1 Piscataqua Road Dover, New Hampshire 03820-5206
Back in 1975 or thereabouts, I first started noticing hit-n-miss
engines while driving around the back roads of New Hampshire. I
remember not being that interested in them but I knew what they
When I later became interested in 1989 or ’90, my wife and I
took a ride to the one place I first saw them. It was at Lloyd and
Miriam Wentworth’s house in New Hampshire, thus beginning a
long lasting friendship.
We did not know the Went worths at the time and did not call
ahead. As we drove into the yard, they were on their way out to a
funeral. A junker engine was what I wanted in order to learn
something, instead of buying one that already ran. Of all the nice
complete engines Lloyd had there, we settled for a 2 HP basket case
in a dark corner for $100.00.
That was the first engine I restored, with the help of my good
friends Bob and Bob. I have restored, fixed and sold a few engines
since that time.
Once you’ve been bitten by the iron bug, you’re always
looking for another engine to work on to see how it operates.
Engines have a funny way of ending up in your possession. Some
run cheap, some expensive, or they may take years to acquire, as
this latest engine I have found. The engine is a ‘Sihire,’
as is etched on the brass name tag along with ‘Free Gasoline
Engines.’ It does not state where the engine was made.
I cleaned it up a bit checking everything out. It runs okay, but
I should have fixed the valve guide when I had the engine apart.
The valve acts a little lazy in the guide, thus not giving good
compression, giving you a weaker explosion and not the proper
intake of gas-air ratio. I may try a different valve spring, but I
don’t think it will solve the problem.
The governor had to be adjusted and the gears were out one or
two teeth. Someone had obviously taken it apart at one time. Being
wintertime, the engine has been in the cellar, so I have it running
at short times on camping fuel so the house doesn’t get too
bad. My wife always knows when I’m running something when she
comes home. Once the heat goes on the fumes go through the whole
house. It’s not that bad, though. You can get to know
what’s running by the smell, whether it’s an alcohol burner
for steam, hot-air, gasoline or camp fuel for internal
The gas tank and the oil can appear not to be original, nor is
Maybe I’ll take it apart next winter and make a new valve
and valve guide. Having a good deal of paint left, I don’t
think I will strip and restore it. Some things are better left as
original as can be. Some of my engines I restore and some I like to
just get in running order.
The great thing about this hobby is you don’t get bored. You
can just keep collecting different engines or you can sell the ones
you get bored with and buy or trade for different ones.