Current social distancing guidelines has given us an opportunity to work individually on some of the smaller projects that always seem less important than the bigger ones.
Here is one such example, an early restoration, once somebody’s pride and joy, neglected, dry stored for decades and obviously used as a donor engine by previous owners.
Having completed the mechanical restoration and made a trolley, the investment in time and parts makes this project a true labour of love.
Whilst restoring these engines provides great learning opportunities for the beginner, they can also run away with hard earned money. Fortunately we have spares and expertise that can minimise how much cash needs to be spent.
An initial assessment revealed broken head studs, no compression, major magneto issues ( no spark and a drive chain which was rusted solid ), no carburettor, no silencer, otherwise in perfect working order!
A Strip down showed further problems. The piston rings were seized in their grooves and there was a rather misshapen inlet valve.
Fitting and grinding in a new valve, patiently freeing off the rings, glaze busting the bore and reassembling with a new head gasket and studs from our stores, solved the compression issue.
Our resident electronics wizard refurbished the magneto achieving an excellent spark. We had a silencer on stock, just the carburettor issue to resolve.
We needed a carb for the standard left hand inlet, we only had a right hand on stock, as used with a vaporiser.
No matter how you try, the style of the butterfly prevents an engineered conversion from right to left hand governor control. E bay provided us with a carburettor for little cost.
Lister D’s need to be on a frame or a trolley as the flywheel is lower than the engine base. We decided to go for a top specification, a steering trolley! to be made from steel offcuts, some free issue timber and wheels from “our stores”.
Apart from the wheels looking a bit small, a good job.
This has been left as a mechanical restoration, not spending time and effort on the cosmetics.
A good clean down with degreaser and lots of “duck oil” applied to both bare metal and painted surfaces.
Moved to the display area in Dec 2020..
After not seeing daylight for decades it's time to tackle this project.
After a few tentative lifts and finding the point of balance, getting the load fully back to the heel of the forks, some rags on the tines to prevent slipping, a careful lift and only reversing as far as to clear the trailer, lowering to the floor completed this basic procedure.
Now the work starts.
The more restorations anyone does , the more they appreciate that addressing the mechanical issues and acquiring any missing parts must come before the cosmetic side of the project.
The Petter W2 combined engine and high pressure compressor is at the heart of getting the Mclaren to run.
These starter units are designed to give an air receiver pressure of 300PSI , which cannot be achieved from your average workshop compressor.
There were 2 obvious problems, no compression and a strange arrangement with the magneto involving an external coil and a pair of 12 volt battery leads.
Removing the head showed the valves to be stuck and after freeing off and a quick lapping in with grinding paste the compression was excellent.
The magneto was a different story. On investigation it had no coil, but with spares we had on the shelf and a bit of TLC, the mag produced an excellent spark.
The mag timing proved a little tricky, but once you know what to do it seems so simple.
the Petter A literature states TDC is with the Crankshaft keyway at the top, but the diagrams show with a 2 cylinder version the keyway is at the bottom.
A tip from an internet video shows a very handy trick to solve the issue of 20 degree timing for the the spark and setting up with an impulse mag.
Simply set the engine at TDC or slightly before, at which point the engine will have fired and carefully revolve the magneto by hand until it has clicked, when it will have sparked and insert it back into the engine.
A new long reach spark plug and we are up and running.
Many thanks to all concerned.
Not having much success!
Once the fuel is fully bled through, the air start in cylinders one and two does the trick.
After dismantling, blasting, painting and reassembly with a few minor adjustments we have a fully functioning 3 phase generator.
Moved to display area November 2020
The start of another interesting restoration project.
Dry stored by us for a number of years, but not before being subjected to the affect of the British weather by previous owners, corroding most of the sheet metal parts.
An initial inspection showed the unit to generally be complete, but with some noticeable exeptions, whilst the wheels turned freely, the engine/ compressor was a different matter, seized solid. The carburettor was in place but there was no sign of a magneto, just a bracket to mount it on.
Fortunately the brass specification plates were intact showing the engine to be a Waukesha model XA dated 1926 with
other plates which will add to the appeal of the finished project.
Investigating what was seized, the engine was the obvious place to start. If that problem couldn’t be resolved at a sensible cost the project was destined for the scrap bin.
The first bit of good news was that the compressor unit was free.
The engine itself was the problem. The second bit of good news was that it was the pistons that were wedged in the bores, the crankshaft and big ends appeared OK. The big end caps were shimmed and would therefore adjust to an acceptable tolerance.
It’s always a challenge to get the pistons out of these older engines as the big end is larger than the bore and the gudgeon pln is never visible above the block.
The pistons have to come downhill past the crankshaft which needs to turn to permit this manoeuvre. The more pistons that are seized the more difficult to dismantle
Machines of this age have Plenty brasswork and this compressor is no exception. All carefully removed for cleaning ready for reassembly.
First on the list was piston rings, 2 compression and 1 scraper ring per piston.
The pistons were 15 thou oversize and we managed to obtain replacements from Cox and Turner of Yeovil. The compression rings were 1/2 depth, needing 2 rings per groove.
The valves were beyond lapping, but attention on the Black and Decker valve refacer gave us an acceptable surface.
A Simms magneto from our “stores” was a perfect match for rotation, centre height and fixing bolts. The points had been removed by a previous owner but our stores came to the rescue once again.
A Simms vernier coupling was purchased and machined to fit.
We needed plastigauge to check big end clearances, eventually compromising on 3-4 thou shell clearance - better not to be too tight.
Balata flat belting for the fan belt from E bay.
UNC/UNF nuts and bolts and for authenticity new Castle Nuts for many of the fixings
The radiator has 4 core sections the bottom tank of the cores are brass and perished , but a quality soldering job should sort that problem
After ascertaining the firing order to be 1, 2, 4, 3. and marking TDC on the flywheel as a timing mark, a quick test run of the engine proved successful.
The Magneto is working well and with excellent oil pressure it is time to move onto blasting and painting
After a Coronavirus delay of several weeks we can tackle the the next phase.
Further stripping down into component parts:- engine, compressor unit, radiator frame, air tank, fuel tank, chassis and all the ancillary items was the first step to improving the appearance of the unit.
Blasting, priming and filling followed by a 2 pack paint job started to make all the hard work so far look worthwhile.
The answer is yes, just a couple of issues.
Engine timing, magneto refitted incorrectly after painting and sorting a few water leaks.
She runs well, good oil pressure and makes air - a satisfying feeling and a big thank you to everyone who contributed.
Just a few snagging items to sort but otherwise a success.
All the finishing touches now complete.
Compressor moved to the display area July 2020.