Half-(baked) Restoration

Breathing Life into a Briggs Modely


| October/November 2001



Briggs & Stratton Engine

My collection of small gasoline engines has languished for some time without anything being accomplished in restoration. Recently, a new addition to the engine group sparked a rash of skinned knuckles, sandpaper, and paint spray cans.

I have plenty of the usual hand tools and wrenches, but other tools are limited to a 3/8-inch electric drill with flexible shaft, bench grinder with wire brush, dremel tool, small tap and die set, and a couple of small gear pullers. Fortunately for me, the newest member of my engine family lent itself to a restoration that is possible with a limited tool arsenal.

The engine is a Briggs & Stratton Type 60512, Model Y (s/n 208238) with kick pedal start, and could have been the poster boy for 'rust bucket.' Everything was still there except the gas tank, pedal return spring and pedal rubber bumpers. The suction gas line was still attached, although wound up in a tangled ball. Even though the engine was stuck, I figured I could surely free-up a small, 1-cylinder engine. What really attracted me was the little suction carburetor, which turned out to be stuck.

For those not familiar with the Model 'Y' carburetor, it has a 5/8-inch diameter air intake with a tiny butterfly valve choke. The throttle valve is what I would call a spool valve, not a butterfly. It's brass, and slides horizontally when actuated by the air vane governor to control intake air flow. In my limited experience, I had not seen one before. With some TLC, I was able to free up the carburetor, including the stuck choke butterfly, without breaking anything.

The Model 'Y' had been sitting in a garage corner on a dirt floor, so there was plenty of corrosion on the base parts. There was some pitting on the lower part of the flywheel air shroud and one very small spot had rusted through on the lower edge. It was easily repaired with auto body repair putty. As I mentioned earlier, the engine wouldn't turn when found, but when the air shroud was removed and all the accumulated grit, crud and dirt dauber's nests were removed, the engine turned freely. Miracle of miracles, the thing had some compression!

Based on the rotation and compression being there, I started what was to be a half-(baked) restoration, I guess, since I never removed the head. The crankcase bottom plate was removed for internal cleaning of minor sediment accumulation and external cleaning of rust and corrosion. The inside of the engine was oily and surprisingly clean. There was no excess rod bearing clearance, and the piston and pin did not appear to have slop when the crank moved. The side plate, with the magneto and one of the sleeve bearing mains, was removed and this allowed further inspection of the crankcase interior. It still looked good internally, and the main bearing looked fine.