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Speedster Builds.............


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Greg, Did Teetor Hartley also build marine versions or industrial engine?  That is a nice looking engine.  For some reason I thought they were used in Mercer.....I was wrong with that thinking.  I do know where a bunch of patterns exist for Mercer engine pieces, should anyone be in need.

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As far as I know they were automotive only. Teetor Hartley were a fairly small company in the early teen's and their main customer was American. Eventually they concentrated on piston rings , becoming a major supplier to other engine builders and the Auto trade. Renamed Perfect Circle 

at some point in the 1920's. Engine production was dropped around the time of the First World War in order to concentrate on piston rings. 

 

Greg

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I wonder if you could get them to supply a few parts for your engine? Surely they have a junk room with spare parts. Or perhaps plans? Maybe they need a project to get involved with. I sure would like to see your project moved along a little.

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My house rebuild , hopefully done this year { rainy days }, and yard clean up, reorganization {dry days}.  All my working years things seemed to follow me home, now there is quite a sort out/ rationalize to attend to.  Other half and siblings are starting 

to see a bit of a hoarder situation developing. I always say as long as you are not piling up garbage you are simply a collector with a bit of an organization problem.

Then put up my smallish quonset that will be my welding and fabrication workshop. A serious fire hazard around here at the peak of the summer. My yard has lots of trees and undergrowth so a all metal welding shop is a must.

Then re assemble the bolt together building I dismantled and brought home about this time last Summer. Will be medium - long term storage storage. Finally build a decent insulated shop. I am tired of working in the cool and damp 

PNW environment in a shed. Also attend to my machine shop { the garage built into the front of the house }. It's become a dumping ground, particularly when my Father  sold his house and went into assisted living 2 years ago.

I ended up with a ton {or two } of his stuff that is mostly quite good tools that I don't really need, All the mechanics tools I already had, most of his woodworking equipment I probably won't use. 90 % of it need's a new home 

but it all takes time.

 The legend that came with my Staver is that Perfect Circle bought the engine out of it many years ago. Cleaned it up and displayed it in a office building entrance. The owner previous to me visited PC but the engine had been disposed 

of somewhere around the time of Perfect Circles buyout by the Dana Corp. The engine parts I now have are not from this car, collected over the years , mostly by previous owners.

The thought is to build a close replica of one of the factory racers. My car may have been a racer at one time. The chassis has seen very little use , most of the suspension wear points show very little wear. Most of the factory racers 

are a few years older , 1910 era, and on the 35 HP chassis. But a few of the larger, longer W.B. 40 HP cars were also speedsters / racers in the era of my car. The one in the board track photo is a 40 HP.

It's been a somewhat cool and damp late Spring / early Summer. I don't mind because I am moving lots of stuff around.

AHa have a look here, click on the picture and it takes you to my Flickr page . Some general Staver photo's, and some at the bottom of my car when the previous owner had it mocked up. It's totally apart  in my basement these days.

1912 Staver Chicago

 

 

 

Greg

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Greg,

Did your Staver use a wooden front axle? Some of the pictures appear to show a wooden front axle while others show a metal axle. And do you have a complete chassis sans the motor parts? Is your motor parts correct for your car, ie, are they 40 horse parts? I totally understand how life gets in the way of dreams. I've been selling a lot of stuff on facebook just to get rid of the clutter. It all takes time. Sometimes I think I would be better off just donating some stuff to goodwill and salvation army. At some point you have to decide how much your remaining years are worth. I accumulated too much stuff and am now paying the price for my lack of restraint.

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The axle that looks like wood isn't actually wood . They are sheet metal filler pieces, underneath is a regular forged I beam.  That axle seems to be unique to the Staver 35 HP, never seen anything else that uses it. My model 40

uses a standard I beam. Both my front and rear axles are also used on Michigan 40's. { Sheldon axle co. } However Michigan used a different engine { Buda } and gearbox on their 40.

The block I have is actually from a 35 HP , 1/8 smaller bore.  But as far as I know the casting is the same on both engines. Most of the other parts I have are identical to either 35 or 40 HP. Just the different bore and pistons . Staver re rated the 40

HP engine to 55 HP in 1913 / 14  but it is the same  as the 1912 40 HP. Electric start was an option starting 1914. 

Yes,  a virtually complete chassis. I need some more Hartford shocks for the rear , the ones that came with the car are quite corroded. And I want to install a pair on the front axle as is the case with nearly any of the speedsters of this era.

Rear shocks were standard . Those very compliant , full eliptical springs need the damping. Fronts were optional and my car didn't have them.

And I still don't have enough rim and fellow parts. All that big Firestone stuff is very expensive. I have been buying it piece by piece when I find orphan parts at a half decent price , but I still need several parts. Rims , fellow bands , side rings 

lock rings etc. It's amazing how many  parts there are to a set. The 27" demountable / detachable Firestones were an option but I figure they are worth it. I also have most of the 28"  non detachable set up.. Much simpler / lighter, but defineately

more of a chore to repair a tire. Once the project is closer to being a car I am going to have to dig deep and complete the wheels / tires. 

Yes , time dealing with "stuff" does add up. But we are all going to live to 125, aren't we ?  I knew my Fathers stuff would be a chore and I encouraged my brother in law's to take as much of it as possible. But I still ended up with a couple of pick up loads.

There was also a lot of my stuff that had been stored there for years . So all that had to come home as well. Several MGA major mechanical components , as well as a Triumph sports car that I have owned since High School. It's actually worth

a fair bit of money but my wife likes it a lot more than any of the others { her Morris Minor convertible excepted} so It will be around for a long time as well.

P.S. the old guy in the bottom row of the Flickr photos is Harry Stavers grandson Ralph Staver . He was going to buy the project before I did but his health started failing shortly after this photo was taken { about 1998 } he died in about the year 2000. His family

still own a 1914 Staver 55 touring. It's been out of sight for many years but it was an active AACA tour car in the 1970's,  William Van Aken in New York owned it when it was being toured. Its in a few AACA magazine photos in the 1970's.

 

Greg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Greg, the Hartford shocks can be purchased new from England. I sure would like to see you begin a restoration of this chassis. Even if you did not attempt a full "restoration," you could put together a period correct rolling chassis. Maybe along the way something would open up concerning the motor. Most race cars used smaller wheels to lower the center of gravity and 24-25" wheels are easier to come by. To be a period correct race car, any set of 24-25" wheels would be correct. The lack of running board brackets on your frame makes me think race car. They would most likely be removed early in the life of the car or left on the frame. The only reason to use the 28" wheels is if you were going to restore the car back to original. That doesn't look possible at the moment with your funds and time but a period correct race car is doable. I believe the motor will turn up or another option will manifest if you put forth the effort.

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If I went with 25 " I have most of a set of pin drive #5 Buffalo's . They were not quite available in 1912 as far as I know , but were shortly after. The Hartford's I have seen from England are 

more what was used on 1920's British sports cars. Andre Hartford's. I think there is a place in the US reproducing the earlier style. I have several shocks but they are all over the map

regarding size and mounting type. I didn't know there were so many variety's until I started to look for them in earnest several years ago. I bought a box of about 7 or 8 odd singles several years ago

. Some parts match what I already had but no exact matches. I got one front off of ebay about 10 years ago , so I really just need one more and some of the mounting parts. The rears I have just need 

new main arms. I can have them water jet cut if I don't find better ones. I have all the rear mounting parts.

 

Greg

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The other drawback to smaller wheels is if I fit fenders. The factory fenders are sized for large wheels. The car would look odd with smaller fenders . I have the 4 running board arms and some of the front 

fender irons. My game plan , formulated years ago when I first bought the car is to  build it as a racer without fenders but to eventually fit them. Trying to replicate the 4 pas . torpedo body is too ambitious, no 

known surviving examples. I am reasonably confident the car was built as a " Racing Roadster " later renamed the " Greyhound " model. The frame still had a few parts of a rear , under frame gas tank mounting .

All the other body styles mounted the gas tank under the front seat.

Here is a advert of a Speedwell that is close to what I hope to eventually have, remember that 125 year projected lifespan.

Speedwell is about the same size car.

 

Greg

images (1).jpg

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Greg,

If you expect to come into a large sum of money and live to 125, go for it. But if you expect to live to 75 to 80 with reasonable energy and ambition, build a race car and use the 25" wheels. If you get the chassis going and still have the energy and funds, you can buy the parts to build the 28" wheels and fit the fenders. If you can pick up a used set of tires and the 25" wheels are good, you've got a rolling chassis with little outlay. You've already laid out a couple years of work with all the stuff you need to get rid of, your yard needs to be cleaned up, two buildings put up. Everybody needs a dream to reach for but to make a dream come true, realistic goals must be set.

 

I don't know you from Adam and I'm not trying to be hard on you. I know and have known others like you. I have a good friend who has collected a huge collection of very valuable cars but none are running or usable. A couple of years ago he had a heat stroke and the possibility of doing anything is greatly diminished.

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Yes, I understand exactly what you are saying.  It's a unfortunate fact that many of us will run out of time before all of our projects are finished. But it is a process , not a destination.

More practically the two bolt together buildings are quite straightforward , one took a week to dismantle so two weeks to reassemble. The larger one took 3 weeks to dismantle so 6 weeks - two months to get it back up. { 30 x 60 so a useful size} The thing I like about

it is only 7 foot high walls { plus the 8 inch I beam hight } so despite being a reasonably large building it does not stick up too high. Keeps the neighbors happy.

The small one needs a basic foundation , the larger one was built on a steel I beam base and I already have a blacktop pad to assemble it on. Of course a concrete pad would be ideal but a lot more cost. As a storage building the blacktop will do at no additional cost.

Lots of work but I am used to large projects at my former career. 3 decades of medium speed marine diesel engine operation and overhaul.

Here is a photo of the sort of engines I used to be involved with. This pair is a shore power station .We used the same engines as main propulsion. Its hard to get a good photo of things this large in a ship, everything is so crowded compared to a land instilation. 

A ship has a huge amount of equipment in a very small space. 4 of us would take one down and reassemble in about 6 weeks. Heads and fuel pumps would be done by others ashore in our company shop but we did everything else onboard.

The last ship I worked on had 4 engines about 2/3 the size of these older English Mirrlees units. Much bigger turbos than

shown here . I have lots of photos but it is hard to visualize as there is so much machinery in a small space. 

The one on the flatbed is sister to the four I used to work on, but you had to see the whole engine room to really appreciate

the sheer amount of machinery.  The big square box at the top front is a charge air intercooler, the turbo is on the other side but just as big. I have had these apart and together several times over the years. We normally did a major on one engine and heads on a second

{ of the four} every two years. Alternate years were drydock years . Lots of different tasks those years.

Biggest job was about 10 years ago. Starboard inner ran away at start up. Emergency shutdown failed , engine ran for 90 seconds before it let go. A really big mess. 3 million $ damage just for parts . Turbo way overspeed and the compressor wheel blew up, but luckily the 

exhaust turbine stayed together. And no one was hit by any of the flying chunks of metal. Every moving part of the engine was scraped except  the flywheel. The manufactures did some calculations on the max rpm the engine hit and decided the flywheel was still safe. 

Greg

 

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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The other advantage of coming from a large project workplace is the ability to plan , undertake and execute multi faceted projects. Tools like critical path project management train your mind to think abstractly 

on complex projects. It looks like a somewhat chaotic situation to the average person ; like my wife, but there really is a longer term method to the short term madness.

Not nearly as many resources on a personal project compared to on the job, but all the basic organization is the same. Just the timeline stretches out to reflect the difference in spending power.

 I also have a car hobby partner. He is a project manager at a local Engineering Co. He lives in a Condo and we co operate on tools , equipment etc. I have a reasonably large yard so it was not an inconvenience

to allow him to erect his 2 buildings in my yard. We have both been fans of pre- fab , semi portable structures. I had always hoped to re- locate to a larger piece of land so I have only bought bolt together structures

to this point in time as has he. But the local property price bubble has dashed any hopes of a 2 - 5 acre setting. Next spring we are going to re- locate his storage building to a piece of Commercial land he bought 2 years ago.

I will need the space for my 30 x 60. It helps to have friends with a  structural engineering background. He is currently drawing up my working shop so I can go through the permit process. It's going to be a conventional

Frame construction, 30 x 40 basic box on a concrete slab. I have been socking away cash for a few years now, by the time I am ready to start I should have at least 3/4 of the cost in cash. The bolt together buildings are paid

for , they just need assembly.

 

Greg

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a solid update to share!  I posted on page 18 pictures of a 1917 Riker/Locomobile complete engine assembly.  It is a great start for a build.  The first item I have been looking for is a Riker/Locomobile 4 speed transmission.  I am waiting for a information on just such a transmission.  More information when I receive it.

Al

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Here are three schematics of the Riker/Locomobile transmission I am looking for.  This transmission is surely a direct 1rst cousin to the conventional Locomobile automobile transmission as they look very similar to each other.

Al

ACtC-3deyEFbx27lpSrKfJFsw8iP8B-QAIxHO_aHYJoQApmR0GOIZtER3RiH-XSYAVAyh0iwjX3WDBQcEkHlso16EOhTvXRW0eP0uaT9ZxbL87r_oO5WqrNF8FjW06H68QjAn-GMNZ6Zvv6PNj8go71Bzhpb=w1214-h910-no.jpg

ACtC-3eMeFMOA3Knn0iVNXiFdcjnL5CrO94IiAldGL-XC_fw8zpo6uLUFW7_6F72lFeJRaVwjuEcvXNgbkURwOIsVH6ThqbC2XP5WoFxikYkpUA_RAl4tNFqOt83AOGAWExOpEBI7Kx9gBTXsovmRSyEoO7F=w683-h910-no.jpg

ACtC-3fNJDfhmnKvq_wJlbUAIr9EUenRHOKHidaz4N9r_i5SYKjzu2KyG1A1aUVR0JQ8ZYun_4kFP1WGJyfcaegR0spEifdsx2xtHNrAtl7KOHFcbzsArocFBJKCDhmtUG3NnWiDj5aUAFAdsd-g7Vadvu9K=w1214-h910-no.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Lately I have been thinking the same. One good project takes years. Mine 7 since I started watching a mesmerizing video about big engine speedsters. Since few days it is mecanically finished. Track tests concluded and my wife happy that from now on I come into the living room without a gas perfumed black greased face.

 

I am delighted to have decided to build a speedster. Am 60 and will take care of it for a hopefully long time. 

 

I would not start another project of this size... unless....oh, never mind....

 

Be safe and enjoy while we can. Life flies by!!

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  • 3 months later...

Welllll..... This covid-19 thing sure has had an impact on us in many different ways.  Parts shuffling has nearly stopped, with a huge reduction in swap meets.  Even this AACA forum venue is rather sluggish and that is too bad!  We should use these forums more as one of our main means to connect with others, find information and source parts.  My speedster project has certainly been slowed down in one aspect, yet in another many technical design gainers have been made and a significant amount of new castings have been and are being completed.  It is the dead of the winter now and time to make the best plans we can for the upcoming year.   My immediate goal is to finish all the castings needed to build a set of running board spare tire mounting brackets.  I was hoping to find enough original pieces but couldn't with no swap meets to attend.  As a result, I decided to make new castings.  I should have about half of the castings needed in a couple of weeks.  I will then put together patterns for the second half and get those parts cast.  I am building enough extra pieces to build three complete sets of brackets if you need a set or know of a brass era guy who may be in need, drop me a PM.  This casting project will probably take me through to spring.  Then I am looking at building my wood cooker to bend some top bows.

What is everyone else doing?

Al

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here is a couple of questions for you speedster guys.  Who is the best source for buying off the shelve custom pistons?  Which manufacturer is the best to use if new pistons need to be made to fit a specific application?  I understand that Arias may not be doing custom work anymore.  Share your piston experience both good and bad please. 

Al

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Al,

The best source for buying off the shelve custom pistons is the company that has them. Egge supplies some pistons and does custom orders. You also have Northwestern up in Washington State but they carry pistons that Egge does not. There is also many companies that sale stock pistons. Your best bet is to check a ring and piston book at an engine rebuilding shop and try to cross reference the piston you need with a stock piston. For this you will need the pin size, piston diameter, distance from center of pin to top of piston, and length of rod, center to center. These numbers can be fudged sometimes. Depending on the amount of material at the top of the pistons, some material can be removed. Rod pins can be shimmed, depending on various factors. Your question is too vague. What you need to do is a lot of research, and if you are told there is not a stock replacement, do more research. Custom stock pistons can sometimes be found but it will take extra work. Pistons also come 20, 40, 60, and even 80, thou. oversize. Cylinders can be bored and sleeved backed to standard so original pistons can be reused with new rings. There is a lot of ways to get to where you want to go.

 

A word of caution, do not attempt to increase Horse Power by raising compression on a 100 year old motor. It is a sure recipe for disaster.

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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Hello Al,

Thanks for your words of wisdom regarding pistons.  I agree, lots to be concerned about when looking for replacement pistons, especially to go into an early engine.  For the pistons I am looking for, I do not want more compression, just lighter weight for less stress on the crankshaft.  I had fun a while back converting a 2.5 Iron Duke 4 cylinder engine to be a 3.0 by a change of stroke using a different crankshaft.  With that engine, I didn't want above 10.5:1 compression.  I didn't want to deal with detonation!  I read lots about another aspect of compression and piston design called "squish".  If designed properly, squish reduces the propensity for detonation or some call ping.  Whats the latest update on your Buick racer/speedster?

Al

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Squish, if designed properly, can also increase the efficiency of the motor by providing a cleaner burn of the gasses but squish is a complex mathematical equation that is very hard to pinpoint. It takes into effect the head design and octane of the fuel being burned. There are a lot of other ways to improve efficiency without bothering with squish. I am by no means an expert on squish though.

 

I did speak with an antique motor specialist about the use of cast iron pistons vs aluminum. Aluminum pistons allows the motor to turn revolutions faster, which is good for modern motors but provides for greater stress on the crank, especially one that is 100 years old. Early motors are designed to turn at around 1,000 rpm. One thing to remember is that the pistons are moving up and down in the cylinders and are being driven by the explosions. They do not circulate around the crank, therefore, the mass of the piston has little to do with stress on the crank. The stress is provided by the explosion of the gases. Higher compression provides greater stress on the crank and the bearings as well as the other moving parts. 

 

Hotrodders were looking to lighten the car as much as possible for greater speed, but in period, replacements were plentiful. They are not so much anymore. Also, most people do not drive early cars at the speeds people did in period. Anybody with any race experience knows motors are easily blown and were routinely rebuilt between races. That is an expensive hobby. There are a lot of considerations when rebuilding an early motor. I find it easy to buy into the hype and lose reason, but that's just me.

 

I understand that some of the guys building ALF and Seagrave speedsters have learned the pitfalls of over building early motors and abusing them on modern tracks. Even with their superior design, the motors do not hold up well when hotrodded. With the early cars, we are talking about a completely different set of engineering principles than what is in use today. Anyone attempting to apply modern engineering to early cars should expect failure on some level. The metalurgy and design are just not there but again, just my two cents. Feel free to ignore and disagree.

 

 

 

Edited by AHa (see edit history)
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Thanks for your response.  I have chatted with many so called experts also, when it comes to engine building and particularly antique engines.  It is almost like trusting the Internet, everyone is expert and everyone has an opinion that is spot on.  Your thoughts are good and are valid.  If I was to build a high reving, high HP storm trooper of an engine, I would not choose a vintage "T" head, (maybe a full pressure oiled GMC straight 6 out of the 1940's-50's).  I certainly agree, all these old engines are bound by a safe RPM limitation.  What I am anxious to do is reduce the rotating mass.  I need pistons and will not be hunting down original type 5 pound cast iron pistons, but will be looking for a good quality modern aluminum alloy piston.  I suspect that if a quality aluminum alloy had been available in the early days, it would have been the preferred choice over cast iron.  That is my thoughts.  I am surprised that the overhead valve arrangement, like Buick, was not more common, early on, as it is a far superior design to what a T head is.

Al  

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