1919 Fairbanks-Morse Plugoscillator Engine Restoration – Part 2 of 2

A new paint job and muffler, and a repaired crankshaft are among the final repairs for Peter Rooke’s Fairbanks-Morse Plugoscillator.

| June/July 2018

  • Peter Rooke's 1919 Fairbanks-Morse 3 hp Type Z Plugoscillator.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The engine base casting, cleaned and ready for primer.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The underside of the base with fuel tank installed.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The engine block, painted and ready for assembly to begin.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Shaping the backside of the muffler.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Starting to dome the muffler. The former is to the right.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The dome shaped, ready for planishing and trimming to size.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The completed muffler with connector pipe welded in place.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Red paint left in rust pitting on exposed parts of crankshaft.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Same area after spraying with silver metallic paint and sanding.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Using a valve spring compressor to aid in exhaust valve removal.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Reforming a spring to match the diameter and shape of the original intake valve spring, which was badly rusted.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The throttle butterfly valve.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The restored governor assembly with butterfly crank arm reset.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Broken igniter trip finger. Compare this with the fixed trip at bottom.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The finger end of the trip ground to a knife edge for welding.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Ready to weld the finger tip repair to the trip arm.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The repaired and finished igniter trip arm.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Fitting shims to the connecting rod big end at the crankshaft.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The fuel tank drain tube.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Setting ignition timing, with tape to mark TDC and 22.5 degrees BTDC.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The finished engine.
    Photo by Peter Rooke

This is the second part in a two-part series on Peter Rooke’s 1919 Fairbanks-Morse Plugoscillator engine restoration. Read the first part here. 

In addition to being the wrong color, the existing paint on the engine was beginning to show signs of rust spotting through. Rather than just lightly sanding the existing paint and repainting, this engine needed a complete strip down and the application of a good zinc-based primer.

The old paint was removed using a combination of disc sander, wire brush and scrapers. Once down to the bare metal the majority of any rust was sanded off, leaving only some pitting. To protect the cylinder bore during the cleaning process, both ends were plugged with clean rags.

To control and prevent further rust, the engine and its parts were given two coats of a high zinc cold galvanizing primer, which was thinned a little to give good, even coverage.



The primer paint was very soft and could be rubbed off easily, so all parts were given a quick coat of enamel paint as soon as the primer had fully dried. The first coat of enamel was left for at least a day to thoroughly dry before applying a second coat. After leaving the second coat of enamel for a few days to cure properly, the surface was given a very light sand with 280-grit wet and dry paper to remove minor blemishes.

The final coats of paint should be applied in a dry and well-ventilated environment that should be free from dust and any other contaminants. The ambient temperature should be constant, and if heating is used to maintain a comfortable temperature, liquid fueled heaters should not be used, as these generate condensation that can get into the paint. Before painting, the surface was cleaned with a tack rag – a sticky piece of cloth that is effective in picking up dust – to remove all dust.



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