Grasser Marine Engine – Part 2 of 2

It's time to cut new gaskets for the crankcase and make a new cart for the Grasser marine engine.

| August/September 2016

  • Dave Irey's circa-1907 Grasser marine engine.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • Fitting new gaskets to the crankcase.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • The nearly completed frame with engine base/crankshaft and clutch assembly set in place.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • Straightening a section of brass pipe using a vice and “C”-shaped block for support.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • The Grasser marine engine’s brass parts laid out for inventory.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • Ignition timer parts. The arrow points to the new contact that had to be made.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • Vintage buzz box found at a flea market. The original condenser cartridge had to be replaced.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • Automotive distributor condenser was used in place of original cartridge condenser in buzz box.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • The Grasser’s Lunkenheimer mixer.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • The gas tank and mountings. The tank is from a 1950s lawnmower.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • The Grasser marine’s cone clutch.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • The crankshaft, clutch and clutch lever on the wooden frame.
    Photo by Dave Irey
  • Getting ready for the first fire using a 1917 1 hp Alamo as a starter engine.
    Photo by Dave Irey

This is the second in a two-part series on Dave Irey's restoration of a Grasser marine engine. Read Part 1 for the first part of the restoration.

Circa-1907 Grasser Marine

Manufacturer: Grasser Motor Co., Toledo, OH
Serial no.: None marked on engine
Horsepower: 2-1/2-3 hp (est.)
Bore & stroke: 3-1/16 in x 3-1/4 in
Flywheel dia.: 12 in x 2-5/8 in
Ignition: Spark plug w/battery and buzz coil
Governing: Throttle

With the piston, connecting rod and bearings taken care of, it was gasket cutting and assembly time. I purchased a big sheet of 1/32-inch-thick gasket paper at my local auto parts store and cut new gaskets for the crankcase. I also cut out the gasket for the exhaust flange, using exhaust gasket paper.

The rest of the engine connections are pipe thread fittings. I started the reassembly by assembling the piston, wrist pin and connecting rod. New rings went on the new piston and then I installed this assembly into the cylinder, followed by the crankshaft and main bearings. The connecting rod cap with shims was installed and the rod bolts torqued to 45ft/lb. The bottom crankcase cover was then bolted on with the new gaskets, as shown in Figure 1. The crankcase cover doubles as the mount for bolting the engine into a boat frame. As it wasn’t going into a boat, I would have to make a cart.


As I got it, the engine was mounted on a 2 x 8 wood frame. It was cracked, kind of rotten on the bottom edges and generally scruffy. I decided to make a new one from fresh 2 x 12 lumber, with two small 3-inch wheels from an old platform scale on the flywheel end so as to make it easier to move around. The new frame/cart is 33 inches long, 10-3/4 inches wide and 11 inches tall. A long diagonal cut was made across the back of the frame much like the original so the clutch can be clearly seen. To move it around, I made a 5/8-inch-round steel handle and attached it to the back end. It telescopes out of sight into the wooden frame. I also had to make a new pivot for the clutch handle. Figure 2 shows the nearly completed wooden frame.


One of the neat things about marine engines is that they have lots of brass parts. This one has a brass Lunkenheimer fuel mixer, a Tuttle-style timer and a water pump with lots of brass fittings, over 20 pieces in all. All the brass parts on the engine looked very good. Only one piece of pipe was bent and I decided to try and straighten it. To do this, I used a piece of 1-inch-square steel with a “C” cut into one side of it. I then put pipe bushings with hex threads on each end of the pipe. I clamped this into a bench vise to use as a press (see Figure 3) and tightened the vise. The pipe straightened out nicely.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

Facebook YouTube