Here at last is your SESQUI. Not before time do I hear you say? Well I've heard the same sentiments from the bank manager for the last two years. Enyway, thanks for your patience. Now that the pipe-dream has become reality I thought you'ld like to know some of the vicissitudes of a mug's venture into the cold hard world of production engineering.
As meny of you know, all my training has been in what the academics call the humanities, so when I started this little caper I couldn't tell a hawk from a handsaw, let alone a slot drill from an end mill. I probably still don't know much about eny of the four except some of them cost more if you break one. Enyway Sesqui looked large before the cuts in the tech courses clamped down, and thanks to Dick and Lionel, I had a happy year making swarf, about a 200 litre drum of it (44 gallons if you're old world) and very little else except the same mistakes several times over. Not all opsimaths are slow-learners-just this one.
Gordon Burford was the sine qua non in the venture. We looked at all sorts of machinery in numerous auctions, used and new machinery houses, private sellers, Govt disposals. You name it we looked at it. Burf and I would foray forth and look at a Ward or Herbert 2A or 2d or whatever. To my untrained eye ear and hand it would seem OK. What about this one then I'd ask to which Gordon's inevitable reply would be 'How big is your boat'? It was beneath my dignity to ask him what he ment. The penny finally dropt but only on the seventh occasion or something.
The penny also dropt that we weren't going to buy a used hand-op Capstan, that we certainly couldn't afford CNC nor even a good auto lathe. Thank heven for the Taiwanese. Line Huang make a superb Capstan, the L30, that's 30mm or 1-1/2" through the spindle. The spindle is the other end from the tailstock, I think. And we'll buy four drill presses ses Gordon. Four I yelp, what for? How meny holes in a conrod asks Burf. Two I reply gessing wildly. And how do you make them? Sometimes Burf can be relentless. Oh I see we do need four I say. It's a flat lie, but Burf is alredy making conrods in his hed. Drill the big end, drill the little end, ream the big end, ream the little end, wattaya wannado, change the drill after every ten rods or what? We buy four drill presses. For conrods. And a power press fifteen tonner. For conrods. And four thousand feet of high tensile 7/16 ally bar Not 11 mm mate. 7/16 of then old fashioned things. This bar is old old. Like Ministry of Defence 1942. Good stuff. For conrods. Twenty six operations in a conrod ses Gordon. I can see he's alredy designing the jigs and tooling. In his hed. It arrives about six weeks later. All for conrods. And a Bridgeport Mill that's too big to come in eny other way except over the roof of the house on a forty ton crane. Don't those nylon slings stretch. I'm glad Vera is out. Drop a tonne and a half of Mill from that height and it sure is likely to dent the china cabinet. The slings don't break. The Mill is safely in place. For conrods.
We visit Demco, one of the oldest, most honest firms in Australia. They've imported this superb cylindrical grinder. No, not for con rods, for grinding gudgeon pins (wrist pins if you insist) Cars, trucks and motor bikes, outboards, mowers, chainsaws etc. Marvellous. But it's just a fraction too small for a Kenworth or Mac, and that's where most of the work is for trucks, not cars. The price is slashed. No buyers. Demco ship it to NZ. Cold wether apparently does not shrink Kenworth or Mac Gudgeon pins by eny appreciable amount. The Enzedders won't buy it either. Demco ship it back and slash the price to less than half. We'll have that ses Gordon. Don't tell me - for conrods. No ses Burf, cylinders, pistons, contra-pistons, shafts, and drum valves, very useful size. Couldn't be better if we'd ordered it to fit. The guy from Decco is too nice to do enything but wince slightly.
Borg-Warners are closing Marrickville and transferring to Seven Hills. It's a cold miserable day for the auction. The bidders are dispirited. We get fifteen chairs, and twenty steel wastepaper baskets for nineteen dollars. And a bench and four inch vice for fifteen. And there's this odd looking machine. Not in the list. Arrived this morning, ses the Auctioneer. Bet it's faulty ses the crowd. Does it work asks one. As is ses the auctioneer. What's it worth I ask Gordon. Twelve big ones he ses. Talk our money I insist. Six hundred, it's mechanically perfect, the motors aren't burnt, but they wouldn't have dumped it here unless it was crook. Bet its the switch gear. Get a couple of hundred for the magnetic chuck and the two motors if we can't get it to go. The smart money drops out at $100. The only other bidder and I push each other in fives. He wavers at 165 but bids agen. I push him immediately to 175. He takes a long time to make it 180. I immediately bid 185. The auctioneer doesn't want to waste eny more time on it. He knocks it down while the guy is still doing sums in his hed. We get it home for another $70. Its hevy. And of course it doesn't work. My eighty-two year old sparks Dad runs his 415 test lamp over it. Pull out that wire there he orders. I do. It's broken half an inch inside the insulation. Tricky one ses Dad. Somedays it would be sure to run no trouble. Other days it would act up. Pull it through and reconnect. No trouble since. It's done all the of the pistons, shortened all the crank-pins and gudgeon pins to length. We try for a hone. Gordon sold his for five-hundred dollars. The same buyer hasn't done enything to it but he ses it's now worth $5000. Not bad appreciation on your money. We buy a Sunnen for the same money. Every cylinder is hand honed to match each piston. So if you want a replacement cylinder or piston you have to have both. Sorry 'bout that - we just don't match Cox. But we're still here. So far.
I hope all this will serve as advice to those who are about to embark on making their own motors. Go ahed by all means, but realise what you're getting into. Remember Gordon Burford, Gig Eifflander, Duke Fox, et al got into the act when a weeks wage for a motor, an ordinary plain-bearing lapped piston motor, was the going rate. If you can get a day's wage for the same motor today you're doing well. Gordon and Duke learned the hard way, but they were born at the right time. They plowed back the profits, improved their methods and over-capitalised themselves beyond belief. True pioneers. You can't have the same deal. If you're interested in the ego trip, then make a dozen off, jobbing out what you don't have the machinery for. Or form a co-op where you value each part as a percentage of the total cost for a completed motor, and pay each other pro-rata. Write me if you're interested. Always interested in learning there's still some fellow amentians out there. Wanna make rods and nva's? We didn't!
On the Sesqui it's as good as I can do, which is always short of what YOU could have done. A few comments might be of use. If you want to pull the motor down, by all means do so. We've supplied the Allen key. Take off the hed, remove the backplate, withdrawing the liner which is a snug fit, not a force fit. A pair of multygrips on the flange shouldn't butcher enything, but make sure piston is at bdc. With the liner out it's comparatively easy to walk the big end off the pin. We found twenty-past-four seemed best for this, and for replacement. That's why the under side of the pin is ground away. The rod is a fixture in the piston because the gudgeon is a force fit. It will come out if you push the right way, but we weren't orginised enough to assemble all them the same way, so have no clue which way is which. Frankly, by the time the rod is gone, a new cylinder-piston fit will be needed, hence the procedure. If you want to take the ball races out, warm the case in the kitchen oven to about 250F. They were put in gently to avoid squeezing and should fall out at this temp. Use gloves. The races are 5mm and 7mm standard, current list price is $6.20 but we can supply them at about half.
The cylinder-piston fit is as tight as we can fit it and still get it to function. We rebuilt meny motors after initial running because the fit was not what we'ld want in our motor. If you want to find out how tight they are initially, order one un-run! The drum valve port is south and west on bdc if the carb is upright. If you want the carb reversed, you must rotate the dron through 180 first. This of course puts the window north and east on bdc, as you look at it from the back in each case of course. Surprisingly, we could measure no difference in revs with the motor sucking all that dirty exhaust back down its throat. Your motor might be fussier. Our best specimens turned 17800 on a Taipan 7x4 using Haworth brew. The worst were 15000. Don't ask me how to make them all 17500. Give me another $250000 and I can. Best of luck, and thanks for your tolerance and support.
Gordon B and Ivor F.