George Albright

Does anyone know who owns a loose Rochester Duesenberg walking beam engine?

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Hi AACA Family: Does anyone know of an owner of a circa 1920 Rochester Duesenberg walking beam 4 cylinder motor. Used in several high end cars,including Roamer,Revere,etc. Would like to photograph the motor and discuss. Leads appreciated. George Albright,Ocala,Fla.  email  gnalbright@gmail.com   cell weekdays 10-4 EST best  352 843 1624

rochester duesenberg engine.jpg

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I think Leno has one, I may have seen it on one of his garage videos. Note: it was mounted in a car, not loose running around the shop. 

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Dick Shappy in Rhode Island had one two years ago.....it was in his Revere racer. He is in the CCCA and Cadillac Club among others, give him a ring, great guy. Tell him I gave you his name. Ed Minnie

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

Dick Shappy in Rhode Island had one two years ago.....it was in his Revere racer. He is in the CCCA and Cadillac Club among others, give him a ring, great guy. Tell him I gave you his name. Ed Minnie

I dealt with his shop one time when I needed info on a trunk lock for a 30 Cadillac. They needed info on front seat mounting hardware for their 31 Cadillac.  So I sent pictures to them  then they asked for more no problem.  I waited a week  for my info so when nothing came I called. Told me the trunk was locked and they could not open it so I was out of luck. Last time I heard from them.

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4 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

I dealt with his shop one time when I needed info on a trunk lock for a 30 Cadillac. They needed info on front seat mounting hardware for their 31 Cadillac.  So I sent pictures to them  then they asked for more no problem.  I waited a week  for my info so when nothing came I called. Told me the trunk was locked and they could not open it so I was out of luck. Last time I heard from them.

 

Least you got a response, that’s one better than me... not much point saying you’ve got all the parts and then not reaponsing

 

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Amazing MM shot! Wow! No I need an engine for my Dreyer sprint car. Was originally built with one by Don Moore. Motor blew up in WWII and replaced with Ford straight 6. I was told someone has one in the Chicago area. Any ideas who? Thanks AACA! George 

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You might have some luck tracking down information on the Cunningham company of Rochester. http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/c/cunningham/cunningham.htm

 

I have been in a lot of the old manufacturing plants in Rochester and Cunningham may have been best equipped to take on the casting for the engine. They had a few buildings off Main Street, on Canal Street. It was an area adjacent to the Genesee Valley canal basin, Erie Canal, and the railroad hub. The buildings were pretty well cleared of car stuff by the 1970's. There is a paper bag store in the old office building now.

Most of the foundries capable of producing engines are newer. I don't know of any old non-ferrous foundries in the city area. There is a chance the castings were shipped in from Buffalo or Pittsburgh, worth looking in to.

John Utz, long time editor of the Rolls-Royce Club Flying Lady Magazine loved valve trains. He would be mesmerized at the mention of the Knight engine. I am vaguely recalling a discussion, over lunch, on the beam engine, but it was mixed with Knights, Franklins, and others. It may come back. I'll bet that Rochester Motor Company has a connection with Cunningham. Too bad there isn't an address in an ad. I would at least do a drive by.

 

North East Electric had a foundry. They sold out their equipment to the Genecast Foundry division of General Railway Signal in the 1950's. I used one of the electric tiller steer cranes and some of the forge equipment, but they were mostly electric component manufacturers. Knowing Rochester, I would bet on a Buffalo or Pittsburgh connection but North East is a possible and shouldn't be a stone unturned.

 

I am interested, maybe some snooping around this week.

Bernie

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)

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GREAT Detective work! thanks! In one of the Motor Age magazine articles(I Think motor Age) I read on the internet,the foundary compay they used was mentioned, but I don't recall who. Very little written on the Rochester Company even then. Thanks,George

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George,

There was an unrestored 1923 Revere Sport Touring for sale in Massachusetts about ten years ago. I went there to see it. It had a huge Rochester-Duesenberg engine in it. It ran. Had the wrong carb on it though - supposed to have a Stromberg M4. I didn't buy it but should have. I doubt that it stayed for sale for long, but just wanted to say that there are still RD engines out there.

Ron Hausmann P.E. 

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I vaguely recall that a pair of Duesenberg powered race cars came to light down south a few years ago, was it in Savannah? 2 cars and a mass of parts and original correspondence, scrap books, old advertisements etc. They were fielded in the teens or 20s by a small independent manufacturer whose name I don't know but the race cars were Jimmy and Jimmy Junior if I recall correctly.

Does this ring a bell with anyone?

 

Later... I tried Googling with no result last night, tonight I tried a different slant and hit pay dirt.

 

The car I was trying to recall was the Kline Kar of York Pennsylvania. They had a pair of race cars, Jimmy and Jimmy Jnr . One of these was repowered in 1914 with a 16 valve Duesenberg engine. One of two known to survive. The cars came to light in Richmond Va in the 1980s.

 

Sold by Bonhams in 2003 where it is today I don't know.  Also don't know if they had a spare engine or parts but it could be a lead.

https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/10579/lot/1079/

http://theoldmotor.com/?p=1832

http://www.philreillycompany.com/Cars/KlineKarSpecial.html

 

The Phil Reilly company restored the car including rebuilding the engine, they may have some information and photos.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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Don Moore who had my Dreyer built for him,originally drove for Kline kar racing team for years. Don installed the Rochester duesenberg engine in  it after he picked it up from pop Dreyer in Indianapolis .  I believe Sam Mann of NJ owns the Kline Kar race Car sold as mentioned above. Thanks George 

 

 

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John Baeke is the most likely to know where anything is now.   Nelson Thorpe bought as a spare for his racing car an incomplete engine which Rick Guriel in Indiana had for swap for wanted J model parts.   When I visited Nelson in Sept 1984 it was not my business to ask whether there had been J parts exchanged in the acquisition.  ( Nor did that interest me.)   It did seem to surprise Nelson that I realized there was a Rochester Duesenberg crankcase underneath the genuine Duesenberg engine block.  There are detail differences that possibly few people are aware of even now;  but obviously the face where the block bolts on is identical.         When Rochester purchased the necessities for manufacturing the walking beam Duesenberg engines from the Duesenberg Corporation after Armistise , they also bought the designs of two six cylinder engines from the Trego corporation, which built a handful of Liberty aero engines.  Frank Trego had been a Packard engineer.   I believe there is no credible evidence that the side valve Trego was ever used by any car maker; but the overhead valve was used by Mercer in the Series Six cars.       Those engines had three distinctly different problems.    Jerry Gebby, who tuned and repaired Mercer cars for their owners, said that the need to heat- treat engine blocks and cylinder heads for stress relief before machining was not known.  The distortion caused compession leakages,  and also of the crankcase distortion, which in turn damaged the centre main crankshaft bearing in some cases and could have broke crankshafts.  Those engines have very light reciprocating parts.  The H-section beam of the connecting rods had a series of lightening holes, and they were known to sometimes break at the top just below the piston pin.  Probably a slightly less severe problem was if a connecting rod bolt broke, that conrod might or might not ventilate the sump or crankcase.  Mercer replaced damaged engines from new stock.  But John Hancox and I have Mercers with expertly repaired sump or crankcases.   That is early aluminium welding.    I had stretched conrod bolts in Series Six  Mercer and in my Rochester Duesenber in the Roamer . They used a common item.   I suspect Rochester had a batch of bolts with either a material or heat -treating problem .  Continental O-300 aero engine conrod bolts are a good substitute.      Now John Boyle's family owned his 1926 Mercer Series Six Raceabout from when his grandfather bought it from the factory specialist Vince Galloni in the late 1930s. John's father and brother, ( who were twins), gave the car to John in 1957 for his seventeenth birthday.   John thought it prudent to look for spare parts supplies, and located the foundry that had supplied all the castings for these.  They had nothing in cold metal, but they wanted to GIVE him the full set of patterns .   Years later there was nothing left but an empty lot.  BEEP.  We could have built new engine or repaired damaged ones.  And who knows if the Rochester Duesenberg engine patterns were there too.    Two Mercer Six owners have been here in the past couple of decades, and I have warned them in chapter and verse to NEVER run their engines with those original connecting rods.     Dorothy Parker did not say "that you could lead a horse to water, but not make it drink".  She said that "you can lead (someone) to culture but you cannot make them think".   Two engines blew up, one in  UK, and one in NZ.    With CNC pattern-making technology it would be feasible to manufacture a replica Rochester Duesenberg engine.  If I wanted to do that, I would use  the crankshaft of a 1920s four cylinder T head Stutz, which is about perfect except for being a three bearing instead of a two bearing shaft.

 

++++++-

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Ivan you are the man! Thanks for the very insightful post! By the way my Dreyer will be for sale in the next issue of The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club magazine coming out in May, for $119,000/offers. Lots of info and photos from new. I am the third owner. Feel free to share. Thanks George 

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Interesting to hear mention of the Kline cars. We have restored 3 York built cars. Our customer lusted after a York built Kline but so far none have surfaced.

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Ivan: what is wrong with the word meaning "the art or practice of garden cultivation and management."

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Is there an engine on the second floor of the ACD Museum in the front room where the sales and design offices were? I have some pictures from last time I was there but can't locate the file.

 

You can probably call and one of the docents will run up and check.

Bernie

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Looking at that beautifully presented engine in the phot on post #8 I think it may be useful to other owners and interested people if I share a few comments and questions.       By the bonnet louvres, it looks to be Revere.            I feel that the dip stick  for checking the oil level is much more sensible  than the original dial gauge on my Roamer, which is always difficult to read accurately.   I would be grateful if someone could help me with a detail photo of the item which holds the dipstick

The oilcan access on mine is at the rear end of the rocker pivot shaft.  I fitted an oil feed line for continuous oiling.  the rocker bearings need continuous lubrication, and we are not used to doing that manually.

There is an oil pressure adjustment on the left front of the engine.  What is the best maximum oil pressure to set on these engines?

The original cooling water connection to the block from the pump outlet is very thin tube.  When I needed to rebuild the rusted section of the pump shaft, that little stub tube was beyond usefulness.   What you cannot see is that it is threaded into the block. It is a tapered thread .  I made a new one from a grade of stainless steel which had a small content of Sulphur to improve machinability. I cut the thread parallel  ,  I tapered it by hand with a thread file of the correct pitch and cutting lubricant as the job spun in the lathe.

I find it very difficult to run the car with correct spark advance by the hand control.   I intend to modernize that aspect when I come  to using it on the road in traffic.

The 4 speed overdrive gearbox that was mostly used  with these engines is a delight .  I now have a high quality Kearns horizontal boring machine, which is ideal for accurately machine castings so I can make similar gearboxes for other cars for which overdrive gearing will improve their practicality.

I will conclude this with another similar post when I am not on sleep deficit, so I will not have to continually  correct typing errors.

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