The First Pull

By Staff
1 / 6
2 / 6
3 / 6
4 / 6
5 / 6
6 / 6

2224 Wyandotte Drive Oakville, Ontario L6L 2T5

In the late 1920s Briggs and Stratton realized the need to build
a larger engine with a higher power rating. The F series engines
that were currently being constructed were only rated at ? to ? HP.
The company’s result was the model Q. It turned out to be
Briggs and Stratton’s first flat head engine. As large as this
engine was constructed, its power rating was still only 1 HP.

I wanted to add one of these engines to my B&S collection,
and finally found one for sale at the Portland, Indiana, show on
August 25, 1995. Del Packard, a long time B&S collector, had
Model Q engine serial number 3303 for sale at this show. Once we
had settled on a price, Del loaded it into a cart and hauled it out
to the parking lot for me with his lawn tractor.

Restoration of this engine did not begin until January 11, 1998.
In dismantling this engine, I found that it had been restored at
least once in the past. As the engine came apart I discovered the
usual mixture of old and new bolts, missing pieces, and the fact
that the drive side shroud had rusted badly and had been repaired.
The muffler, gas tank, rope start pulley and crankcase breather
were all homemade or non-original.

The shroud repair consisted of an oversize aluminum plate that
had been riveted to the surrounding metal on the inside then
levelled with an abundance of plastic body filler. This repair was
functional but, being somewhat of a purist, I decided that I would
endeavour to repair the hole with sheet metal. I had never
attempted this type of repair before but, after glass beading the
area, I started by cutting back the feathered edges to clean metal
of full thickness.

Next I bought new sheet metal of the correct gauge and cut a
piece to the exact shape of the hole so that the fit was as close
as possible. After clamping the piece in place, I brazed it to the
shroud and found that, regardless of how many clamps I used, the
new metal piece did buckle slightly in some places due to the heat.
Once the smoothing and final finish coat of paint was applied, I
was pleased with the result.

In glass beading the inside surfaces of both shrouds, I found
many layers of different colored paint underneath the outer layer
of black. This fact lead me to believe that this engine was
originally used to operate an air compressor which, in turn, was
probably used to run a paint sprayer.

The homemade gas tank had been welded directly to the support
brackets. Wanting the finished engine to look as original as
possible, I removed the brackets and ground them back to shape.
They were mailed to Charles Camara of CPC Reproductions in
Tiverton, Rhode Island. Charlie properly mounted them at the
correct angle on one of his excellent reproduction tanks. I also
took the opportunity to order one of Charlie’s reproduction
mufflers and a crankcase breather for this restoration project.

The cylinder walls were in good shape but the rings were worn
beyond specs, as were the main bearings. The cylinder is detachable
from the crank-case on this model, so the upper unit and crankshaft
went to Niagara Piston Ring Works in Lockport, New York, for Joe
Sykes to make a new set of rings and main bearings.

While the engine parts were spread far and wide, I began a
search by phone, email and internet for the correct rope start
pulley. I came as close as missing one that had sold only two weeks
before my call. Finally I settled for one of CPC’s reproduction
pulleys made for a B&S model A. Once I had gathered all the
repaired and re-production pieces together I was able to complete
metal re-finishing and painting of all parts in preparation for the
reassembly stage. This stage went smoothly but slowly as time
permitted. Finishing touches included a new ignition wire, NOS
Champion 6M spark plug and a set of appropriate decals. Up until
recently, decals for B&S engines of this age were not
available. Having found a set on a model M of the same era, I
photographed them and had them computer enhanced. I sent the CD to
Charles Camara who had them reproduced for sale to other restorers
with engines of the same time period.

Finally, the restored Q was ready to start. My son and I carried
it out to the garage on April Fools Day 2000 and clamped it down to
a table stand. I filled the crankcase and gas tank, then wrapped a
newly made starter rope around the pulley and gave it a pull. The
engine started right away. I have never before had a restored
engine start on the first pull. In a state of
surprise, my son and I just stood there listening and watching the
‘Q’ run. When I checked the idle rpm, it only needed a very
minor adjustment to set it up to specs. I stopped the engine and
tried to start it again. It started right up again. According to
the serial number, this engine was built in June of 1928 so, at 72
years old, it started its final use as a display engine on the
first pull.

This engine will be on display and running this summer at the
local shows that I attend in southern Ontario and northwest New
York state.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines