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Hupp36    21

While working on  my  friends  Pierce Arrow one  of  his  friends  asked me  if  I  would  have  some time to  start the  engine  on  his  1921  Stevens. Not  even  ever  seeing  one,  it  sounded  like  it  may  be  fun. Not  knowing a  few  guys  before  failed  to  get  the  car  running. So I  made  some  time  and  went  to  check  it  out. Found  some  paper  work  that  in  1979 there  were something like  24  Stevens  that  were  known  of. They  called the  engine  the  silent  six. It is  an overhead engine that has  a  ball  and  socket arrangement for  the  rocker  arms. Ok,  getting  back to  the  task  at  hand,  start the  engine.Th  guy said  that  the  engine  had  been  rebuilt some  time  ago  but  never  started  after  that. After  checking all the  the  things  you  need to  start  an  engine I  was  curious  to  see how  tight  the  engine was  so  installed the  crank  and  could  not  turn  the  engine  over. There  was  a ballast  resistor installed in the  system  as  he  had  a 12  volt battery  as  starting  power.  After  making  sure we  had  gas and   set  the  points  ,  I  said  ok  , hit  the  starter  button, Nothing, Checked the  battery,  full charge. Like  my  Hupp  the  Stevens  has  1  main  bolt  that  holds  the  starter  in. Took the  bolt  out  and the  starter  would  not  move. Got  a plastic  hammer  and  gave it  a wack. Low  and  behold,  the  bendix  was  stuck in the  ring  gear. Re  installed  the  starter.  hit  the  starter  button  and  it  was  running. Popping  threw the  carb,  I  noticed  1  of the  valves was  loose. The  valves  were  exposed  so  you  could adjust  them with the  engine  running.  Not  wanting  to  run the  engine  long  with  no  coolant we  shut it  down. Added  water  and  that's  when  w  found  out  water  was  getting  in the  oil pan. After  removing  the  valve  cover  that  also  holds  the  water  inlet to the  block noticed the  engineer that  designed it must  have  been  smoking something  funny  when  he  designed  it. I  am  in the  process of  trying to  figure  out  the  best  way  to  keep the  water  and  oil  separated,  will let  you  all  know in the  next  chapter.  Here  are  some  pic.

1921 Stevens 010.JPG

1921 Stevens 005.JPG

1921 Stevens 003.JPG

1921 Stevens 007.JPG

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Sounds like a satisfying undertaking--and you're making 

progress already.  

 

Thanks for telling us the story.  More cars like this

need to get back on the road instead of being garage displays,

and you're doing the hobby a good service!

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edinmass    241

There was a very nice Stephens at Amelia Island in March. Owner was very knowledgeable and would be worth your time contacting him. His car was perfect. Not too often a car of that vintage gets my attention. Nice car.

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Rusty_OToole    424

I think it was called  the Stephens Salient Six. I heard they had an easy to adjust valve gear which tempted owners to tune up their motors on Saturday, go for a drive on Sunday, and show up at the dealer with burned valves on Monday. This led to the invention of the hydraulic valve lifter that needed no adjustment.

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Bud Tierney    34

There is a listing in a 30 McCord gasket catalog for a Stephens Salient Six, models 70, 80, 90 1917-24, with an OHV Moline motor  6cyl 31/4x41/2...I was sure I'd seen that referred to as the Silent Six, but may have it confused with something else...

Under Moline in that catalog there's only two 4s---one 31/4x5 for a 11/2T truck  and a 9-18 Orchard Cultivator, the other 43/4x6 for tractor models...

Assuming this's the later Minneapolis-Moline, didn't know they get their engines into cars...

Catalog shows head gasket change---17-22 and 22-24 enclosing push rods??

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Hupp36    21

I  will  be cleaning  the  head &  valve  cover and  making  a  gasket  that  will hopefully  keep the  water  and  oil  in  there perspective places. I  am  also going to  look at  the  other  owners list  of  this  type  of  car  to  see if  maybe they  had  this  problem  and  solved  it. Like  I  said  ,  the  engineering on  this  engine  could  have  been a lot  better. But  if  it  left  the  factory  and  did  not  leak , than it  can  be  fixed. God  help  me.

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Ivan Saxton    26
Quote

 

I was told that they were manufactured by the Moline Plough Company.  The importers and agents, naturally in the Western Wimmera wheat cropping country western Victoria had the cars as an adjunct to the cropping machines.  So there was originally a nest of them around the town of Horsham.  In 1964 I went looking for one that I was told was complete and in good order;  but if I found the farm,  "There it was, Gone:"  I suppose like the mythical Irish Crown Jewells.   I have vague recollection that Keith Marvin, in one of his letters to me about that time, said they were very pretty and very well made.   I like to see and understand the odd ones;  but I cannot envisage how the valve mechanism and the gas-flow pathways are laid out, and how they work.   Old time Mercer and Duesenberg owner Jerry Gebby may have classified that as a "Rube Goldberg", I suspect

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nzcarnerd    187

Stephens was the family name of the founders of Moline Plow.  John North Willys owned the whole lot at one time. I guess the Stephens engines were built by Root and Vandervort because that engine maker was part of the combine. 

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Ivan Saxton    26

R & V were most votable for their double -sleeve sleeve valve engines.  Could that have some wildly different way of operating sleeve valves?   There have been some very imaginative arrangements to get the gas-flow through engines.  During the War, Aeronautical Research Laboratories took in one of the big, pre WW1 rotary valve Italas,  possibly to discover if there was anything like that which might be superior to sodium-cooled, stainless or stellite faced valves for aero engines. The big Itala may not have been a howling success, but at least it was a running rare survivor until they dismantled or destroyed it.         Then there was a man called McLaren who may have had great talent as a snake-oil salesman.  It is believed that eminent state politician and grazier Sir Gordon McArthur paid him to ruin a 2 litre 4 cylinder  2 OHC Ballot 2LS engine, by converting the cylinder block to a rotary valve.  Fortunately another good engine was in recent time bought from England; and it is properly and regularly used as Ernest Henry designed it as a scaled-down post WW1 image of his GP Peugeot.   Then McLaren turned a 6 cylinder, 6 litre cuff-valve Peugeot into a rotary valve.   He must have been a very optimistic slow learner, because his next mechanical victim was a moderate Vauxhall/Bedford engine that was not irreplaceable.   Only when Chamberlain brothers allowed him free use of their Heenan & Froude dynamometer  was he able to actually measure his extraordinary talent for diminishing the performance of engines.         I likely have parts of that Peugeot McLaren   ruined,  because I now have parts from 9 or 10 lost cars,  but may be able to duplicate enough to build two.  That will be 3 survivors of the 180 that Peugeot built originally.    If anyone has mechanical interest to know how cuff-valve engines work, I can send photos to an email address.   I apologise that I have no idea how to post photos on this forum, and not the time spare to try and learn..                                                        .

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Hupp36    21

CHAPTER  2   I called  3  owners of  Stevens  cars. One  could  not  remember  what kind  of  seal was on the  valve  cover. Two of  them  used  1/8th cork  sheet  gasket  material .One  dressed  with black silicone and the  other Permatex  High tec  sealant  .We  had  to  special  order  the  cork  gasket  material because  the guy  at  the  local  parts  store  keep  asking  me  what  car  does this  go  on. I  hung  up  on  him  and  went  to  another  source. I  am  leaving  for  the  north  this  Friday and  the  soonest  we  could  get  the cork  material  is  April  18  to  the 22nd. I  told the  owner  if  he  is  not  comfortable with  making  the  gasket,  Get a mechanic. Oh, one  main  thing  , both  Stevens  owners  said . Make  it  in  1 piece. NO  exception. I  wish  I  had  the  material  because  I  wanted  the  drive  this  car.  I  will  have to  wait  until November  to  do  this. Here  are  more  pic,  Not  cleaned  and cleaned. 

Stevens 2 001.JPG

Stevens 2 002.JPG

Stevens 2 003.JPG

Stevens 2 004.JPG

Stevens 2 005.JPG

Stevens 2 006.JPG

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F&J    388

That valve rocker arm system is.....nuts.. :)

 

 

As a thick cork gasket would compress over time, that would tighten the valve lash adjustment, it seems.

 

.

 

 

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F&J    388
13 minutes ago, Hupp36 said:

Did  you  happen to  see the  welded crack?

 

Yes, and I was going to mention that.  I thought at first it may have been close to that upper water narrow housing shown in the first pics in post one.  Then I figured the narrow housing would have broken to bits if it froze solid in winter,,

 

So, it was overtightened to cause that?

 

.

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Hupp36    21

I  would say  so,  in  talking  with  two  owners  of  this model  Stevens,  they  both  cautioned me  about  how  much  torque to  tighten  the  cover  down. This  cover  was  welded long  ago  before I  removed it  to  install  a  new  gasket,  which we  have  on  order. I  only  wish  I  were  going  to be  here in  Fl  to  make  and  install it.  Unless  the  guy  wants to  wait  until Nov.  that's when  I  will  be  back  down. I  also  cautioned him about what  would  happen if its  not  done correctly.

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john2dameron    38

A gentleman had an auto museum in Wolftown, VA he called the Roaring Twenties.  Had a 1923 Stevens sedan he called a Top Hat Salient Six.  That car must have been over 7 feet tall.  I'm 6'-2" and it was quite a bit taller than I am.  He is deceased now and I heard some years ago that his daughter is now running the museum.  I need to stop back by there sometime when I am by myself and look around again.  He also had lots of gadgets from the Twenties; washing machines, sewing machines and lots of other stuff.  He took me down behind the museum and showed me some newer autos.  Had a '48 Chev convertible coupe that looked perfect.

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Curti    197

Have you contacted Sandy Olson ? with dimensions or a template he can make any gasket . 

Olsons Gaskets (Sandy) 3059 Opdal Rd E Port Orchard WA 98366 360-871-1207 +fax

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Hupp36    21

Thank  you  for  the  information,  I  will pass it  on to  the  owner and  see if  that  is  something  he  would like  to  do.

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Stephens is an unusual car. I got a survivor here in my garage and the car is undergoing a complete restoration. Had problems with water in the oil pan and spent several hours to find the reason. When I disassembled the engine and turned  it upside down I found that the freeze plugs were rusted through. My advice is to always renew the plugs. The valve  cover at my car is cracked too. I am no expert but the workshop  had doubts when I asked them to weld the crack.  -Old cast iron. It will never last, they said. 

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Rusty_OToole    424

That must be the first engine with ball and socket rocker arms, touted as an innovation by Chev and Pontiac in 1955. The adjustment certainly is easy to get at especially compared to the typical flathead engine of the times.

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Ivan Saxton    26

Maybe the Stephens engine is an Anstead, because the rocker system is like that used in the Lexington. The only one I encountered , I only saw briefly,  because it had already been sold,  though it had not been advertised.  Keith Marvin, in his self- published ( and probably self- typed ) book of the 1960s or earlier, titled "Cars of 1923;  listed the Lexington,  the 4 cylinder F-head Essex, and the first Chrysler Six with its high compression Rickardo combustion chambers and 7 main bearing crankshaft as the hottest cars in terms of performance and highest output in horsepower per cubic inch piston displacement.  ( He allowed that few or no Chryslers were likely sold,  but some were built and probably tested.).     I had a friend who commuted to work within the Melbourne central business district throughout the 1960s in a 20s Chrysler  sedan used to embarrass things like Volkswagons  when the traffic lights changed red to green.     Keith did not compare the A model Duesenberg  though 1923 was about the best production year.  In 1983 I met Alan Powell,  who ordered and bought a Duesenberg at the factory in 1923 when he was 23.  The car had the highest compression ratio pistons,  and the fastest cruising speed axle ratio they would provide.   He said that Fred Duesenberg took him for a run in it on the Speedway; and they gave him a certificate that it had previously been timed there at 106mph.

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Hupp36    21

Claes,I  think a guy that is a master  at welding could weld your  valve cover. You  just have to find the right  person. I used  a special rod and  welded an  engine block 30 years  ago and  it is still not  leaking. Its  called nickle cast. But now  with  the modern  wire  feed welders it  should  be  easier.

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Rusty_OToole    424

The alternative is stitching with screw in pins. No heat and it does a permanent repair. Look up Jay Leno's video on Youtube, they fixed a 1910 engine block for him after it threw a rod broke the block in pieces.

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On 2017-04-23 at 1:15 AM, Rusty_OToole said:

That must be the first engine with ball and socket rocker arms, touted as an innovation by Chev and Pontiac in 1955. The adjustment certainly is easy to get at especially compared to the typical flathead engine of the times.

Maybe. I am not familiar with all brands that popped up at the market. Adjusting the valves is as you say an easy thing. You can to this with your white gloves on from the outside. But you must do this with the engine idling. And you can’t measure the play with a feeler gauge because the valves are hidden to the right under the valve cover. You must listen to the engine when you are screwing on the adjustment screws.  Turn the adjustment screw clock wise until the engine goes unevenly. Then turn the adjustment screw one quarter anti clock wise or so and tighten the lock nut.

I think this engine is an odd thing.

 

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