
Ye olde Reflector plans to be at the Brooks, Oregon show in late
July, and the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion over the Labor Day
Weekend. We’re also going to the Ageless Iron Expo the July 4
weekend, but it will be history by the time you read this issue;
we’re assembling this copy in early June!
Several people have asked for more information on how to pour
new babbitt bearings. Although we have no problem at all in sharing
the information, we have some serious concerns about someone
reading (or half-reading) the information, getting burned or
otherwise injured, and then blaming us for their misfortunes. To
give an example, several years ago the following situation
Some fellow bought an old F-20 Far-mall; it had a homemade buzz
saw mounted on the front end. This fellow was sawing wood thusly,
and the belt ran off, just as flat belts are prone to do. Well,
instead of stopping the pulley and putting the belt on, he
attempted to run the belt back on with the pulley in motion. It
went on alright, along with his arm. Along with getting battered up
a bit, it injured his shoulder . . . dislocated it, broke it, or
whatever. Anyway, this fellow was in the process of filing a suit
against International Harvester Company. It seems that someone
found a picture in our book, 150 Years of International Harvester
that illustrated a front-mounted buzz saw, and the presumption was
that this was a factory outfit, even though the accompanying
caption stated that it wasn’t. So, ye olde Reflector was about
to be called in as an expert witness, having authored this
particular book. The whole deal must have been dismissed or
otherwise settled, as we never heard any more of it. The moral of
the story is that we don’t want to get embroiled in any such
goings on, but given the untoward propensity for people to file
lawsuits nowadays, it sure does give cause to pause. However, if
some of you would like to learn more about pouring babbitt
bearings, we’ll do our best, albeit with numerous warnings,
disclaimers, and notices that you’re on your own!
We begin our queries this month with:
30/8/1 Engine Prices Q. I have owned the
following engines for over 25 years, and have never been able to
get a value on them. I was hoping someone might advise:
Emerson-Brantingham ‘Geiser’ 6 HP, factory carriage,
screen cooled, missing igniter, good condition.
IHC Mogul 15 HP, factory carriage, screen cooled, missing
ignitor, good condition.
Waterloo Boy, factory carriage, running condition.
John Dudley, Hood, VA 22723.
A. We don’t follow prices very closely, but
suggest you scan the advertising pages of GEM for similar items, or
inquire at some of the engine shows, or from other collectors.
30/8/2 Case Eagle Bank Q. See the photo of a
Case cast iron bank that I recently found in a second-hand store.
The owner said it was in the contents of a bam full of junk he
bought. Can anyone supply any information on these banks? Richard
McMunn, RR I, Box 1370, Villa Ridge, IL 62996.
30/8/3 Perfect Circle Lyle Bunnell, 12828
Marshall St., Crown Point, IN 46307 writes that Perfect Circle
Division, manufacturer of piston rings has now passed the century
mark. The company started out in 1895 as the Railway Cycle Mfg. Co.
at Hagerstown, Indiana, and in 1900 became the Light Inspection Car
Co. In 1907 Charles Teetor developed a new type of cast piston
ring; two years earlier, he had built his first automobile.
During 1914 the Teetor-Hartley Motor Company was organized to
build automobiles, and four years later the piston ring operation
was sold off to form the Indiana Piston Ring Company. In 1921 the
Perfect Circle trade name was adopted, and in 1926 the company took
the name of Perfect Circle Company. The company merged with Dana
Corporation in the 1960s.
30/8/3 Pattin Bros. Engine Q. I have restored a
20 HP two-cycle Pattin Bros. engine, and 1 would like to find out
more about the engine, as well as the company. Any information
would be appreciated. Myles Lamm, Rt 1, Box 175, Ellenboro, WV
30/8/4 Farmall BN Q. See the photo of my
Farmall BN, recently restored. I have no idea how rare this model
might be, as they were numbered right in with the Model A and Model
B tractors. Any information on this tractor would be appreciated.
Keith Horsman, 22593-420th Street, Havelock, IA 50546-7518.
30/8/5 Some IHC Questions Q. Who developed the
IHC four-cylinder engines? Was this engine created from different
engines? Also, were the red, the blue, and the green diamond motors
once engineered by Diamond Reo? Were the 304, 345, and 392 truck
engines designed by Diamond Reo at one time? I noticed with my 345
engine that it gets very hot. Is this because of so much nickel
alloy in the motor? I was talking to a motor mechanic and he told
me that these engines were designed with the same principle as the
Caterpillar motors. Is this also because of the nickel alloy? Any
information would be appreciated. Russell T. Carpenter, Box 279,
Blue Factory Rd., Cropseyville, NY 12052.
30/8/6 Avery 5-10 Q. I have a 5-10 Avery and
was hoping someone might be of help. I’m trying to pinpoint the
year it was made; the s/n is 6259. My tractor has two steer wheels
with the seat between the engine and the rear wheels. It has the
round fuel tank. The rear wheels are about 6 inches wide with an
extension of 6 inches. What color or colors did Avery use? Any
information would be greatly appreciated. Fred Tomlin, 80
Fairground Rd., Elma, WA 98541.
30/8/7 Thanks! from Dick Brown, 175 Sonnet Ln.,
Gilbertsville, KY 42044. He writes: Thanks to everyone for all the
pictures, reprint literature, pictures, and letters regarding
30/3/9 Unidentified Engine. We were pretty sure it was a Phelps,
but now we know for sure. This is what makes the OLD IRON hobby so
neat. Many thanks again to all.
30/8/8 Cushman Engine Q. See the photo of a
Cushman 8 HP engine I found in Texas. I need information on the
size of the cooling tank which 1 have to make; also any helpful
hints in getting it restored. Joe Masberg, 15795 Hwy 15, Kimball,
A. Although we once owned one of these, and in
fact, made the cooling tank, we don’t have the dimensions.
Hopefully, one of our readers can send you this information.
30/8/9 Witte Engines Q. When were the following
Witte engines built?
2 HP, s/n 56104, 3 HP, s/n 77076, Dick Glover, PO Box
1530, Gard-nerville, NV 89410.
A. They were built in 1921 and 1928
30/8/10 Witte Engines Q. I have a Witte
3? HP engine, Model B, s/n 41703. The nameplate appears
to have been stamped ‘3’ and then had the 1? added. Any
information will be appreciated. Ron Thompson, PO Box 96, Panacea,
A. Your engine was built in 1919. Most of the
engine manufacturers raised their ratings on given engines at some
time or other. Sometimes this involved just re-stamping the
nameplate, for others it was raising the speed a few revs and then
re-rating it, and in still other cases, the bore was increased
perhaps an eighth or a quarter, and presto! It was a bigger engine.
Curiously though, your engine is listed in the records as a 3 HP
model, but it may have acquired the additional horsepower while
sitting in a warehouse, waiting for shipment.
30/8/11 Go-cart Engines Q. While watching a
go-cart race I saw the driver reach to the carb and make
adjustments on-the-go. What causes this problem? How much
maintenance should someone do to a go-cart engine to get reasonable
performance out of the engine for the season? Lawrence Allen, 740
State St., Ottawa, IL61350.
A. We’re not at all familiar with these
engines; can someone be of help?
30/8/12 Old Compressor Q. See the two photos of
an old compressor. The previous owner told me he personally knew it
to be in use as early as 1920. It has an open crank with a bronze
connecting rod. It was apparently made by the Brunner (sp?) Co.,
Utica, New York. It looks to me like it was not made to pressurize
a tank, but had an air hose directly off the compressor, as there
is an adjustable pressure release valve in the head. Any
information would be greatly appreciated. Also, I recently acquired
a two cycle engine. It resembles a Maytag in some respects, but the
name tag identifies it as being made by Jacobsen Mfg. Co., Racine,
Wisconsin. Another restorer told me he thought that Jacobsen was
bought out by one of the Johnson companies in the 1930s. Any
information would be greatly appreciated. Brian C. Ferrence, Box
78, Summit Station, PA 17979.
30/6/35 Red Paint Inside the Crankcase
Bob Lytle, 1679 Broken Rock Dr., Cottonwood, AZ 86326
In regard to this query, the main reason for painting the inside
of an engine is to make the engine oil drain back more quickly.
This is achieved by painting the entire inside of the engine with
General Electric Glyptal paint. This is a very thick red paint
normally used by electric motor shops and sold by large industrial
paint supply houses.
The paint is thick enough to fill the pores in the cast iron and
produce a very smooth surface. It dries immediately and will never
flake off if applied to a clean oil-free surface. It’s good for
battery boxes, too.
30/4/9 Wico EK Magnetos Regarding this query, I
have been replacing EK magneto pins and bushings for about 15
years. A lathe and mill, or milling attachment are needed. John S.
Palmer, J &. E Engines, 1019 Audrey Ave., Campbell, CA
We think it would be terrific if Mr. Palmer would put together
an article on this method of repair. (Ed.)
Model makers Corner
Reg Ingold, 37 Seaham St., Homes-ville 2286, Australia, sends
three photos of various model making efforts. He writes: What you
see is the result of 4 years of pure enjoyment (along with a lot of
other restoration work on full-size engines). The disease has a
good hold on me! They are, front to rear (MM-3): Economy, Atkinson,
freelance, Gray, New Holland, Olds, Woodpecker, Domestic, and
Galloway. I found all, bar one, castings and plans, very good.
Thanks to all the people who put so much effort into the production
of these casting sets. I also have a few hot air models, plus more
A Closing Word
Thanks especially to the folks at Du-Pont, we’re developing
a sizable new listing of paint color numbers, and we’ll be
trying to match up others with the help of their Spectra Master
book. It’s a big binder with a virtual rainbow of color, and
enables one to come up with a very close match to the original. It
should be borne in mind however, that the nitrocellulose paints in
particular, were very hard to match, even from one can to another.
In fact, the paint companies recommended that with say, two
1-gallon cans, that the contents of both be mixed together so as to
not cause a noticeable difference from one can to another. With
this in mind, paint colors did (and do) vary, even from one can to
Whether nitrocellulose enamel, such as Dulux, or an epoxy
material, such as Imron, use protective equipment with these
materials! This includes a good mask with the proper cartridges.
Those simple little face masks are no good whatever. They might
filter out the actual paint particles, but they don’t protect
your lungs, and for that matter, the rest of your body, from
dangerous isocyanates and other nasty things. Spray painting can be
great fun, but please do it safely so that you don’t lose your
health, even temporarily, and can’t enjoy your completed