The ‘UNIQUE’ Engine

By Staff
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5137 Swartz Road, Kansas City, Kansas 66106

This is the story of a ‘shop made’ engine, built by a
man I have known for better than two-thirds of my life. I consider
myself privileged to know him, and to have him as a friend.

Several years ago, I stopped by my friend Donald Schultz’s
home to discuss an engine that he had for sale. Donald lives about
20 miles or so from my parents’ home in Iowa, and has for many
years sold old flywheel type engines. When I first met him (I was
about 10) he had so many of them that they were packed into every
corner of every building that he had. As usual, he was in his shop,
puttering with some old metal he had piled up on the floor and on a
table. I asked him what he was building, and he said he was making
an engine. He said he had walked into the shop one day, and kicked
into a pile of iron. Feeling that he needed to clean things up a
bit, he decided that building an engine would be a good way to use
up some of the junk.

Some 30 years earlier he had picked up a set of flywheels,
crankshaft, belt pulley, and crankcase cover for a Galloway
‘Handy Andy’ at a farm sale. He had looked for years for a
parts engine that he could complete with what he had, but had never
found one. He finally sold the crankcase cover, and decided to make
use of the other parts. These were the beginnings of the engine
that I now own.

Several months passed before I visited Don again, and by then he
had the engine built but seemed to be having problems getting it to
run and start easily. It would start only if you used a large drill
to really get it spinning, but even then it didn’t run well. I
could tell at that time that he was losing interest since it was
pretty much done and the ‘building’ part was over.

I basically forgot about the engine for the next few years. I
noticed once, on a visit, that Don had moved the engine to his
garage and it had at least a ‘ of dust on it. I was talking to
him about a complete ‘Handy Andy’ that he had, and he asked
me ‘Why don’t you just buy that engine?,’ pointing to
the little homemade engine on the floor. I couldn’t believe
that he would even consider selling it! We soon came to an
agreement on price, and the little homemade engine was loaded into
my pickup, ready to travel to its new home in Kansas.

The first thing I did was try to get the little engine to run. I
thought my hands would fall off after spinning those little
flywheels for an hour! I did finally get it to start, but it
didn’t want to keep running, and it ran very poorly. I decided
that I needed to check everything over carefully and try to figure
what was wrong.

First, I noticed that it had poor compression, and the spark was
erratic. I could hear compression leaking out of the exhaust, so I
decided to first give it a valve job, and did it ever need it! Both
valves were badly pitted and rusty. I ground and seated both
valves, and this did help some. I replaced the old spark plug, and
this fixed the ignition problem.

I also found that the carburetor Don had used was in really bad
shape. I didn’t have another one like it, so I decided to try
and repair it. I built up the throttle shaft and filed it down,
then used JB Weld to glue the bushings back into the carb body.
Then I put small rubber ‘O’ rings under the bushings to
help seal them up. This worked well. I set it off to the side and
started checking the timing.

As you can see in the pictures, this little engine has a very
unique way of timing the cam and the magneto. They both appeared to
be okay, but I noticed that the duration of the cam lobe was too
long, and if the exhaust valve opened at the right time, it was
still open almost halfway through the intake stroke. I reground the
lobe and adjusted the rocker travel, and it was much better.

With all the repaired parts installed, I tried it again.
Compression was better, but still wasn’t great, and it still
didn’t want to start. Something was still not right.

I pulled it all apart again, and found my problem. The piece of
pipe that was used for a cylinder had warped when the water jacket
was welded to it, and had messed up the bore. I took it to a man I
know here locally who works on old Briggs motors, and he said he
could bore and sleeve it with an 8 HP Briggs sleeve since that was
the piston Don had used. Two days later he called me back and said
we had a problem. He had tried to bore the cylinder with his boring
machine, and found that the cylinder was made of steel pipe and not
of cast iron. The only way he could do it now was to chuck the
block up in the lathe, but he would have to mill the front of the
block first because it wasn’t perfectly flat. Then he told me
the price! I told him to go ahead, it wasn’t any good the way
it was! He did a beautiful job, and it was worth every cent.

Not long after that I took it back to Don’s house to show it
to him and let him hear it run. The look on his face when it easily
started and ran so well made it all worthwhile. He said that if it
had run like that when he had it, he would have never sold
it!!!

Now the engine runs well, and starts easily. It is quite an eye
catcher at the shows. Everyone wants to know how it was built, and
I just start naming the parts that it is built from. These are the
ones that I know: flywheels, crankshaft, and pulley are Handy Andy;
cylinder head is model FH Briggs; piston is 8 HP modern Briggs; rod
is Model T Ford; carburetor is either Clinton, Lawson, or REO; fuel
tank is Power Products Lawn Mower; magneto is off of a
Fairbanks-Morse engine; and the muffler is a ‘step’ pulley
off an old drill press machined down. The rest of the little engine
is pieces of scrap welded together. It has been called the
‘Bicycle Chain Engine’ ‘Roller Chain Engine’
(because of its odd design with the chain style timing seen in the
pictures), ‘The ‘Rube Goldberg’ Engine,’ and
several other things, but I intend to stencil ‘Schultz’ on
the skids, and ‘Lil Pop’ on the water hopper. This is how
it looked when I bought it, minus the dirt. I haven’t decided
on colors yet; I may keep the same color scheme.

I wanted to write this story so that my good friend Don could
see his engine in the magazine. He turned 93 years young this year
(2000), and I hope that he sees many more. Thank you, Donald, for
being my friend.

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