Building a custom backpack blower - West Bend 820
I really like using vintage machinery, but have not come across anything "exceptional" when it comes to old backpack blowers. Every model that I have come across is sluggish, heavy and leaves a lot to be desired. Nearly every piece of equipment I own is 1970's and older, and gas powered whenever possible. I would really like to fit a legendary West Bend 820 engine to a modern high performance backpack blower. From what I can find, the 820 came with a stock 6.25-8hp rating at 7000 or 8000rpm. I currently have a couple of Stihl BR550 and BR600 blowers. They are great, powerful, lightweight and good on fuel, but they are nothing really "unique." The biggest concern I have is matching a blower housing and impeller to the engines rpm range. Retrofitting an impeller and housing factory fitted to a 7200rpm engine on an 8000rpm engine might do, but then again, I cant turn up the engine to 10,000rpm without having a time bomb strapped to my back. I have been looking online, but I have not been able to find any fuel consumption specs on a factory 820 engine. If the engine burns twice the fuel at 10,000rpm versus 8000rpm, I'd opt for the lower governed speed. Another thing I need to figure out is whether you can actually install a muffler on these engines. Every West Bend I have ever seen has an open header or a tuned exhaust, neither of which muffle sound at all. I know these engines were used on some industrial applications, but have not found much in terms of service life on a relatively stock engine. What kind of lifetime can a rebuilt factory spec engine yield? I am not old enough to have been around when these engines changed the karting world, but would love to connect with some of you West Bend buffs who can answer some of my questions.