Peter Rooke gives a tired 2-1/2 HP Ingeco Model AK new life with a full restoration — Part 1 of 3
The International Gas Engine Co. was established in Cudahy, Wis., in 1912 and produced a range of horizontal and vertical engines before being taken over by the Worthington Pump and Machinery Co. in 1916. The Worthington Co. continued to sell Ingeco engines for a while, merely rebadging them, until it produced its own slightly modified engines as the “Type W,” which were phased out by 1921. These engines were supplied either as stationary engines or as farm portables and were mainly throttle-governed and run on kerosene.
This engine, a Model AK, is no. 14,173 and appears to have been made around 1914/1915. The nametag on the engine confirmed the Ingeco name, noting it was sold by the Worthington Pump Co. Ltd. of London. I understand that this engine was originally supplied to operate a water pump on a local county estate, Annesley Hall, located less than 50 miles from me.
When I acquired the engine it appeared in good working condition, but it needed a full restoration as the paint was peeling off in numerous places and the color was not original. At least the engine started and ran, but the mixer needle needed attention as there was a very fine balance of either too much fuel or not enough.
The engine had a sub-frame, indicating it was originally fitted in a fixed location rather than being portable, as portable engines were fitted on carts and did not have sub-frames.
As usual, I wanted to find out more about my purchase. I found that Reed Benton, Wassaic, N.Y., keeps a registry of these engines and he proved most helpful in providing some pictures and measurements that enabled me to build a replica cart and its hardware.
Before starting work, I took photographs from different angles and close-ups of more intricate areas. These would provide a source of reference if I found that there were parts left over when the engine was reassembled! After I removed the more fragile items, like the oiler, greasers and igniter/magneto, one of the first parts I removed was the fuel tank, as it needed to be cleaned out and ventilated before I could repair a leak around the fuel tap. This tank seemed to have been renewed at some time, and except for a problem with the connection to the pipe work it appeared in good condition.
The flywheels and pulley came off easily, and then I removed the gears after ensuring the index marks were visible. After I removed the governor (and its linkages), the fuel piping and muffler, I removed the cylinder head. I took the mixer off the head while it was on the work bench.
After I unscrewed the big end bolts I removed the crankshaft caps so the crank could be lifted off and the piston/con-rod assembly slid out. Most of the bearing shims were made from cardboard, which disintegrated when removed, so I decided they would be replaced with metal shims. After I unscrewed the connecting bolts, I removed the cylinder from the main casting. While the heavy flywheels and cylinder block could be lifted by one person, I used an engine crane to support these parts while they were separated to prevent an accident.
It soon became apparent that this engine had been the subject of a comprehensive restoration many years ago. When I stripped the paint away there were numerous areas of deep-pitted rust underneath and some welded repairs. In some places there was rust under the primer coat, so I would have to strip off all paint and this rust by sandblasting or using grinding discs.
As I removed the smaller components they were placed in plastic bags or parts trays, keeping nuts and bolts with their fittings to make it easier to identify them for later reassembly.
Once I had removed all the parts, I cleaned off all the grease and dirt with kerosene before starting the long job of cleaning off the old paint. The paint layer was very thick and it looked as though there was a heavy coat of lacquer on top of the green paint. Not owning a bead blaster, I found it was easier to chip this paint off with an old chisel before cleaning it up with a sanding disc. As soon as the metal was clean I gave it a coat of fresh primer to protect it. A word of warning about cleaning off old paint: You do not know what was originally used to make the paint, and in any event all dust is dangerous, so a suitable mask must be worn and there must also be adequate ventilation of the work area to clear any dust.
Once I had removed the cylinder head it was stripped down and cleaned. I inspected the valve seats and they appeared to be in good condition, looking as though they had received some attention during the previous restoration. One of the valve stems was pitted with rust, and both the inlet and exhaust valves slopped about in their valve guides. One of the valve heads was not in perfect condition but could be retained, whereas the other was not so good.
Rather than drill out the valve guides and fit bushings, it was easier to make over-size stems, followed by drilling then reaming. A 0.406-inch drill, 1/32nd over size, would not pass through the existing guides, so this would be the size of the new stems. First, I turned two lengths of drill rod down to 0.406-inch and cut a 0.375-inch wide recess near the top for the split collars that hold on the caps for the valve springs.
I set the valve with the good head to run true on the lathe before centering and drilling with a 0.406-inch drill to remove the old stem.
To make the replacement valve head, I center-drilled and rough-shaped a 1-inch length of 1.75-inch diameter steel to 0.406-inch before I brazed it on to the stem, ensuring the overall length was the same as the old valve.
Once the braze on the new valve had cooled I again mounted it on the lathe for shaping and cutting the 45-degree seating taper. I brazed the old head to its new stem and, as there was not much metal-to-metal contact, I peened over the end of the stem that protruded through the head.
I placed the cylinder head on the drill press to drill out the valve guide holes before I reamed them so that the new stems were an easy sliding fit.
Next, I coated the valve heads in valve-grinding paste and, using a rubber-ended wood dowel, turned them back and forth until they bedded in, with a clear ring of bright metal visible on both the valve and the seat.
At some point the original mixer had been broken at the place it bolted to the cylinder head, and the tube had been welded to repair it. When it was welded the broken edges were not V-ed out and lumps of proud-standing weld on the casting made it difficult to tighten the mounting bolts. My preference is to braze my cast iron repairs, as this does not heat the cast iron as much as welding and reduces the risk of permanent damage to cast iron of variable quality.
I ground off the weld and cleaned out the crack to a V-shape before filling with brazing flux and heating to draw out the impurities. I then cleaned off the dirty flux and applied fresh flux before bringing it up to brazing temperature again and filling the cracks with braze. After cleaning off the surplus braze with a file, I primed the repaired casting before painting it.
When first running the engine it proved impossible to finely regulate the fuel intake; there was either too much or not enough. This meant the needle valve was not working properly, possibly because of wear as the needle felt very loose when turned.
The first, and easiest, part to replace was the steel needle, with new threads tightening up the fit and a re-cut taper sitting better in its seat. I set the compound slide on the lathe over by 15 degrees to produce a 30-degree tip for the needle to match the original. When making and fitting needles it is best to set the compound slide and not re-zero it until the repair is finally finished in case the taper needs to be re-cut. In this particular case this practice proved right as it was necessary to make a reamer to re-cut the needle seat.
I turned the taper on some 0.312-inch steel before turning the body to match the profile of the original needle and then cut a 0.312-inch UNF thread. I used a slightly opened split die in the die holder to cut a fractionally oversize thread. I then put the needle in the valve and it was soon apparent that the needle would not screw in properly now that it fit the threads. I turned a further piece of steel so that it would just slide through the threads of the valve, and cut a 30-degree tip on it. Looking from the inside of the valve, this tip, when it was pushed in and turned, was not central in the hole of the valve, which confirmed what appeared to be a bend in the body of the valve. It is possible the needle valve assembly was damaged at the same time the mixer body was broken.
It took a bit of thought to decide on the best way to correct this while at the same time retaining as much of the original valve fitting as possible. It was not possible to drill through from the outside of the valve, as any drill bit would follow the path of the present taper and its hole. The spigot on the end of the valve that fit in the air passage was rough and a poor fit, so I decided to cut the spigot off and make a replacement part to braze in place before forming a new taper in it.
After I cut off the end of the valve, I screwed the valve onto some 0.312-inch UNF threaded rod that was held in the lathe chuck. This held the valve relatively central to the axis of the threads, enabling the end of the valve to be bored out to 0.312-inch diameter.
I turned a piece of brass; one part to 0.312-inch outside diameter to fit in the bored hole and the remainder to 0.50-inch outside diameter to replace the spigot that fit in the mixer air tube. While the piece of brass was still held in the chuck, I drilled a 0.091-inch hole, the smallest diameter of the old fitting, right through. I opened this hole through the last 0.50-inch of the spigot up to 0.188-inch so I could solder a replacement length of copper tube in place. At the opposite end, I opened the majority of the inside portion up to 0.25-inch in order to provide clearance for the body of the needle and allow the fuel/air mixture to flow around it. This left a short section in the middle with the 0.091-inch hole ready to be reamed out for the taper needle seat.
I then brazed this new part in place and shaped the exterior with files to match the original.
To complete the repair it was necessary to cut the taper seat for the needle. To do this I made a reamer by turning a 30-degree point on some drill rod, the tip of which I filed in half to create a sharp edge on each side. I heated and quenched the reamer to harden it before cleaning it with an oil stone to give it sharp cutting edges. Then I used this tool to slowly cut the taper by hand, stopping regularly to clean out the swarf. As the reamer was not annealed to make it less brittle it was used carefully to prevent snapping it. I tested the fit of the needle by screwing it shut, and then I slowly opened it while blowing from the inside of the valve. This made it possible to tell if the air was going through and whether the flow increased gradually as the needle was opened.
Once I tested the fit of the needle, I drilled the head off the old one and brazed it onto the new needle to complete the repair.
In view of the poor way in which the engine ran when purchased, I checked the throttling butterfly. The throttling butterfly was made from some alloy and appeared a poor fit in the mixer. I made a replacement throttling butterfly from some 1-inch round brass, 1 inch long. After cleaning any burrs and imperfections from the mixer passage, I turned this brass to a tight slide fit.
While the brass throttling butterfly was held in the passageway I set it square in the vice using the pivot holes as a guide and then drilled the brass out to 0.25-inch for the pivot pin.
To shape the brass, I sawed off corners at 45 degrees, shaped the brass using a dremel and files, and then finally drilled a 0.063-inch hole for the securing pin.
The muffler on the engine when it was purchased did not look like the examples in the Ingeco catalog photographs; it looked more like one off an English engine. If the engine was originally used to drive a generator, then it probably had an exhaust pipe that ran out through an outhouse or building and the present muffler was probably installed when the engine was restored.
While pages from a Worthington catalog showed the Ingeco, there were no clear photos of the muffler as most of the images showed the magneto side.
There were, however, some illustrations in the parts section of the instruction book. Based on the assumption that the muffler components pictured were on the same scale as the pipe nipple and that the size of the pipe nipple was 1-inch nominal, it was possible to estimate approximate measurements of the components by scaling the drawings. For the body of the muffler this came out at 5.50-inch outside diameter and 3.25-inch depth, excluding the faceplate.
Later, I happened to notice that Larry Trammel, the Engine Merchant in Chapel Hill, N.C., had a 1-1/2 HP Worthington for sale that appeared to have an original muffler. I got in touch with him and he very kindly measured it for me at 5.75 inches outside diameter and 3.75 inches deep, of which 0.375-inch was the faceplate.
I located some steel tube for the main body and the internal baffle plate, with some salvaged 0.25-inch steel plate to be used for the back plate (although the holes in it had to be welded up), and I turned some new 0.375-inch steel for the faceplate.
I rough-cut the steel plate for the back to size with a hacksaw before turning it to be a loose fit in the steel pipe. It was necessary to use a small grinding wheel to smooth out the welded seam on the inside of the pipe. I brazed a boss for the pipe nipple to the back plate before boring a hole through both and cutting the 1-inch NPT thread. I then chamfered the outside edge of the back plate so it was ready for welding.
I set the back plate on blocks on the bench, boss side down, fitted the outside tube over it and double-checked to ensure all was square before tack welding the inside at three or four points. After inspecting to check that everything was correct, I turned over the tube and filled the chamfered edge with weld before reversing and putting a bead of weld around the inside. This was a precaution as the outside edge would be rounded with the grinder and it was not clear how much of the weld would remain.
According to the catalog pictures, the baffle plate had a scalloped end with a diameter of approximately 0.50-inch, and the faceplate had a series of 0.25-inch grooves cut in it.
The first task was to slope the edge of the outer plate on the lathe ready to cut the grooves. I milled the grooves using a bull-nosed milling cutter after setting up the faceplate on the rotary table. Once I cut the grooves, I welded the baffle to the faceplate and then checked the fit to the main body to ensure that the initial measurements were right and there was close contact between the end of the baffle and the back plate of the muffler.
I cut the scalloped bottom of the baffle after setting the ring of steel on the rotary table and again used a bull-nosed milling cutter.
Once the baffle was finished, I drilled two 0.312-inch holes through the muffler and the faceplate for the securing bolts; I fit both with steel tube spacers to help keep the faceplate centered.