Aero-Type Sattley

Bringing a 1-1/2 HP Aero-Type Sattley to Life Again

| September 2005


The March 2004 issue of Gas Engine Magazine contained a very informative article on Montgomery Ward's air-cooled engines. As I periodically looked through it, I was reminded of the one that had been sitting on my workbench for a couple of years, not running and needing unknown work.

Last winter found me running out of indoor shop projects, and it was still too cold in March to play outside. So, this 1-1/2 HP Aero-type Sattley made by the Nelson Bros. in the early- to mid-1930s was brought in from its "cold storage" to be evaluated. It was lightly stuck and had some rusty-colored liquid in the gas tank. Getting it to turn over was just a matter of some penetrating oil and a few light taps on the piston. Once I got it free, I removed the flywheel to clean the points, replace the split-open condenser and make a new spark plug wire. At this point I had good spark and some compression.

Cleaning the gas tank was the next step. These engines have two separate compartments in the cast iron base. One part holds the lubricating oil, about 3/4 of a quart. The other compartment holds the gas, nearly a gallon on this size engine. The gas tank cleaned up all right at the time - so I thought - but would come back to haunt me soon!

Then I put the flywheel and shroud back on and changed the oil. I poured some fresh gas in the tank and primed the overflow-style carburetor through its primer hole. Someone had put a rope-start pulley on, as apparently the crank had been lost, broken or declared unsafe. After a few pulls it started, but soon ran out of gas. Looking into the carburetor, I could see that no gas had been pumped up from the tank. The supply line was unobstructed, so I knew the fuel system needed more work.

The fuel supply is a force-feed system, where a spring-loaded pushrod driven off the crankshaft through a cam and rocker pumps fuel up to the carburetor. Looking in the pump chamber drain hole, I saw nothing but rust. When I acquired this engine the previous owner said he never had it running, so the last time it ran was anyone's guess.

My next step was to lift the engine assembly off the base. This only revealed an open sump for the oil and the spring-loaded pushrod for the fuel supply. This pushrod was stuck, and I mean really stuck! Furthermore, there was no fresh oil in the connecting rod dipper tray. There is a short plunger rod attached parallel to and driven by the fuel pushrod to supply oil to the dipper tray from the oil sump. Obviously, I had no oil pressure in the minute or two the engine was running.