Restoration Notes: A Day in the Life of a Railway Museum.

Saturday, July 31, 1999

The Engine Runs!! — an update from Bryan Reese

You will be interested to know that the M.177's Winton engine ran today. I finally realized that the Nash distributors we were using were designed to run in the opposite direction from our original EMC's. This presented two problems: first, the lobes on the breaker cam were in the wrong place, and second, the distributor cap needed to have the wires rearranged.

The first item had a simple solution. I setup the engine for 30° t.d.c. as designed, then disconnected the distributor gearbox and reset the coupling so the rotors were lined up with #7, but this time with the opposite end of the rotor aligned.

This, then, caused the rotor to be "backward" from the original. You may recall that the ends of the rotor are not 180° opposite, but instead 160°, in order that the second set of contacts could be located between all the others. Now, they are in effect 200° apart. In other words, half the wires are 40° off, in a counter-clockwise direction. Confused yet? It took me a lot of head scratching and pencil sharpening to work it all out.

With the adjustments made, I turned on the fuel pump and the ignition, and hit the air starter. With no problem at all, it took off and ran at, I would guess, about 200 to 250 rpm. Not very loud, either. A lot of people didn't even notice it was running. In the engine room it's just not quite quiet enough to speak over.

A few glitches: we started throwing a whole lot of oil out from around the governor shaft, and there were quite a number of small leaks around the radiator, but the water leaks were minor enough that the engine could probably have run a half-hour or more before the level got too low. An oil pipe union just above the reservoir leaks a lot, so I'm going to have to replace it.

After we shut down the Baldwin and cleaned the oil off the floor of the motorcar, naturally Linda Barth (the boss!) showed up. After much begging and pleading, we ran it one more time for her benefit. More mess to clean up!

After all the leaks are fixed, I'll fine tune the timing and the mixture. It seems to run better on one set of breakers than the other, for example. What's more, we still have no spark on the exhaust side of the engine. Guess we'll ultimately have to go with a set of four automotive spark coils and put them in a box that looks like the original.


Charley AtkinsE-mail questions and comments to SCSRA Dispatcher
Copyright (c)1999. The Southern California Scenic Railway Association Inc.