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Locomobile 1909 Model L Restoration


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Yes, Locomobiles are still being worked on.  Here are a few pictures of my 1909 Locomobile Model L engine rebuild that is nearing the first start in at least 50 years.   If you have a Locomobile either restored or needing restoration let's gather here for moral and educational support.

Al

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Edited by alsfarms
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Great to read of the Locomobile Society, and eventually see about more of these very fine cars discussed here. I owned a 1907 Locomobile (the express truck that had been made from a passenger car that Austin Clark had and then sold to me) but sold about 30 years ago. To bad the Locomobile Society limits membership to those that own the cars. There are some of us out here that cherish these cars and do not own one, but have a lot of period information, artifacts, and history of the company.  In my archives is the dealer album of the New York City Locomobile agent with spectacular huge linen backed photographs. I guess I will have to share these via the CCCA.

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Walt, Do you have a picture of the Locomobile Model H when you sold it?  I would like to see.  I have seen plenty of pictures of that car during the ownership of Austin but none even close to current.  Do you have much literature in the way of 1909 that would match my Loco.?  I am also needing or wanting to locate an original cast brass front wheel hubcap.  This cap has a smaller OD than the rear.  Please study the picture.  Update on the Locomobile engine overhaul.  The oiling system is now in place and has been tested to make sure it will work and does.  The upper water tube I had thought was a redo as it was formed out of copper, not brass.  I have since changed my mind and think what I have is in fact the original.

Al

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Al, good to see the brand getting their own AACA Forum. Stellar-looking engine  and car you have there. The only Locomobile I recall seeing is a very nice-looking 1926 in the big museum in South Dakota, the Pioneer Auto Show. Undoubtedly already on the Locomobile roster,  being right on the path to the western National Parks two million people a year visit(about halfway from Chicago to Yellowstone on I-90).

 

The museum (www.pioneerautoshow.com, has 275 cars, 60 motorcycles, 60 tractors) just lists it on their site as ¨1926 Locomobile¨. I have no idea what model it is. It´s one of those old-fashioned museums with some vehicles in fine shape and some in as-found condition; the museum is located in Murdo, SD.

post-49853-143142178323_thumb.jpgThe Locomobile is the dark blue car to left of the one featured here. Photo credit: Jeff Brown, 2012.

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Hello Jeff,  Thanks for the post.  I suspect that the Locomobile you refer to is a small series.  Does anyone here know of the Locomobile listed as being in a museum in South Dakota?  I am curious.....

Al

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I looked at the Locomobile Society pages. Under History, it implied 1925 brought the Junior 8, and the 1926 model was the 8-66, but it didn´t say if previously introduced models were concurrently available. On the Production Number area, it just said 167 Model 48 and 21 eight-cylinder cars were known at present. So maybe the mystery car is a Model 8-66 with a Continental eight, or a Model 90 with an 86 h.p. Locomobile six and a LeBaron or Locke body.

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Here is an update picture that shows all three lights, both side lights and the tail light.  (I just received the tail light back from being restored today)  These lamps are all Solar MFG. and are Locomobile script.  I will have an update on the engine first start soon.

Al

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Fantastic automobile, the cast bronze lower end makes me want to own one. In the 70’s in New England we saw them “often” and now I can’t remember the last time I saw one running. Ten years ago I came across a chassis and motor still sitting outside in Connecticut, and it was still in decent condition, a few years later it was left uncovered for 18 months, and I was told sent to the crusher. It was about 1925 give or take. 

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Hello Ed,  Hind sight is always or nearly always 20:20.  I remember several cars and parts in the past that if I could have only been able to make it happen......  We still have that same option now , but just not as often!  The bronze crank case is a nice feature for sure!.

Al

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Does anyone have a brass 11" Rushmore headlamp (for parts) that has a good body with no stress cracks?  I could use a better body to replace on one of my headlamps.  It is probably OK as is but it does has an old repair of a stress cracked area that surrounds one of the fork brackets, that repair that bothers me.  I will try to post a picture of that lamp and the bad area later.

Al

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I have mostly ended a 40 year hunt for the correct original cast brass hubcaps for the Locomobile.  I now have two rear and two front "original" hubcaps to adorn the car.  I say "mostly over" with my hunt, what I mean is, one of the rear caps is workable but is beat up.  I will rebuild the cap if I can't find a better cap.  Here is the cap that has ended a 40 year hunt, thanks to EBAY.  This cap is a front cap and is about 4.250" OD.  I will later post a picture of the rear cap to assist anyone who may have a loose Locomobile cap that they would be willing to part with.

Al

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I have a pair of nice solid  gas Rushmore headlamps to install on the Locomobile.  The problem is, one body has an old stress crack repair that does not look to good against the rest of my lights.  I would like to purchase a Rushmore lamp lamp for parts, if it has a stress crack free body.  An unbroken parabolic mirror would also be on my hunt list as one of my lamps has a broken mirror.   The lamp would not need to be complete.   I have all the bonnets and doors that I need for a pair of lamps.   If you have or know of a Rushmore parts lamp, please drop a note.

Al

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Here are a few pictures of the Rushmore lamps that will be used on the Locomobile.  I need to replace one body or figure out a decent repair that will not detract from the finished appearance of the lamp.  I would also like to locate a replacement parabolic mirror to replace one that is cracked.  Please help me if you can.

Al

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Does anyone have original pieces of a "Make and Break" ignition system that would have been used on the early Locomobile engines, (such an engine is shown above)?  I would like to at least have the hardware that I may hang on the engine to show how it would work.  Any bits or pieces would be good to use as patterns from which I could recast and build a complete set.

Al

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Its time for another update on the progress of the Locomobile engine rebuild.  This picture shows the temporary starter system that does not work.  This first try didn't have enough  lead in the pencil" as my Dad used to say, to crank the engine.  I am going to try a Dodge Bros. starter-generator  to see if it has enough twist to roll over this Locomobile engine for starting.  I will attempt to use a similar version to work as a  drive, as shown in the pictures, and hope it will work as a starter and generator.  More pictures later.  Any thoughts or experience on the idea of starter-generator are appreciated.

Al

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Here are a couple of pictures that show better the installation of a Delco dual spark distributor.  This ignition system will provide for a very reliable runner and be a boost to performance with two sets of plugs being fired.  The nice thing, this unit did not require any machine work or modification to install.  I still have the old Bosch DU4 magneto, that was installed on this engine, when the Make and Break Ignition system was removed many moons ago.  The Delco unit rolls over very easily and as smooth as a babies behind, after rebuilding.  I was lucky with this unit to have very minimal wear on any of the drive gears.  I originally thought to update the unit with modern points but decided to stay with the original vintage points.  Modern condensers were used, however.  Does anyone have a need for the original Delco condensers?  I have studied the available room to install the Carter BB-1 carb. and it is going to be a TIGHT fit!  I will not have much room between the back of the Delco distributor and the steering gear.  This vintage Locomobile does still utilize right hand steering.  More later.

Al

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Here is a "before" picture of this engine before rebuilding.  We found no serious big nasty issues when it was taken apart.  The valves had worn way too deep so we invested in new guides and seats as well as new valves as needed.  We put new valves in each exhaust port.  The valve system and cams are as good as the design will allow for this vintage engine.  The second picture shows the ports (blanked off) that originally ran the "Make and Break" ignition system.

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Al

suggest you drop the carberator level down so the bowl level is below the bottom of the frame if you are planning gravity feed . Also open the inlet to the float bowl to about .115 /.120 diameter.  If you will run a fuel pump then this will not matter.   But dropping the carb level should also  give you more installation space 

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Hello Bob,  Thanks for your comment and suggestion.  I can see where space is a premium, when it comes to getting the carb. to fit in the minimal space available.  What carb. are you running on your "48"?  Do you happen to have a picture of the carb. install on your car you could post here?  I am very happy with the end product and installation of the Delco Dual spark 4 cylinder unit on my engine.  I am expecting GOOD things out of that distributor!

Al

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The picture is of an auxiliary oiling system oil pump installed.  It is now set to run 25 PSI to the bearings, cams and front gear chest.  This is a design that was designed and build by Dave H. (who has now passed on).  It is a nice unit and is located just in front of the flywheel.

Al 

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Here  is a couple of early Locomobile brass items that will be used on this Locomobile project.  The small tag is used for serial and car ID.  The longer brass threshold trim is for use under the doors. 

Al

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New update on the Locomobile engine rebuild, per this forum.  Here is a short recap.  Last fall the attempt was made to install a small starter/generator.  The plan was to use the unit to start the car then use it as a generator to top off the battery while the car is running.  I chose to run a belt from the starter to the OD of the flywheel.  This first attempt was a complete failure.  The little modern style starter/generator did't have enough testosterone to crank the engine.  I also own a couple of early 20's Dodge Bros. cars and are familiar with the  starter/generator they use.  A spare DB starter/generator unit was offered to me so I purchased and had it shipped home.  It is now mounted, in a temporary fashion, to my engine flywheel as in the first attempt.   This second trial (DB starter/generator) has passed the test as it cranks over the Locomobile engine very nicely.  Also, the full pressure oil pump arrangement works properly and will hold 20 PSI.   The rest of the good news is the Delco dual spark distributor works like a champ and provided a short run of the engine!  Now, we need to understand why the Carter BB-1 is not fueling the engine.  The float bowl (needle and seat) will allow fuel in but I can't get fuel from that point up the manifold and into the engine.  Does anyone have thoughts or ideas?  When I can get a steady run, I will provide a link to the video clip for everyone to enjoy.

Al      

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The Locomobile engine  has new rings, valve seats, guides and etc.  I don't think I am loosing vacuum past the valves or rings.   Sat.,  we cranked over the engine using the D-B starter generator.  On the test stand it works great.  I will have the means to have a silent starter and also a generator in one nice package.  We modified the drive pulley to be compatible with a modern serpentine belt and adapted a spring tensioner to help track the belt and keep it tight.   That will allow me to use a battery to run the Delco dual spark distributor and tend the battery while driving the car.  The full pressure oiling system worked like a charm.  The tube that is pinched off, above the funnel, will run to the drip sight gauge mounted on the dash and verify that everything is being lubed properly.   We hooked up a hot wire, primed the petcocks and in less than two revolutions the old girl barked to life.  Right now I am dealing with a carb. problem, however.  Jon (Carb King) has made several suggestions and at this moment I do not know for sure if I will be staying with the Carter BB-1 or using a Stromberg SF-3.   I have a friend, with the same model Locomobile, that has been running great for about 10 years on a cast iron BB-1, decisions....decisions.  It was very exciting to hear the engine run after so many years of inactivity!  Another early Locomobile has the breath of life!  I need to get going on the chassis now, in a serious way.  Many of the other important items and sub systems are already completed and could be installed on the chassis when it's the right time and needed during assembly.   This project has been quite a marathon!  Here are a few pictures that show where I am at with the Locomobile engine and NEARLY a good first run, dang carburetor.

Al

PS: I am finally getting to the fun part of this restoration!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Update,  I had sized a suitable alternative carb., based on flow rates for the size engine the Locomobile is and came up with a Zenith 63AW-11.  I purchased and was concerned that though the carb. was sized correctly, the physical size was simply to large.  This carb. will not fit.  If anyone needs a very nice updraft  carb. proper for a 280 to 340 CID engine, drop me a note as I have this NOS Zenith that I would sell.  We are back tinkering with the Carter BB-1, which is under gunned but should run the car.  I may be onto another and better fitting carb, update later.  Here is the picture of the "spare" NOS Zenith 63AW-11 carb. This carb. does have a vacuum activated accelerator pump which makes a very good option for one of our antique automobiles.   This carb. is listed as a "universal" type as it can be actuated from either side of the carb.

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Edited by alsfarms
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Here is a picture of the "under gunned" Carter BB-1 cast iron carb.  This is a nice unit but is better sized for an engine size of 200 to 250 CID.  I hope we can get the gremlin out of this carb. so we can get a good run on the Locomobile engine shortly.

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Update,  I had sized a suitable alternative carb., based on flow rates for the size engine the Locomobile is and came up with a Zenith 63AW-11.  I purchased and was concerned that though the carb. was sized correctly, the physical size was simply to large.  This carb.simply will not fit the space available.  If anyone needs a very nice updraft  carb. proper for a 280 to 340 CID engine, drop me a note as I have this NOS Zenith that I would sell.  We are back tinkering with the Carter BB-1, which is under gunned but should run the car.  The engine now runs nice at low RPS's, with the current BB-1, but not at higher RPM's.  The next BB-1 I have and plan to fit up is a later series BB-1 289SD.  More on that subject later.  The early Dodge Bros. starter Generator works nice to start the car.  This arrangement is very quiet.  The additional plus is I have a system that will keep a charge on a battery. More later, it has been a long hot summer.

Al

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On 3/7/2018 at 6:24 PM, alsfarms said:

Its time for another update on the progress of the Locomobile engine rebuild.  This picture shows the temporary starter system that does not work.  This first try didn't have enough  lead in the pencil" as my Dad used to say, to crank the engine.  I am going to try a Dodge Bros. starter-generator  to see if it has enough twist to roll over this Locomobile engine for starting.  I will attempt to use a similar version to work as a  drive, as shown in the pictures, and hope it will work as a starter and generator.  More pictures later.  Any thoughts or experience on the idea of starter-generator are appreciated.

Al

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Have you thought about fitting a ring gear and ...

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Hello John,  Yes I did consider that ring gear modification option but am more fascinated with using a more period correct technology as in the "early Dodge Bros." starter/generator.  A better picture is attached.  When I install the engine, back in the chassis, I will find tune the mounting bracketry that will hold the starter generator.  First, it probably does not matter all that much but I was not quick to make a permanent cut scar on the flywheel needed to mount a ring gear.  Secondly, my lighting and Delco dual spark distributor require a battery, in this case 12 volt.  The Dodge Bros. starter/generator is 12 volt, another good fit for my needs.  While running I have the blessing of a charging system to tend the battery.    Lastly, to hear this Locomobile engine start, is is quite fun.  When the starter circuit is engaged, it is QUIET while the starter/generator rolls over the engine.  You really don't hear anything, then the engine is simply running.  It is not big issue but with a ring gear fitted, these old cars sound like a late model car when started.  However, with all these pluses, I do realize that I will need to keep the flywheel dry, I can have no oil flinging around to oil coat everything.  The serpentine belt may not be able to grab the flywheel to get a start.  That  "oily thing" may be a condition that I contend with.  The engine does have a late model rear main seal installed so it will minimize the oil slinging around.  I also am not allergic to starting the Locomobile with the manual crank either!  ?  

Al

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  • 2 months later...

Its been years ago now that I was at Hershey when the showfield disbanded. There was an old guy there with a Locomobile. It was a huge car, probably a six cylinder, and unrestored. The hood was closed so I couldn't see the engine. I was amazed to see a piece of threaded rod bent to form a spring clip on the rear on such a prestigious car. Anyway, when he went to crank the car, it took one slow roll of the crank and it fired right up. First I was amazed that he cranked the car himself, then second, he made no attempt to spin the crank, just slowly rolled it.

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