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Distributor/Cap identification issue


tjmauto
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Hello.  I found you folks while searching for a way to identify an older engine part and this seems like a good place to post.  I'll attach a couple pics below and I can provide more if necessary, but first a bit about the engine.  It's not from an antique car.  Sorry, but for a treat I'll post some pics of a motor home built on a Graham-Paige frame and engine by this older gentlemen who also has the engine here in question.  The engine is a 5 cylinder radial, 2-stroke outboard motor,  built in the '30's by the owner's grandfather in his machine shop in Kewanee, IL.  Near as I can tell, this was a one-off engine, and it has an issue with the distributor and cap, which happen to be the parts I'm looking to identify.   It's possible that the distributor was made just for this engine so due to this, and the age of the engine, I don't think an off the shelf part is gonna be possible, but you never know.  The distributor cap has cracks and carbon traces that won't allow it to run.  Pops and spits quite a bit but that's it.  Anyway, here are the pics just in case anyone sees something recognizable.  Thanks in advance for looking.  More pics are available just in case there's interest, or I'd be happy to pull it if there's no interest or relevancy here.  Thanks.  

 

 

5CylRadialOutboard.jpg   5CylRadialOutboard_02.jpg

 

5CylRadialOutboard_03.jpg   5CylRadialOutboard_04.jpg

Edited by tjmauto (see edit history)
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I'm not the only one who wants to see more of this radial boat motor and the early motorhome.

 

I don't know anything about very early radials in the thought that the distributor might be from an early aircraft. I have no clue if WW1 era planes had a 5 cyl. and then the builder used one?

 

If you were just trying to start it for now, could you use a tiny Dremel pointed bit to carve out the carbon cracks and fill them with JB weld?  (if the cap is stable and not falling apart).

 

I suppose a new cap could be made on a lathe if you could find a big enough piece of Bakelite or similar material.

 

.

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Thanks for looking.  I've considered all of that and trying hard to start with the minimum effort, then work towards a possible fabrication.  Five cylinder radials have been around for a long time but the aircraft engines started early on with magnetos (magnetoes??) instead of the coil, distributor, cap method.  Up to this point that really means I haven't found anything compatible yet.  And, Yes, first step is to clean the thing up the best I can.  I have some MG Chemical 4226 Super Corona Dope on the way hoping that will at least help the situation after a good cleaning.

 

I'll get more radial pics and the motorhome pics posted shortly.  Just need to get them all in one place.

 

Thanks,

tjmauto

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That's an interesting motor. I wonder if it's built from plans from Model Engineer magazine or something similar?

 

The Smokstak forum has a vintage outboard motor forum. It might be worth posting there.

 

Here is an ad for a Cross Radial from a 1929 issue of Outboard Motor Boating magazine.

 

8_523370.jpg

Edited by AndrewSydney (see edit history)
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Wow, the Cross engine looks like it may have had some influence in the manufacture of this engine I'm working with.   I'll just call it the VanDyke engine since it was manufactured by VanDyke Machineworks in Kewanee, IL.  I have more pics taken with my phone but I'll get better pics of the engine and the Graham-Paige motorhome tomorrow and post those.  This VanDyke engine is a 2-stroke but it does have one exhaust valve per cylinder.  The carburetor is a Breeze but leaked like a sieve.  I was able to disassemble the carb, take some measurements of the old gaskets and surfaces, plug the info into a laser cutting application and laser cut a full set of very nice gaskets.  Laser cuts thinner than a razor blade.  I've been able to rework the throttle and a couple of carburetor pieces into a ball and socket mechanism from a very sloppy bent wire system.  The distributor cap is a one-off made from some type of phenolic material that might now be called Phenolic CE that I can source if I need to make a new one.  The high voltage posts are 6-32 flat head screws and nuts with the sparking wires connected to those.  I was able to clean the cap inside and out with some light abrasive cloth and sand the top of the cap smooth enough to get rid of the visible carbon tracks.  Inside and out was treated with the MG Chemicals Corona Dope I had mentioned earlier.  It looks pretty good, at least, and I'll try it tomorrow.  That along with better wire connections at the terminals I'm hoping will solve the bigger issues.

 

The Smokstak forum has been recommended to me but I haven't been able to get there yet.  I do have someone who is a regular over there looking for any relevant info, but for a one of a kind engine I'm not holding my breath.  Somewhere in the owner's garage, in one of the boxes of his family stuff, are supposed to be the engineering drawings and info for this engine.

 

Thanks,

tjmauto

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Posted (edited)

Here's a few more pics of the 5 cylinder engine.  I'll explain as best I can after re-evaluating and coming to the conclusion it's not a 2-stroke but a 4-stroke modified F-head design.  The oil feed, seeing only one valve and hearing someone say something about '2-stroke' threw me but I should have done a better look-over.  I've resolved most all of the misfire by using the procedure in the previous post.  The top of the cap used to give a nice light show with all the sparking and arcing.  Now there's none and I think the MG Chem Corona Dope had a bit to do with that.  First couple of pics are looking into the spark plug opening.  Visible on the left is the exhaust valve spring and valve, closed in two pics, open in the third.  Visible to the right side of the spark plug opening is the intake valve, closed, but there.  There appears to be no mechanism to open the intake valve although a bit of research turned up that a few of the early F-heads produced about the time this engine was made, whether they were EOI of IOE,  opened the intake valves by engine vacuum.  I can pry the intake valve open with a pocket knife blade and there is a spring in there that pulls the valve closed.   You may be able to see in the pics that the air/fuel mixture enters by way of a pipe tapped directly into the case, which was also contributory to me thinking '2-stroke', but it appears there is an internal intake manifold to feed the intake vacuum operated intake valve.  Also, there is a case vent that's open to the outside air which would be a major problem for a 2-stroke intake system.

 

5CylRadialOutboard_32_r.jpg

5CylRadialOutboard_33_r.jpg5CylRadialOutboard_35_r.jpg

 

Here's more pics showing some detail: oil and fuel tanks, oil flow valve, carburetor and linkage and some overall views.  I'll do my best to answer questions about what you're lookin' at.  If you look past the spark plug and wire in these first three older pics you'll see the throttle linkage being a bent wire through passing through a hole on the tiller fitting and also on the carburetor arm.  A couple pic down is the revised ball and socket linkage.  The old open/close limits were originally a screw and slot at the handle end of the tiller and changed to a fabricated piece that places the limit at the throttle shaft.  

 

 

5CylRadialOutboard_06_r.jpg   5CylRadialOutboard_09_r.jpg   5CylRadialOutboard_10_r.jpg

 

5CylRadialOutboard_14_r.jpg   5CylRadialOutboard_20_r.jpg

 

5CylRadialOutboard_21_r.jpg   5CylRadialOutboard_25_r.jpg

 

5CylRadialOutboard_27_r.jpg  5CylRadialOutboard_28_r.jpg

 

5CylRadialOutboard_29_r.jpg  5CylRadialOutboard_31_r.jpg

 

5CylRadialOutboard_42_r.jpg

 

Edited by tjmauto (see edit history)
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I have more pics of the Graham-Paige.  It's sort of in a storage situation so the pics could be better if it was out in the open.  I'll have those up for viewing in it's own thread tomorrow.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

I think a few more pics of this 5 cylinder outboard are in order and I'll get those over the weekend.  I've had the engine running as built but I couldn't get it to idle with any reliability.  After Chuck and I consulted with a couple of Breeze carburetor experts  the general consensus was to toss the original Breeze carb overboard and replace it with something newer than that 1910 vintage Breeze.  Those older carbs have become expensive to be experimenting with so a cruise through Amazon turned up a bunch of cheap replacement carbs for motorcycles.  I can't really get inside the cylinders for a good sizing of the engine but after some quick exterior measuring and some guesswork I came up with something around 350-450cc engine size.  Found a replacement carburetor from some ATV model also sized for 350cc, made an adapter to fit the carb, played around with some fabricated linkages and it worked.  Engine idles pretty good, needs a bit of tweaking with the throttle plate and choke plate to smooth out the transition to higher engine speeds but we have a one-off, 90 year old engine up and running.  The videos are not mine so once I get the OK I'll post the video and at least the pics over the weekend.  

Edited by tjmauto (see edit history)
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