The Incomparable Wico EK Magneto

| November/December 1998

  • Closeup of the Wico
    Closeup of the Wico.
  • Gordon Tengen's Sattley engine
    Wico EK magneto installed on Gordon Tengen's Sattley engine.

  • Closeup of the Wico
  • Gordon Tengen's Sattley engine

293 Four Square Drive Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858

The following is the confession of a neophyte old engine enthusiast or, 'How my Wico Model EK magneto and I survived the first few weeks of our relationship.' After talking with fellow old engine enthusiasts, it appears I may have delved into the critter more than many. Thus, I thought I would share my experiences and information gathered during the ordeal.

When I purchased the engine it had some compression, no cracks in the cylinder or water jacket, most of the parts were on it (I suspect there is some great repository in the heavens for mufflers and gas tanks), and the magneto made sparks albeit weak yellow looking sparks. I understand from my experienced old engine friend this was a pretty good find.

My first thought was to fabricate a temporary gas tank and see if I could convert some gasoline into noise, but better judgment prevailed and I started to clean and check components thoroughly.

Alas, the magneto! Being a retired electrical engineer and one who has toyed with gas and diesel engines over the years, I felt confident the rather simple EK magneto would be operational in a few hours. Boy, was I wrong! I now know that although the EK is not a complicated device in principle, it is full of special and exacting needsor should I say mandatory requirements.

Upon opening up the magneto I found it had suffered many indignities, e.g. one breaker point was cracked, the cloth wrapping around the coil was torn and frayed, old lamp cord had been soldered to the coil primary wire ends and wrapped in an abundance of plastic tape, and a tape laden condenser was stuffed in the cavity above the coils.