Stationary Engine List

Cleaning Cylinders

| May/June 2003

A great article this month as we cross the digital divide with an inquiry forwarded to the ATIS (Antique Tractor Internet Service) Stationary Engine Mailing List from a GEM reader who doesn't own a computer. This is exactly why we started sharing discussions from the List with GEM readers - so people without computers can enjoy and benefit from the e-mail discussions we hold daily.

This thread started with a letter GEM editor Richard Backus received from John Edgerton of the Northwest Antique Power Association in Montana, asking if the list could come up with any ideas to help him. John wrote:

How does one clean out the dirt and crap that has packed itself in and under the cylinder of a spark plug-fired 3 HP International M? I do not want to remove the cylinder liner, for obvious reasons. Is there a chemical that will loosen up the dirt? I have tried blowing air through a copper line and have gotten some dirt out, but there are places I can't reach with the copper line. What about drilling holes through the outside water jacket under the cylinder, and then plugging the holes up once I'm done?

John, it's a pleasure to offer the combined advice of engine collectors around the globe! And here's what they had to say:

I restored this same engine for a gentleman last year. In this case, I found lots of scale mixed with years of dirt and spilled oil. My solution was to don some old clothes, goggles and a hat, borrow a pressure washer and then jam a thin piece of steel into the mess while working around the cylinder from the hopper.

I used a serious 10 HP Honda that develops around 3,500 psi. About an hour later the hopper was clean. Unfortunately, everything within a 20-foot radius was covered with tiny, gooey pieces of gunk. My Lovely made me strip in the garage.