Jerrys Old Engines in South Africa

Witte CD Diesel 12 H.P. S/N 25751 Mnfrd. approx. 1948.
29th November 2007

This engine followed me home yesterday. Although much bigger than what I normally collect this engine was given to me and it's not done to "look a gift horse in the mouth".

It's a pretty heavy lump and although we thought that it was siezed solid when we collected it the trip home (held by ropes through the flywheels) loosened it !  It appears that there may still be a bit of dirt or something near the top of the  cylinder and we have not tried to  turn it past that point yet for fear of damaging the top ring. The valves are both loose and the inside of the crankcase looks to be perfect - it still had oil in it and there is no sign of rust inside the engine.

It appears that a pump (I'm not sure if it's for oil or diesel fuel) is missing (last pic below) and a few other minor bits 'n pieces.

I have no other information on this engine and would like to know the following:
A) Where can I find a parts or operators manual?
B) Does anyone know if the serial number is stamped anywhere on the engine - there is evidence of a missing tag at the back of the engine on the cast iron base - (is this the diesel fuel tank or is it a lubricating oil tank?).
C) Does any one know any other owner of an engine like this who would be prepared to correspond with me and give me info on the engine.

Thanks for looking.

Update 13th March 2010:

A lot has happened since I last updated this page:

i) Ron Haskell from California kindly posted me a copy of the engine manual and I managed to identify all the missing parts and these were ordered from David Johnson in the USA . They arrived more than a  year ago.

ii) I had the diesel injector and pump reconditioned and callibrated professionally (this was before I was given a CAV Diesel Injector callibrator).

iii) The stuck piston was removed and there was very ltlle wrong with it - just some dirt that had entered through an open valve and was lying in the cylinder and preventing the piston from going all the way to the top. No Rust or pitting in the bore. I also had new rings made by Godwin and Sons in Johannesburg

iv) There is a small problem with the big end bearing but my mate Justin says that he can fix it.

v) I need to make new "tappets" for the rocker arms and have them hardened as the old ones are badly worn. The rocker arm shaft which at first appeared to have worn out it's bushings had actually just slipped out of the bushings and when put back into place appears to be fine.

vi) I need to make a decompressor lever but this will be easy as David Johnson also supplied me a drawing for this.


Now, to the present (March 2010):

About 2 weeks ago I received an e-mail from someone in the area where the engine came from - he is an old engine guy and was "cleaning up". He had, amongst other things, an original parts manual for this engine as well as the original packing/shipping documents for 2 of these engines to South Africa. My heart rate hit the roof (but another "Brandy & Coke" stabilised it). Would it not be fantastic if these shipping documents (dated around 1948/9) were actually for my engine? There were not many Witte CD's brought to South Africa - being part of the British Commonwealth most of our engines came from Britain.

      I took the plunge and decided to drive to the "Big City" and collected the documents (as well as a box full of other old manuals, pamphlets and similar stuff).

       Wow! What a find. The documents consist of  "Packing Slips", "Parts Price List"  and installation drawings for the exact engine that I have - not only that but they were still in the original brown kraft envelope supplied by "Witte Engine Works". I'm very excited by the fact that these documents may actually be for my engine - there are so many reasons why they may be so - the engines described in the documents are identical to mine - the dates tie up perfectly - the area they come from (documents and engine) is the same and as mentioned previously - not too many of these engines came to South Africa.

      My engine was missing it's nameplate and I've tried to find a serial number stamped onto the engine for a long time without success. Well, the "Parts Price List" answered that question - the front cover states "look for the serial no on the nameplate and under the crankcase cover". I took the cover and gasket off today and sure enough, there it was as clear as anything. No. 25751. (See pic below). The No. allowed me to date my engine  to somewhere between 1947 and 1949 (probably 1948). This ties up very well with the date on the packing slip !!

    The packing slip does not mention a Serial Number but does have a "Job Number" and is dated 26th January 1949. I've written to David Johnson, the Witte historian and hope that he can cast more light on the subject.

     For now, I've added a few pics below. Click here to go straight to them. (As usual, click on the thumbnail to see a bigger version)

Here are the pictures

Click on any pic to see a larger version - use your "back" button to return


witte1.jpg
Side View
witte2.jpg
Angled front view
witte3.jpg
Casting No. behind flywheel.
witte4.jpg
View from the other side
witte5.jpg
Crankcase cover casting No.
witte6.jpg
Maybe missing Serial No. tag ?
witte7.jpg
Big End closeup view
witte9.jpg
Crankcase cover off
witte10.jpg
Missing Pump ??



A scan of the "Packing List". The date 26th January 1949 is just visible in the top left hand corner.


The cover of the "Parts Price List"


Showing where the Serial No. is stamped under the crankcase cover.


Engine layout


The cooling tank layout.


The original Witte envelope - it sure seems to be in better shape than me after 60 years!!




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