Found!


| September/October 1990



Alpha DeLaval engine after restoration

Engine after restoration.

26 Mott Place Rockaway Boro, New Jersey 07866

I recently purchased an engine from a gentleman from Milford, New Jersey, who in turn had found it in an abandoned wrecked barn several years before. He had been out hunting with the property's owner when they ran across the old barn. He was told that when the family had sold off the dairy cows, the barn (that was in bad shape then) had been abandoned.

When it was found, the engine had been covered with an old disintegrated tarp and debris from the collapsing building. Some other equipment was also in the barn, but recovery was impossible because of the state of collapse of its resting place (it was dangerous).

The engine is an Alpha DeLaval, Type VA, with a s/n of 6220. The model and HP were not filled in. The engine was basically sound, but there were a lot of odds and ends to be repaired before it would run again. The governor's top had been removed and reinstalled wrongly and at that with only two of the four screws needed. The magneto had no spark (note the unorthodox points cover!), and the high tension lead had been routed over the exhaust pipe, which had in turn burned the wire. The magneto drive appeared to have a broken shaft. The entire fuel delivery system was a mess; tank mounting screws missing, the tank itself dented, fillcap frozen in the filler's neck, tank, fuel bowl and filter full of gum, as well as the broken fuel line. The carb was also gummed up, jets plugged and passages corroded; The governor relay arm on the carb, which was made of white metal, was broken, and the linkage was missing. One last item: the crankshaft breather check was worn out and the spring was missing too. Although this seems like a lot of work, like I said, the basic engine was in good shape.

The first order of business was to remove the fuel tank and the magneto in order to clean the engine up. These were set aside for later work. As you can see from the pictures, the tarp and a liberal coating of grease and grime had protected the engine from the ravages of the elements. I bought some engine degreaser from a local NAPA auto parts store, as well as a stiff parts cleaning brush. What a time saver these were! I mixed solvent as the directions stated, and wet down the entire engine. After about five minutes, I took a small paint scraper and loosened and removed most of the caked-on material. I then re-wet the entire engine, and using the brush proceeded to wash it off. The degreaser and brushing removed about 98% of the junk off the engine, leaving a few hard, dry spots to contend with. Just to be sure, I washed the engine a third time and then rinsed with water. I used a high pressure garden hose, which left the engine very clean, and after about 15 minutes, also very dry; the degreaser makes most solvents such as gasoline, kerosene, mineral spirits etc., water soluble. That is, they will dissolve in water, leaving no oily residue!

The engine was taken into my garage and then detail cleaned. The rest of the caked-on material was removed with a knife or a wire brush. At this time I looked at the abused fuel tank. I carefully used about 30 PSI of air to remove the big dents, and left the small ones as is, so as to not create any leaks. If you decide to use air pressure like I did, use no more than 20 to 30 PSI of pressure, and make sure the tank is sound, with no rusted or broken areas. To use pressure, especially on an unsound tank, is to invite disaster. Remember that with all that area with pressure on it, you have a potential bomb in your hands if there are any weak spots in the walls of the tank! If in doubt-NO AIR! I wire brushed the entire surface of the tank to remove the dried-on gum and the remaining flaky paint, and found that the fuel outlet was loose because of a bad solder joint. It must have leaked before because there was about 3/8 of solder piled up around the connection. After cleaning out the gum and residue inside the tank with some Berkbile 2+2 carb cleaner, I managed to loosen the stuck filler cap which was made of iron.