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alsancle
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Goal: Get it running before Christmas.  Done. A 1929 7 passenger Stearns-Knight H-8-90 roared to life on 12/24/20 for the first time since about 1970. Roar is probably the wrong word. Whisper may be more appropriate. It is quite and smooooth. 52 (yes 52) new babbit bearings in the crankcase are doing their job. Bought new in LA, probably at the same dealership as the Brunn.

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3 minutes ago, Mark66A said:

Goal: Get it running before Christmas.  Done. A 1929 7 passenger Stearns-Knight H-8-90 roared to life on 12/24/20 for the first time since about 1970. Roar is probably the wrong word. Whisper may be more appropriate. It is quite and smooooth. 52 (yes 52) new babbit bearings in the crankcase are doing their job. Bought new in LA, probably at the same dealership as the Brunn.


Where are the photos? 👍

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OK, I'll explain. 9 mains for crankshaft (total 15 5/32 in length). 9 mains for passenger side eccentric. 8 mains for driver side eccentric. 8 Piston rod bearings. 16 sleeve rod bearings. 1 accessory drive shaft bearing. 1 chain tightener bearing.  Lenght of lever needed to initially turn over assembled engine -6 feet and still not easy.

No pictures. Just use your imagination.

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Since there are about six people in the world who understand this engine, I get it. That said...no photos? The platform is so unique and the next overhaul will probably be fifty years in the future...........photos of the block, mechanicals, and accessories are of great interest to the motoring public. You can count the people on the entire planet on two hands who have worked on a sleeve valve eight and are still breathing. Inquiring minds would like to know.....and see. 👍

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14 hours ago, Mark66A said:

Goal: Get it running before Christmas.  Done. A 1929 7 passenger Stearns-Knight H-8-90 roared to life on 12/24/20 for the first time since about 1970. Roar is probably the wrong word. Whisper may be more appropriate. It is quite and smooooth. 52 (yes 52) new babbit bearings in the crankcase are doing their job. Bought new in LA, probably at the same dealership as the Brunn.

 

Mark,  how did you know it was bought new in LA?   This picture is from the LA Times.  Could be your car?

The_Los_Angeles_Times_Sun__Feb_3__1929_.jpg

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Whew, I was afraid you wanted a picture of me!  To answer AJ, the car in the newspaper clipping is likely a 1929 model M - too small for an H or J. In August of 1958 "Pete" Wills Watkins, Jr attempted to start a newsletter dedicated to sleeve valve cars. In the first (likely only) issue he described his '29 Stearns-Knight J including engine#, serial# and mileage. His information identified the car I am working on, however the odometer now has an additional 776 miles registered. The person who owns the car verified that he bought it from Pete Watkins in 1968. As to it's L.A. origins, located on the door post was an oil change plate from  Collins-Lusby, Inc. Distributor of Stearns-Knight Motor Cars located at 1616 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA.  Interestingly Peter Woyen and I had previously purchased a parts car sedan J-8-90 that had originated from L.A. (now a touring reconfigured by Al Giddings). In the debris of that car we found an oil change plate from Collins-Lusby as well. Here they are.

1112867944_OrangeCountycar.thumb.jpg.bfea12ad323ea8bc5aff30d396345aad.jpg1978411394_Anaheimcar.thumb.jpg.89997e342ea7cc319672694c13c89516.jpg

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OK one more. Here is a treasure found on the reverse side of the wiring harness terminal block cover. This cover is on the driver side of the car. An identical cover on the passenger side covers the fuses for seven  circuits. The text provided instructions for sleeve valve timing.

1306369777_11-18-19Insidecoveroffirewallwirejunctionbox.thumb.jpg.d6ead1e8fa600ee7c58e11f24961faf1.jpg

Edited by Mark66A (see edit history)
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19 hours ago, edinmass said:

Since there are about six people in the world who understand this engine, I get it. That said...no photos? The platform is so unique and the next overhaul will probably be fifty years in the future...........photos of the block, mechanicals, and accessories are of great interest to the motoring public. You can count the people on the entire planet on two hands who have worked on a sleeve valve eight and are still breathing. Inquiring minds would like to know.....and see. 👍

OK, I attempted to count them. There are way more people than 6 who understand this engine - at least 20. As far as the number living who have worked on them - at least 10, maybe even 12. And, I'm not counting owners or museums who own but don't run them or work on them. Yes this engine is unique. Only 8 cyl sleeve valve built in America. Only sleeve valve engine that I know of with dual eccentrics (cams to you poppet valve folks). My best count is that 20 engines remain. The engines were built in '27,'28 and '29 for model G,H and J. Five engines are currently within a 5 mile radius of me.  I also have enough parts to build another engine, maybe two if a few needed parts could be made.

Edited by Mark66A
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img753.thumb.jpg.b4e18b65ebd5a408d75ae5afb00926f7.jpgAfter F.B. Stearns resigned from his company due to illness (in about 1917) he began developing diesel engines and eventually sold his patents and designs to the U.S. Navy. During that quest he had an 86 foot yacht built in 1922 by Luders Marine Construction in Connecticut. The yacht had diesel engines and a diesel generator. He named the yacht "Ginger-Dot" after his daughters Virginia and Dorothy. He used it frequently including winter trips to Florida. He eventually sold it to have a larger one built. His connection to boats was through his wife Mabelle Wilson Stearns. The Wilson family owned the Wilson Steamship Lines on the Great Lakes. Interestingly a color ad for the 1927 Stearns Knight G Cabriolet featured a drawing of the yacht. Also the yacht still exists and is undergoing a very long and arduous restoration in England. See www.ginger-dot.com.  The car ad is below. An article from "Yachting" publication in October 1922 is to the right.

 

 

1056243739_GCabrioletGinger-DotJune27.thumb.jpg.9d88f574fd1adbcecb9f0355741033f2.jpg

Edited by Mark66A
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When Art Aseltine passed away, he donated his patterns and files to the Willys Overland Kinght Registry. WOKR dues are very reasonable, and you have access to their library and patterns (www.wokr.org). Stearns used the same basic water pump for several model cars in the 20's, all with the same impeller. WOKR has the pattern.  I bought a load of parts - mostly used, but good - from Art's estate to save them from the scrap yard. Contact me before you go the expense of having something made. I'd prefer to not have my kids haul this stuff to the scrap heap in a few years when I'm gone. Also I have a list of suppliers who have made stuff for the Stearns cars in the past, and have either a pattern or supplies.

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I don't look at this particular AACA forums area this is listed in often but here is what I can contribute: In the souvenir program for the 4th Annual Automobile Salon held in Los Angeles ( October 19 - 22 , 1927) J. W. Leavitt & Company were the sales agent for Falcon-Knight and Peerless. Both showrooms were at 12th and  Figueroa Street -

As illustrated here with the advertisement from the salon catalog the Stearns-Knight agents for sales was Lee S. Collins Inc. 1620 Figueroa Street.  There could be a whole story written on the LA Salons and who were the car dealers of that city. South Figureoa Street, and to a lesser extent Hope and Flower Streets were the main "automobile row" areas of the day ( 1920s) . It could be a very interesting story with information from Salon catalogs and other resources I have available in my archives .The main Exhibition committee at the LA Salons were the local Franklin, Lincoln and Hudson /Essex dealers ( and the Hudson/Essex concern was tied to the Walter M. Murphy Company - builders of custom coachwork.) To many stories to tell or write about  but it is all there if you know where to look and can put all the history puzzle pieces together. It can be confusing to say the least !!! but just takes some careful thinking and time to put it all together for an accurate story. To many stories/history is written down based on "assuming" what happen , then fiction becomes fact if it is around long enough IMHO .

 

StearsKnight1927LASALONad001.jpg

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1 hour ago, Terry Harper said:

The whole story of F.B. Stearns and associated firms is rather interesting:

Stearns Motor Manufacturing (Marine, Automotive and industrial)

Stearns tractors

Stearns-Knight

 

I knew Stearns was a major player in the marine engine industry but I didn't know he was involved with early diesel development.

 

Here is an interesting Stearn's engine application using two Stearns 4 cylinders (non-sleeve valve) on a common crankcase.
img026.thumb.jpg.ac91fa93a71b17edcea995536501403f.jpg

 

 

 

To the best of my knowledge, The Stearns Motor company, maker of marine and industrial engines (I believe located near Grand Rapids, MI) was not associated with the F.B. Stearns Company of Cleveland. I have not yet found a link between the companies.

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Posted (edited)

So

2 hours ago, Walt G said:

I don't look at this particular AACA forums area this is listed in often but here is what I can contribute: In the souvenir program for the 4th Annual Automobile Salon held in Los Angeles ( October 19 - 22 , 1927) J. W. Leavitt & Company were the sales agent for Falcon-Knight and Peerless. Both showrooms were at 12th and  Figueroa Street -

As illustrated here with the advertisement from the salon catalog the Stearns-Knight agents for sales was Lee S. Collins Inc. 1620 Figueroa Street.  There could be a whole story written on the LA Salons and who were the car dealers of that city. South Figureoa Street, and to a lesser extent Hope and Flower Streets were the main "automobile row" areas of the day ( 1920s) . It could be a very interesting story with information from Salon catalogs and other resources I have available in my archives .The main Exhibition committee at the LA Salons were the local Franklin, Lincoln and Hudson /Essex dealers ( and the Hudson/Essex concern was tied to the Walter M. Murphy Company - builders of custom coachwork.) To many stories to tell or write about  but it is all there if you know where to look and can put all the history puzzle pieces together. It can be confusing to say the least !!! but just takes some careful thinking and time to put it all together for an accurate story. To many stories/history is written down based on "assuming" what happen , then fiction becomes fact if it is around long enough IMHO .

 

 

Thanks Walt.  It is weird that I can find no reference to Lee S. Collins Inc.  1928-1930 in LA.   I'm wondering if there was a lot of name changes going on.   Perhaps they were doing business as someone else by then but still had a lot of Collins-Lusby plates hanging around in the shop for oil changes.

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3 hours ago, Walt G said:

As illustrated here with the advertisement from the salon catalog the Stearns-Knight agents for sales was Lee S. Collins Inc. 1620 Figueroa Street. 

 I guess I have a ways to go. Also, sports fans (which I am not) please note that 12th and Figueroa is now the Staples Center where the Lakers play and I don't think there is a 1620 Figueroa anymore. I think 1620 is under the Santa Monica Freeway.

 

DCP_2118.thumb.JPG.e5b0f1a5a3b963581b854740825a4eab.JPG

Edited by pughs (see edit history)
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18 hours ago, Mark66A said:

Sleeves and rods installed, cylinder block on its way down. This should be enough pictures for Mr. Minnie.633032101_10Cylinderblockinstall.thumb.jpg.ad36543b9bc9e93d170522771dd6359d.jpg

2136178450_09Sleevespistonsandrodsin.thumb.jpg.f4407f257a7e96e2c1b160d9963e58e4.jpg.


Never have enough photos. These cars are so mechanical that they just appeal to me. Anything with 24 connecting rods is just plain cool. Three thumbs up!👍 👍👍

 

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1 hour ago, Mark66A said:

To the best of my knowledge, The Stearns Motor company, maker of marine and industrial engines (I believe located near Grand Rapids, MI) was not associated with the F.B. Stearns Company of Cleveland. I have not yet found a link between the companies.

My mistake. Justin Stearns -  A lumber baron,  founded the Stearns Motor Company associated with the manufacture of Marine, industrial and automotive engines tractors etc.

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10 hours ago, Walt G said:

I don't look at this particular AACA forums area this is listed in often but here is what I can contribute: In the souvenir program for the 4th Annual Automobile Salon held in Los Angeles ( October 19 - 22 , 1927) J. W. Leavitt & Company were the sales agent for Falcon-Knight and Peerless. Both showrooms were at 12th and  Figueroa Street -

As illustrated here with the advertisement from the salon catalog the Stearns-Knight agents for sales was Lee S. Collins Inc. 1620 Figueroa Street.  There could be a whole story written on the LA Salons and who were the car dealers of that city. South Figureoa Street, and to a lesser extent Hope and Flower Streets were the main "automobile row" areas of the day ( 1920s) . It could be a very interesting story with information from Salon catalogs and other resources I have available in my archives .The main Exhibition committee at the LA Salons were the local Franklin, Lincoln and Hudson /Essex dealers ( and the Hudson/Essex concern was tied to the Walter M. Murphy Company - builders of custom coachwork.) To many stories to tell or write about  but it is all there if you know where to look and can put all the history puzzle pieces together. It can be confusing to say the least !!! but just takes some careful thinking and time to put it all together for an accurate story. To many stories/history is written down based on "assuming" what happen , then fiction becomes fact if it is around long enough IMHO .

 

StearsKnight1927LASALONad001.jpg

It may be coincidental, but - John N. Willys bought the F.B. Stearns Company in 1926 (?) but did not merge the Willys Overland and the F. B. Stearns Companies. He also owned the Falcon Knight company. The Falcon Knight subsequently became the Willys Knight model 56 (a Willys-Overland product). Given that, it would make sense that the J.W. Leavitt & Company had dealerships for Falcon-Knight (a small car) and the Stearns Knight (a large car). Legend has it that when J.N. Willys went to Poland as the US ambassador, he brought a Stearns-Knight limo with him.

Edited by Mark66A (see edit history)
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The Motor Exhibition souvenir program for October 1928 held at the Olympia exhibition hall in London had this advertisement placed by the UK agent for Knight engined cars. This is my last contribution in this area since I am no longer a CCCA member.

WG

StEARNS1928UKknight001.jpg

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13 hours ago, Mark66A said:

It may be coincidental, but - John N. Willys bought the F.B. Stearns Company in 1926 (?) but did not merge the Willys Overland and the F. B. Stearns Companies. He also owned the Falcon Knight company. The Falcon Knight subsequently became the Willys Knight model 56 (a Willys-Overland product). Given that, it would make sense that the J.W. Leavitt & Company had dealerships for Falcon-Knight (a small car) and the Stearns Knight (a large car). Legend has it that when J.N. Willys went to Poland as the US ambassador, he brought a Stearns-Knight limo with him.

There were good reasons for John N. Willys not to merger the F. B. Stearns Company with Willys-Overland.  To fully understand those, I recommend you read the Automotive History Review, Fall 2002, Issue Number 39 of the Society of Automotive Historians. Inc.   Specifically, the article is The Luxury Car Market in the 1020's: Competition, Efficiency, and the Case of Stearns-Knight by Robert R. Ebert and Jaclyn L. Gribben.

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14 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

There were good reasons for John N. Willys not to merger the F. B. Stearns Company with Willys-Overland.  To fully understand those, I recommend you read the Automotive History Review, Fall 2002, Issue Number 39 of the Society of Automotive Historians. Inc.   Specifically, the article is The Luxury Car Market in the 1020's: Competition, Efficiency, and the Case of Stearns-Knight by Robert R. Ebert and Jaclyn L. Gribben.

 

 

It's the minutia of history that is so fascinating...........and so poorly understood today due to the fact that real history is no longer taught. 

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Sacramento Union, Volume 188, Number 5, 5 March 1916

Willys-Overland Head to Visit Distributors J. W. Leavitt to Take Ten Per Cent of Factory’s Total Output.

 

Harry T. Dunn, vice president of the Wlllys-Overland company, Toledo, 0., the second largest producing automobile factory in the world, arrived on the coast last Monday, is expected in this city by the local Overland organization this week. Dunn is now in San Francisco in consultation with the heads of J. W. Leavitt and company. Pacific coast distributors of Overland and Willys-Knight motor cars. Dunn, who combines nis office of vice president of the gigantic Overland plant with the duties of director of sales, is on a combination pleasure and business trip. All of the officials of the Willys-Overland company are partial to sunny California in winter time. George S. Mills, head architect of that concern, arrived on the coast last w'eek for an extended stay, and .John N. Willys, president of the company, who has been wintering in California for the past several years, is due to arrive for an indefinite visit about March 15. The interests of the Willys-Over-land company in California and on the Pacific coast under the administration

of J. W, Leavitt and company, are increasing so rapidly that the factory officials find a ready excuse to visit this city and state. J. W. Leavitt and company this year will take 10 per cent of the factory output, or in the neighborhood of 17,500 motor cars. Maintaining branches in all of the principal cities from Seattle to San Diego, the Pacific coast distributors of Overland and Willys-Knight motor cars are the largest independent dealers in automobiles in the world. Dunn will have plenty to occupy his attention here during his stay, for he is anxious to investigate the efficient system the Leavitt company handles such an output through its branch houses and 286 dealers coming under its jurisdiction in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and British Columbia. Dunn, while on the coast, will visit beside.s the Sacramento and San Francisco branches, which are the headquarters of the Leavitt company, the other branches maintained by this concern in Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, Fresno and Pasadena. He is particularly Interested in the erection of the new' $400,000 building in San Francisco and the $250,000 building in Los Angeles. This is Dunn’s first trip to the coast since he became connected in an official capacity wuth the Wlllys-Overland companyL

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all, 

I just extracted this Tuesday afternoon from a collectors barn who’s owned it since about 1983. I am looking for information and where to start, I have no literature to go on.

Title says 1925 but pictures I’ve seen in the sales book don’t show a sedan with front and rear suicide doors. Also, I understand Willys purchased the company in 1925, would mine be pre or post Willys? 
I’m excited to get started on this project and through this groups posts feel I could start by dropping and cleaning the pan, checking the oil pump but from there not sure. Engine is not stuck but has not been run in probably 10 years according to the owner. I was told vacuum tank developed a leak and would no longer pull fuel, that has been repaired and is sitting on the front seat ready to be installed. 
Thanks in advance.

Ned

7A050C63-8B0B-484B-BCE4-2C38FB611502.jpeg

81A160A6-6A92-49DE-9F29-798701BCDD3C.jpeg

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Don’t try and start it. Don’t try and turn it over. It’s not a car for someone who has never dealt with exotic early power plants. Interesting car. I would pull the plugs and pour 5 ounces of ATF in each hole to start with. Also I would look inside with a scope BEFORE I put the oil in the top end. If the motor is stuck, you can bend a bunch of stuff..........it’s got a lot more stuff inside than most people realize. Post some engine photos and more photos of the car, we will try and ID it properly. The plate you posted is a chassis number, the engine number will be much more helpful dating the car. A title isn’t an indication of year.......they are often off one or two years. We need the engine number.

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First, we need to know if the engine is a four or six. Measure the hub caps center to center on one side to determine how many inches the wheel base is. The engine number is in different locations depending on year and series. You will have to look for it. Also post any numbers on the title. It may have been titled by engine number. Send me a PM with your phone number and a good time to call on Saturday. We can cover a lot in ten minute on the phone. Ed

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The chassis number plate appears to indicate a model "C" . They were introduced in Oct of 1924 and dropped in Aug of 1926 - followed by the Model "S" Your serial # makes it a 1925 model as you were told. The "C" carried a 6 cyl motor 3 1/4 bore by 5" stroke for 248.86 cubic inches. The wheelbase for all body styles was 121".  Appears to be a nice solid car. It is listed in the Willys Overland Knight Registry. You say it is not stuck, so, prior to attempting a start, fill cylinders with light oil and turn over by hand to clean out the grime. Drop & clean out the pan, check the oil pump & refill with light oil. If you can, remove the distributor (carefully note position of rotor), pull out the shaft below it and make a long shaft to bypass the eccentric gear, and shape the end to fit the oil pump. Attach a drill, drop the shaft onto the pump and use the drill to circulate oil. You should be able to register oil pressure.  Circulating the oil will clean some gunk out of the system. Drain the oil, put in fresh 30W, replace the distributor and shaft and attempt to start it. Should work well. There are timing marks on the flywheel, and an access window from the front side. Your manual should help you.  Join the Willys Overland Knight Club (WOKR) which will provide you great support.   Good Luck!!

Mark Young, past president W.O.K.R.

Y02041.thumb.jpg.cd28cdc9a8281f21d00e0ddd1f53f3ae.jpg

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I missed the not stuck part of the first post. I agree with Mark..........but I would also pull the pan first. Neat car. Good luck with getting it up and running.

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