11239 Alleghany Road, Foresville, New York 14062
Seven or eight years ago my son Tom heard about an old fellow who wanted to sell some engines. Mr. Gordon Brooks and his brother (since deceased), had accumulated many gas engines in their backyard, tucked between a railroad and the edge of Franklinville, New York. I was interested in a 7 HP Economy with Webster mag and ignitor that the Brooks brothers used for threshing in their younger days. It must have been a small thresher. The rest were all missing the magnetos and it was later revealed by his friend that he first sold the mags and then the engines. We looked at the other engines after a deal was made on the Economy. Under a protective layer of rotten boards and rusty tin sheets were two Associated 3-Mule Team engines in fairly good shape. My son Tom bought one on a cart and I got the other on rotted skids. I got it home and covered it for a future project. Last year my sons suggested that it was time to get it ready for the upcoming shows, so the Associated was brought in the shop and disassembled.
Although I knew that it was throttle governed, I didn't realize that it was a less common kerosene engine and it had some interesting features. The mixer has three needle valves for gas, kerosene, and water from the hopper. When started on gasoline and warmed up, one could switch over to kerosene and enough water to stop engine knock. An exhaust bypass sends hot gases through the mixer to better vaporize the kerosene. Someone in the past had driven a bolt into the kerosene valve to plug it and the water valve was rusted tight and the line rotted away. The needle valve for gasoline was formed from an old nail and all seats and threads were badly damaged. This mixer also has a compensator valve that had rotted and I needed to replace that. However, the mixer housing itself was in fair shape.
When the head was removed, I found that the valves, especially the stems, were burned beyond fixing. I have been told that this is common in kerosene engines due to the reaction of water vapor on them. My son Tom put in new guides, built new valves, and re-cut the seats. Outside of cleaning and light honing, the bore looked like new. New rings came from former GEM advertiser Forest Glide well, who has recently retired. I also decided to replace the piston pin and bushings, and Joe Detrick of East Concord, New York, did a first class job creating them.
Mr. Brooks had painted this one a dull red, green, and blue, but it must be said that any paint keeps an engine protected better than none at all. The old paint plugged up wire brushes, and paint remover didn't do very much either, so I tried a lye bath, making sure that no one would be near it. Batches of parts were soaked for about two hours and the paint peeled off in a thick layer down to the metal. This worked even with the flywheels. After a thorough scrubbing it was easy to remove any stubborn rust left. I repainted it 'with three coats of Rustoleum Sunburst Red over a gray primer. It is close to one of the reds that was used at Associated. It is also striped in chrome yellow to set it off a little better.
At last, after a month of steady work, I tried to start it. I put on a reproduction ignitor and hooked up the coil to a battery. Following much adjusting and turning of the flywheels, it finally started but ran much too fast for engine shows. My older son kept readjusting the linkage to the mixer. There is a very large amount of iron that controls the butterfly valve on the Associated, at least ten times the amount on a Fairbanks-Morse of equal size. At one point, the weights almost balance themselves but there is still a lot of inertia. Gradually it was slowed down where I wanted it. However, it sounds much like a hit and miss until a load is applied because the mixer shuts down so much.
The local Amish tin shop, run by John Hershberger, made up a nice new tank using the remnants of the old one as a pattern, and luckily I had a replacement for the special check valve that the company used. The original had frozen and split at some point. The needle valves were supposed to shut off everything when the engine was new but I installed a ball cutoff valve in the gas line for safety's sake. I took it to the Chautauqua County Antique Equipment Show and the East Concord Fire -men's Show and received quite a few comments about it. The people in our area haven't seen' a throttle governed Associated before and one large collector had only seen a piece of one once in a junkyard.