A little spin-off from the Wico vs Lucas thread. Should engines be
returned as far as possible to the build state in which they left the
factory or should user modifications and repairs be regarded as all part
of the history of the unit?
Personally, I like to leave well executed mods in place and do not shy
away from adding a few of my own.
BTW. I dont want to restart the oily rag vs. fresh paint debate - I'm
talking about mechanical mods and repairs, not cosmetic finish here.
I think if it is done discreetly, any mechanical mod that makes an engine
run better is justified, especially if it reduces its consumption of oil or
petrol. When I've got an engine running, I take it to an event where I can
sit & listen to it for hours, leaning off the carb & swapping plugs to find
the best combination - you can make some dramatic improvements to engines
that were jetted to run on load & are now just idling their days away! I
once halved the consumption on a Petter PU4 compressor by doing just this.
In the end, the NGK plug I ended up fitting was pale chocolate brown, the
cylinder barely hot after running for an hour on a sunny day.
The gap between cylinder & bore can probably be reduced as oils are an order
of magnitude better than they were even 50 years ago. You might like to look
into ring design & see what is available.
Cleaning the inlet tract of casting flash, gaskets that stick out into the
tract, cleaning up seat shrouding will all make a difference.
Turning to two strokes, dedicated silicone oils are so much better these
days, it is perfectly OK (my opinion, you understand ;o)) ) to lower the
oil content in petroil mixes. Again, experiment will be called for.
With petrol the price it is, green concerns & carbon footprints, I think
this is a responsible (and frugal!) policy.
But I'd not go so far as to change the carburetor.
My background is really in restoring classic cars, where similar questions
are often asked. My feeling is that it is the function of "museums" etc, to
preserve original examples thus there is no problem in us adding a few
improvements of our own (sometimes the lack of spares make it essential to
get the project useable!)
This is one of "those questions" that come up here from time to time.
Opinions are mixed, but generally speaking there are those that like to
repaint anew as the conclusion of a restoration and those that like to wipe
their Iron Charges over with an oily rag & make 'em go!
I am in two minds as I think there should be both pristine show standard,
chromed nuts 'n all engines to see. We know very well that all manufacturers
made them for their stands at big shows. Indeed, I have a Douglas SV twin
that was obviously intended for just such a purpose. However, the great
majority were workaday working lumps & (instance) the nuts were painted over
along with the castings they held together.
Personally, I think that if it is rusty beyond recovery & needs rescuing
rather than simply restoring, then a complete new painted finish to be proud
of is part of the recovery process. The WW1 ABC generator I'm working on ATM
is like this: the fuel & oil tanks were rusted right through & needed a new
one from Frank the Tank. This I had sprayed a gleaming, deep black & will
go to some lengths to create myself the new waterslide transfers that will
grace its flanks. It is rare for me to go to these lengths & usually a
practical "honest" job is all I run to!
However, mechanical restoration is another matter & I'd be quite happy
making new bits to a higher specification than those used when new, machined
to closer tolerances and finished in a way that will ensure they are able
to continue in service for many years.
Just because the original lubricant was little better than bacon fat, that
would not stop you from using modern silicone oils to lubricate the inward
parts of your pride & joy, would it?
"THE DOUGLAS STATIONARY ENGINE RESOURCE (admin)" wrote
in message news: firstname.lastname@example.org...
kimsiddorn wrote (snip):
But what, as was the original intention of the thread, are your feelings
on those mods and repairs that an engine may have gathered in its years
use and abuse - something to be rectified or a cherished part of the
1. Is the mod more historically interesting than the engine itself?
2. Is the mod well or badly done? It would have to be exceptionally
well done to make this a reason to keep it, but nasty botches should
usually be removed or reworked more neatly.
3. Is the mod interesting? A humidity-regulated governor on a mangel-
wurzel chopper would be worth preserving.
4. Is the mod in period with the engine? A 1930s fix to a 1920s
engine might now be seen as "of an interesting historical period",
especially if the materials are in keeping. A 1970s hack with PVC hose
5. Is the condition of the mod comparable to the engine? Does one make
the other look better or worse?
Thanks Nick, that one slid past me!
As long as mods had been done well & were for better performance AND they
were still working, I'd leave them alone. But if (say) an LT magneto had
been replaced with an HT mag that was now faulty, I'd be likely to restore
it as it was originally.
A pretty good check list to run through when considering the fate of a
non-standard 'feature'. I rather like to see some of those copper sheet
and dozens of 2ba screws frost repairs on a 'working clothes' engine for
instance, but it would look awful on one done up to the nines.