The 'As Is' Engine

| October/November 1997

26 Mott Place Rockaway, New Jersey 07866

I am writing this article in response to an old saying that was really emphasized in a recent purchase I made. I had written to the 'Reflections' column in Gas Engine Magazine about the existence of marine engines built by the Detroit Engine Works. Until about a year ago, I did not know that Detroit had even made marine engines. Further research has uncovered some information, but that is the subject of an article yet to come. Among the responses to my  query about the Detroit marine engines (and I most sincerely thank those who responded), was a gentleman from Rye, New York, who said he had a 2 HP Detroit marine engine and it was for sale!

We talked on several occasions and exchanged information. He did not know much about the Detroit, other than it was stuck and rusty when he obtained it. He stated that he had freed it up, that it had good compression, and he hadn't run it yet because the water pump drive was incomplete (the eccentric rod was missing).

I told him that I also owned a Detroit marine engine, and maybe he could copy the eccentric rod from my engine, in order to make one for his engine. We exchanged directions to each other's homes, and set a later date to try to get together.

A week later, my Union Hall (UA Plumbers Local 14) called with a job offer on a site near the George Washington Bridge (that goes over the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey), on the Atlantic Palisades. I took the job, and on the second day thought, 'Gee, I'm almost there already, why not go over the bridge after work and see the engine?' I made the call that night and we set up a time for the following day.

The job had an early start, and we finished up at 3:30. I left the jobsite and was on the bridge in less than two minutes. It took less than 30 minutes to find the town of Rye, and the man's shop was only a couple of minutes from that. As I got out of the car, I spotted a couple of nicely restored trucks in the shop, as well as a couple of very restorable projects! After getting a quick tour of the shop and the many neat things inside, I was led to a work bench upon which sat the Detroit Engine Works Marine engine, serial #1157, that was built about 1910.