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Starting a 1901 LeAster with "atmospheric inlet valve" easier?


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Hi,

I have a question regarding starting a very old engine with „untimed inlet valves“.

We own a 1901 LeAster rear entrance tonneau, fully restored, really nice car. But to turn the engine over is really hard. The last time I had 14 days problems with my back.

The problem is that the inlet valves are not open by the camshaft like the outlet valves. They open by sucking when the pistons go down. ( sniffer valve?? I don’t know the correct translation ).

So, has someone a tip / hint how I can start this engine easier as now?

Kind regards

Tom

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Back when your car was new people hired a chauffeur, young and strong with a knowledge of the motor car. Maybe you can find a strong friend that would like to be yours. If the engine has been newly rebuilt it should get easier to crank after it gets some use.

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Hello Thomas,

 

Automatic inlet valves or atmospheric valves were very common particularly on hit-or-miss engines and even early aircraft engines like the rotary Gnome and LeRhone 

engines used in WW1. 

 

If accessible you can hold the inlet valve open with your hand to relieve compression until its on top dead center than spin it through.  If your using batteries often when your are just past top dead center you hit the switch and off it will go if all is well. Early fisherman who used the old 2 stroke make and break marine engines took great pride in that skill. Also how to time it just right flip the engine into reverse on the switch! 

 

I hope this helps! Hopefully you will find the settings and method that brings it to life AND saves your back and you can enjoy this interesting piece of machinery!

 

 

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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  • ThomasBorchers changed the title to Starting a 1901 LeAster with "atmospheric inlet valve" easier?

@ Greg: Ah, thank you for the translation. It is always hard to find out such things.

 

@ JFranklin: Good idea with a strong, healty friend who starts the engine for me. But I am afraid, that the one can not make all the tours with me then. 🙂

The engine was perhaps rebuilt but I don't know when.

 

@ Terry: No, it is not possible to hold the inlet valves open. Well, you mean that it could be possible to start on compression? I know this from my 1912 Cadilac and the Ford Model Ts.

 

@ : Al: Of course... but I have just one bad photo. I can't find the better ones at the moment. I have to take one more of the engine.

 

Tom

Aster.JPG

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Great car. Probably best to install a electric starter. There are many options that can be will hidden, and use a small gel cell battery. 

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An electric starter would be a really good solution. I know for example a Mercedes Simplex here which has an electric starter.

I would like to do this but don't know how. Normally I would put a cogwheel on the flywheel but there is so less space between flywheel and frame, that it is not possible.

I thought about to use something like the old race cars without starter.

 

Tom

DSC_0199.jpg

DSC_0201.jpg

Edited by ThomasBorchers (see edit history)
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You can use a flat belt around the flywheel, it’s the most popular way to do it now. No engine modifications necessary.  Post a photo of the flywheel please.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Yes, a flat belt will work. There is a starter generator combination from a(Desiel) tractor that will start the car and then charge the battery......all 12 volt, and works great. They use a serpentine belt off a modern truck. I would recommend you join the HCCA and post on their forum. We have done two of these a few years ago. With luck, you can make brackets that fit current holes in the chassis, and make it all work without drilling anything. To be honest, you don’t need to get the charging portion working......you can just put a battery tender on the battery and plug it in once a month. I’m sure there are a few technical articles showing how it’s done. I recently caw one done with a remote wireless starter key fob.......NO WIRES! Totally hidden. It’s some work, but cost is minimal, and adds a huge value towards resale.

 

PS- because you car is a low compression and low speed engine, the small tractor unit works fine. The trick is to get the right size battery....enough amps to crank it easily, without bing too large to hide. You need to make a pulley, and sometimes a belt tensioner....but it’s all basically simple. You can make it so you only need one wire to start the car......so you can hide the switch.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Ah, I see, thank you for the hints. A 12V battery is already installed because we need this for the ignition. It has no magneto ignition, just battery ignitions coils. Like the Ford Model T.

So then I have to switch to the HCCA website and Forum there. Are there also some photos of such systems?

 

Tom

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I don’t have any photos......I have seen them installed on a dozen cars over the years. I’m sure someone in the HCCA can help provide photos. It’s really not a difficult install on most cars. 

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