WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES

By Staff
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Chris Markley didn’t know what brand of engine he bought in Freeport, Ill., and he still doesn’t know exactly what it is, though he bought a Field-Brundage Co. Type W tag to accompany it when finished.
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View of Chris’ 1-1/2 HP engine.
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View of Chris’ 1-1/2 HP engine.

The 2006 Freeport, Ill., engine show was very hot. This
was the first time I had taken an engine to this show, and the
first time I had taken engines to show anywhere. I took a Stover,
New Way, Cushman, Fuller & Johnson and Root & VanDervoort.
I went for one day only: Saturday, July 29. The wife and boys
joined me later in the day. I found a spot under a tree where I
could set up. Somebody, because of the heat, must have left this
spot the night before.

Walking around, I found a trailer in the back of the engine
section with a large selection of rusty treasures. In the pile I
could see one flywheel engine. It was in sad shape. The detent arm
running off the camshaft was broken, the igniter was gone, no
exhaust arm, the valves and piston were stuck, no nametag, no
paint, no muffler, no idea what it was. After talking to the vendor
for a little bit, a price was agreed on and I had a new toy.

After getting home, I took the head off and saw right away that
the bore was too pitted to run. The bearings looked good; I could
find no breaks anywhere. I also found a casting date on the block
of February 1917. The engine looked like a
Field-Brundage/Sattley/Wolverine/Type W/P.J. Downes of about 1-1/2
HP. All were made by FB, and both the Sattley (for Montgomery Ward)
and the Type W were made about the same time. I had no tag, but the
full base made it look like a Sattley. Then again, the lack of a
speed control by the wheel made it look like a Type W. I didn’t
know which way to go. The engine has a 3-1/2-inch bore and 4-inch
stroke, and the flywheels are 19-1/2 inches with a 1-3/4-inch
width.

First things first: Get the piston out. The piston was stuck
toward the back of the stroke, so I used electrolysis from the head
side for a couple weeks. I cleaned the back of the cylinder as well
as I could, so there wouldn’t be a lot of rust for the piston to
get bound by. After that, I tried moving it with a block of wood
and hammer, but nothing. Next, I went to the grill method. One day,
when the wife was gone, I took the grates and lava rocks out of the
family barbecue grill, put the block in the grill, and fired her
up. This melted the babbitt out of the top of the connecting rod,
but pouring that was something I wanted to try anyway. (No, I did
not think of it before it happened, but such is life).

I let the block soak in the heat for about an hour, then took it
out of the grill and set it on the ground. After cooling for a few
minutes, I put water into the back side of the piston. I figured
the piston was small enough that it would shrink a little without
causing any damage. Then I took the block to work and put it on the
10-ton press. I was planning on building a little pressure and
leaving it overnight. As soon as I got a good bit of pressure on my
wood block, which was concave on the piston side, the press jumped.
So did I. The piston moved a little. After that it was just a
matter of pushing it out the rest of the way. The piston came out
looking good. The cylinder was too pitted to think about doing
anything other than to have it sleeved. I took the block to Terry
Pfeiffer of Freeport, and he bored and sleeved the block for
me.

The next task was to find some parts. I was going on a trip with
my father and brother to the Portland, Ind., show for the first
time. I hoped to find things I might need there. What a show! I
found the exhaust arm and replacement valves. I also found a
Webster igniter bracket for that model of engine. The problem was
it cost more than the engine did. I kind of wanted a low-tension
igniter anyway, so I did not have to find a magneto. I found the
camshaft trip arm from Hit and Miss Enterprises. I also bought a
new set of rings.

Since I wanted an igniter, I decided I would make something. I
do not have the skill yet to make a true igniter, but I figured
with a spark plug I could make something close. Now that I have
made a fake igniter, I will try my hand at a true igniter
sometime.

I try to leave as many of the original parts on as possible. The
head bolts were in bad shape. One was missing and another was
rounded off pretty bad. I reused the bad one, but when I went to
put in a new 1/2-inch bolt, nothing doing. I found the pitch of the
thread was 12 per inch instead of the more common 13 per inch.
After looking around to find the right thread, I ordered a die from
MC Supply and made my own bolt. I bought a new connecting rod
bushing at Farm & Fleet, and made a new piston pin out of a
hardened bolt.

The gas tank was in the engine, but had been repaired at some
point in the past and now would make a very nice window screen. I
took some measurements, went to Farm & Fleet and bought a bread
loaf pan. With some sheet meal, pop rivets and JB Weld, I made a
top. The plumbing was easy to line-up and I had a new gas tank that
would not be seen.

I still did not know what to call my engine, or what color to
paint it. There were some dark flakes on the engine but it was hard
to tell if they were black or dark green. Then the answer came to
me on eBay. I had been typing in Brundage & Sattley for some
time looking for parts or ideas. One day a Field Type W tag come up
for sale. It was for a 5 HP, which mine was not. But, it was the
right type of tag, from that brand of engine. I figure, this was
about as close as a tag and an engine were going to get to needing
one another. So once I purchased the tag, the color decision was
made.

From there things went back together pretty well. I made a cart
from some cherry wood I had laying around, the wheels came from a
scrap yard.

Most of the work was done in my basement during the winter. So
this spring I pulled it out of the basement and fired it. It
surprised me how well it ran the first time. I had to make a few
adjustments to get it to run as slow as I wanted, but that’s part
of the fun. I hope to take the engine back to Freeport this year
and show what a difference a year will make.

Contact Chris Markely at: 519 E. Locust St., Lanark, IL 61046;
cmarkley@carrollsvc.com

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