Troubleshooting the Gas Engine With Stan Read

Stan Read tells readers about troubleshooting the gas engine and the tips he's picked up working on his collection of sixty engines.

| March/April 1966

  • Tractor
    Photo courtesy of William Bragg, Atwood, Illinois.

  • Tractor

Learn about troubleshooting the gas engine with engine expert Stan Read. 

To me, there is something fascinating about old things, especially mechanical things. Having been a general mechanic and machinist for many years, this interest usually turned toward old automobiles until one day a friend gave me an old 12 HP Fairbanks-Morse hoisting engine built about 1899. While looking for a magneto for it (which the engine didn't use, I found out later) another friend gave me a small Dempster engine and a search of a local wrecking yard turned up a 6 HP Fairbanks built in 1920. Suddenly I was "hooked" on a wonderful hobby of collecting and restoring old gas engines. I was amazed at how little I really knew about them.

Every question answered introduced a dozen more unanswered. Hence the purpose of this article. Over the years I have gathered considerable information as well as over sixty engines.

If anyone has questions or problems about their engines that I can answer, I would be glad to share any information I have in a regular column in this magazine. And if I can't answer your problems. I'll run the question in the column and maybe someone else can. I'll try to keep the answers as non-technical as possible so that everyone may benefit whether he is a casual collector or the completely overboard engine-nut such as myself.

Future articles will probably deal chiefly with the mechanics and operation of the gas engine, but to start the ball rolling perhaps a short outline of how it all started:

Man had long dreamed of freeing himself and his work animals from the backbreaking toil of his fields, mines, and the sea. As with most great inventions, relief in the form of the internal combustion engine did not arrive in any one single burst of inventive genius. Rather, it was the work of many eventually brought the engine into being.


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