It is the usual thing for the average purchaser of a gasoline engine to hunt up some corner in which to put his engine so as to be out of the way. Now this is one of the biggest and most expensive mistakes one can make, for as soon as some small screw gets loose in the far corner, the engine, salesman and manufacturer are consigned to a warm place, simply because the present owner has not left enough room to make any small adjustment necessary in every engine and and piece of machinery; therefore it pays always to install the engine in a light, dry place, easy of access and with sufficient space all round it to handily reach all parts and give plenty of room for turning the fly-wheels in starting. Whenever possible, place the engine on the ground floor. If placed on an upper floor the necessary provision should be made to avoid vibration from the engine; if installed in the basement place it in the best light.
Without a good foundation an engine may be expected to give more or less trouble from vibration as it is subjected to forces, suddenly and repeatedly exerted, which produce violent reactions on the foundations. Care should be taken to excavate down to good soil and to line the bottom with a substantial thickness of concrete in order to form a single mass of artificial stone. The foundations then may be built up of either concrete, brick or stone. Anchor plates should be extended to the bottom of the masonry and fastened so as to prevent turning while screwing up the nuts. Place gas pipes or tubes with an inside diameter twice the diameter of the bolts around them, while the foundation is being built; this allows the bolts to be adjusted, and any variations between the tubes may be filled with thin cement after the engine is set.
The top of the foundation should be finished perfectly flat and level with a dressing of cement, and after this is thoroughly dry the engine may be placed in position. When bolting down the engine, it is better to draw each nut down a little at a time until all are tight and thus avoid straining the engine crank. After the nuts are drawn tight, if the crank turns unreasonably hard without loosening the main bearing caps, it may indicate an uneven foundation, causing a strain in the engine bed casting.
When setting up large engines, especial care must be taken to avoid straining the bed castings. Foundations hung from an upper floor, or built upon it, should be placed as close to the wall as possible. For the smaller sizes of engines it is a good plan to lay wooden beams on the top of the foundations and then to place the engine on the top of them so that when the frame is bolted down it beds itself into the timber. The timber cap often saves an annoying vibration when it can be overcome in no other way.
All the connections should be as short and as free from turns as possible, and no mistake can be made by having plenty of unions, so as to disconnect with ease. The gasoline tank should be set as near to the engine as is convenient, and with the top of the tank preferably not more than a foot or two below the base of the engine. In cases where the gasoline tank must be set from forty to fifty feet away, it is necessary to place a check valve in the suction pipe near the tank; both suction and overflow pipes must have a gradual rise all the way from the tank to the pump and should be as straight as possible to avoid the air traps, which prevent a steady flow of gasoline. It is most essential to clean thoroughly all pipes and fittings before putting together, by hammering lightly to loosen any scale and washing out with gasoline, as solid matter of this nature may be responsible for some of the simple but hard to get at troubles common to gasoline engines.
Shellac is best for joints in gasoline piping, but when this cannot be obtained, common laundry soap will answer the purpose just about as well. In some cases it will be found advisable to use gravity feed instead of a pump, and the foregoing remarks are applicable with the exception of the tank, which must be so arranged that its lowest point is slightly above the generator valve.
The exhaust pipe must be of full size, free from turns and short as possible, the shorter the better, and the more economically the engine will run. It will be found advisable to place the muffler as close as possible, setting it carefully so as to avoid any strain on the vale casting. Keep both muffler and exhaust piping away from combustible material, and never turn the exhaust into any chimney or flue.
There are two general methods of supplying the water, the first being that of the cooling tank, commonly used with small engines. For convenience in piping the tank should be slightly elevated, and both pipes, having as few bends as possible, should slope from the tank to the engine, a valve being placed in the bottom pipe near the tank. By using a circulating pump, fitted to the engine or shaft, water may be used from an underground cistern or tank.
The other method is to use a continuous stream of cooling water from the city water-works or other source. When city water is used it is a good plan to have a break and funnel inserted in the drain pipe so that the current of water flowing through the cylinder jacket may be seen. For making joints in water pipes either thick lead or graphite may be used with almost equal success. It may be well to place particular emphasis on the fact that it will pay to get into the habit of always shutting off the water at the tank and draining the cylinder every time the engine is stopped - not necessary to do it in summer, but absolutely necessary in winter - as a fair percentage of gasoline users know to their cost. " The Canadian Thresherman."