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MEP-015A w/ Wisconsin 2A016-III & Onan 105GFD/176


I picked up an old Military Generator that needs a little work. I was told the carb need adjusting and the points needed attention. I figured no big deal I can handle that, was hoping to get a working generator with a little effort. Since it was only $25 I went ahead and bought it home and started looking at what I got.

It seems to be all there, unfortunately it has no compression :( such is life I suppose.

I see from reading a few threads here that parts are hard to come by, no big surprise I guess, the mfg date on the tag says 1971.

So you guys think it is worth the effort? Perhaps I'm better off parting it out so other enthusiasts have a chance to get worthier generators going?


As a useful generator, they are loud and thirsty. As a military collectable, they are not that rare, but if in good very shape they are kind of neat units. Last I heard, Saturn Surplus still has some parts for these.

If you want a project generator that you can use for backup power, an 1,800 RPM unit of some sort would be better. If you can recover your money without too much effort, that is what I'd do. But I have a 018 out back, the 10 KW version of similar design, and don't see a lot of interest in them.

Ed Stoller

Last Subscription Date
The first thing to do is determine why it does not have compression. This is often just a stuck valve, so check the valve clearances. If you pull the head, put some PB Blast on the valve stems and let it soak two days. Try to turn the valves rather than tapping on them and risking bending them. Some pictures would be nice.


Parts hard to come by? Whoever said such a foolish thing clearly did not check the Saturn Surplus website. Many parts can be had for these engines, pretty much any of the normal mechanical wear items such as pistons, rods, rings, valves, etc. But I'm wondering. Does your engine have NO compression (such as a valve stuck) or very little compression? Pull the plugs, give the cylinders a quick squirt of oil, spin the engine over a few times to let the oil get spread around, replace the plugs and see what is what. If an engine sits for a long time the cylinders can dry out and give the impression of having no compression. I have bought engines in the past exhibiting this issue. A bit of oil in the cylinder, start thge engine and full compression returns. Is this a universal fix? Of course not. But neither is rejecting a possibly good machine because the compression is off. You can also pull the valve covers very easily to see if the valves are moving freely and if there is proper lash clearance.

And if you do need internal parts for the engine, no fear, parts are cheap. I was just in a 4 cylinder version of that engine and had to replace a connecting rod. Got one in the original wrapper for $8.50. A brand new piston and rings is $14.50. Head gaskets, five bucks each. Brand new heads, I think $35 each. Valves are $7.50. so you can see that these engines can be returned to brand new condition at very low cost.

By the way, the 2A 016 III should have factory installed electronic ignition. No points or condenser required. If I'm wrong and you need points and condenser, those are available too.

You say the engine is from 1971. It's true that is mighty new by Smokstak standards but that's okay. Those little Military Standard Engines are meticulously engineered and very well built machines. When they are right they start easy and are sweet runners.


Thanks for the replies.

The date stamped on the engine is 8 / 68, the mfg date on the other info plate shows 1971.

I'm glad to hear parts are available, even better that they can be inexpensive.

I thought about pulling the valve covers off to check for movement, I removed the one bolt in the middle but the covers felt like they were catching on something and i didn't want to force it.

I did get a couple pictures, do they need to be linked from elsewhere like most forums?


I've never been inside a twin but on the singles and the fours the valve covers lift right off, and they all use the same heads so unless there is something else in the way the cover should come off easily once the gasket is unstuck, assuming it is.

Update: Just for giggles I decided to put what I said to the test. I went out and tried to remove all four of the valve covers on the four cylinder I had had apart a few weeks ago. Not a one came off. Every one was fouling on a piece of tin. When I had the engine apart, of course the tin was the first thing that got removed. Since I don't recall any problems with the valve covers when working on it the tin has to be the culprit. So in your case I would first remove the tinwork that surrounds the cylinders. At that point it should be clear sailing.

Can't help you much with the pics. I know I used to be able to upload pics and once you figured out how to do it it was easy, and similar to uploading pictures to craigslist. But something changed at some point and I have not been able to upload since. Since others are still uploading pictures I suspect the problem has something to do with my ad blocker.

I'm looking as I write this, in the main block immediately below the message block, the one called "Additional Options", the second smaller block is called "Attach files". That's the one you want. Click on "Manage attachments" to upload. Make sure your files are small-ish though or the pictures will be huge and will eat up too much of the website's storage space.


DO NOT leave any ethanol gas in the carbs on any of these mil engines (1, 2 or 4 cylinder). The floats are made of a material that quickly swells up from the ethanol and will stick in the bowl, causing an overflow. Saturn, the last time I looked, did not have new floats anymore. They will run OK on the nasty gas, just don't let it set in the bowl.