Bull's Eye


| December/January 2000



Gasoline Engine

2327 Yucca Avenue Lockridge, Iowa 52635

I have been restoring gasoline engines for a few years and this year I decided to find a larger horsepower model engine. I asked my dad about a bigger engine to restore, and he said, 'How about a 4.5 HP Bull's Eye down in the old hog shed?' I went and checked it out. The paint wasn't that bad, but it was faded and starting to rust off in places. I cleared out all the junk in front of the door so we could get the engine out.

We pulled the engine out, took it up to the shop, and looked it over. My dad bought the engine a long time ago and it had been down in the hog shed for around twelve years. The guy my dad bought the engine from is a customer of ours, and he was out here one of the days I was working on it. He told me he bought the engine 'stuck' for ten dollars and he bought the trucks for twenty dollars on a sale. In 1972 he paid a guy two hundred dollars to restore it.

This is a unique and rare engine. There aren't many Bull's Eye engines around, and there weren't many sideshaft engines made. The sideshaft that I am talking about is the shaft that runs along the left side of the engine, and there is a cam lobe that trips the exhaust arm that trips the exhaust valve. The exhaust valve is located on the bottom of the head and the intake valve is on top of the head. Also on the shaft at the end is an arm that trips the ignitor. I wasn't familiar with sideshaft engines and I learned how they operate.

I did some researching and found out that Bull's Eye was made by Jacobson Engine Company and sold by Montgomery Engine Company. The engine was built between 1907 and 1915 and was sold for $98.00.

My dad and I looked at the casting and he mentioned getting body putty to use and smooth out the rough casting. The first thing I did was unhook the gas line from the gas tank, which was full of twelve year-old gas, and hook it up to a quart bottle full of gas. Then I got a six volt battery to hook up to the coil. I put some oil in the oiler and oiled up the gears and oil holes on the sideshaft. I spun the engine over a few times and I noticed it didn't have much compression. I checked out the intake valve and it was stuck. I soaked it with spray oil and lightly hit it with a hammer. Luckily it broke free. I spun the engine over more and it started. The timing was off, and my dad showed me how to adjust it.