1914 5 HP Economy Engine Is a Beauty!

Fixin’ up a weary 1914 5 HP Economy engine

| August/September 2012

I have been showing tractors and equipment at tractor and engine shows for the last 10 years and have always liked listening to and watching the engines run. I have purchased three engines in the 1-1/2 HP size as well as a 5 HP throttle-governed engine. I have enjoyed making the engines run and tinkering with them.

At a show in July 2011 I spent most of the afternoon sitting under a large oak tree listening to a Neward 4 HP hit-and-miss engine run and checking it out. Another reason for staying under the oak tree was to be in the shade since it was 102 degrees with not a cloud in sight, a typical tractor and engine show in the central Texas summer sun. My mind was made up to start looking for a hit-and-miss engine in the 5 HP to 9 HP range. One of my fellow club members decided to downsize his collection and sold me a 5 HP hit-and-miss engine. How often does a person find an engine only 8 miles from home?

We made a deal and the 5 HP hit-and-miss engine was on the way to my shop. The one thing I did not know was the brand of the engine I had purchased. The serial tag on the water hopper is in very good shape and all the numbers can be read — just no brand name. It took sending a couple of emails with pictures and looking in some gas engine books to figure out that the engine is a 1914 5 HP Economy.

So I am the proud owner of a 1914 5 HP Economy; 1915 was the first year the Economy was sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co. Now the fun started: trying to figure out how to start this engine and what it would take to accomplish this feat. I removed the magneto/injector assembly, cleaned the points and saw it had some spark. I removed the gas line, made sure the check valve was working and that the gas line was clean. Then I oiled up the engine, put gas in the tank and primer valve, and started cranking. OK, which way does one turn the flywheel to make the engine start? It is hard work turning flywheels over in 95 degree heat! Did I buy a piece of gym equipment instead of an engine?

All at once the engine fired and ran for a few more hits before stopping. With more cranking and using a squirt bottle to put gas in the air pipe, the engine started again and ran for a few minutes. I was a happy engine guy with sore arms and back but a big smile on my face. Over the next week the engine would start and run, but the gas tank had a clogging issue with the check valve.

Then I had to decide what it would take to restore the 5 HP Economy engine and how to build a cart to move the engine around. I made a list of what things had to be done to restore the engine and what parts needed to be replaced. My goal was to restore the engine back to the original condition.


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