Am I as smart as a SA 200?

Another SA 200 welding machine came up yesterday. I am going to go look at it today. If I can buy these locally, I can fix them up, and make some
decent cash. The guy said it runs and welds, but won't return to idle. Sounds relatively minor to me. I think he'd take less than $500, too, and it's on a trailer.
Just how much knowledge is needed to do this? I have singlehandedly taken a 327 Chevy motor out, changed freeze plugs, had the heads done, and put it back in by myself. I can fix most anything, except carburetors and automatic transmissions. I could learn them, but haven't so far.
I understand how engines work, and have the puzzle solving ability to take stuff apart, figure out how it works, and how to fix it. Right now, I have no reservations about digging into the one I just bought and either getting it running or seeing why it won't. Gas engines are relatively simple. They run or they don't. If they don't, there's a short list of things it can be. Gas. Spark. Compression. Major component part failure. And a couple of other things.
Just how complicated is this SA 200, and all its controls? They must be pretty dependable and easy to work on to be such workhorses. The engine is a simple flathead four banger. Radiator. Points operated spark system. Battery with starter and voltage regulator. The other items on the welding side I haven't fooled with a lot in my life, but think I could figure out.
As with anything else, buying electrical testers and hooking them up is usually a RTFM thing, and the troubleshooting chart shortens with experience.
Just how hard is this? I know after a time there would be tests to do when considering buying one of these machines, and would develop a checklist. I was just wanting to bounce it off you guys and see if I'm heading down a peaceful creek or towards the waterfalls.
Steve
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wrote:

http://www.weldmartonline.com/pc-22-1-pierce-governor-for-continental-f-162-f-163-f-244-f-226-f-227.aspx
Maybe. Though it could simply be a sticky linkage or stuck float among other similar easy things.
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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http://www.weldmartonline.com/pc-22-1-pierce-governor-for-continental-f-162-f-163-f-244-f-226-f-227.aspx
It's probably built like my 7?s model. A very slow (adjustable) vacuum tap slowly pulls down a vacuum chamber that pulls the carb back to idle. When you strike an arc, a solenoid acts on a schrader valve that relieves the vacuum in the diaphram, and returns control to a spring loaded governor, that set the engine to high rpm. When you strike an arc, the solenoid retreats closing the schrader valve, and the vacuum begins to build until the carb is pulled back to idle. Adjusting the flow on the vacuum tap controls the length of time the engine remains at high rpm after the welding arc is broken.
If so, my guess is the diaphram is weathered and leaking, so the engine is never pulled back to idle. Good luck. Sounds like one hell of a deal. I sold my machine in 1992 for $4000.
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Sorry, my mistake. Change the second "when you strike an arc" to " when you stop welding".
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The engines and the units are extremely basic. The motor is a flathead. The carb is a single bore unit, not much fancier than on the 5hp lawnmower. Ignition is either magneto which is much more a mechanical device than electrical or a 4 post points and coil setup. The welding circuits are heavy duty bolt together mechanical items. If they are clean and not toasted, they tend to work.
Go for it!!!
If you want a similar unit with a lot more if's about it, I'm looking at an 18kw genset. Vintage mid 60's, looks to be Vietnam era military. Onan J120 industrial/marine engine with a long gone mfg for the generator. But parts for the Onan engine are scarce and expensive. Parts for the generator are unavailable from the mfg, but very similar to a 25hp, 3 phase, 208/416volt motor. Motor runs, generator has a "blown diode". Price range is similar to what you are looking at for the SA 200's. I'd take the 200 in a minute, still thinking on the Onan powered unit. To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
SteveB wrote:

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After you have accumulated the knowledge, experience, manuals, tools, paint and parts supplies from rebuilding your first one, additional units will be easy. 'It isn't rocket science.'
"You will never find out how big your mouth is until you bite off more than you can chew.'
What have you got to lose?
I suspect that as a steady enterprise there are many problems due to scarce and unreliable supply of old units as well as all the normal business issues of cost of holding inventory and bad debts and comebacks from angry customers who will think they are buying a new guarantied machine for a bargain price rather than a well used machine with a 5 gal rebuild. As a backyard sideline you should do just fine, just approach it as a learning experience. As you develop a regular business and word gets around, I suspect you will find the price of old machines to rebuild will rise.
The most important benefit for you may be that you will always have a good personal machine and the knowledge of how to keep it working. There is more money to be made actually welding than you will ever make selling old and obsolete used welders, but the rebuild business will give you something to do when actual welding business is slow and could give you a nice income from bare rental (which is another business with its own share of pitfalls) or you can hire welders (which is another...........).
Good luck,
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Any five year old can do that...
snip

4 years of schooling and apprenticeship for a mechanic to be skilled at these things... more if he/she strives to become a good diagnostician.
snip

Kind'a like brain surgery... step #1: remove the scalp, step#2: bore into skull, step#3: ensure it's not yours snip

That's too subjective. What's simple for me or you may be impossible for someone else.
Steve... from some of your other posts I've deduced that you're around my age (55) or older. If you don't yet have electrical testers (as suggested by your comment) and need to buy them and RTFM to hook 'em up, you'd be way in over your head if you think R&R of this welder is simple. It's doable... but it'll likely take a few hundred hours (and more, if you have many things to learn).
Now hold on everybody... I can hear you chambering rounds and cocking the trigger. Is that a laser dot on my forehead??? lol
Steve... I'm not saying don't go for it. I'm saying that you should make up your own mind... without seeking the OK from strangers or virtual acquaintances from this group.
Learning about electrical systems, carburetors, governors, welding control circuits and so on is not a simple or weekend task. I've been learning for 40 years and wish I knew more than double what I've learned.
I've noted many posts on this forum (no names in particular) where the writer cobbles together a few sentences about some process or procedure, throws in a technical term or two... like "diode" or "sticky whatchamacallit" , and it all sounds so simple. Those kinds of posts (especially in reply to a general question such as yours: "how hard can it be?") sound like a few lines borrowed from a Google search in order to participate. Not gonna help you much.
And just because the SA200 is such a workhorse... doesn't mean fixing it is easy. Don't forget... the space shuttle is a workhorse, too! And it definitely ain't easy to fix!!!
Your questions about rebuilding the motor, diagnosing the welding generator and so on can be answered in about 40 pounds of books from the library.
I've seen many well meaning projects begin with vigour and enthusiasm only to be abandoned and eventually become someone else's great "bargain" (hell... including my own!) I wouldn't be surprised if these rigs didn't start out as someone else's weekend project and they're now selling them to you for such a deal.
My daddy used to say... if things were as easy as some people think... everyone would do it!
I'd suggest a better question for you... and it's one best answered by you, "should I do this?". Another question I'd suggest... "will it be fun?".... and my opinion is - yes!
But you should decide.
And if you choose to take on these projects, come back with questions to specific problems. I'm sure you'll find those answers here.
OK everybody...I'm ducking now, so you can all FIRE!
Cheers
--
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You're simply too deep for me. So deep that you just fell off my sonar screen.
Know whut uh mean, Vern?
Sayonara......................... plonk
Steve
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It wasn't an SA 200. But I did have the time to start cleaning off the one I got yesterday. Tomorrow's supposed to rain, so maybe I'll just back it in the garage and start in on it. All the rubber is pretty much dryrotted. I'd have to replace hoses and belts probably to see if it will even run. I'm going to try to turn it over by hand with the plugs out to see if it is seized. I can't find the hand crank anywhere in the stuff. Anyone know where to get one cheap? I may just make one tomorrow in the shop. In the rain. Can't see a lot without pulling the top cover. Tomorrow's another day.
Steve
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wrote:

Steve, spritz a little Marvel Mystery Oil or PBlaster in the cylinders, let it sit for a half hour, then turn it over by hand.
If it turns over ok, turn it over with the starter a few seconds. If you stick a plug on a wire, you can check for spark at this time too.
Pull the carby bowl if its easy, fill with gas and let it set for another half hour. Some had water trap bowls. Clean it out with a rag while you are waiting.
Stick in the plugs, dump in a bit of fresh gas, in the tank check the oil and water, spritz a smidge of gas down the carby, pull out the choke and hit the start button.
Let it warm up. If it spits water from a busted hose, no biggy, Turn it off and replace the hoses and belts.
Its a hell of a lot better to get the thing running with what she is wearing than sink a shitload of money into it and find out something serious is busted.
Plus letting her run will lub things up, get the oil moving and warm it up, displacing any water in the system. Also makes for a better oil change if the engine is warm after having sat for a while.
After its running and warm , check the radiator for water flow and so forth. Start it with the radiator cap OFF. This will keep rotted hoses from going Blooie, and will allow you to check for busted head gaskets and so forth. If it doesnt have leads, drag out your jumper cables and some rod and play with it. See if it runs up and down etc etc.
Once you have checked it out..you can make a shopping list of things you DO need.
Ive seen a shitload of beat to shit, rusty nasty SA-200s here in the oil patch, running just fine, even after having set for a few years.
Gunner
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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Gunner Asch wrote:

I had a friend a few years ago who was helping an elderly gentleman get an old earth mover going. It had been sitting for years, but the fellow figured it was repairable.
He pulled the injectors, shot Marvel Mystery Oil in the engine and left it for weeks. When he went back he was able to pull it through with a large pull handle.
Everything went well from there on out.
It was also the main "tool" for servicing air tools on one job I was on.
Good stuff!
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I just put a quart in a Nissan of mine with 200,000+ miles on it to run until the next oil change. I've got some issues with it, and occasionally it will have a noisy tappet. I bought some PB Blaster recently because of a recommendation here. I shot a long stored tiller the other day with it, and it fired right up. I figure I'll drain the thing of oil, water, and gas, and when I put the new oil in there, put a small amount of Marvel in there to help clean it a bit.
It's raining and snowing here today. Yesterday afternoon, I went out and powerwashed it in the gale that just preceded this front. It looks a dang site better already!
Lots of nasty looking hose and rubber and wire sheaths, though. But all in all, it looks ready for some TLC.
Steve
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wrote:

Shoot boy, all you got to do is find a good shade tree with a strong limb to hook the chain hoist to and get at it.You don't think them ole boys up in Hazard that started NASCAR was all mechanical geniuses, do you? You may end up with more welders then Gunner :-)
Bruce-in-Bangkok (correct email address for reply)
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