Short and Sweet

A Little Briggs & Stratton Model 5S Receives an Interesting Conversion

| April/May 2004

Jesse Cook's flywheel Briggs & Stratton

Looking for all the world like a factory offering. Jesse Cook's flywheel Briggs & Stratton is a testimony to the engine man's art.

I've collected gas engines for the past 35 years and own about 25 ranging from 1 HP to 6 HP. However, as I get older these big engines seem to get harder and harder to crank.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't lost interest in the big engines yet - I still want to buy every single one I see. But lately I've been looking at smaller engines.

At last year's Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association Reunion in Portland, Ind., I finally purchased a small gas engine in my price range: a 1952 Briggs & Stratton Model 5S, serial no. 1011222.

I thought I could make it a bit more interesting, so I removed the shroud and cut away the backing plate except around the points and condenser, leaving only the round cover plate to protect them.

Next, I installed a 12-volt coil and a 6-volt motorcycle battery, which gives the engine a good, hot spark. Using a hole saw, I cut the center out of the original aluminum flywheel. Then, I pressed the center piece from the original flywheel into the hub of a 9-1/2-inch-by-2-inch steel wheel from an old wooden cart. On the other end of the crankshaft, I made a bushing and fit another identical-size wheel to the shaft. The heavy wheels make good substitutes for flywheels, allowing the engine to run very slow and start very easy.