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Van Duzen Restoration Page 1

Wayne Grenning

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Here begins the Van Duzen Restoration story:

The engine was bought at Auction by a Pennslyvania collector around 1970. The owner had the insight at that time to know it would become a great piece when complete. As with many of us though the project list outgrew the available resources and it was hesitantly sold ( years later ) to another collector as a means to fund a restoration project. And I completely understand how that can happen.

I personally know very little about the history of this specific engine so if anyone happens to have these details, post them here.

What I do know is that it is a very interesting & unusual engine. Here are some of its redeeming qualities:

It was manufactured sometime around 1893 and has a patent date cast into the carburetor of 1891.
I believe this has to be one of the earlier carbureted gasoline engines out there.
It is set up for dual ignition ( timed gasoline hot tube and ignitor)
Adjustable intake and exhaust cams.
Gravity fuel supply to both the carb and hot tube burner.
Vertical open frame construction with non sideshaft driven fly ball governor.

My intent is to chronicle the entire project from disassembly and evaluation of each component up through the entire rebuild process. As with my other posts the good bad and ugly will be put up here. You will see the successes and failures and ways I choose to work through them.

The anticipated time frame: I have none in mind. It gets done when it gets done and will undoubtedly be squeezed in between other shop activities.

I will begin with a few photos of the assembled engine.


Here you can see the gasoline hot tube burner, the carburetor, governor and an old battle scar ( that I hope to do some cosmetic surgery on )

Close up of the governor and gearing

Another view of the head and related components
The cobbled Ignitor. This needs to be researched as its operation is not obvious:


Top view of Carburetor


Side view showing the adjustable cams


Inside the crank case

Here an ugly mug of yours truly at work illustrated here only to give an idea of the proportion of the engine. Starting to disassemble the engine --- Lots of stuck parts ! In this view the hot tube burner support bracket is being taken off. I can tell my acetylene tank will need refilling after this job .


The stuck support bracket.


Here is the Ignitor bracket with the bracket removed. ON this engine the ignitor body also has cast into it the hot tube boss and the timed hot tube valve body.


Laying across the top of the engine is the Hot tube valve stem bearing and packing nut assembly. It is completely stripped and will need to be recreated. Since it was stripped some time in the past set screws were added to the mounting boss to help secure it. This only made the problem worse. These can be seen in a future picture

The Ill-Mo Gas engine club I am in had a Van Duzen on loan from the owner or some arrangement was made , this is kinda foggy what actually happened but owners took it back, and dont want to get in on that!I can remember this one as a kid though It was of the walking beam type cant remember the year but was a very different bird and I havent seen another like it since my self but with computers it is a totally different world these day than long ago. Nice engine once you get it straightened out!!
The underside of the ignitor where the hot tube timing valve threads. Here you can see the set screw holes. The internal threads in the ignitor will most likely need to be recut over sized. The set screw holes will need to be plugged as they will be a source for compression leaks.


The carburetor on this engine was made in a time where gasoline fuel varied wildly from one supplier to another. Some supplies had more volatiles than others. To address this problem, early carburetors frequently had heating water jackets to help the evaporation of the less potent fuels and promote combustion. Here the unused carburetor water jacket plug were removed. The cooling system on the finished engine will incorporate this feature.


Here you can see the mounting flange and related nuts/studs that secure the intake valve cage assembly to the cylinder. It may not look that bad in the picture, but they don't make a wrench that's shaped in such a way to remove the lower nut. It is inaccessible The carburetor needs to be removed to access the nut. Yea I can put a 4 foot pipe wrench the carb but am sure the results would be less than desirable.

Heat is your friend. Out comes the Oxy Acetylene torch again. Careful quick heat to just the flange area of the valve cage with "medium" force using a strap wrench and it comes free.

The carb in now removed and access to the nuts is granted.

An interesting feature of this engine I neglected to mention previously is that the governor detent enables the intake valve rather than the exhaust valve as found on a traditional engine.

The governor is removed next - at least this part came right off.



The teeth of the governor's brass bevel gears are almost worn through.

Here are a couple misc photos.

The Intake valve pushrod and Timed hot tube pushrod bearing.


Close up of the hot tube push rod bearing guide. Was made with poured Babbitt and is obviously quite worn out.


The cam shaft assembly


Chipped tooth - Needs to be repaired.

Piston Removal: . This was extracted w/o too much incident.
Although I am not sure how to get it back in. There is a sharp lip in the cylinder a couple inches from the top that the rings will catch. Cant image splitting the crankcase and bringing it from the bottom?? We will worry about that later

The notch you see in the piston is for clearance with the timing gear oiler pipe. The Rod and Cap are Bronze. Note the really stubby design of assembly.


The rings look OK but there does seem to be excessive clearance between the cylinder and piston. This will be measured later.

View inside the piston.


Looking down the bore.


Close up of the crankshaft. - it needs help.

Here is a larger frame size engine of 4 poster construction. This is a typical early Van Duzen Portable engine - at least it appears that way from early literature. I do not have any way of telling if the engine in my shop was a portable or not. But the engraving does show the elevated fuel supply ( needed for the hot tube burner ) and give a few of the general layout details.


---------- Post added at 11:16 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:04 AM ----------

Here are a couple more.


The first real challenging task so far is to remove the gib keys & by the looks of them it is going to be a fun job.

Here it is before doing anything - lots paint covered rust.


With a file and scraper the key way is cleaned to allow the Gib key to "slide" out


Lots of Penetrating oil is used. I prefer this stuff. it seems to creep the best


I know this is not going to be a fun job, so in my mind ( sometimes to simple at time) I formulate a plan.

Step 1 drill a hole through the head of the gib key and file the sides parallel to a nice nominal thickness. Apply more penetrating oil.

Can any of you guess where this is going.............................

I think I speak for everyone here, THANK YOU for all of the time you pull from your projects to document each step and present here for us to enjoy. I'm sure it will be nothing less than spectacular when finished and I look forward to following the thread.
Step 2: Make a tight fitting yoke. - Using a piece of Cold Rolled rectangular steel .

Here the pin hole is being drilled


Drill & Ream the Hole

Flipped up on end, it is squared up, clamped in the milling machine vice ready to be slotted with an endmill to the exact width of the gib key head.


Set everything up , measure twice, cut once.... first pass looks good, take a heavier second pass , crunch! I needed a new 1/2" end mill anyway.

I should have known better to clamp the part in the vice and cut the other direction. It slid right over and ripped the end of the end mill off, not to mention left some good tracks on the steel block. Oh well.

We will try this slotting task again.


Slot finished to the proper debth


A 1/2 x 13 threaded pulling hole is tapped into the end of the yoke.


Next Step: The yoke mounted to the gib key head with a sized bolt tapped through and tightened.

The plan seems to be taking shape. I know this fixture can exert almost 20,000 lbs of pull on the key before either the hardened bolt shears or the 1/2x13 grade 8 "all thread" rod stretches. Piece of cake.

The next step, ( not shown ) was to use threaded rod and a slide hammer. The slide weight was about 3-4 lbs. Nothing happened and my arm was getting sore.

OK next step, make a stand off to react against : The idea seemed to make sense ( in my mind) but I had quite a bit of tension on the puller stud and suddenly realized the cast iron flywheel spoke is probably not infinitely strong, time to rethink thing before things go really bad.


Ok bigger is better. Going back to a more grandiose version of plan "A" it was time to make a bigger slide hammer. I quickly found a 20# piece of scrap Iron laying around shop ideally suited for a new and improved slide hammer, and exerted some real force to the gib key. Here is the setup.


I bet you saw this coming.....

It removed the head of the gib key just like it was supposed to


Now that's just great, All I have to do is remove the key with a shredded stump being the only visible part.

Boy, am I glad I cleaned the key way in the shaft so gib key would slide right out with out grabbing. !!
Ben, Dustin, Walt, & Dave - Thanks for the encouragement. It is going to be a long haul, once I get all of the sup components disassembled and inspected I can start fixing the longer lead time items like the cylinder bore/ piston / rings and Crankshaft

Wayne - I thought you would like the slide hammer. Couldn't think of anything else to use that crazy casting for :O.
That gib key looks like it was made out of wrought iron, looking at the broken section. Was that a common material to make those out of?
Couldnt you just take a long drill bit and drill the center of the key, and then tap the corners into the center and pull them out?