Fuller & Johnson Engine Brought Back to Life

New life for a 1917 Fuller & Johnson 1-1/2 HP Model N.

| April/May 2014

  • The badly damaged 1917 Fuller & Johnson 1-1/2 HP Model N when it first arrived at Peter Rooke's shop. The mixer, oiler and igniter were among the damaged parts.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Remains of old paint after cleaning and applying automatic transmission fluid.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The bent pushrod.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The broken pushrod support.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Milling the end of the pushrod bracket, shown with the partially finished cast iron for the support bushing.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The completed repair.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The connecting rod with old bearings and worn wrist pin.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The damaged grease feed tube.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The spacers fitted to the bearing, base plate and center pin, ready to pour the big end bearing.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Setting the connecting rod true, ready to machine the bearing.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Completed big end bearing showing grease groove.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Checking crankshaft alignment using piano wire.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The old main bearings.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Ready to pour the main bearing.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The bearing cap as poured.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Aligning the connecting rod to the piano wire.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Showing the amount of offset to little end bearing.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Scoring down the wall of the cylinder.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • Grooves covered with epoxy.
    Photo by Peter Rooke
  • The finished repair.
    Photo by Peter Rooke

This is the first in a four part series on Peter Rooke’s restoration of a 1917 Fuller & Johnson 1-1/2 HP Model N. Read part 2part 3 and part 4 for the full restoration process.

I purchased my latest project engine after a telephone call from a contact I had bought an engine from in the past. This farmer occasionally imports tractors from the USA, and if there is room in the container a stationary engine might also find its way over here. In this case, something had broken free in the container, causing this engine to be badly damaged: The mixer, oiler, igniter and other parts were broken. He knew that I like a challenge and he offered this engine at a knockdown price, which was reduced a little more after some haggling!

This 1-1/2 HP engine is a Fuller & Johnson Model N, serial no. 55236 and, according to the Fuller & Johnson factory records held by Stan Johnson, was shipped from the factory in January 1917 to J.H Ashdown Hardware Co., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Before I say anything more, there are a few people that I must thank for their assistance on this project engine. Nick Lozzi must have spent hours photographing and measuring various parts for me, and Scott Barnes measured his old engine skids and battery box for me as well as providing other help. Nick is very knowledgeable about Fuller & Johnson engines, and we exchanged countless emails.



When I started work on the Fuller & Johnson, my first step was to clean off some of the accumulated grease and dirt. There was some original paint left underneath, so I did not completely strip, prime and repaint this engine. This would present other issues, namely having to age new parts and other necessary repairs to look authentic.

I stripped down the engine, removing the flywheel, cylinder head, pushrod and igniter, and then cleaned everything with kerosene.



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