Something Different

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A very carefully orchestrated medly issues from this unique
arrangement – all 15 engines date from 1949-1957.

When I started my project, it was supposed to be ‘a little
different,’ but after three years it turned out to be ‘a
lot different.’

In 1998 I modified a Planet Jr. garden tractor and installed
five Briggs & Stratton engines on it. I called it ‘A Little
Different.’ My wife and I had so much fun showing it at engines
shows she said I should try to build a bigger tractor. Sooo, along
came ‘A Lot Different.’

I used a Simplicity transaxle walk behind. It has six forward
speeds, two reverse. I beefed up the gears, but I didn’t build
it to pull, just to show the engineering of it. It has dull 6 x
12-inch tires, and you steer by lifting the front wheels and
turning left or right. It is 11 feet, 7 inches long, 44 inches wide
at the wheels, and weighs about 1,000 pounds. It has disc brakes
and 15 Briggs & Stratton engines, all manufactured between
1949-1957, all modified, and all running on a special fuel mix.

It has 33 operator controls, 27 separate cables, five
compression releases, four jackshafts, 24 belts, 13 idlers, 48
pulleys and 12 clutches. The 15 engines each have a 1 x 6-inch
straight exhaust pipe, and it sounds like one big engine when they
are all are running at the same time.

Kenny Ryan’s first foray into something ‘a little
different.’ Five Briggs & Stratton engines, one frame.

I use a deadman safety switch on the engines when I ride on the
sulky. Because people stand pretty close sometimes there are
scatter shields on the three front engines in case of a broken
rod.

The right rear engine is started first with a rope, and then
they start each other. When the engines are warmed up, and you hold
your tongue just right, you can throw one switch and shut down 14
of the engines and restart them in about ten seconds.

I have been playing around with Briggs & Stratton engines
since I was a kid, so I’ve been building weird things for more
than 50 years. I have to admit it would have been easier to put in
two 427 Chevy engines rather than 15 small Briggs, but I like a
challenge. All the engines combined add up to 100 cubic inches with
a horsepower of 30-35.

I have nine complete spares ready, as it is easier to switch an
engine than to try to fix it at a show. I like antique machinery,
so I wanted to build this tractor as it would have been built 50
years ago, using nothing modern and making all the parts
myself.

If you see us at a gas engine show, feel free to ask questions
about my tractor, because it definitely is ‘A Lot
Different.’

Contact engine enthusiasts Kenny and Cynthia Ryan at 126
North Fairview Avenue Dover, OH 44622

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines