The Hercules Engine News

By Staff
article image
Dave Babcock

20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

The story of the resurrection of 1? HP model E Hercules #148306
that was built in mid-1918 continues. The task to reassemble the
engine to running condition began. It might be well to point out
that returning it to running condition is just that. To restore
everything to near original tolerances and operating condition with
all the proper parts and paint finish is another matter.

Since the parts order and the new piston rings had yet to
arrive, the piston was not removed from the cylinder. The rod and
main bearings were adjusted to the point that there was just enough
loose play to ensure that there was space left for the grease in
the bearings. The side rod itself and the roller were in good
condition, having apparently been replaced at some time in the
past. The side of the block where the side rod rubs was well worn
so a thin metal shim was made to go between the governor bracket
and the block to provide a new wearing surface.

The governor spindle pin was worn off until it was about even
with the end of the governor shaft. Since there was no spacer
washer between the governor gear and the bracket, it only made the
speed control problem worse. This allowed the detent blade to stand
well out from the side rod and the detent block. The governor balls
must fly way out to cause the detent to latch and the engine must
run rather fast for all this to happen. A new pin about ? inch
longer was made and a spacer washer was added. This allows the
flyballs to move only a short distance before they will cause the
pin to make the detent latch. This is a big aid in slowing down the
engine speed, too. A new pivot pin was also made for the detent
blade holder and the detent finger. That eliminated a little more
of the loose play.

The igniter was checked to see that the insulated electrode was
not grounded and the points were cleaned up. After the magneto was
added and adjustments were made, it appeared to produce adequate
spark when tripped with the hand lever.

After finding the lost valve, the head was reassembled using the
old springs and new head and igniter gaskets were cut. Now it was
just a matter of putting the pieces back together. The head and
igniter gaskets were coated with grease to soften them a little and
to make it easier to remove the head or igniter if it should later
become necessary. The head bolts were tightened to 60 pounds and
later retightened.

The exhaust rocker arm had a deep pit worn in it where it
touched the valve stem, so it was brazed and ground down to
original shape. After replacing the rocker arm and making a new
pin, the exhaust valve timing was checked and adjusted according to
the instruction book so as to open and close at the proper time.
The ignition timing was checked and adjusted, also using the
instruction book directions. The fuel pipe and check valve were
removed and cleaned and a new fuel line was made. Gas was poured
into the tank. Surprise, the engine was soon sitting in a puddle of
gasoline. The engine was stood on end and that tank didn’t look
nearly as good as it had felt like earlier. The tank was removed,
and with a Dremel grinding tool, all suspected leaking areas were
shined up and repairs were made with JB Weld. Tank sealer was added
as insurance against further leaks. The tank was then put back, all
the fuel connections made and fuel was put back in the tank. Now,
hopefully, start up time had arrived. The first few attempts
yielded only a few feeble putts. After a few minor adjustments, it
started and sort of limped along while I tinkered with the fuel
settings. At some point, it sort of caught its breath and started
running better. I continued to tinker with fuel and choke settings,
but somehow a proper setting was hard to achieve. The engine was in
a rather poor place to try to run it and work with adjustments at
the same time. It was sitting unfastened to a bench that was on
rollers, and it was hard to keep the engine from hopping off the
bench while the bench tried to roll towards the floor drain. A word
of caution, don’t try that kind of thing.

At this point, time ran out for tinkering with the engine. It
was time to load up my two Atlas exhibit engines and get ready to
head for the Oil and Gas Festival at Sistersville, West Virginia,
with friend Steve Elpers. As an afterthought it was decided to load
up engine #148306 and take it along. Perhaps someone there would be
interested in buying it. When we arrived there on Friday morning,
we plopped it out on the ground for sale. It wasn’t too long
before a fellow asked about it for a friend. To make the story
short, it was sold and found a new home. Thus ends my story of
engine #148306.


Dave Babcock of 3491 E. Deckerville Rd., Cass City, MI 48726
sent this vintage photo of a child named Fred with a 6 HP Z
Fairbanks Morse. The photo was taken in the state of Washington.
Does anyone know what became of Fred and the engine?

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