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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

Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft


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  #1  
Old 12-07-2018, 11:57:06 AM
lineshaft lineshaft is offline
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Default Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Asking for a friend.... He has a super nice, beautiful original paint, best looking you could dream for 1 1/2hp Woodpecker with the worst problem, a broken crankshaft. I can't see welding it, never get it straight again & even if you did, it would probably break somewhere else. Anybody ever done a Franken-engine? What are the chances of finding another crankshaft that would fit? Anybody have a 1 1/2 Woodpecker crank for sale?
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Old 12-07-2018, 02:44:30 PM
Tony Glaser Tony Glaser is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

I can't help with your problem but I wish you luck in finding one! That is a really nice original engine!!
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Old 12-07-2018, 03:49:32 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Exclamation Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Typical problem with the Woodpeckers when people try and run the engine slow. Torsional stresses break the crank. The original crank was cast, not hardened. 'Woodpecker' John Smith was supposed to have some new ones forged, as he had 3 of these engines with busted cranks. All had run at reduced speeds when their cranks broke. If you have a Woodpecker, DO NOT RUN IT SLOW!

The problem is that when in service, it would only hit hard for the first few revolutions. Once the engine got to working speed, stress was greatly reduced, unless you greatly lugged the engine. Remember, a hit and miss engine lets flywheel inertia do the work. The engine only fires once in a while to keep the speed up. When you slow the engine to 'show speeds', you are increasing the power and duration of the high stress time applied to the crank, to re-accelerate the flywheels back up to speed. End result - the crank throw accelerates faster than the flywheels, causing the throws to twist. After that, metal fatigue catches up and guess what - busted crank. You can plainly see the metal crystallization at the break site. Again, typical for these engines, when slowed.

You might try and take the busted crank to a machine shop, and see if a new one could be machined from stock and hardenned. Not sure what a forged crank would go for. I would not weld the crank for use - there probably are more stress fractures other than the place where it broke, and quality of original metal is unknown.

A few years ago, there were several threads on the Woodpecker crank problem. Not sure if they found a source for new cranks, but you might try the Stak archives for the posts.
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Old 12-12-2018, 10:42:47 AM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Send a private message to J.B. Castagnos in Louisiana. He''s a Stake regular, and a crankshaft miracle worker. Probably can find all archived threads he''s started here will contain much info and inspiration for you. Also various threads showing this to be common on Woodpeckers, as Andrew mentioned. Be happy it didn't destroy the engine.
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Old 12-12-2018, 02:35:08 PM
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Go check out the hercules gas engine works thread, its about 4 threads below yours right now. He had a missing crank, and had a machinist fab one up. Im sure that same machinist would have no problem making one for this woodpecker!
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Old 12-12-2018, 08:32:19 PM
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Gene Fisher Gene Fisher is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Can the throw arms be bored out and a new center pressed in. I know some cranks are made in three pieces?
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Old 12-13-2018, 10:50:44 AM
Mitch Malcolm Mitch Malcolm is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

I would weld that crank back together, build up the bearing surfaces and have a new one cast out of ductile iron with nickel added. machine and install.
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Old 12-18-2018, 01:22:13 PM
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Thank you for the great replys! Seems to me he needs a new crankshaft machined. Would be better to do nothing than risk another crank failure with possibly worse damage. He's lucky only the crank broke! (and nobody got hurt!!)
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:21:10 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

I think the Woodpecker is under new ownership, I received the crank for repairs. The first picture shows the broken crank, it was cracked for a while judging from the polished areas in the break. The second picture shows it prepped for welding, V'ed out the good side and re welded in case it was cracked. In the third picture the face of one side has been ground out, welded, faced off and placed in a jig for tacking, the bolt is to keep the spacing correct. I put it in the lathe and zeroed it in and had it welded, left an area of the original pin for reference . It pulled a little but I was able to straighten it enough where it will run without having to turn the mains. The fourth picture shows it being rough ground, the pin area was then welded and it was put back in the grinder for finish grind. last picture shows the finished crank.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:22:24 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Finished crank.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:27:58 PM
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

In this picture you can see the polished areas of the break, it ran for a while cracked.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:57:49 PM
Tracy T Tracy T is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

you done one fine job JB!
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:13:42 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

My friend and my brother do crack repair welding for a metalock company, my brother was off in Indiana welding when I was in Portland. Friend has confidence in the repair.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:32:15 PM
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Rich Mueller Sr Rich Mueller Sr is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

I know the feeling you had when that let go!! My 3hp Challenge hourglass let go the last show of 2017, kinda took the wind out of my sails to for awhile, I had one machined out of a billet steel by a fellow staker CK Klousner , last name not spelled right Chris , sorry, but it turned out REALLY GOOD,. Will I ever see the money I spent, not that bad, from others I was told, Chris helped me, NO but it will run at my funeral and wake , I hope by someone!! Not about money on some things.. But as I was looking close at that crank, it looked the same, torsion might do that , but I think the crank was cold poured or had some flaw in metal also, REALLY glad it broke as well as my Challenge did, on the gov side, right hand cam gear on Challenge, or it would have thrown the gov wide open and total destruction. Kind of wondering if the crank was a problem with 3 hp Hourglass engines, as they are a sweet all day runner, with a butt load of compression and power, I have been running mine all summer, with old crank at shows and many have seen it, and say looks like a bad pour, mine has shiny spots to, but was from when left wheel stopped solid, with piston attached and gov side just bang ,bang … and stopped, I cant write what I said, Harry would defiantly would throw me out of here. If the piston and rod would have been attached to gov side wheel end, I am POSITIVE, it would have self destructed. Curious about those Woodpecker cranks to, do they have a emblem cast into them, that looks like it could have been casted by the same Co. at the time, I read something a LONG time ago somewhere, about a lot of companies would buy the cranks out of house, and just machined them, glad you got it going again...tired or I would look up thread and put on here to, might try to get a good picture and put on later..
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:09:45 PM
J.B. Castagnos J.B. Castagnos is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

The cranks aren't cast they're forged.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:10:16 AM
Peter Holmander Peter Holmander is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Nice work !! The repaired crank looks perfect.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:37:53 PM
Kevin O. Pulver Kevin O. Pulver is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Very Impressive J.B! Thanks for sharing.
Are these a different material than other brands, or why do they seem to have a reputation for breaking?
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:25:13 PM
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

Probably several reasons for breaking, as mentioned earlier slow running with a hit and miss, you get a full explosion against a heavy resistance. A throttle governed engine is running with manifold vacuum so you don't get a full charge, a small explosion every other rev. Metallurgy probably has something to do with it, I don't have a way to check it. The long stroke would reduce the strain on the throws but make it more likely to flex in the pin.
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:35:10 PM
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

removed one post.

Last edited by J.B. Castagnos; 09-09-2019 at 08:26:24 PM. Reason: duplicate post
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:12:14 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Woodpecker Hit Miss Engine Broken Crankshaft

That break was typical for the woodpecker cranks. Stres fracture for sure i hope the welding process has anealed and relieved the stresses or the break will re-appear. i also hope the owner is running the engine at speed, not slowed.
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