‘The Brewster Green Machine’

By Staff
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Stover marked Engine

10 Woodhaven Drive, Poquoson, Virginia 23662

After coming this close (- -) to buying an engine and not
succeeding, I still kept looking for a lonesome engine in need of
restoration. Wanting to share my frustration with someone, I told
my Uncle Pat in Pennsylvania. He said that his mother had a gas
engine and would probably sell it to me. He suggested that we call
her to get some information about the old gas engine. This was the
info obtained: Stover Manufacturing and Engine Company, Freeport,
Illinois, 2.5 HP, 575 RPM, type CT-2. I thought that it was small
enough, so I got it approved by my dad and gave my uncle an honest
price that I would pay for the engine. Mrs. Williams approved the
deal, and I thought about the fact that I just bought an engine
that I hadn’t seen and didn’t even know what it looked
like. I drew a picture of the engine that I came this close (- -)
to buying, mailed it to my Uncle Pat and let him add onto the
drawing until it looked like the Stover I bought. He assured me
that the engine had run just four or five years ago. I couldn’t
wait to see the engine for myself.

I waited for about two months until November 3, 1987, when my
grandparents arrived here in Virginia in their van with my Stover
in the rear. The engine had a coat of John Deere green paint to
keep it from rusting over the last fifteen years when my
uncle’s father bought it. My grandpa told me that he and my
uncle had tried to start it, but all it did was backfire and hop
around a lot. I thanked my grandpa for bringing the engine from a
dark shed in Pennsylvania to my house down in Virginia.

Keep in mind that I was only fourteen when I bought the engine,
and I knew absolutely zero about restoring a hit and miss engine! I
spent hours after school just turning the flywheels and watching
all the moving parts move around. Then I took off the crankcase
cover just to see the parts inside. After seeing how the actual
engine worked, I began to fiddle with the battery, coil, and point
ignition device. I used a straight coat hanger, inserted it in the
sparkplug hole, and felt around to get the timing straight between
where the piston was and when the exhaust valve and points opened.
I set the timing correctly, replaced the original broken sparkplug
and filled the gas tank with gas, hoping that was what it ran on. I
held my thumb over the mixer’s air inlet as my dad turned the
flywheels to prime it. Then my dad hooked the car battery up to the
coil and set of points. On the third turn of the flywheels, the
Stover let out a pop and I watched the flywheels turn hoping it
would fire again, but it didn’t.

One day, Mr. Barden came over for a visit. He saw the engine
that I was working on and said that he knew someone that had a
collection of old gas engines, and that he would introduce him to
me. On February 2, 1988, I was introduced to the most friendly and
helpful engine collector I ever knew (actually he’s the only
engine collector I know)-Mr. Larry Phillips. He ran his engines for
me so I could see how they worked, and then we left to see my
engine. I explained the problem to him about my engine not
starting. He solved that problem that very same night! He took off
the Stover’s gas line and found a stuck check valve. I thanked
him and he gave me C. H. Wendel’s Encyclopedia of Gas Engines
and some copies of Gas Engine Magazine. Thanks to GEM I was able to
purchase a Stover instruction manual and Stover decals. To
eliminate the battery and coil rig, I purchased a magneto, a
magneto bracket, and a rocker arm all from Ed Deis when I was in
Pennsylvania on vacation. I previously ran it on the battery and
coil rig since those magneto parts were missing.

Once school vacation began, I spent nearly every day working on
cleaning my engine. After buying all of those parts and things, I
wasn’t about to pay to get mine sandblasted. I found that a
rust brush and a can of paint remover works just fine. After
cleaning all of the disassembled parts, I sprayed them all with
primer and waited forever to get the paint. I found a good paint
store in the Yellow Pages, but it took my dad twenty more phone
calls to find the original color of paint, Brewster green. I
painted a fancy gold trim over the green, and tried to make my
Stover look as original as possible. I even went as far as to make
some stained wood skids and a stained wood tool box, both with
Stover marked on them which looked like the originals.

When it came to reassembling the engine in late August, things
worked out fine because I had remembered where all of the parts
were supposed to go. I put oil in the crankcase to get it ready to
run only to find that the cam cover gasket was leaking oil. I took
the flywheels off and supposedly fixed the leaky oil gasket.

It was now ready to roll, but as I turned the flywheels I heard
a loud pop and flames shot out of the muffler. I took the flywheels
off again (by this time I was really getting annoyed), finding that
I had put the gears in off by a few teeth, although I was positive
that I had it set right before.

Now that everything definitely was in time, I attempted to start
it. It ran, but it never got up to speed, or in other words,
‘idling’. I solved that problem by moving the push rod up
the side rod until it ran perfectly.

I had to mow a lot of lawns and baby sit a lot of kids, but
being able to own a ‘Brewster green machine’ was well worth

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