Johnson Iron Horse Questions

Jeff Wewers

New member
I just picked up a Johnson Iron Horse Model AR 401, serial number 14 127, made in Peterboro, Canada. A few questions. Any idea what year it was made. What is the function of the cap on the block with the silver cover. The cap under the cover says "Press Here to Open"...( see pic).

Also, does the throttle/governor setup look original? Most of the pics of Iron Horses I see have a long rod attached to the throttle.
 

James Bosma

Subscriber
Not sure on the year but hope Martin stops in, Guessing early 50's
Model AR 401
A is for Air Vane Governor
R is for Recoil start
401 is series

That is the crankcase breather under that cap

The other ones that you have seen are the X series, same engine different governor
They are mechanical governor
 

Newoldstock

New member
As far as I know most of these made after 47 have an air vane governor.
There were some also made in the USA but I don't know anything about them.
If it has a generator and cost iron base it could be a surplus military unit.
I have seen pictures of them bolted on commonwealth military equipment, I don't know if there were any made for the US armed forces.

I have one rated for 300 watts 120 ac likely war surplus used to power a radio set.
 

EvilDr235

Member
Does anybody offer owners manual reprints for Iron Horse engines ? I just picked up second J.I.H.engine, but it is missing the flywheel housing, flywheel and a few other parts. It is different that my U.S. built model X515 engine. They appear to be a well built engine. Are new parts available ? I need to do a search on past posts on these engines.
 

James Bosma

Subscriber
Recoil start and air vane governor were only offered on Canadian Made engines
Have seen manuals online, not many at swap meets
No records survived on the US made engines so info is real hard to find
Some Canadian records survived and more info is available on them


Newoldstock

Lots were used in the military
Mainly 32 volt dc sets to run equipment

Is you 120 V Ac unit also 6 V dc
I have the CH27-1


EvilDr235

Not many repo parts are offered
Best thing for parts is to find ones one or two in worse shape for parts

There a very little differences between the different models in the 400 and 500 series
The 500 has bigger bore and different carburetors mainly
 

Newoldstock

New member
Recoil start and air vane governor were only offered on Canadian Made engines
Have seen manuals online, not many at swap meets
No records survived on the US made engines so info is real hard to find
Some Canadian records survived and more info is available on them


Newoldstock

Lots were used in the military
Mainly 32 volt dc sets to run equipment

Is you 120 V Ac unit also 6 V dc
I have the CH27-1
I will have to pull it out and see.
I tried to run the numbers on it once ( I think here ) no one could help me identify it and I did not pursue
 

dhmeltz

New member
Hi all,

I recently picked up a Johnson Iron Horse X518 motor (serial number 104580), made in the USA. Can anyone tell me when this motor was made?

My main mechanical question is about the kick start mechanism. The kick lever works fine, it turns the engine over, but at the end of the lever's travel, it cannot return to the starting position because the small driven gear on the crankshaft is frozen and will not 'free wheel' backwards.

Does the small driven gear work with a clutch or ratchet mechanism? Also, does anyone carry parts for the kick starter? At the very least, I need a spring for the small driven gear on the crankshaft.

Thanks! Dean

Dean 'Rustoholic' Meltz

- Lurch (1927 LM 1 ton truck)
http://www.stovebolt.com/features/sagas/meltz/meltz_lurch.htm
https://www.stovebolt.com/features/sagas/meltz/2007/index.html
- Justin (1928 AB Canopy Express)
http://www.stovebolt.com/gallery/meltz dean 1928.html
 

EvilDr235

Member
I have two Johnson Iron Horse engines. The first one is a U.S.built model X515. The second was a gift and is missing the blower housing along with the ID tag. I can't tell you much about them. The model X515 is buried up on a shelf, but I do remember it had a oval fuel tank and has a carb.with a banjo fitting for the fuel line. I have not checked into getting parts yet. I have mostly Briggs and Clinton engines.
 

Gary Reif

New member
This thread reminded me I have a x305 ser.#24241 on a shelf. I was told it came off of a wash machine. Can anybody date this engine or tell me if these were very abundant?
Thanks Gary
 

EvilDr235

Member
I also was wondering how common are these engines in Canada ? I have done nothing with mine as of yet. What thread sizes are used on these engines ? Metric, Imperial or Whitworth ? I know a fellow who has a couple more of them for sale and I can't decide if I should get them or not. Are piston rings or seals available ? I can make gaskets. Does the connecting rod use inserts ? I like the look of the engines. One would be cool on a mini bike or go-kart.
 

Bill Sherlock

Subscriber
Believe these engines are quite common in Canada. I have several including a 2 cycle with the rewind starter. Fasteners are standard sizes. Were all built before metric was introduced in Canada about 1978.

Been awhile since I had one apart, but don't think the connecting rod has an insert.

Rings, seals and gaskets should be available from sponsors on this site.

Bill
 

EvilDr235

Member
Thank you Bill. I have two at the moment. One is U.S. made and the other, the blower housing along with the tag is missing. They are a neat looking engines. I have a chance to buy two more, but I got a chance to buy more Briggs engines that I kinda collect. I will talk to the old gypsy lady about the Johnson's and their fate. Thank again.
 

BHoward

Subscriber
Around 1947 my brother and I and my two cousins bought 4 of those engins with the oval tank at the local hardwere store for $70.00 I think . We built 4 motor bikes. They worked pretty good. Went about 35 mph. That was $70.00 each .No sales tax then.
 

EvilDr235

Member
The one complete engine I have the model X515 has the oval fuel tank mounted on top of rhe engine. I can't get to it at the moment, but I remember the carb had a banjo fitting for the fuel line connection. Being they have a removable cylinder, someone clever could make a big bore cylinder and piston along with other hop up parts to increase the power output. Maybe a stroked crankshaft and a high compression cyl head. I need to watch some YouTube videos and then probably go buy the two Iron Horse engines.
 

EvilDr235

Member
Well went and seen the fellow that I have been buying engines from for over 10 years, maybe longer. Turns out he had 3 for sale. All made in Canada. The info,

#1 model # AR475

#2 model # AR470

#3 model # 450

All turn over with good compression. All have carbs, but none have fuel tanks. I have a total of 5 now. I see gasket sets on eBay for sale. Also some user manuals. Looks like they could be fitted to a bicycle with little trouble. I think they are a neat looking engine.
 

EvilDr235

Member
The fellow I bought the last three from has another one with a lever start setup for sale.
 
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James Bosma

Subscriber
The fellow I bought the last three from has another one with a lever start setup for sale.
Most of the lever start engines were on the lawn mowers, if you look close you will notice its just a kick start arm that is cut off and a lever installed

I have used kick start arms to fix lever start engines
 
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