A Ruston & Hornsby Teaches The Three R's
(Page 9 of 12)
It was now easy to rotate the crankshaft to check for proper
operation of all the gears and valves. I also hand operated the
governor. The valve operation matched with the marks on the right
hand flywheel. All systems were operating properly. At this time I
also checked the clearance between the valve end and pusher
adjusting screw. I made sure it was adjusted to 0.031' for
intake and exhaust.
I was able to use the old head gasket since it was copper clad
and came off in one piece. I did clean up the surfaces with a mild
household powdered cleanser and thorough cleaning. The gasket was
coated on both sides with grease and then slid over the head studs.
Then the head was put in place and the nuts tightened evenly. Again
I turned the flywheels and there was some compression. There were
no major hissing sounds indicating compression leaks.
It was now time to mount the magneto and time it. I had really
agonized over the timing because there were no marks that I could
find to indicate the proper gear mesh. I had mentally devised a
method of rotating the magneto with an electric drill and using a
timing light to indicate when it produced a spark. Then it hit me!
The spark is produced when the points open. All I had to do was
remove the cover on the back of the magneto, rotate the engine to
the 'S' mark on the flywheel and install the gear so the
points were just opening. It worked perfectly. Some final hand
turning to double check the' system operation was performed and
the engine was almost ready for the moment of truth. Would it run?
It only took 1 quarts of oil to fill the crankcase. A new gasket
was made for the rear cover plate and it was fastened into
For a muffler I borrowed one off of one of my other engines and
eventually replaced it with one purchased from an advertiser in
I had not done anything about the fuel tank because the
carburetor is a gravity fed float type with a swing away lid. So on
Halloween night 1995, I filled the carburetor with gasoline (pardon
me, petrol, it is English design), and pulled on the flywheels. Not
a sound! After several attempts and even resorting to starting
fluid. I quit for the time being.
I had recently finished a ? scale model of an 8-cycle Aerometer,
and it too initially would not run. A friend, Merle Morse, scratch
builds models, and he suggested that I turn the model crankshaft at
slow speed with my lathe for several hours without compression. I
did this using lots of oil, and much to my surprise, the model ran
on the first spin of the flywheel. This trick seats the piston
rings, mates the bearing surfaces and wears in the gears.
I decided to try something similar with the Ruston &
Hornsby. Because the engine has v-belt pulleys, I fabricated a
hinged wooden platform with an electric motor mounted on it. I
mounted it across the back of the engine with c-clamps. The weight
of the motor was to keep the belt tight. In Photo 4 you can see the
electric motor mounted on a hinged wooden platform and belted to
the right hand flywheel pulley. After removing the spark plug, I
turned on power. It worked except the electric motor bounced a
little so I strapped the motor down with a cargo strap. I let the
engine run like this for at least six hours. I did attach the spark
plug to the magneto and grounded it to provide a known path to
ground for the spark.
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