Crosley Engines, More or Less

Ingenuity and thousands of hours of work combine to make complete Crosley engines — from bits and pieces

| June/July 2012

Crosley engines were 44-cubic-inch displacement, 4-cylinder overhead cam, 5 main with 26-1/2 HP.

I had two Crosley 4-cylinder steel engines; one had a damaged cylinder on the front end and the other had a damaged cylinder on the rear end. I cut the two bad cylinders off, leaving three good front and three good rear cylinders. I welded the two 3s together, making a 6-cylinder Crosley block. I did the same with the crankcase, pan, overhead cam cover, intake and exhaust manifolds.

The crankshaft and camshaft were trickier. The engine crank and camshaft throws, or lobes, on 4-cylinder engines are 180 degrees apart while 6-cylinder crank and camshaft throws are 120 degrees apart. I cut the steel crankshaft and cam between the throws and added two throws and four cam lobes from a donor crank and cam. I welded them back together in true alignment with 680 Eutectic welding rod at 120 degrees so the engine could run like a 6-cylinder. I found a little distributor like a Crosley 4-cylinder except with 6-cylinder lobes and plug wire terminal posts. I used a Crosley military high-capacity stationary engine radiator and a four-bladed fan to cool the extra cylinders. I fastened two oil pumps together to have plenty of oil for the extra moving parts.

After assembly and paint it looks and runs as if it were a factory-built 66 CID, 40 HP Crosley 6-cylinder engine and that’s all there was to saving the engine. It’s not what you have; it’s what you do with it that counts.

I also have a 4-cylinder cast iron Crosley engine that sank in the boat that it powered. It was raised, but the two center cylinders were not drained and froze, splitting them. I got the engine for parts so I used as many as I could. I’ve always said everything can be used for something. So like a good apple with a bad place I cut the two bad center cylinders, crankcase, etc. out. I welded the two good end cylinders, etc. together. I used left-over crank, cam, etc. parts from the 6-cylinder project. It made a strong-running, first 2-cylinder, inline, water-cooled, 22 CID, OHC, 13 HP factory-looking Crosley engine. Some things are just junk until you rearrange the parts.

Then I thought, 8 cylinders would be great! So with more use of my hand tools and another mere 2,000 hours, one winter I built the super 8-cylinder opposed Crosley engine shown below.