Saturday, November 7, 2015

November 7, 2015, Antique Engine Repair and Maintenance Class at 19th Century Willowbrook Village: A summary of the class activity by a budding gas engine novice


The 7HP Economy in its long time resting place; it is presented connected to an 1880s Chase shingle mill, but the consensus is that this engine may not have had enough power to actually cut shingles. The unusual feature to this engine is the side mounted kerosene tank right above the base and behind the black pipe used to fill the gas tank. This pipe apparently is not very efficient so we will reconfigure it with the tank replacement. The tank itself had many lead patches and a quantity of rust flakes in it. The vent for fueling was merely a puncture at the top of the tank. The new tank will include a larger in diameter copper pipe that we have to orchestrate under the engine. I say "orchestrate" as it is difficult to get under the whole engine in order to make exact measurements for a top of the tank vent. Certainly part of the work on this engine will include beefier skids, perhaps 2 x 6s or 2 x 8s so there is greater visibility and access to the new tank once it is in place.

Gantry crane in place with chain fall made working on this 7 HP Economy engine possible; in fact, we picked it up in order to access the gas tank. The tank was deteriorated, and we ill be making a new one. Here we see instructor Doug Kimball who co-taught the class with Russ Welch. The two taught our previous three consecutive Saturdays class; this class was a one day eight hour class. Both these guys have a wealth of knowledge about these early gas engines having been long time collectors and gas engine presenters at Maine Antique Power Association meets.

We did not succeed in starting this engine, as we ran out of time. Our original class was three consecutive Saturdays, but this time round we couldn't find students who could forfeit this time so we went with a one day class. And, of course, we couldn't accomplish as much in the eight hours we had this time round. A number of problems were revealed. In re-inserting the cylinder the top ring broke; on this particular cylinder there were pins on rings two and three but not on number one. Nevertheless we  thought that we could achieve enough compression if we re-arranged the intact rings we had positioning them at the top and middle of the cylinder. We re-inserted the cylinder and thought we would give it a go. There were other issues with the new igniter seal  that we had replaced but nevertheless leaked and lost compression. We also had issues with a build up of red paint that effected our governor system. The plan is to go back and remove that material and make it move freely.

This is the Gantry crane in place. The lifting rig includes an ingenious metal pipe construction that keep the engine level when lifting created by Russ Welch, one of our veteran mechanics. this in combination with nylon strands made positioning the engine child's play.

The head is off. We had to heat those nuts with a torch in order to get them off.