3325 North 65th Street Wausau, Wisconsin 54401.
The enclosed list is to act as a guide. It is in no way complete, because a complete list would have to cover every particular type and style of engine, and even that could be broken down to individual components. This would require several volumes to complete the information!
1. Check for missing parts. It is not uncommon for engines to be missing parts such as the crank guard, muffler, magneto and fuel pump. Take the time to examine the engine closely. There is nothing worse than purchasing an engine and, after taking it home, finding a small but very important part missing.
2. Take a friend along to get a second opinion. Often a second person can see defects that a buyer cannot see due to emotions of a purchase.
3. Beware of homemade parts and made to fit parts. Ask the seller; 99.9% of the collectors are honest and will tell you. I have heard of an inverted Webster engine that was sold, and the only thing Webster on it was the cylinder block. The rest was homemade or robbed off a common engine and made to fit.
4. Check for cracks and welds, particularly the cylinder head, the bottom of the cylinder jacket, and the water pump on engines so equipped. It is more common for an engine to be cracked and welded than not. What is important is the degree of damage and fix ability, or quality of repair if already repaired.
5. Check the flywheels, turn the engine over-do they run true? If not, this could be an indication of a bent crankshaft or flywheel. Secondly, check the flywheel hub and keyway for cracks due to running with a loose flywheel or overdriving the gibe key.
6. Talk to a collector who has an engine like the one you are looking at. The person can often have information on what to look out for, particular to that make and model of engine. Examples: bottom of gas tanks rusted out on John Deere engines or broken fuel pumps on type 'M' International Harvester engines.
7. Check the cylinder bore and compression. Generally, good compression is an indication of good bore, rings and valves. If the engine has poor compression, investigate. Turn the engine over slowly, listen to where the compression is leaking. Compression leading from the exhaust or carburetor is an indication of bad valves. Compression leaking into the hopper or water jacket is an indication of a blown head gasket, cracked head or cracked cylinder bore. If possible, remove the head and inspect the bore for rust pits, deep scratches and wear.
A final note. Just because an engine runs does not make it a good original complete engine. The ignition and fuel systems are often modified. Magnetos are often removed and the engine converted to battery ignition, or igniter removed and a plate with a spark plug fitted into it. With fuel systems, the fuel pump seems to be the biggest failure or is missing completely. This is sometimes repaired by changing the carburetor to a gravity or suction feed unit and relocating the fuel tank. These modifications are not done to deceive anyone, but are done simply because the owner has no other means of repair.
My intentions are not to scare anyone, but to inform the collector. In the gas engine hobby I have found, as a whole, the collectors and dealers are very honest and helpful. Good luck engine hunting!