Stationary Engine List

| March/April 2000

The ATIS Stationary Engine Mailing List is a growing internet group of engine enthusiasts. Recent discussions have not been entirely engine oriented over the holiday season, but one of our annual events did throw up an interesting and useful topic. Each year, for New Years, we hold a world-wide crank up in memory of engine friends now passed on. The exact timing for the crank up is not essential, as New Year lasts from New Zealand to California. It is this geographical spread of the List which brought a question from Canada:

I have never attempted to start one of my engines in this kind of cold weather before so I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to avoid undue cranking. Someone told me once to put hot water in the hopper prior to start up so it will be a little easier but I was worried about cracking something. Thoughts and ideas would be appreciated.

I suppose by the time this is in print, spring will be here and thoughts will be turning to the coming show season rather than snowy starts, but it is useful information to store for the future -you'll have fun next winter going through the year's back issues of GEM looking for it! Ignoring a few of the suggestions such as' 'let your wife crank it' or 'move your engines to California,' here are some of the tips the List came up with.

Hot water will work wonders. You don't need to worry about it cracking.

Hot water will hurt nothing, and likely make your engine easier to start. Another idea is to bring the engine inside the night before and let it warm up a bit, or even put a 40 watt (lit) light bulb in the hopper for 12-24 hours or so (with a pan of some kind as a lid for the hopper.) Anything to get it a bit warm.

I've also had great success with adding a couple of buckets of hot water to the hopper. In fact that's the recommended procedure for cold weather starting in all of the old owners manuals that I've read. Just REMEMBER . . . DRAIN THE HOPPER!!!!!