It Was Not For Sale, At First!

By Staff
1 / 2
My Aermotor as found under Bill's workbench.
2 / 2

13813 Travois Trail Parker, Colorado 80134

My fascination with Aermotor 8-cycle engines began in the Spring
of 1994 when I was exhibiting at the Pike’s Peak Antique
Machinery Days, sponsored by our local club, the Front Range
Antique Machinery Days, EDGE&TA Branch 46. There was an 8-cycle
there on display and I spent a few inures watching it run after
which I was convinced I had to find one. The scene was repeated
when I attended the Puget Sound Antique Tractor & Machinery
Association Show in Lynden, Wash igniter a couple months later,
sealing my future.

Next, it was onto the more, if not the most, difficult task of
actually finding one of these engines to restore. I quickly
discovered that the Aermotor 8-cycle is not among the most common
nor index pensive engines. I spent several months trying to find
one in any condition. Finally, I discovered an advertisement in our
club newsletter. The letter stated that another member, Bill
Tunstall, had over 40 engines for sale, among other things.

I called Bill right away and asked if he had an Aermotor 8-cycle
in his collection. He said yes, but it was not for sale. I thought
to myself that perhaps if I had a look at his other engines, my
thoughts of ever ending up with an 8-cycle would be forgotten and I
could find something else to restore. Bill was going to be in my
area in a couple of days so I invited him over to look at my
collection/trading stock, seeing as how I had no real cash at the

When he visited I wasn’t in, but my wife Tammy did an
admirable job in showing my collection to Bill, for when I called
Bill later, he said he was impressed by my wife, family,
restoration skills and collection, and he could be persuaded to
work a deal with me for the Aermotor. The next Saturday, with
trading stock in tow, I ventured out on the almost
three-hour-each-way trip to Bill’s place. Bill showed me his
Aermotor under his workbench as it had been for the past several
years. By the time the day had finished, we had completed our
transaction and I was the proud new owner of an unrestored and
mostly complete and free Aermotor 8-cycle engine. After getting it
home, I performed the usual disassembly and cleaning. Then I
started the reassembly with a few good parts from Star bolt
Enterprises. The piston pin was a bit worn, but not having a source
of another one nor reasonably priced machine facilities, I decided
to keep it. Also, the non-adjust able main bearings were a bit
loose. Not wanting to pour nor pay someone to pour Babbitt I
decided to keep them, too. The igniter tip arm was a bit loose on
the rocker arm pivot shaft so I repined it. Other than that, the
engine needed only a few relatively insignificant part such as
rings, piston oiler, automatic grease cup for the crankpin, crank
guard, and an ignition coil. I assembled it fully and got ready to
paint it.

I had found that the original color was an industrial gray.
I’m usually a person who likes to perform accurate restorations
down to the original shade of paint but industrial gray was going
too far. This engine deserves a more interesting color. So I
painted it Ford engine red with yellow and black trim, thereby
completing the engine.

Next, my attention turned to the truck construction. I made the
main frame from laminated white oak and attached it to a steel sub
frame. I then attached two pairs of wheels, one pair I had gotten
at a garage sale, the other pair from an auction just one weekend
before. Then I painted and assembled the truck and placed the
engine on top of it. I was surprised by how nicely it turned

The time I had been looking forward to arrived the following
weekend. I got the engine outside, and after taking a few pictures
of it, attempted to start it. I couldn’t get the smallest
reaction out of it at all for the longest time, so I put it away. I
took it out the next day and decided I’d try to start it by
closing the needle valve all the way and back it out in
1/16th turn increments while trying to start
it. When I got to the 3/16 turn position, it
fired right up! With a few other adjustments, I was able to keep it
running for quite a while and ran it for about a total of an hour
that day, six months after I had acquired the engine. As we all
know, this satisfying experience is what makes it all worth the
quantity of money and the hours upon hours of time spent during

I would like to thank all of the people who responded to my
Reflections article #30/2/20. I learned many interesting things
about Aermotor and the changes in the 8-cycle engine, which helped
me conclude that mine was made around 1908-1909. It had the fly
ball governor attached to the camshaft; one of the earliest

My Aermotor 8-cycle has been the source of fascination that I
knew it would be. It now joins the other members in my collection
and stands ready for display in any upcoming show.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines