Restoring an Oil City Boiler Works/South Penn cross-breed engine, Part 5

Labor of Love


| June/July 2010



oil city 2

The fenced-in home of the Oil City Boiler Works/South Penn cross-breed engine, which was purchased and restored by the North Jersey Antique Engine and Machinery Club. Andrew Mackey and the rest of the club continued working on the engine throughout 2007, and finally got it running after a few false starts.

Photo by Andrew Mackey

Editor’s note: The following is Part 5 of a six-part series about the purchase, retrieval and restoration of an Oil City Boiler Works/South Penn cross-breed engine purchased by the North Jersey Antique Engine and Machinery Club in 2006.  Part 4 can be read here . 

Awhile back, a couple of North Jersey Antique Engine and Machinery Club members went to the Coolspring Power Museum summer show in Coolspring, Pa., and saw an identical engine to ours on display. The owners were generous with their information about the engine, and even removed their intake valve assembly and took it apart so our guys could measure all the dimensions. They even had a scale to weigh the intake valve itself!

Armed with all the information, club president Blace Flatt took the valve seat to a machinist friend to have the work done.

When we got it back, it looked great, but Blace had reservations as to how well it would work. It turned out that the machinist thought the intake valve was too heavy (1-1/2 pounds), and took it upon his own to make the valve lighter than specified – half a pound lighter!

There is a spring at the base of the valve stem, but its only purpose is to keep the valve from chattering. It is not meant to actually close the valve; that is supposed to be done by gravity. We figured we’d see how well it worked once we got the engine fired up. Larry O’Neill assembled the intake assembly for us and we were ready for the next part of the job.

Installing the valve assembly
I took the newly repaired valve assembly, cut a new gasket for it and then installed the assembly onto the engine cylinder. The transfer port cover was permanently installed using the old gasket, which was still serviceable, and all the new nuts were installed on the eight existing studs. Luckily I was able to find 1/2-inch by 12 threads per inch (TPI) nuts at my friend’s hardware store, and all the studs had compatible threading with the new nuts.