P.O. Box 292, Weeping Water, ‘Nebraska 68463
Probably there are other people more knowledgeable on these
engines, but these tips I have learned from experience and I
haven’t seen anything in print on this before. If I had, it
would have saved me a lot of time and trouble.
NO. 1. When engine has been standing for some time, do not
attempt to turn over or start before taking off oil pump and
checking inside for broken or stuck parts such as slides and white
metal cams. These cams were designed to break should slides be
stuck to keep from ruining other inside parts.
NO. 2. After taking engine apart, check all parts for breakage
and wear. Be sure to thoroughly check cylinder head, especially on
1 and 3 HP to make sure all water passages are clear and open. Do
not remove pins or locking rings in position as a ported engine has
to have them.
NO. 3. Distributor and Governor Shaft. These shafts and top
distributor bracket are usually badly worn as there is no provision
to oil them. The hole in distributor casting is just brass bushing
installed-either oilite, or it can be drilled on inside next to
cylinder for ? zerk. This is almost not visible and then only
to an expert.
On lower end of shaft is babbitt bearing, sometimes usable,
bearing, sometimes usable, sometimes completely worn out. There is
a small oil hole in inside bore of governor gear to oil this, but
it is so small it usually fills up with dirt or foreign matter
before engine is very old letting this bearing run dry. If this has
to be rebabbitted be sure to get top of surface to be at least. 125
above casting so that governor gear carrier hard washer is high
enough to let gears mesh properly, and the distributor disk is high
enough that it doesn’t drag on distributor holding casting. If
you have to make a new cylinder mounting gasket, be sure it is not
too thick as your cylinder height has to be so disk won’t drag.
We do the same thing on the bottom bearing as on the upper. On the
front side of engine, or mixing valve side, above the crankshaft
drill hole at an angle for ? zerk. If located right it is almost
hidden behind gear guards. We know this is not original, but is a
way to oil or grease these parts.
NO. 4. Air Intake. This is very touchy. Some engines have only a
hole bored in cast, some have an aluminum or white metal insert
held in cast with a pin. These are very easily repaired as you can
take out sleeve, build up ID. and machine back to size. To finish,
never use emery cloth, sandpaper or valve grinding compound. Real
fine wet or dry sandpaper is permissible, but I usually finish
these with pumice stone. It will not imbed in sleeve material-just
wash off with water.
On the old style or cast iron, unless the sleeve has spun with
the shaft, we do nothing. If for some reason the hole is out of
round or not parallel to cylinder, we machine ID. just enough to
clean it up. I have been unable to find an epoxy that will adhere
to brass as there is too much soft carbon in it. We usually build
these up with OX. acetylene and a low melting point bronze or
bronzeachrome, then machine to size. It is very important to use
accurate measurements as this is doing the same thing as the
butterfly in an ordinary carburetor, except it is metering air only
and an ordinary carburetor is metering gas vapor and air. If this
is fit too tight or too loose it may cause engine to run wild as
governor will not control engine speed. Also, when running engine
at a show or any place where there is dirt, chaff or grass blowing
around, if there is no intake screen and a particle gets caught in
the sleeve the engine could run very erratically.
NO. 5. Governor. There are two types of governors used. Very few
where the feet of the flyballs work in a recess or slot in the
bottom end of a brass control sleeve to actuate mixing valve. Most
have a double spring actuating device: a light spring on bottom
below governor control washer, then a thrust ball bearing that air
inlet valve rides on; a heavy spring inside mixer and under speed
control screw. I do not have the exact length or tension of these
so sometimes it turns out to be a trial and error method to get
NO. 6. Fuel System. This is very difficult for me to explain on
paper. It is a very early form of fuel injection. Really too simple
to explain once you get into it. Actually it is not a carburetor,
but simply one check valve to keep fuel from returning to fuel tank
and one check valve directly above this to keep fuel from getting
too high in sight glass-about one-third to one-half full. It is
important these are operating properly. If too low, engine will
start hard, if too high, engine will flood and will even run after
a fashion with mixing valve completely closed.
Do not try to screw out mixing valve as it will break off or
bend distributor tube going into block. If for some reason you want
to take it out, take off whole casting. Either engine seems to run
well with valve open one-third to one-half turn, depending on the
HP you desire.
NO. 7. Crank case, Crankshaft and Main Bearings. Be sure
crankshaft is straight and not out of round. Since there is no
adjustment to the sleeve type main bearings, you need to have a
straight shaft. We have had some with the shaft broken. If so,
don’t despair. We have welded and reground these, and they
worked out well.
End thrust should be controlled by radius on crank throw and on
the inner end of mains. Be sure to get this centered in the case,
as there is very little clearance in crankcase. Do not attempt to
control end thrust by flywheels and oil pump gear.
I think I have covered most things to have a nice running
engine, but just a few more items: Be sure to use a good grade
non-detergent oil. Be sure to have a good responsive coil. Also,
have a good contact on distributor disk and a good wiper
I wouldn’t go to the time and trouble to write this only
that I believe this to be one of the most advanced engines at the
time it was built. I know of no other engine company at that time
which had a ten year guarantee on their products. Also, it is my
belief that it was thirty years too soon to sell an engine like
We have tried to do some research on the Ellis family, but to
date has all been deadends.