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Is there a gas engine for dummies book?

1/4case

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About finished my Senior cider press. With as large as the grinder is I’m sure the novelty of cranking it will wear off. Then as soon as I have exhausted all the 5-10 year olds in back to cranking. Figured a nice flywheeler might be a nice touch. I even thought of trying a 2 cyl Maytag but figured the RPM for the HP would be too high for what I want to do. I’m in north central Michigan. Where can I find the basic what to look for/avoid in buying an engine. Can’t afford a show piece and don’t know enough about them to buy an engine in a bucket. From what I see those small missing pieces can get pricey. Any direction would help. :shrug:
 

bigGURN

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Last Subscription Date
04/01/2012
As I see it, you have two options:
1) find someone local who is knowledgeable and willing to go with and help you out
2) if time permits, when you find an engine, take pictures and post your questions here to the stak as you will find most are MORE than helpful.

This is the process that I utilize, several members of the local EDGE-TA club (myself included) are always willing to help other members out when answering questions of our individual areas of "expertise" if you will. This has been a priceless commodity when I have been looking at engines about which I knew less than I would have liked. Also, for the most part, those who buy, sell, and trade in vintage Iron are a pretty honest bunch and this seems to help out significantly.
 

John Newman Jr.

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Age
64
Last Subscription Date
01/10/2019
Is there a gas engine for dummies book?

You are looking at the 'On-Line' version of it right here. Updated daily!
 

vern0n

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Last Subscription Date
08/27/2013
Two good books for beginners are;
The complete guide to Stationary engines writen by Mark Meincke.
Gas engine restoration by Peter Rooke.
 

Ed Stoller

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Age
79
Last Subscription Date
07/11/2019
If you really wanted to start at the very beginning, I have a Foley- Belsaw coarse book on small engines you could borrow. Also, Interic publishes many manuals on small engines, garden tractors and generators.
 

Max Cox

Registered
Also, go to the various shows in your area. This time of the year has all the "harvest" festivals and sometimes there will be demonstrations that use old engines. Talk to folks. The trip won't be a waste as usually there is lots of good food.

Max
 

1/4case

Registered
Thank you all for the input. I am well versed in most mechanical things. My issues were walking a show grounds or following a craigslist ad blind. Folsk start talking ignitors, plugoscilator and such Im a bit lost. Sure I could figure it out but really didnt want to buy a $600 engine that needs a $800 part to make usable. Is the showgrounds the best place to start? Whats a common (as in I can find parts for) engine to start with? Will $5-600 get me in the game?

As always this group has been a help. :wave:
 

KPerron

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Last Subscription Date
02/22/2016
Call jon rosvink his # is here on the site he normally has few engines laying around that would be complete and wouldn't take much to get them running for the price range your talking. I think he's 2-3 hours from you. good luck kperron.
 

Kevin O. Pulver

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Age
54
Yeah, Jon will give you a quick education (in a nice way) and hook you up with an engine. Honestly there isn't THAT much goin' on with them if you are already mechanical as you say.

I would also strongly suggest you go to www.hercules engines.com and read an original owners manual. They are very simple, because the manufacturers had to teach farmers how to operate these engines, and most of those farmers probably had nowhere near the mechanical background you have. Many had spent their lives looking at the back side of a horse, and never had a tractor or Model T before they got their first engine experience at the hands of Fairbanks Morse, International Harvester, or Hercules et al.

Like any 4 stroke, they SUCK, SQUEEZE, BANG, BLOW as the crank goes around and the piston moves.
Like any internal combustion engine, they need FUEL, COMPRESSION, and SPARK.

For Governing, they either move a butterfly valve to control volume like a "normal" engine, OR they latch open the exhaust valve so the engine has no compression and no vacuum (therefore draws no fuel) Of course with no compression and no fuel, the engine will "Miss" until it slows down enough to "Hit" again. All you need to remember is: "Springs- GIVE fuel; Weights- TAKE IT AWAY.

The fuel mixers are as simple as a carburetor with everything but one adjusting needle and the venturi thrown away- no float, no idle circuit, high RPM circuit, no automatic choke etc....

For spark, you either have spark plug or ignitor (occasionally a hot tube, which is simply a gas powered glow plug). The spark plug will either have a high voltage (high tension) magneto , OR a battery with a coil, (probably a buzz coil for continuous spark like a model T. Search this board for graphic ignition schematics)
If you have an "IGNITOR" it's just a set of points like any old V8 engine distributor had, except they're inside the cylinder, and have no condensor, so they make a bigger spark when they open. You can use the primary side of any old V8 coil, 6 volt, 12 volt, makes no difference. You can use a car battery, lantern battery, or even a DeWalt rechargable drill battery, makes no difference.

EVERY CIRCUIT simply needs 3 things, power supply, switch, load. The battery is your power supply, the coil is your load, and the ignitor is the switch. When the ignitor points close, a magnetic field builds up in the primary coil windings. When the ignitor points open, the magnetic field collapses and a spark is generated at the points. Most of the magnetos are not too much more complex than that.

Search the archives here for things like "First engine". There is no sense re-inventing the wheel, as this has been "done to death" many times. Of course if you have more specific questions after going through that, we'll be happy to try to help.

I think you just need to jump in at the deep end of the pool, and learn as you go. 20 years ago, I knew the basics of engines, but nothing in the world about these antique ones. I know know enough to make one run most of the time. Largely due to playing with one, going to shows, and hanging out here on the Stak.


Let us know how it turns out.
 

turnwaldw

Registered
Hello
I live in central Mi near Flint probally the best way to get into the engine market would be a Economy/Hercules spark plug engine with the wico mag or a little Fairbanks I,ve seen a few around here in Mi. thats what I started with these and there simple enough engines and parts are ready available just my two cents.
Dave
 

Kevin O. Pulver

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Age
54
SO, to sum it all up:

Everybody was dummies when engines first came to the farm, so
The manufacturers wrote the very first:
"GAS ENGINES FOR DUMMIES" and
the Original is still the best!


Here it is, Enjoy!
http://herculesengines.com/hercules/manual/Manual_index.html

---------- Post added at 09:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 AM ----------

I agree with what Dave wrote above, except I think the Webster Magneto is lots prettier than the Wico EK, and it uses ignitor points instead of a spark plug, thereby giving you more of the "crudeness" that is the main appeal of these engines.
Admittedly, farmers of the day were probably glad to be rid of the ignitors and get a high tension mag with spark plug.
But Mitch Malcomb of Lightning Magneto (site sponsor here) rebuilt by Webster 8 years ago, and I've shown it trouble free for the last 8 years, finally having to clean my points this year. My engine has to live outside, and I cut an antifreeze jug to fit over the gorgeous mag. A Webster is about as simple as you can get, and the Hercules website will tell you how to adjust the points and trip on it.
 

1/4case

Registered
Thank you again for all the info gents with a special thanks to Kevin for typing all that out. I didnt want to turn this into a best first engine thread but it looks like I turned it that way. :O Ill make a few calls and see who has what. Im pretty good with mags as I work on my share of aircraft engines, all with mags. So you say the "ignitor" is actually moving on the piston? There is so much cool stuff that was done, I sure hope it doesnt get lost before my 6 year old can enjoy and understand just how neat it really was. Im trying my best to keep it alive. Building a1/3 scale Case steamer, making maple syrup, keeping bees, smashing apples, hell I even ordered some broom corn yesterday. Good times.
 

Kevin O. Pulver

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Age
54
1/4 Case,
There WERE ignitors that were tripped by the piston slapping it at TDC.
But what we're talking about is simply a set of points that sits in the combustion chamber, and is actuated by a the trip which is mounted on the pushrod.

If you work on mags, you will scratch your head at how simple these are. No impulse, no gears, no internal advance (externally advanced by angle of trip mechanism) and the Webster and Wico EK don't even rotate! (well the webster rotates a few degrees. They call it "oscillating")

I predict you can work on one of these with "half your brain tied behind your back- just to make it fair".

There are many great engines, but Fairbanks, IHC, and Hercules/Economy sold more engines back in the day than anybody. So they're easy to find parts for, and more likely to generate a memory/story at a show than say a rare engine. Like the difference between a Model T and a Packard Big Eight Boattail Speedster:brows:

---------- Post added at 09:51 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:41 AM ----------

Here's the outside of the ignitor. Most were on the side, but the more complex and expensive"sideshaft" engines (those with rotating pushrod) sometimes had the igniter on the front of the head.

http://www.herculesengines.com/hercules/manual/page_7.html

And HERE is Harry's side view of the igniter. Click the arrow to see the next picture of the coil and circuit!

http://www.old-engine.com/magign.htm

---------- Post added at 09:56 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:51 AM ----------

1/4 Case,

I hadn't been to that page of Harry's Old Engine that I linked above.
Is is GREAT! If you work on aircraft mags, you will have no trouble with this stuff.

Follow the link, and it'll talk about Webster Tri Polar Oscillators, Fairbanks Plugoscillators, and lots of other stuff. You're gonna love it!:D
 

1/4case

Registered
When damn you all are going to make me lose a day just reading all this stuff, love it. I saw how the ignitor works in the link on the Herc engine link that was posted. Good book by the way, those prices make you think about how far back that really was. That and the fact every issue was solved by a letter, both ways, not the instant internet. Would I trade life today for life then, dont know.
 

jboyer1028

Registered
SO, to sum it all up:

Everybody was dummies when engines first came to the farm, so
The manufacturers wrote the very first:
"GAS ENGINES FOR DUMMIES" and
the Original is still the best!


Here it is, Enjoy!
http://herculesengines.com/hercules/manual/Manual_index.html

---------- Post added at 09:06 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:56 AM ----------

I agree with what Dave wrote above, except I think the Webster Magneto is lots prettier than the Wico EK, and it uses ignitor points instead of a spark plug, thereby giving you more of the "crudeness" that is the main appeal of these engines.
Admittedly, farmers of the day were probably glad to be rid of the ignitors and get a high tension mag with spark plug.
But Mitch Malcomb of Lightning Magneto (site sponsor here) rebuilt by Webster 8 years ago, and I've shown it trouble free for the last 8 years, finally having to clean my points this year. My engine has to live outside, and I cut an antifreeze jug to fit over the gorgeous mag. A Webster is about as simple as you can get, and the Hercules website will tell you how to adjust the points and trip on it.
Kevin,

Great web site. Is there a web site like that for IHC engines?

Jeff
 

Mike Monnier

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Age
43
Last Subscription Date
12/18/2019
1/4 case, I can't tell you the guy's name, but there is a gent in Ludington that has a few engines in his antique shop. I think they are mostly for show, but he might be able to put you onto one close to home. I think his shop is close to the intersection of S Washington St and Dowland. That's about 4 blocks east of the Badger car ferry. I was by there this spring, but I don't remember exactly where the shop is.

There is also a fellow from Ludington that periodically advertises reproduction Associated ignitors. He might be another guy to get to know in your area. I know there are several collectors around Mason and Oceana counties that could help you, but I don't have any connections to them.
 

Kevin O. Pulver

Email NOT Working
Age
54
I don't know of any IHC specific engine sites Jeff. And a little Googling didn't bring one up. Whoever has the old IHC literature needs to scan it and post it. That may indeed be done already, but I haven't found it. Seems like someone was doing a lot of that here on the Stak somewhere.
 

1/4case

Registered
Mike, Could you see the engines from the road or did you need to go in? Ill take a look today. My dad owns a transmission shop on James St. a few block from the boat. I have a few others in the area that are from the local engine club. My only issue is I am a fairly busy person with lots of hobbies. I wouldnt be as active as I would like to be with the local club. When I join I would have that gut feeling I need to be an active member, not a sidline person. Just how I was raised. To many irons going to be a participating member not just another number. If I can find and engine that is well supported than I can give it the time it needs when I have the time to give. Dont know if that came through right but I think it makes sence. Thank you all for givein' me some good information.

R. Kesling
 
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