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Hit & Miss Gas Engine Discussion

Sticking Piston Problem


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  #1  
Old 07-09-2019, 10:07:30 AM
forney00c forney00c is offline
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Default Sticking Piston Problem

This summer, I ran into a problem I've never had before on any of my engines and it kind of has me stumped. I took my family's 1918 6 HP Fair bank to a show where it ran all day with no major issues.

After stopping the engine and letting it sit a while, the piston stuck in the bore. While it was running, it had about 10 drops per minute coming from the cylinder oiler.

I was able to get it to roll again, but only after stepping onto one of the flywheel spokes with my full weight and pulling the flywheel. Apparently my dad and uncles had the same issue with it once before and had to use a cheater bar to turn it over. Any ideas as to why it would spin over fine, run fine and then stick?
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Old 07-09-2019, 10:20:30 AM
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Rich Mueller Sr Rich Mueller Sr is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

By any chance the gasoline had been in the tank for a LONG time?? Had a 8 muleteam with nasty gas in the tank, next morning I had to use a pipe wrench and 10 ft cheater bar on it and about a can of choke cleaner to unstick the piston that was super glued to cyl!! Also a 13/4 United ac got gas left in a tank, it done it to but not as much drama, I have read some oils will react with some gasoline that has alcohol in it and will act like super glue to, just a idea to think about...
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:19:57 AM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Just a guess but could the rings/grooves be carboned up? Has anyone ever had this issue when running engines with little or no load?
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:57:05 AM
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Joel Mosley Joel Mosley is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Hi Christian,

I am in Rich's corner on this without being there to diagnose the problem. If the fuel is old and varnished, stuck parts can be the result. When warm, the varnish remains soft. When the engine cools, the varnish sets up an the piston, valves and ignitors can stick. You may need to drain and clean the tank. I have used E-85 to remove the varnish residue from the tank. It does a good job of that and it is cheap. I am sure there are other automotive solvents that work as well. Just don't run it through the engine.

Joel
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:21:55 PM
Kirk Taylor Kirk Taylor is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by forney00c View Post
This summer, I ran into a problem I've never had before on any of my engines and it kind of has me stumped. I took my family's 1918 6 HP Fair bank to a show where it ran all day with no major issues.

After stopping the engine and letting it sit a while, the piston stuck in the bore. While it was running, it had about 10 drops per minute coming from the cylinder oiler.

I was able to get it to roll again, but only after stepping onto one of the flywheel spokes with my full weight and pulling the flywheel. Apparently my dad and uncles had the same issue with it once before and had to use a cheater bar to turn it over. Any ideas as to why it would spin over fine, run fine and then stick?
I am with Rich and Joel on this one. I have, numerous times, seen gasoline varnish glue a piston to the cylinder wall. We saw it mostly shortly after the introduction of ethanol-laden gasoline, here. The old varnish in the fuel tanks was quite stable with non-ethanol gasoline. However, the ethanol will, and did, dissolve the varnish and deposit it throughout the engine. As you noticed on your engine, everything seemed fine until the next day. I have seen it also with a clean tank but really stale gasoline. Again, the varnish is held in solution until it gets deposited in the engine during running.
Inspect and clean the fuel system, especially the tank, with alcohol or an alcohol-containing solvent blend, then re-fill with fresh gasoline. We had a 6hp Fairbanks Morse with more than ¼" of varnish in the tank. We didn't know it until the piston stuck one day. It took a lot of soaking to get that mess cleaned up.
We always run our engines out of fuel at the end of the season so there is no rotten gasoline the following year.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:42:20 PM
Bill Hazzard Bill Hazzard is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

We have that problem with a Mietz & Weiss at Rough and Tumble but it does not seem to hurt anything.
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:12:26 PM
WildPig WildPig is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

My Dad had that problem until I got him to convert to my standard operating procedure.

I stay away from this problem by using fuel that contains no alcohol and using detergent oil. I know others who may disagree but that combination works for me.

WILDPIG
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:31:13 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Sticking Piston Problem

I am with the other guys - possibly stale fuel. a can of injecter cleaner in a full tank of FRESH gas should clean it out. What oil are you using? Should be SAE 30, not multigrade. Multigrade oxidises on the cylinder and could cause stiction. Detergennt oil probably wont help, since it is a once and done appliction (constant loss oiling) Hhave a look at the piston when the engine is running. Does it look wet? If not, you need more oil

Fairbanks engines tend to run better under load. They tend to gum up if just idled all the time. You need to run it under a load once in a while to get all the carbon and gum out. I used an oak 2x4 about 5 feet long to load my engine. Place one end in the ground under the flywheel and ift up, letting the rim of the flywheel ride on the oak. Pry upwards until the engine barks pretty good and hold it for 5 or 6 minutes. That will hheat things up and clean the rim at the same time! You probably will have to have someone adjust the fuel mixture when you do this, under load requirements are different than just ifling (leaner)
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Old 07-09-2019, 02:58:51 PM
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

I had the same problem with my OHIO push rod engine. What a bear to get the piston out, and when I did the rings were stuck in the groves, and the piston & cylinder were like real sticky-STICKY molasses. I cleaned it all up and its now loose, again. Must be the multi grade oil I use in addition to the E85. Going to start using straight weight oil and see what happens. I also noticed my 6HP Famous seems tight, but the big flywheels initially overcome the stick-ton issue. Sure am having "FUN" , even in NJ on the way through .

see post 13 of this thread.
https://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=142628
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Old 07-09-2019, 04:14:43 PM
forney00c forney00c is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

You know, I'll bet you guys are right on the old fuel. There was some older fuel in it and the drain plug for the tank would not come out, so we added some fresh fuel on top of it, figuring we would just burn it all out.

I've been using straight 30 weight non detergent oil. After we ran the tank out, I added fresh fuel without ethanol and some fuel stabilizer.
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Old 07-09-2019, 04:34:27 PM
Merv C Merv C is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

I have had this problem with my 1908 Hornsby Hot Bulb This engine had run all its life on lighting kerosene. Some of the guys here run there hot bulb Blackstone's on diesel. I thought I would try the Hornsby on diesel. Twice. Both times the piston stuck in the bore as soon as I turned it off. It ran fine on diesel but it is now back on kerosene with no issues.

Merv.

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Old 07-09-2019, 05:22:35 PM
Larry G. Larry G. is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Some interesting comments here on the piston sticking problem. I had the same problem with a Stover K on a cement mixer. It hadn't been run for a long time. Whenever fresh gas was poured in the tank it dissolved all the leftover crap. That was a take apart deal in the end to get running.

Larry G.
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Old 07-09-2019, 05:35:45 PM
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Tim B Tim B is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Ditto on the old gasoline. I had a Stover lock up on me at a show. I had to physically scrap the shellac off of the cylinder wall.
Also I had an older Briggs valves stick on non detergent 30wt oil twice.
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:02:01 AM
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by forney00c View Post
You know, I'll bet you guys are right on the old fuel. There was some older fuel in it and the drain plug for the tank would not come out, so we added some fresh fuel on top of it, figuring we would just burn it all out.

I've been using straight 30 weight non detergent oil. After we ran the tank out, I added fresh fuel without ethanol and some fuel stabilizer.
The 8 Muleteam I had just bought, they had the wrong igniter in it, and the tank, that, is in the base must have had about 1or2 gallons in it, no drain, and I wasn't about to try to get the fuel line out of the tank and twist it off, 2, 90 elbows for tank inlet and no way to suck it out with anything. I done the same and put fresh gas on top of old, and had to use a 12 volt BB battery on it, a 6 volt wouldn't fire it , it was so bad , you couldn't stand to be in the shop very long, next day after it super glued the piston I got 2 cans of Berrymans and a couple more cans of choke cleaner and run it. It had bad wrist pin , so when I jerked the piston out, the inside of the cyl at head end, looked like roofing tar in there, I haven't had to good of luck with seafoam on igniter engines, I guess it doesn't have good enough spark to set it off good, Berrymans is good stuff if you can find it, seems everyone quit selling it in my area. I have had intake valves stick to, and exhaust overnight on other engines that had no bad gas in the tank , a reason I ALWAYS make sure valves are free to move every morning at a show, before fire up..
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:31:30 AM
AussieIron AussieIron is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

Had a similar problem once or twice with a twin new way. Would run fine then it got tight when stopped. I found if I turned the oilers on for a few drops when stopped, it freed up. Wasn't lack of oil, had plenty of oil while running. I think it was just a tight ring, it's fine now after running in. Have you replaced rings lately? Cheers, Neil.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:06:01 AM
forney00c forney00c is offline
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Default Re: Sticking Piston Problem

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Had a similar problem once or twice with a twin new way. Would run fine then it got tight when stopped. I found if I turned the oilers on for a few drops when stopped, it freed up. Wasn't lack of oil, had plenty of oil while running. I think it was just a tight ring, it's fine now after running in. Have you replaced rings lately? Cheers, Neil.
The rings haven't been replaced recently. My grandpa restored the engine, sold it to a local collector, and then bought it back on that collector's auction in the early 90s. It sat in the corner of the shop as long as I can remember, not running until I showed interest and got it going a couple years ago. I'm not sure if the rings were replaced during the restoration, or if grandpa just got it running with the spark plug conversion and put a nice coat of paint on it.
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