Sign in to follow this  
Steve Rinaldo

Maxwell 2 Cyl. Engine, Part 2

Recommended Posts

First let me thank you for all your help in this Quest, I thought I would update you on where I am.

1. I still have no crankcase at this time, but have a couple more leads to follow up. So let me know if if any you have any other leads.

2. I talked to several people about welding and or stitching with not much positive response.

3. the idea of recasting the block with a better grade of aluminum is a possibility. I would like to see if anyone has a source for. this. I know this is a loaded question about how much do you think it would cost ? About how long would it take?  I also think there is a need for this part, so I wonder how many others would like to participate in this project

Again, Thanks for your help, Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck!  
 

these engines are out there, but finding anything brass era when you need it is quite the chore. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

on cost, the issue is time involved to make a very small run. Most foundries are very busy and a fella has been trying for 5 years now to make a quality model A block- which btw could sell hundreds. he gave up on it for awhile, due to rising costs.

 

I would honestly say, it would be less expensive to buy another car. Maxwells such as yours sell frequently in the 25-30k range. The engine will take lots of time to get made.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just by coincidence, I saw one of these engines on Saturday, but it's going into a car that's currently being restored. I'll check with the owner and see if there was a spare engine with that car.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, mercer09 said:

on cost, the issue is time involved to make a very small run. Most foundries are very busy and a fella has been trying for 5 years now to make a quality model A block- which btw could sell hundreds. he gave up on it for awhile, due to rising costs.

 

I would honestly say, it would be less expensive to buy another car. Maxwells such as yours sell frequently in the 25-30k range. The engine will take lots of time to get made.

I completely agree with mercer that buying a car would be the quickest and cheapest path to a replacement crankcase, but think a car could be had for 15k or less. I have seen viable projects well under ten in the not too distant past. 
 

That plan could even make you the owner of something else you might need a few thousand miles down the road. I have a spare engine (well, whole disassembled car) for my Maxwell, but don’t think your hood is long enough To use it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't GET how everyone is scared to death of that aluminum block....... 😲

If we had operated that way the shop wouldn't have lasted long enough to go 3rd generation (me) and still going strong with the 4th owner.

So what if there is some oil? You cook it out and get busy.

My FIRST move would be to lay down a bead of aluminum weld and check it for integrity.

If that panned out it would be game on!

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

You could try checking with the early Buick crowd. I know that several Buick crankcases have been reproduced due to weak castings failing.

I know someone that did a one-off transmission case for a big Simplex. The castings were poor quality originally, and his had been welded several times. I know the work involved with that project, and you don't really want to know all the details. I am sure the transmission case was a bigger and heavier casting, involving two major pieces. I am pretty sure the required machining to align all the gears was more difficult than a two cylinder Maxwell crankcase would be. The final cost was well over the value of most two cylinder Maxwells, but the car was worth well over six figures then (about 25 years ago).

Edited by wayne sheldon (see edit history)
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


welding or Stiching may or may not be an option, and I’m sure finding an engine won’t be easy.........choices are......

 

Make it a museum car........and don’t run it.

Find another used engine.........not easy

Repair what you have.......gamble and may or may not be successful......

Make a new crank case.......not easy, expensive, and time consuming.....

 

I agree with the try and stitch/weld it first......you don’t have anything to lose. Getting the right shop is important.

 

A basket case or project car might be an option. Obviously with a car who’s value is in the above ranges, it’s sad, but it may just be cheaper to buy another car, and turn yours into a parts car. Just the time involved would make me look for another car......it’s probably going to be a case of what you can find and are willing to deal with..........it is amazing what turns up over time..........still would like photos of the damaged area. If you have the problem, it’s likely others will also, and thus even if you find another car/engine you may still have the same situation when you buy something else.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think edinmass has given some great advice. But let me add a fifth option. No, it wouldn't be highly recommended. And there are a lot of people that would be disgusted by it. However, over many years in this hobby, I have seen some may be ugly but well done patch repairs that apparently worked quite well. 

Many years ago, I saw a '27 Chandler that nearly half the left side of the aluminum crankcase had been pieced back together and everything bolted in place using bits and pieces of aluminum plate. Clearly the car had thrown a rod, and whoever got it back together for more years of service. Some years back, I looked at a Sears autobuggy basket case. The two cylinder engine for it had also apparently broken a connecting rod (a common problem on some of the Sears motors). It nearly broke the cast iron crankcase in half!. Where ever and whomever it happened to apparently didn't have access to a good cast iron welder, so, again, the crankcase was held together with many bolts and pieces of steel plate hammered to match the crankcase's curves. Judging by the accumulation of oil and dirt on the motor, he must have gotten a lot of miles good use out of it.

It may be ugly. It may not please the perfectionists around in this hobby. But a careful and creative patchwork could make the difference between a running and enjoyable car and a piece of scrap aluminum.

 

Here again. Some good photos of the affected areas would go a long way in assessing the damage and recommending an appropriate repair. I suspect the best repair would be a metal-stitch or a proper aluminum weld by someone that KNOWS the issues with a hundred year old crankcase.

Edited by wayne sheldon (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wayne, I agree......a soft lead patch was a repair back in the day also...........we just need to see the failure. I think I would try stitch/welding first..........here is a bit of a heads up.......you can use a main bearing cap from the original casting as a welding rod if you cut it up......and you can easily replace the cap with modern material.......cost effective way of having a perfect match to weld with.......been there, done that. 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Talked to my friend with the two-cylinder Maxwell. Unfortunately, no spare parts came with the car. Good luck and let us know how this turns out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tour all of our as often as possible. If I were to tell you the 2 guys doing this who said they wouldn't trust this crankcase on long or repeated tous, you would agree with them that this is not repairable. So I'm still looking for a replacement. Steve

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2020 at 1:14 AM, cahartley said:

I don't GET how everyone is scared to death of that aluminum block....... 😲

If we had operated that way the shop wouldn't have lasted long enough to go 3rd generation (me) and still going strong with the 4th owner.

So what if there is some oil? You cook it out and get busy.

My FIRST move would be to lay down a bead of aluminum weld and check it for integrity.

If that panned out it would be game on!

 

I agree that sometimes you just deal with it and have seen plenty of repairs done by people like yourself who are willing to really try at it.

 

Here is the reality though no matter how well people try, I have seen some brass car ear blocks that are just frightening as to the cracks - you can repair, but it is only a stop-gap.  Also, I have seen a few that people had trouble repairing as the aluminum was too porous and they could not properly deal with all the oil saturation (even after trying) matched to also seeing too impure of aluminum (just cannot find something that works well to weld it with).  

 

And if you have to cast a block (something you can carry as to size - not things that are massive), I would say you are in it for 10K minimum for your first rough casting (and often plenty more money - I have seen 100K spent on a V-16 miller casting).

 

All said, my grandfather use to have photos of the family's Miller dirt track & Indianapolis race car being built and it had a bronze crankcase and the photos I liked best were the crankcase in the furnace fusing parts to it (it was all machined verses cast - they thought an aluminum casting was inferior to other methods of manufacture).   My point is ingenuity/resourcefulness may save the day.

 

 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chemistry and metallurgy are not among my strong subjects. However, some of what I know about aluminum. Aluminum is one of if not THE most common metals on Earth. It has been known for a couple centuries (If I recall correctly?), but it was not until the late 1800s that a practical way to refine and process aluminum was discovered. Pure aluminum is NOT silvery colored! It is basically black. The silvery colored piece you can hold in your hand is aluminum oxide on the surface. Inside, it is black. I have not seen it myself, however been told by people in the aerospace industry that have seen it, that aluminum placed in a vacuum and then cut, and not exposed to oxygen continues to be black. One characteristic of aluminum is that it oxygenates instantly on all surfaces exposed to natural air. This characteristic of oxygenating so quickly is part of the problem with processing aluminum. It BURNS! And FAST! That has always complicated processing, and welding, of aluminum. It wasn't until about 1890 that they began to really understand and develop ways to really use aluminum. This fast burning is also why aluminum cannot generally be welded in open air. In other words, why inert gasses are used (heliarc or TIG among others)

A historic connection to our antique automobile hobby. One of the first companies to seriously begin using aluminum to manufacture products? Was the company that soon thereafter began building the Franklin automobile! For awhile, early in the 1900s,  the manufacturer of Franklin motorcars was the largest single user of aluminum in the world! Franklin owned many patents for processing, and casting aluminum alloys.

At that point in time, without "laser pointed thermometers", and other devices and methods not then invented, casting aluminum was a difficult process, fraught with ways to fail. Poured too cool, and the liquid aluminum wouldn't fill the forms, resulting in a hot piece of scrap. Poured a bit too hot, may fill the forms just fine, but result in a porous casting that will be brittle and difficult to weld even before it becomes oil soaked. The porosity will also cause it to soak in lots of oil, and quite deep into the metal making it very difficult to clean out and get a good weld.

 

I hope this can help explain "why" the welding of early crankcases can be such a problem today.

I often say that history needs to be looked at in the context of the past. Such things as aluminum crankcases were still in their infancy in 1910.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting but I wonder about the technology being in its infancy in 1910.  The crankcase in the Maxwell was  intruduced in 1904 and its  not a simple casting.  It houses the transmission and carries the two cylinders of the engine all in one piece and it carries the rear main bearing of the engine.  Also early Pierce Arrow car used cast aluminum bodies.   http://www.pierce-arrow.org/features/feature26/index.php

We are straying from the issue originally raised which needs a photo of the cracking for it to progress further.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As my dad would say:  Packard had a lot of success via engineering by bulk - well, there is some truth to it and unfortunately you stumble into many other manufactures that designed something to just do what it was supposed to (just not 100 plus years later) or even more unfortunately not even that (some things have been laid up for over a century now). And, they did have great metallurgy at the time, the "field conditions" though were often not ideal.  Basically, it is pretty easy to run into problems, but that being said "Man over Machine" matched to resourcefulness and ingenuity - keep at this and figure out how to solve the problem (at least short term).

 

Start with Ed's stitch welder - he has dealt with over the top problems.  Eat peanut butter and jelly for lunch for a while to pay for it.  See if you can enjoy your car more soon than later. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Casting something in aluminum isn't costly, making the patterns is. Bob 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would buy another- put yours on the back burner and wait for a used engine to come along.

 

really not worth the time and cost to recast a block. At least not for a 2 cyl Maxwell.

 

Yes, I own a Maxwell 2 cyl. the larger model.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

and by the way- while on this topic..............

 

a college nearby has an incubation center, for starting businesses. about 20 years ago, a business came up with freezing new engine blocks for race cars and such. the point is to go below 150 minus to rid the block of small fissures and defects, to  produce a far stronger and durable block.

 

the science works.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, DavidMc said:

Interesting but I wonder about the technology being in its infancy in 1910.  The crankcase in the Maxwell was  intruduced in 1904 

 

4 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

they did have great metallurgy at the time

 

Yes, they did have great metallurgy FOR THE TIMES at the time. Perhaps a metallurgical engineer can help out with the interesting history of aluminum -copper alloying by way of example. Back when I had T.V. I saw an interesting program which revealed a serendipitous accident which made the quantum leap  between amalgam and  the highly sought after, but elusive alloy. Turns out that an extremely long cool down period is necessary. Melt pot was accidentally left on heat for what ? Several days ? This allowed the proper molecular lattice to form up. I wish I could remember when it happened. But I think it was in the early 20th century. I could be wrong, but someone who really knows her/his way around info-tech could research this fact. Modern metallurgy is light years beyond that of 120 years ago. Thankfully so.     -    Carl 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

they did have great metallurgy at the time

 

That could be argued in the case of the Titanic sinking in 1912. The Roeblings might not have agreed.......................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of casting a new block, might it be possible to do it by machining; like machine two halves and bolt them together, or put them together with a spacer between?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this