Reference info, tips, & links

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Here's some reference info & tips that were useful while working on my engine: -The Taylor Vacuum Engine registry

?? -Denis Rouleau's brief history of the Taylor Vacuum Engine -Denis Rouleau's online Taylor A Manual, including parts diagram -Denis Rouleau's online Taylor C Manual, including parts diagram -Wico magneto info at Harry's Old Engine site -FAQ hosted by Steam Engine of Australia- info on oiling, maintenance,  operation, & restoration. -Archive keyword search for the SmokStak old engine discussion board -Hit and Miss Enterprises, antique gas engine parts, has a downloadable catalog, etc. -Lee Pedersen's online catalog of oilers, wire, ignition parts, gas tanks, literature.  I always wind up buying something at his booth each year at the Canandaigua, NY show.  A nice, helpful guy. -scan of Sandwich engine manual- good general engine care & info, incl. Wico magneto -scan of Hercules engine manual- good general engine care & info  -Gas Engine Magazine article describing the history of the Taylor Vacuum Engine -The "slow running engine" thread from the Smokstak bulletin board (as submitted to Gas Engine Magazine)- this was *amazing* info for me.  It really helped me understand the relationship between engine timing and rated/normal running speed.  Basically, it's possible to destroy your engine if you don't make adjustments to the spark timing while adjusting the governor speed adjusting screw.  Quite an eye-opener.  In summary: you'd better back off on the spark advance if you're trying to make the engine run slow or it'll kick itself so hard the crankshaft, flywheels, or gears will break.  
I also now understand how somebody can break an arm when using a starting crank handle- if you forget to retard the spark when starting the engine, it could fire at say 35 degrees before TDC, but if you aren't turning the flywheel fast enough when this happens (not enough inertia to keep spinning by itself), it could kick BACKWARDS, swing the crank around and hurt you.

Book: The Small Single-Cylinder Gas Engine, F.B. Wright (a reprint from Hit & Miss Enterprises)  
This is an EXCELLENT booklet, explaining all the details of small open-crank gas engines, 4 cycle operation, how hit and miss governors work, how to take apart, reassemble, and time the engine, all in 51 pages.  I bought this years before I got my first engine, and it's taught me a lot.

Book: Farm Gas Engines and Tractors, Fred R. Jones, 4th ed., c. 1963

Book: Traction Farming and Traction Engineering, James H. Stephenson, c.1917

Book: Farm Engines and How to Run Them, James H. Stephenson (c. 1903, but still available via reprint)

Book: American Gasoline Engines Since 1872, C.H. Wendel, c.1983, pub. 1994

Wico_EK_OM.pdf -scan of "Complete Instructions and Parts List for Care and Operation of Type EK Wico Magnetos"

Keywords to find more information on the web: "gas engine", "stationary engine", "farm engine", "hit and miss", "hit & miss", "gasoline engine"

Search your local library's catalog for the keywords mentioned above.  Large, main branch libraries usually have books from the early 1900s with lots of period information.

How to use grease cups: "Where grease cups are used the caps or plungers should be screwed down at least two turns each hour.  If a small quantity of graphite, about one tablespoonful to one pound of grease is used, one full turn of the cap or plunger each hour will be sufficient.  The graphite and grease should be thoroughly mixed before filling the cup." -from Traction Farming and Traction Engineering, by James H. Stephenson, M.E., c.1917.

A person needs only two tools:  WD-40 and duct tape.  
If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40.  If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.

Pipe size vs. actual measured dimensions- see chart at


This page was instantiated Oct. 14, 2004, and last updated June 14, 2012
Text copyright 2004-2012.