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Fairbanks Morse ZC-118 - How to start


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I found a ZC 118 that has been sitting a few years. It isn't stuck and has spark. What needs to be checked prior to adding gas and then what are the proper starting procedures?


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Oil the valves and rocker arm. You might want to change the crankcase oil. Check that there is Water / antifreeze in the tank. Put fuel in it and it should run. I'm not sure about the fuel system on it, I have a Z 739 and it has a primer to start it.


As Mark said- OIL the valves... particularly the intake, as it's vacuum-operated. I hit mine with penetrant, then tap on it with a dowel and leather mallet a dozen times, to make sure it's really moving free... it should be fingertip-operational.

Make sure the crankcase isn't half-full of water... a fresh round of oil is not a bad idea. Make sure the exhaust isn't full of wasp nest, and that the magneto clacks just past TDC with a scary-hot spark. Clean the plug, spray the inside of the cylinders with some light penetrant and roll it over a dozen times with the plug out while you watch that spark plug crackle at each snap of the impulser.

Reinstall the plug. When I start mine, I hold open the exhaust valve and spin it up to speed, then let go of the crank and exhaust valve, and it fires right up. If you turn the flywheel without the crank, do NOT put your hands any place but on the RIM of the flywheel. Put your hand on those spokes, it'll pull you right in and break your arm, fingers, head... anything that gets too close. Remember- it's a big cylinder, and a long stroke.