Community shop Talk

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Online Engine Conversations from SmokStak and the Stationary
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I belong to a club that throws two shows a year and a swap meet.
Our club allows exhibitors, vendors and the public to bring golf
carts, four wheelers and modern lawn tractors to ride around on. As
attendance has grown, the vehicles have become a problem, and the
exhibit and flea market aisles have become congested.

It has become almost impossible to navigate a
larger-than-aver-age tractor even on main roads of the show grounds
due to the parade of golf carts. Trams are provided to move people
to and from different areas of the grounds, so having to walk great
distances is not an issue.

I was wondering if anyone else out there has experienced similar
problems at shows and how you all feel about it. – Dan

Dan, there are a couple of ways to look at it. From your
prospective, those golf carts and lawn tractors are in the way.
From my prospective, my vehicle allows me to buy numerous (large)
things from the swap meet vendors and have a place to put them
while 1 shop. It also allows me to keep my rain gear with me, it
gives me a place to store my jacket as it warms up and a place to
leave my coffee thermos while I shop. More than anything, it’s
a place for me and my wife to rest, as some of these shows are
getting pretty well spread out. – Bill

I don’t have a problem with older gentlemen driving around
with golf carts who have a hard time walking. There is nothing
wrong with that. But for the younger people, I wouldn’t allow
it. I mean come on, is it really that hard to walk? You wonder why
America is the most obese country in the world? Because everything
is made too easy for us. – Tanner

I have done the show and swap for over 20 years and just
can’t do it anymore without wheels. I always thought I was
bullet proof – but it’s just a part of getting old. – Dick

It’s funny this subject came up as I was wondering if golf
carts were allowed at the Portland swap and sell. I’m going for
the first time this year and would like to take mine, but I
don’t want to get there and have to leave it on the

I know I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store when I
get there, and I’m going to need something to haul around all
my ‘candy.’ Also, I’m going to have a friend with me
who recently had a hip replacement. He can’t do very much
walking at all. – Mike

As for golf carts and ATVs up here in Alberta, there are very
few carts at our shows, and people that use them are organizers and
older people. That’s fine, but our shows aren’t as big as
some of yours down there, and you probably can’t walk around
the whole fairgrounds and still have time to show and run your

As for the swap meets, I agree it’s hard to shop for
‘candy’ and have to walk back and forth to the car. –

My wife is handicapped, and we love to go to these shows. In the
past, I’ve had to push her in a wheelchair. With the grass and
gravel, it was almost impossible. I bought an old golf cart, and we
now have a great time.

At the Portland show, you have to register and show a
handicapped sticker. We didn’t have a sticker the first year,
but they took our word for it. It’s a great show, and
you’ll love it. – Bob

I’m hearing a lot of different thoughts here, and I’m
inclined to think a cart or small tractor is a nice thing to have,
especially if you’re buying or trading iron.

I think the angle Dan’s taking is the liability factor club
officers and directors face from the possibility of someone getting
hurt by a moving vehicle on the club grounds. I also know it’s
a growing concern from being a past president of our local engine
club and a past county fair board member and president.

I enjoy riding my cart at shows like everyone else, but it may
be necessary at these more-crowded events to take some precautions.
What to do though, that’s where it gets interesting. –

What I find wrong with those who drive around in the carts is
they seem to think they can drive right up next to whatever they
want to see, and it doesn’t matter if it’s an exhibit or
sale item. First of all, they block a large area of stuff that
others now can’t view, and secondly, they seem to think they
have the right of way and expect you to move out of their way.

As for the comment about a good way to haul the stuff you
bought, why don’t you park it and walk. When you buy something,
put it under the trailer or off to the side and come back and pick
all of it up later. I have yet to find a vender who won’t hold
something to the side for you to retrieve later. – Tim

Very well put Tim! After attending the Le Sueur swap, I
wasn’t at all happy about the ATVs and scooters. I’m glad
to hear the club recognizes it’s a huge problem. I was only
able to see an extremely small amount of what was at the swap meet
because I’m recovering from a knee injury. I barely could walk
around without almost being run over by ATVs and scooters.

I realize that some people are handicapped, but I can guarantee
that 99.9 percent of the people running around on ATVs and scooters
had no physical limitations. It’s my opinion that if a
handicapped person wants to attend a show or swap meet, they should
contact the club that’s sponsoring the event to find out the
club’s rules regarding golf carts or other means of
transportation for the person in question. – Ironman

One solution is to have those battery-powered rental handicapped
scooters available at the show site. Those who need transportation
must rent them or walk. I know of one show that does that, and
there are no ATVs, lawn tractors or golf carts to be seen. –

Some shows are so large that in order to see the whole thing you
must have some form of motorized transportation. I suggest that
show organizers adapt to the needs of the public, so able-bodied
walkers and us old farts can both be accommodated. Further, I and
many others really enjoy seeing all the varied ‘butt
buggies.’ If you tell us we can’t ride around, well fine,
we’ll just stay home. -Hank

It seems to me that no matter how many people respond to this
thread with their support or complaints about butt buggies
-regardless of what they ride – this argument is a waste of time
and effort. Because, until show sponsors/clubs make some hard and
fast rules and enforce them on what is allowed on the grounds, this
debate will only get worse. – Joe

The purpose of this thread is to give everyone a chance to voice
their opinion. Maybe if enough people become more aware of both
sides of this issue, something could be done. I talk to the
directors at the shows I attend and express my point of view. If
more people would do the same, something may get done. Hopefully
there will be a compromise that will be agreeable to people on both
side of the fence. -Dan

SmokStak ( smokstak.cgi) is an engine
conversation bulletin board with over 50,000 messages on file, and
is part of the Old Engine series of Web sites that started in 1995
as ‘Harry’s Old Engine.’ Harry Matthews is a retired
electronic engineer and gas engine collector from Owego, N.Y., now
residing in Sarasota, Fla.

. . . Diesel Discussion

Stationary Engine List By Helen French

Last weekend should have been the start of show season for us
here in England, and we were planning on the UK debut of my Baker
Monitor. However, the English weather altered all our plans with
torrential rain.

While that prevented us from taking engines out, it didn’t
stop us from rebuilding a shelter in the garden to house some of
the engines currently being stored under tarpaulins. Also, we
constructed an impressive-looking exhaust for the Crossley VOE out
of an old riveted fire extinguisher and some large-bore heavy
copper pipe.

To finish a successful weekend on a high note, Jim dragged out
his R&V, which ran badly for most of last year. For a while, he
was convinced the coil was the problem, but this time he looked
further and homed in on the igniter. A thorough cleaning to remove
90 years of carbon deposits, and she was running as sweetly as

In addition to dealing with technical restoration queries, the
Stationary Engine Mailing List sometimes deals with more general
engine topics, such as ‘What is meant by an oil engine?’
This type of query usually generates a broad discussion, with
contributions from the readers of in-depth historical literature,
as well as those with sound, practical knowledge. The original
question continued to ask, ‘Are we talking diesels, any type of
combustible oil, or what? How is the fuel ignited? I know oil field
engines are methane/propane, but can’t fathom just plain old
oil engine.’

Oil engines run on heavier distillates than gasoline. Diesels
are one sort of oil engine. Others are ignited by spark, hot bulb,
hot plates, etc. Some inject the fuel directly, and some use
carburetors with or without heated vaporizers.

A diesel is an engine with injected fuel and compression
ignition. We have a St. Mary’s oil engine at our club with an
Hvid fuel system and compression ignition. This system takes fuel
into a cup in the chamber on the intake stroke, it’s ignited by
compression and as the piston descends, it sprays fuel into the
cylinder through small holes at the bottom of the cup to complete

Two of our club members rescued a large Buckeye oil engine from
a cane field where it was installed in 1923. It was used for
drainage and came with a 6-foot centrifugal pump, 20-inch discharge
and riveted pipe. This engine is a 100 HP single-cylinder,
20,200-pound unit. It was restored, and we ran it for the first
time at this year’s Cypress Sawmill Festival in Patterson,

This engine uses a heated bowl in the combustion chamber for
ignition and won’t run without it. They cranked it for the
first time, and it ran away. I wasn’t present, but they were
still shaking when I got there the next morning, and had decided
not to try it again. While it was running away, they tried shutting
off the fuel, and it kept gaining speed. I think what happened is
that while they were testing and trying to start it, they filled
the heated chamber with fuel. Attempts to start it with a propane
burner for heat didn’t work; my guess is the fuel was cooling
the head.

They used a rosebud for heat and got the fuel boiling, and once
it started the boiling fuel produced vapors to keep it going even
though no more fuel was being injected. I suggested they install a
carbon dioxide fire extinguisher plumbed into the intake to provide
emergency stopping.

This engine was quite a crowd pleaser with its 10-inch exhaust
blowing smoke rings over 100 feet into the air.

I’ve talked to several Hercules-Hvid owners at Portland and
from what they’ve told me, running away is a real problem with
these engines. That’s why so few are left!

Interesting idea you have with the carbon dioxide to shut it
down. How effective is an air shutter? Just a valve to shut off the
intake air in an emergency?

The St. Mary is a four-cycle and has a butterfly in the air
inlet to help throttle it if necessary. The Buckeye is a two-cycle
and takes in air below the base.

I thought about a lever to open the air check valve, a large
leather flap. This should stop the breathing process. The carbon
dioxide could be mounted on the trailer where the controls are
-there are plugs in the engine that would allow tapping in with no
modifications. I have the fuel injector at the shop because the
bypass valve wasn’t seating. This is a plunger with a 45-degree
seat like a valve in a head.

It’s a smart design – the bypass is activated by a fork on
the fuel plunger. As the speed increases, the governor pulls a
wedge and causes the fuel to bypass at the end of the stroke. The
injection always begins at top-dead-center when compression is
highest and allows for maximum burn time. We ran it on a manual
bypass and controlled fuel by holding the primer lever to limit the
stroke. This holds the fuel back until late in the stroke, which
was probably the reason for the spectacular smoke ring display!

A modern equivalent to the ‘oil’ used to define ‘oil
engines’ would be diesel fuel. It’s not a very precise
term, and would include fuels as light as kerosene to fuels heavier
than diesel.

A benefit of fuel oil is that it contains more calories/gram
than distillates. It also has better lubricity and was cheaper to
produce. The downside is it’s harder to ignite at cold
temperatures and is prone to detonation in engines with a
conventional ignition. This necessitates lower compression ratios
or water injection.

I appreciate your explanation. I didn’t want to ask what
Hvid was. I thought it was something like HVAC or something
similar. With a little research, I’ve come to find out that
it’s the last name of the Norwegian or Swede who pretty much
had the mechanical rights to the first diesel. Rudolph Diesel
bought the rights, and there was mention that Diesel had problems
with fuel, which brought the slide valve into play. Then, I guess
Cummins perfected the injector pump.

Oil engines are generally a class of engine that run on the
heavier distillates from crude oil, and are usually one of a small
number of types, but as a broad generalization, you can break them
into two types:
-Hot bulb or semi-diesel

Diesels generally are high-pressure injection and ignition,
which takes place through the heat of compression.

Hot bulbs and semi-diesels tend to be low pressure or sprayer
injection, and a blowlamp is needed for starting (and running,

Rasmus M. Hvid (pronounced veed) was Danish. There are five
patents involved. One by Brons, one by Timmer & Brons and three
by Hvid.

Original books and manuals are much prized by List members, who
are always happy to share the knowledge contained in them. There is
also a great deal of research being done through patents, a
time-consuming method of study, but one which has become much more
accessible thanks to the Internet.

Engine enthusiast Helen French lives in Leicester, England.
Contact her via e-mail at: You can join the
Stationary Engine List on the Internet at:

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