This is the story of my Cooper (Stover) KA. I purchased this engine from an ad in TOMM while I was living in the USA. For about two years the engine was passed from friend to friend (members of the Stationary Engine Mailing List) and finally made it to Ron Sullivan's place who held onto it until we could get together at the 2003 Australian National Rally held at Heyfield in Gippsland Victoria. I arrived at the rally to find that Ron had already unloaded the little engine. I was pretty busy helping Puffing Billy set up and then wandering the aisles so I did not get back to the engine until Sunday.
I "borrowed" some fuel, oil and grease from various kind hearted souls in the SEL compound and set the engine up to go. I got it running very easily after working out how things worked. There was a banging noise which sounded like metal whacking on metal. Myself and Edd Payne (the engine whisperer) looked over the engine. Edd discovered that the governor weights for flying out too far hitting the engine frame. He adjusted the governor, spark timing, and exhaust timing to make the engine run nicely. On startup, another banging was noticed (which had been covered by the first) - the big end was so loose that the conrod journal bounced back and forth about 1.5mm on each fire. The nuts were duly tightened up and pinned with cotter pins. Now the engine sounded pretty good, however it was still running unevenly. Turning the engine over by hand I noticed an extreme amount of lash on the exhaust cam. On investigation, the woodruff key which pins the exhaust cam to the shaft was badly worn allowing the cam about 5 degrees of movement. This meant that the exhaust timing was constantly changing. Rather than risk the cam key breaking and perhaps opening the exhaust while the piston was at TDC destroying the engine I shut her down to be dealt with on another day.
I sought repair opinions on list, and eventually settled on machining the peened over metal of the cam shaft down in a lathe, pressing out the shaft, replacing the bad key, and drilling and tapping the shaft for a small bolt and oversized washer. Stan Gunn who lives near my home in Emerald came to the rescue, Stan is a accomplished machinist - his main hobby is restoring motion picture projectors (the giant kind from commercial theatres) but he is also involved in the vintage engine movement. I first met Stan through the Internet when he sent me his recipe for power kerosene a couple of years before meeting him in person. I met him in person at the Puffing Billy museum where we both volunteer. I took the shaft and cam to Stan's home where he made short work of the machining and key replacement - even using one from his own stocks. I've left the unit with him for him to complete when he has a spare moment (thanks Stan!).
Ron Sullivan had a Cooper cast iron base for the engine which looks vastly better than the wooden skids (and I use the term very loosely) that the engine came on. Ron kindly donated this to the cause (thanks!). You can see the base on the ground behind the engine The engine is mounted on its newly painted base. Everything is together just waiting for the cam to be put back in and the timing system to be put back together. When I get it done, and the paint and brass cleaned up I'll post another photo.
The engine has an interesting point, I'm not sure if Cooper renumbered the Stover KA engines when they imported them, or if it has the wrong tag. On the side of the engine in cast letters is Stover Made In USA which I've not seen on other Coopers (but have seen on the Stover in the USA). On the tag is Cooper Engineering. The number on the Cooper tag is KA189163 which makes it a 1927 engine by the serial number list. However, when inspecting the engine for frost cracks (a hard lesson learnt with my Ottawa) I came across the number KA170773 stamped into the engine frame (cylinder/hopper) immediately above the head. This would make the engine a 1925 model. If anyone knows about this, I'd appreciate hearing from them.
One thing for sure, this engine has again demonstrated the value of friends on the Stationary Engine List and clubs - without them, the engine would have had to have been commercially transported and stored, and parts and knowledge sourced the hard way. With the friend factor, the engine is ready to go much sooner than it ever would have been had I been going it alone.