Stationary Engine List

| August/September 2001

Many interesting topics were covered this month by the world-wide members of the internet Stationary Engine Mailing List and one which was brought to my attention as a suitable subject for the GEM article discussed 'snobbery' at engine shows. The attitude of some show organisers and exhibitors inspire some lively discussion, but as last month's article was on the subject of shows, I decided to save that for next month and pass on some brief, but interesting, information about oils for lubrication.

Strangely, this thread started life when someone asked the off-topic question of how he could get rid of gophers on his property, and one suggestion offered the use of a Maytag exhaust inserted into the offending hole, with the addition of various substances to the running mixture of the engine. This then developed into querying which additives can safely be used with stationary engines.

Before I go and try this I want to make sure. ... If I empty the oiler on one of my engines and put castor oil in there it's not gonna seize the piston or burn up the cylinder? I bought some castor oil last time this was brought up but never did try it because I wasn't sure if I'd screw anything up.

Nope. It'll run great. The worst that can happen to you with castor oil is stuck rings, but that happens primarily with long running under very hot conditions. Castor oil has better anti-friction properties than the old straight mineral oils, and excellent antis cuffing properties under high bearing loads. Lots of oils for racing two-stroke motorcycle engines are still based on castor oil.

You shouldn't mix mineral and vegetable oil together, as the vegetable oil goes into lumps and can block oil-ways.

There are special flushing oils required to change from one to the other, and unless you are racing there is not a lot of point in using vegetable oil in the first place.