Stationary Engine List

Cylinder Repair


| July/August 2003



Stationary Engine

I'll begin with a confession. The other day, I got up with a list of jobs for the day that required my urgent attention, the first of which was sifting through e-mails to the Stationary Engine Mailing List to find a suitable subject for GEM -and getting the article mostly, if not completely, written.

I had the house to myself, no children to feed or chase away from the computer so I could get on with the job. The problem was it was a beautiful day. Contrary to expectations it was warm and sunny with a pleasant breeze, and the rest of the family had gone to the first big show of the year. I did try to get on with the article, honestly, but unfortunately the weather won out and I raced off to join them, leaving myself a lot less time to get the job done.

The show had an impressive display of stationary engines (even though this particular show is primarily about historic transport) and, even more impressively, most of the engines were running most of the time.

There was an undisputed rumor going up and down the line that the next show, at the end of the month, will be the rally debut for Tillie, the 15 HP Tillinghast half-breed oil field engine, last seen in public at Portland in 2001. As she's probably the only half-breed in England, and about twice the horsepower of the average engine seen on our rally fields, it should be an impressive debut, especially given the spectacular setting of parkland at a country house. I can only hope for weather as good as we had this weekend.

I've been contributing these articles to GEM for almost four years, and it's tricky coming up with something we haven't covered before. But the problem of a damaged cylinder is one that anyone who restores old iron can, and probably will, come across, so herewith are a few words of wisdom from the folks on the engine list around the world. Our thread started with the following question:

Problem: You have a really nice old hunk of iron with a messed up cylinder. Either it is egg shaped, has a nasty gouge down it or someone left it sitting without the piston, etc. My question is, what would you do to get it running again?