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Hit & Miss Gas Engine Discussion Meet collectors of hit and miss engines, ask questions about collecting, restoring and showing antique flywheel engines.

Hit & Miss Gas Engine Discussion

Flywheel Repair (Columbus)


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  #1  
Old 09-14-2019, 09:56:25 AM
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Default Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Here's 3 shots of the offside flywheel of a 15Hp Columbus.
The spoke is completely free of the rest of the flywheel in the center (other than the bolt) Apparently this was common on split hub Columbus engines.

Looking for repair options (braze, stitch etc) and their benefits specifically safety for running, affect on value of the engine, cost etc.

Jonathan
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:57:03 PM
LCJudge LCJudge is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

JT, I owned that engine for a number of years and debated on what to do about it. I thought about pulling the flywheel and look at brazing or welding. Jerry Abplanalp of KS told me he could repair it and would be glad to tackle it. Sadly Jerry is no longer with us.

I also thought of having it bored and counterbored from the side with the most "beef" into the side with the bolt and then having a 7/16 or so hex head allen screw inserted to lock both parts together. The counterbored area could then be filled and it would mostly an unseen repair.

Another thought I had was to find a heavy pulley, maybe 18" dia, that bolted directly to the spokes. Since there are no pulley lugs or holes for a pulley to attach directly to them, bore the spokes with a rather small bolt size (3/8 to 7/16) and attach the pulley to the spokes. The pulley would add some rigidity to the flywheel and would be a plus to make sure nothing "gives".

Lastly was to pull the flywheel and use it as a pattern to have a new one cast. It would be a bit costly but its an engine worth it. However, I much prefer to use an original item vs. a repo so I was going to look very closely at the first options described before looking at casting.

Before I could ever tackle any of those Greg contacted me and wanted to work up a trade. It ended up in CA and I never touched it.

Greg examined it and said he could never see any movement in the flywheel and decided to leave it as is. While I never ran the engine I know Greg did. If you can detect no movement in the flywheel, I don't believe I'd touch it. With the crack located where it is and it having the bolt pulling all parts together, I don't think it will ever be an issue.

As for safety, I don't see the flywheel exploding or flying apart. And while I did study engineering in my undergrad degree, this is just my "old iron opinion". A great deal of study would have to go in to providing a 100% definitive answer to that question.

As for value, certainly something like this effects the value of an item. If this flaw in the engine hadn't been there I probably would still own it as I would have placed a value on it greater than I did in my trade with Greg and we may never have gotten together on the deal. How much does it effect value? Well, with an engine like that the value rests with what the seller will take and the buyer will pay.......
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:18:41 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

What about machining a heavy ring to slip over the end of the crankshaft and key and drill and tap, bolt the ring to the flywheel casting, it could even step up over the hub farther and closer to the spokes. then stitch the spoke.?
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:37:38 PM
David Hoover David Hoover is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

I’d say a fitted ring, with a mounted pulley and a new properly fitted key would make it safe enough. Is there any signs of cracks at the other end of the spoke. Might be worth also cooking it and stress relieving the rest of it.
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Old 09-14-2019, 04:45:50 PM
Don Selmer Don Selmer is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Sad Iron, I sent you a PM
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Old 09-14-2019, 06:02:25 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

If it's not moving I wouldn't touch it, you can only make it worse if you break the bond. The biggest concern would be if it walked off the crank and took off on it's own. I would put a spot of weld on the crank that it wouldn't walk over in case it comes loose while you're not looking.
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:11:35 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sad Iron View Post
The spoke is completely free of the rest of the flywheel in the center (other than the bolt) Apparently this was common on split hub Columbus engines.
Jonathan
Have you seen any other split hub Columbus engines with broken hubs? I've seen this happen with other double split hub flywheels, but I don't remember seeing any other Columbus engines this way (but I haven't seen them all). The likely cause of this is due to the key being pounded in prior to tightening the hub bolts. The key will expand the hub and then the force tightening of the bolts will split the hub over the top of the key. The key should always be installed after the hub is snugged on to the shaft. You probably know this, but it's a good warning to others!

As for repair methods, it might be best to leave it alone. Weren't you looking into having it stitched?
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:18:11 PM
Rob Charles Rob Charles is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

How about drilling down at an angle thru the opposite side of the broken spoke and thread the hole completely. screw a long 1/2" set screw in with Loctite. That would attach the 2 pieces across the crack . You would need to make a drill guide with a drill bushing in it. Have to do it with a 1/2" hand drill . I am planning on doing this type of repair on a FM standard fw. Rob
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Old 09-15-2019, 01:51:34 AM
Inter Bloke Inter Bloke is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

To run that engine at "home" where you can take precautions and do it safely is fine, but if I was the safety officer at a show and saw a crack like that I would order the engine only be displayed static. I know of three instances where a cracked engine has let go and in one of those the operator was killed. Its a fine project but if you want to use it in public best to get a new flywheel made.

Things don't crack unless they are under strain, so there is always a chance of a catastrophic failure !
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:07:27 AM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Charles View Post
How about drilling down at an angle thru the opposite side of the broken spoke and thread the hole completely. screw a long 1/2" set screw in with Loctite. That would attach the 2 pieces across the crack . You would need to make a drill guide with a drill bushing in it. Have to do it with a 1/2" hand drill . I am planning on doing this type of repair on a FM standard fw. Rob
Rob, that's very similar to the repair I mention with the counterbored screw. It would certainly help connect all the pieces.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:32:27 AM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

A couple comments and observations. The step key is a dead give away this crank/flywheel assembly had issues long before the repair and that the step key was likely a reasonable repair at the time ( pre flywheel hub fracture) to mitigate any looseness that was occurring. Also it sure appears that the crack was there for a long time. Regarding the location of the crack in the flywheel that it photoed: The crack propagates from the loaded side of the keyway (within the flywheel hub) - that is the side the key is pushed into when the engine fires, which is where I would suspect the stress to be the highest. I also agree with Chris Epping, that it is possible the key was driven in after the hub was tightened or the key height was too tall. In this type of double split flywheel mount, there is no need to have a driven key. The thing that the maters the most is to minimize any side to side slop. All this being said, I can assure you that there is some movement of the parts when the engine fires, is it enough to be a concern? Well I have seen the engine run and it does hit hard, but it seems to be stable. I guess the concern is an awareness of the break and a whole list of "what ifs" that going through ones head.
Regarding a repair method. In my humble opinion, I would not drill or tap the flywheel in any way shape or manner, That will do more to weaken the hub than strengthen it. A Possible fix that goes through my head is as follows. 1) Remove the flywheel. 2) make a mandrel the same size as the crankshaft. 3) inset the mandrel and tighten the split bolts. Send to a shop to have the fracture braze repaired. This should introduce very little stress in the hub as you are repairing it in the "attached size" 4) Put the wheels in a VTL and clean the bore until true to the OD a clear cut through out its entire length. Rebroach the keyway to the next largest incremental size. 5) Send the crank to a crank shop and have it built up and turned the same diameter as the flywheel bore. Recut the keyway in the shaft and make a suitable key ( step if needed) that corresponds perfectly with the width of the keyways in the hub and the crank shaft.
I know this is a bit elaborate but it would be a method to save the original wheels.
Risk: 1) The hub is not thick enough from the onset to handle the torque from the crank (Design issue from Columbus) and or 2) There are metallurgical issues subsurface in the hub casting - I have seen many flywheels with scary porosity or stress cracks, especially in the bore of the hub.

Last edited by Wayne Grenning; 09-15-2019 at 08:13:29 PM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 11:36:47 AM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

I'm not saying I'm an expert, but I fix alot of broken, worn out shit at work as a maintenance machinist, and I agree with Wayne Grenning on this. Until the crack is brazed and the crank and flywheel bore are re-machined to establish a proper fit, it will never be right. It will cost some money but on an engine of that caliber it's worth doing it right.
On the other hand, leaving it alone probably would be fine too as long as it's not moving. You're not working the engine and putting high loads on it so the "exploding" flywheel fear shouldn't be there. Maybe retard the spark a bit so it doesnt hit as hard and just puts along.
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:53:37 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Grenning View Post
Regarding a repair method. In my humble opinion, I would not drill or tap the flywheel in any way shape or manner, That will do more to weaken the hub and strengthen it. A Possible fix that goes through my head is as follows. 1) Remove the flywheel. 2) make a mandrel the same size as the crankshaft. 3) inset the mandrel and tighten the split bolts. Send to a shop to have the fracture braze repaired. This should introduce very little stress in the hub as you are repairing it in the "attached size" 4) Put the wheels in a VTL and clean the bore until true to the OD a clear cut through out its entire length. Rebroach the keyway to the next largest incremental size. 5) Send the crank to a crank shop and have it built up and turned the same diameter as the flywheel bore. Recut the keyway in the shaft and make a suitable key ( step if needed) that corresponds perfectly with the width of the keyways in the hub and the crank shaft.
I know this is a bit elaborate but it would be a method the save the original wheels.
Risk: 1) The hub is not thick enough from the onset to handle the torque from the crank (Design issue from Columbus) and or 2) There are metallurgical issues subsurface in the hub casting - I have seen many flywheels with scary porosity or stress cracks in the bore of the hub.
Could step #4 & #5 be skipped if the bore remains clean
after brazing?
But if the keyway is recut, could there be a fillet radius to
reduce the stress riser? Of course the key would have to
be chamfered on mating edges.
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Old 09-15-2019, 03:56:31 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sad Iron View Post
Here's 3 shots of the offside flywheel of a 15Hp Columbus.
The spoke is completely free of the rest of the flywheel in the center (other than the bolt) Apparently this was common on split hub Columbus engines.

Looking for repair options (braze, stitch etc) and their benefits specifically safety for running, affect on value of the engine, cost etc.

Jonathan
Hey, if you decide to scrap the engine, let me know.
Despite the danger, I'd be glad to haul it away for you.
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Old 09-15-2019, 04:12:35 PM
Don Selmer Don Selmer is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Sad Iron, Looks like a job for a good friend of yours, Wayne Grenning to do a Professional repair job with his expertise.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:11:27 AM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Selmer View Post
Sad Iron, Looks like a job for a good friend of yours, Wayne Grenning to do a Professional repair job with his expertise.
Yes! And please show the process with plenty of pictures.
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:03:28 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Would it be possible/practical to make up a connector (i.e., forged flat stock) across the two bolts to anchor across the crack? You would need one each side for balance, and new bolts.

Glad I don't have that problem

David Hughes
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Old 09-17-2019, 02:11:27 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

I'd have a new flywheel cast and machined. Perfect and no worries. Not cheap. but...

WILDPIG
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Old 09-17-2019, 03:04:22 PM
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

Just observations of a non experianced person.
Where would a foundry get their material from to recast the flywheel? some of the cast out there that is imported nowadays is very low grade and would be more apt to crack than the old stuff made from virgin materials. Hopefully there is a source of good quality material.I know when Ford had engine blocks cast for the T100 project,the blocks were of poor quality and the cylinders wore out quickly and had to be sleeved.

If it was welded,it would have to be rebored probably because heat would affect the clearance going back on the crank.
And just looking at it,it appears that step key was the cause of the break in the first place.to big and split it.
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Old 09-18-2019, 07:51:50 PM
Dustin D Ehli Dustin D Ehli is offline
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Default Re: Flywheel Repair (Columbus)

now for a recast I would request they use ductile iron, way better than any old cast I would say
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