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Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start


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  #1  
Old 06-24-2017, 12:50:03 AM
bobinphx bobinphx is offline
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Default Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up an Onan w3a generator with the w2c two cylinder motor. The seller had it running, but it does have a couple of issues.
I hope to post the progress of taking this generator from "running" to RUNNING.

Here are the specs listed on the name plate
model w3a
serial number 7117615
3000 watts
115 volts
26.1 amps
15vdc
10amps
rpm 1800
oil 30 sae

If any one can help me figure out how old this beauty is, that would be great.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:01:12 AM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

Older than that VW bug behind it.
I guess somewhere between 1938 and 1945.
The Onan chart is first number for month, second for year, then a LETTER. A=1940-49, B=1950-59, etc. Then the last 6 digits are the actual serial number. If you got it right, yours does not have a letter, so might be prior to 1940.
There are people on this site that can give you month and year of manufacture.
There is a lot of information on these here, including manuals
Several of us own them.

A picture of the exhaust side of the generator would be helpful.

Last edited by Power; 06-24-2017 at 01:23:09 AM.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:02:29 AM
bobinphx bobinphx is offline
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

First thing to do was make the old girl mobile. I got a couple of HF furniture dollies and then screwed the skids into the dollies. Once it was mobile, I removed the add on rusty gas tank and its "supports". When I was reviewing the motor at the sellers house, I did find that the crank pulley was a mess. It was loose front to back and side to side. I suspected that the key had wallowed out the pulley. After I got it home and I poked around to assess the over all condition of the set. First thing I found was that the crankshaft pulley was to bad, but he crank shaft nose was really rough. Looks like it had run loose for quite some time. The half moon cut out on the crank is really bad. The left side of the cutout should be 90 degrees, about 1/2 of the depth is opened up about 3 to 5 degrees. This causes the key to flop over. The pulley is fine, but the set screws that secure it from front to back movement are missing. I am thinking that a new fatter key and some file work on the key may be the answer. Along with new set screws. Click image for larger version

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Old 06-24-2017, 01:06:32 AM
bobinphx bobinphx is offline
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

The bug is a 69 restoration project. It currently serves duty as the "emergency" car. You know the type of car that is only used for when one the kids cars breaks down and they need to get to school or work. I do use it on the weekends just for fun.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:17:19 AM
bobinphx bobinphx is offline
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

While I was removing the gas tank and its homemade super structure, I had to remove the nut that holds the cone shaped water plug in place in the center of the head. Well, that didn't work out too well as the bolt apparently had given in to rust. Interesting how it eroded into a point. Ill be working to figure out a fix. The water jacket in the head is fairly rusty with lots of good sized chunks. The bolts that attach the cast iron top of the block water neck to the radiator both twisted off as well. I suspect the whole water system will need a bit of work to get all the grit out. The radiator appears to have about three or four places its leaking and over all, its pretty beat up. I will be having it looked at for repair or re-core. I sure would like to keep the honeycomb, but the honeycomb maybe to far gone.
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Old 06-24-2017, 01:51:55 AM
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

Quote:
Originally Posted by bobinphx View Post
The pulley is fine, but the set screws that secure it from front to back movement are missing. I am thinking that a new fatter key and some file work on the key may be the answer. Along with new set screws.
From the pictures, it looks like the shaft is worn oval and undersize. The pulley bore is probably worn oval and oversize. A proper repair requires more than an oversize key.

The center bolt should have a big, thick shaped washer under the head. It is one of the bolts that keeps the head tight to the block.

At this point, I would plan on removing the head!
Squirt penetrating oil on bolts, let soak, and see how many you can get out without breaking them. A bit of heat may help.

Unless you have a drill press, I would plan on taking block to machine shop and have them drill out the corroded bolts and re tap the holes. This is a flathead engine, so removing the head does not involve valve gear. They should clean the water passages in the head and block at that time.

The radiator does not look bad, I would have a radiator shop clean it out, and fix the leaks. It will work fine with a few honeycombs sealed. Some came from the factory that way!

Take the end bell off the generator and take some pictures. Open the control panel and take some pictures. Get an overall assessment of how much work needs to be done, and what it will cost. Then decide what to do.
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Old 06-24-2017, 04:36:12 AM
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

I think that model was still around in 1948. But should have a dot or dash in the serial number. If no dot or dash most likely before 1940.
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Old 06-24-2017, 08:50:10 AM
OrgWayne OrgWayne is offline
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

Bob how are you even working on that thing in the Az heat ??
Must have a/c in the garage ? if out side be careful
Wayne
Oh ya nice bug 2 !!
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Old 06-24-2017, 09:16:34 AM
bobinphx bobinphx is offline
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

No ac in the garage, I just work early in the morning or later in the day when the sun is starting to go down. I always wear cool clothing (not that kind of cool!), drink water when I am thirsty, work in the shade and if I get feeling too hot, go inside. The worst part is the concrete. This time of year it gets wicked hot and will stay hot a very long time. 2 hours after the driveway was in the shade, I still couldn't sit on the concrete without "knowing" it was there.

Thank you for reminding me to be careful. I am normally pretty careful. I have a generator in case of power outage, a couple of guns for any extreme civil unrest, I eat my vegtables, know my limits (2 beers on saturday and none on sunday) and I know how to fix stuff. The heat, no worries about that. The human body has a bunch of overload system that if you listen to them, they work pretty good. Some of them even have an automatic shut off mode. For instance, I am listening to my back right now after helping a neighbor move a lot of stuff around his house and yard yesterday. My back is telling me that I worked to hard for too little pay (free) and that my back is shut down for the next day or two for repairs.

The bug is getting there. She will never be a show car, but it has no rust, runs like deer and stops one a dime. No ac in it, but it has wind wings and operating back windows. I pulled the motor and trans, then fixed anything that was wrong (it was a lot), rebuild the braking system, did some wiring work and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. all told, a pretty fun little car, nun to safe, but fun!.
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Old 06-24-2017, 09:20:32 AM
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Default Re: Onan w3a generator head, w2c motor. Restoration start

Oh boy! Another happy W2C owner.
Billy - I believe it to be a pre-war model with the oil level indicator on the crankcase breather stack.
It is missing the connector tube and fitting that goes to the air cleaner. Looks like it came out of an enclosure with that radiator and no cowling. Is that a gas (LP/NG) regulator on the carb?
I could fix you up with a rad and the cowling if you want to go that way....
I offer reprints of the manual, too.
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