This is the question that comes up many times in the mind of the young engineer, when he finds out after a number of fruitless efforts to "get her started," that she will not turn her wheels or "go." Now there is a reason for this condition of affairs when the gas engine refuses to obey the behest of the driver, and I propose in this article to give such plain instructions that the novice may be assisted in starting the gasolene engine.
In the first place, see that the compression is right, admission valve is tight and will admit only enough of the mixture (gasoline and air) to make a charge that will take fire from the sparker and move the piston forward. In the next place see that the sparker is clean and will make a bright spark at white heat when the contact is broken and at the right time. And right here I want to say to you that " in time " means to go if everything else is right, and " out of time " means not to go if everything else is all right.
The valves of the engine must be kept well ground down with emery and oil so as to preclude a possible leak, for this will very seriously weaken the power of the engine even after it has started. The spark must be made when the connecting rod of the engine is on the " up stroke," with the crankshaft about three inches below the horizontal line of the center of the index, and herein lies the whole secret of the greatest efficiency from the least amount of gasoline. As there is an interval of time after the spark is made until it ignites the charge, it is very evident that the movement of the machinery continues and the moment of ignition should take place when the compression is greatest, and this will be when the piston is on its farthest "instroke," i. e., in perfect line with the center of the cylinder. But if the charge be ignited at this point the engine will not develop the greatest power, as the interval spoken of will elapse and the piston will have started on its "out stroke," thereby not getting its full force of the expansive gases, liberated by combustion of the air and gasoline.
Therefore, it will readily be seen that we must allow for the interval spoken of if we would get full returns for the energy we use in propelling the motor. I have tried to make this plain and very easy to understand, and I hope my efforts will help out some experienced or inexperienced gasoline engineer, who has trouble with his engine, either in starting or developing the power at which it is rated.-"The Gas Engine."