Hercules Economy JK, Sold by Sears

ffernald

New member
I remember my father, my uncle and the hired man whirling away on the crank for the hit-and-miss engine on the old orchard sprayer, one hand either holding in the intake valve or covering the air intake. To make it more difficult, the engine was mounted on a platform about four feet from the ground and they were short men. I know, not from personal experience but from reading Model T Ford forums, that cranks can be dangerous, breaking thumbs, wrists, arms and shoulders, and vastly increasing young children's vocabularies.

What is the collective wisdom here about the careful use of a crank?

And one more question: the fuel tank is pretty rusty. I hope to run the engine on kerosene and wonder what is the best way to clean and coat the inside of the tank?

Many thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with a newbie.

Fred
 

Junkologist

Subscriber
Re: Hercules Economy JK: To crank or not to crank...?

If your engine is in good shape and the magneto is hot, it should just take a few pulls on the flywheels to start it. No need to spin it. I avoid using cranks on flywheel engines, unless it is absolutely necessary. I’ve been hit in the head with a crank and many others can tell similar stories of broken noses and missing teeth. Cranking a Model T is a little different situation where improper ignition timing can hurt you with a kickback instead of the crank flying off when spinning a hit and miss engine. Bottom line is, cranking, when done properly, can be safe, but things can and will go wrong at times. Especially when you least expect it.
 

ffernald

New member
Hercules Economy JK, sold by Sears

I'm hoping to run the engine on kerosene but the fuel tank is a bit rusty; what's a good way to clean and seal the tank for kerosene?

Any thoughts appreciated.

Thanks.

Fred
 

Pat Barrett

Subscriber
Re: Hercules Economy JK, sold by Sears

Tons of good ways, Me, I'd use some square nuts, and tie it to something that revolved slowly. A pencil magnet will facilate removing them. Of course, if the tank is shot, the nuts or, any thing else, will expose rusted thru holes. Minute holes can be sealed with good tank sealer. Others, I'm sure wil offer great suggestions, also.
 

Andrew Mackey

Moderator
Re: Hercules Economy JK: To crank or not to crank...?

I manually choke the engine, until fuel runs out the intake (turn crank by hand while covering the intake) I then turn the engine backwards until the exhaust valve is open. Hold detent in and let the pushrod seat while turning the engine. THEN while holding the detent in, use the crank to spin the engine. once the crank is turning quickly, remove crank and let go of the detent. inertia will carry thru the compression stroke a few times, more than enough to fire the engine up. if your mag is timed correctly (on retard fires at TDC Compression) then you don't have to worry about kick back, as long as you remember to retard the engine when starting. if you do not retard spark, and you do not get enough speed up on initial crank, then you do risk damage! crank to the jaw, busted wrist or mangled fingers is a definite possibility if you do not retard the spark! On your JK, if you prime as I mentioned, and you retard the spark on the WICO EK mag, you should not have to use a crank. just pull the engine over top center compression by hand, and the engine will do the rest. Some engines will start by leaving the spark on advance and winging them over backwards against the compression stroke. This is called 'Bump Start'. Works better on larger engines (5 HP and up) I had a model GH Hercules that was a joy to start. choke, pull backwards and it would start every time.
 

ffernald

New member
Re: Hercules Economy JK, sold by Sears

Oops - should have mentioned that the tank is cast as part of the cast iron block. The unit has two cast iron flywheels which probably weight at least 50 pounds apiece. Access is through openings on either side about 1.5 X 3.5 inches. The engine starts on gasoline and is designed to run on kerosene once it warms up which is what I hope to do. It's probably a good idea to use a alcohol resistant sealant though, in case the next owner decides to use "modern" fuels.
 
Re: Hercules Economy JK: To crank or not to crank...?

I manually choke the engine, until fuel runs out the intake (turn crank by hand while covering the intake) I then turn the engine backwards until the exhaust valve is open. Hold detent in and let the pushrod seat while turning the engine. THEN while holding the detent in, use the crank to spin the engine. once the crank is turning quickly, remove crank and let go of the detent. inertia will carry thru the compression stroke a few times, more than enough to fire the engine up. if your mag is timed correctly (on retard fires at TDC Compression) then you don't have to worry about kick back, as long as you remember to retard the engine when starting. if you do not retard spark, and you do not get enough speed up on initial crank, then you do risk damage! crank to the jaw, busted wrist or mangled fingers is a definite possibility if you do not retard the spark! On your JK, if you prime as I mentioned, and you retard the spark on the WICO EK mag, you should not have to use a crank. just pull the engine over top center compression by hand, and the engine will do the rest. Some engines will start by leaving the spark on advance and winging them over backwards against the compression stroke. This is called 'Bump Start'. Works better on larger engines (5 HP and up) I had a model GH Hercules that was a joy to start. choke, pull backwards and it would start every time.
Just a slight correction to stave off impending confusion: 1) The JK is a throttle-governed engine, so there is no detent to hold in while you "spin the the engine up." 2) The mixer on the JK is on top of the cylinder head. Choking it until the gasoline runs out the mixer will likely result in gasoline running out the exhaust first.

The JK engine has small diameter, light weight flywheels on it. That makes it really quick and snappy on a hand crank. Unless you have a fair amount of experience using a hand crank on a gas engine, do yourself a favor and nail the hand crank to the wall. That engine will start easily by pulling it over by the flywheels.
 
Re: Hercules Economy JK, sold by Sears

Oops - should have mentioned that the tank is cast as part of the cast iron block. The unit has two cast iron flywheels which probably weight at least 50 pounds apiece. Access is through openings on either side about 1.5 X 3.5 inches. The engine starts on gasoline and is designed to run on kerosene once it warms up which is what I hope to do. It's probably a good idea to use a alcohol resistant sealant though, in case the next owner decides to use "modern" fuels.
Remove the access covers and reach in with whatever homebrew scraper you choose to construct. If the tank is dry, i.e. no flammables, you can suck the dirt out with a shop vac.
Also check to see if there's a screen on the fuel line where it screws into the tank. If there isn't one, consider putting one on it.
Running the engine on kerosene seems like a grand idea at first, and it's neat to do once or twice. Unless you are running the engine under load, the novelty of burning kerosene will soon be outweighed by the smoke, stench, and added work. It won't be "the next guy" that first puts gasoline in the tank!
 

ffernald

New member
Re: Hercules Economy JK: To crank or not to crank...?

Guess I won't be looking for a crank!

Thanks to all.

Any thoughts on how to seal the fuel tank?

Fred
 

ffernald

New member
Re: Hercules Economy JK, sold by Sears

Thanks for the insight on kerosene! I had wondered about the odor.

So no need to seal the tank?
 

Roamer56

Member
I was wondering if I might be able to get a copy of the build sheet for my RDJC. I have attached a picture of the ID plaque for reference. Thank you
 

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