| August/September 1987

60A High Street Uxbridge Mass. 01569

In September 1986 I bought a stuck, 2 cylinder LeRoi from a Burriville, Rhode Island saw mill operator. It came off a Universal cement mixer built by Marsh Capron, Chicago, Illinois. The original sheet metal housing was still there but was badly rusted and usable only for patterns. This engine was apparently manufactured in late 1925 or early 1926. Stripping the engine revealed only lightly rusted cylinders but the exhaust valves were rusted in solid. Bearings, crankshaft, camshaft etc. had been protected by the oil despite an inch of water in the crankcase. Luckily, the valve guides were inserted and they pressed out with the exhaust valves.

A trip to a local industrial engine distributor paid off with a pair of Continental exhaust valves which could be adapted. I cut the valves down and made up the new guides in my shop. Grinding and lapping the valves proved to be a tedious task. The seats were deeply pitted from the rust. Finally after five trial assemblies I got adequate compression. Retiming the valves proved to be relatively easy.

The Splitdorf magneto was in good working order but the Zenith carburetor was a nightmare of mouse fuzz, wasp mud and ice damage. The float was nonexistent. My second attempt produced a successful cork float. I coated the float with gas tank sealer to keep it from absorbing gasoline and losing its bouyancy. A lot of cleaning and soldering cured the remaining carburetor woes.

On January 10, 1987 I had it back together and ready to try. On the third attempt it took off and ran like a champ. Time to take it apart again for final cleaning and painting.

Three more weeks of sandblasting, cleaning, fabricating a new housing and painting made it ready for the circuit. The green and red color scheme appears to be correct for the Universal mixer. There were generous traces of the original paint in all the corners, under the grease.