Re: [MessaboutW] Re: The Gray Lives!


My Gray is pretty dull compared to some of the machinery at the Brooks
fest: no exposed valve gear (no valves!); no make and break ignition; no
hit or miss governor... Once it's running all it does is "phutt, phutt,
phutt!" with the big flywheel spinning. You can watch the timing gears go
around out in the open air (don't get your fingers caught in them!) and the
ignition timer jumps around a bit because of a worn commutator, buts it's
not the sort of performance that makes you just want to stare at it trying
to figure out how it works.

There were moments of excitement when I first tried starting it though. The
spark comes from a "buzz coil" like model Ts used. Instead of working
itself up to produce one (hopefully) mighty spark at the right moment like
a modern car coil, a buzz coil starts buzzing at the right moment and
produces a continuous stream of sparks until the timer tells it to stop. I
pulled the spark plug to see what kind of spark I could get, turned the
engine over 'til the coil started buzzing, and that plug started hissing
with an arc like a welding machine! Smoke began curling off the end of the
plug as bits of fouling burned off-- it was kinda scary! No problem with
spark, I almost always got a pop of some sort when I bounced the flywheel

The steps when starting the engine cold are to open the priming cup, turn
the engine until the air stops blowing out of the cup; pour some gasoline
into the cup; turn the engine over a few times to suck the gas into the
cylinder (if you weren't all the way to top dead center when you started
some of the gas might blow back out of the cup, as it might also on the
second revolution-- keep a fire extinguisher handy!), you'll know it's all
in there when you hear the engine suck and blow air through the priming
cup; close the priming cup; set the spark advance and throttle levers where
you think they should be; turn on the ignition switch; grab the flywheel by
the rim and rock it slowly in the direction you want the engine to go until
you feel it start to come up against compression (so you have some free
play); take a strong grip on the flywheel (no handle) and pull it sharply
up against compression in the _opposite_ direction than you want the engine
to run; there'll be a "pop" and with luck the engine will spin over
compression in the direction you want it to go, "pop" again, and again, and
again... If not, repeat the above steps as necessary... It's definitely
going to take some practice to get the hang of the process.

Roger Fletcher seems like a nice fellow, I talked with him a bit at the
Depoe bay festival.

On Sat, 18 Aug 2001 15:36:52 -0000, Pat wrote:
I have no life.
I had a dream last night about you trying to start your Gray.
It was kind of a cross between starting an engine and trying
to set off cannon. Lots of sparks and fire. In the dream
you finally got it going.
The Brooks show was my first exposure to those engines.
And what an exposure. I think I could have spent hours
watching just one of them, trying to figure out how they
do all the amazing things they do.
Very cool.
I accidentally ran into Roger Fletcher in the parking lot of the
Molalla Sentry Market.
John <>
There are two means of refuge from the misery of life - music and cats.
<Albert Schweitzer>

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