Another Sunday Morning report from Fantasy Island,

Chinese 1115 Workhorse  

I’m sure you remember Fantasy Island?

Well, here’s the real Island where Noel operates a world class resort for a small number of guests at a time.  

Noel Douglas (ON Left)
Is that Noel on the left?

Noel Douglas immigrated to the Fijian Islands with his Scottish Family somewhere in the later forties. He owns the ultimate off grid location.. where engines run long hours, and we are able to learn just how long engines run, or why they failed.  

If you look at an older post I share about Noel’s projects, you’ll see he’s a tireless experimenter always looking for a better way to serve his guests, and assure their comfort in an Island paradise. Fresh grown fruit and vegetables, fresh caught Tuna right off the Island, and much more.

As I have mentioned, in all too many places in the Islands, if you want it… you have to make your own, and that includes electricity and running water. Many of us know the 1115 as a real work horse, just try to lug one down, and watch it blow smoke rings, and chug though about anything.







I may have mentioned Mike McCarrol, he lives in Calumet Minn, some might consider him a little eccentric, he is!  Mike has a machine shop, and foundry, has built a lot of specialized equipment to do jobs others are not equipped to do. He also makes castings and has produced a lot of parts for the original Indian motorcycles over the  years.

In Mike’s early days, he found there were no bikes he really liked, so he stuffed  a four-cylinder auto engine in his bike, and with his casting abilities and machine shop…. of course it looked like a production bike and fooled a lot of people..

Mike got interested in the 1115s and soon he had about six of them, of course he tore one down completely and called me with the detailed analysis, and being MIKE, it was all verbal, and you either write it down, or lose it.. you see Mike doesn’t write well, as he says the letters just don’t stay still on the page, he can do it.. it’s just a lot of effort.

One thing Mike made sure I understood… (years ago)  “George those balance shafts, that’s a heck of a load for those bearings, it’s best you take that engine apart and put a bearing in there you trust, there’s just too much going on here, and the pin drive off the end of the shaft drives the all important oil pump. George, if that bearing goes bad, there’s serious consequences”.

What did Mike use the engines for? some were matched with generator heads and used for portable welding in the field, Mikes says the combo was powerful enough to do the commercial welding he does, and the generator was economical to run.

Mike has seen more mechanical failures than most, he teaches me the finer points of mechanicals, he calls for electrical advice 🙂

Facts are, it takes a good bearing on both ends of the balance shaft.. it’s a fact, but that doesn’t stop someone in China from using an inferior bearing. 

Noel’s closest Market for good parts is Australia, and he has found bearings there that prove more reliable.

The remaining issue causing problems is the idler gear, and especially the bushings in the Aluminium side case. Do note that sprial cut in the picture Noel sent us.. is it used to assure adequate oil into the case side bushing? 

 Hi George,

The problem we are having is with the cast iron bushes used as bearings for the idler gear shaft ( also the shaft that the crank start handle fits ) . They also use these cast iron bushes for the cam shaft but this is lower down and gets better lubrication. The idler gear shaft is higher up in the casing and is much more poorely lubricated as its only means of lubrication appears to come from splash that appears not to reach there very well. There is no oil feed to these bearings.

The vibration dampener shafts on this engine have ball bearings ( not grease sealed ) on both ends but the originals only lasted around

1,000 hours before they packed up. I have repalced all these with high spec ball bearings. The problem now is the worn cast iron bushes are so sloppy causing the gears to make a lot of noise. You can hear the clatter from half a mile away.

A solution for these cast iron bushes would be great. There is not enough room there to fit good quality ball bearings. It would seem that some form of forced oil feed could be an improvement. These bushes do not appear to be subjected to much stress. Perhaps a better material like cinted bronze like we used to see on the older Engilsh equipment.

 Here’s what I think we need look at..

Cast iron bushings? They were used in the Lister 6/1, that cam bushing on the opposite end of where the injection pump is.. was a cast iron bushing and worked fine with a little lube..

That sprial cut.. we need access if it were machine well enough to bring oil into the case bushing.

We need ask Noel to see if the block side bushing has a oil feed hole, and wether the bushing has a hole alighned with it?

Is there a possibility to drilling a hole down the center of the timing gear, and then a hole to pressure feed oil into the case side bush?

There is one more item we might consider, and that’s the EPA, and possibly others who are driving the removal of proven anti friction anti wear compounds like Zinc, we best not rule out that Noel could be using one of our more modern and inferior lube oils?

Discussion follows I hope..






  Of course that 1000 hours arrives a long way down the road for a lot of users.. but not Noel Douglas or the people he sells to, they are off gridders, their applications demand more service.  

Noel is new to the 1115, and says the engines he bought in this last batch reliably come apart at about 1000 hours of service…. when this bushing fails! Somewhere on the WEB are old articles I wrote about the balance shafts on these engines.. 185s, and up make use of them, and you better make sure there is a decent bearing in there, because it’s ugly when it all comes apart. A good bearing here does the job, a junk bearing invites diaster, a bushing assures it, and if we were to look at the details.. just how did that bushing get lubrication? I doubt it was fed oil under pressure from the pump!   

Western minds assume way too much, and you need spec every part of the engine to assure you get what you want.

Thanks for the report Noel!

Oh.. BTW, I was able to send him a good manual of the proper 1115 build showing the 63xx bearings on both sides of the balance shaft, maybe there’s a way to mod the side case he has and build it up right? Mike McCarroll, well, he’d make a pattern and pour a new one 🙂

It was some years back a visitor shows up at my shop, a handsome young guy looking for parts to build a new stationary power plant on a family owned island in the San Juans. He says he was born in Fiji, and I took the chance.. “do you know my friend Noel Douglas?” We both had a good laugh, and don’t we all understand just has small the world has grown?







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24 Responses to Another Sunday Morning report from Fantasy Island,

  1. bob g says:

    i guess it just goes without saying anymore, you have to really know what you are buying, because there can be all sorts of changes within
    and unseen.

    and that sucks!

    i am curious though, what caused the failure? is the replacement bushing too narrow to carry the load of the counter balance shafts? or was it lack of lube?

    sized properly there is nothing inherently wrong with using a bushing in place of a roller/ball brg, as long as it is made properly, sized properly and fed enough oil… as evidenced by bushings use in all sort of highly stressed area’s. think about camshafts in automotive engines, especially those in race engines, where the pressure on the bushings are measured in hundreds of lbs if not ton’s.

    got any pictures of the issue?

    bob g

    • George B. says:

      Bob, I don’t think this bushing is fed oil from the pressure system. Maybe not large enough either. Mayeb we can learn more from Noel..

      I just skyed Noel, he’s going to take pictures.. he says it’s not pressure fed on the side that’s bushed.. we’ll see

      • Jetguy says:

        This is interesting to me because I just got my hands on a ZS1115, replaced the crank from an oil starvation issue caused by the original owner before the engine even reached 50 hours. This was not a design flaw, but rather the owner, running in a very poor sawdust filled environment, failing to change the oil which collected wood fiber in the pan, forming a thick sludge.
        Point being, mine has bushings on the same start/ idler shaft, with holes drilled at the top that align to holes and oil catch spots in the block to catch splash lube and run it into the bearing. Mine are a softer white bushing material and showed almost no wear (again, only 50 hours). At least in mine, I think the way it’s splash lube, but with a good oil path, it might be OK. I could also see though that if the bushing spun, the oil hole would not be aligned and thus become a problem in a hurry.

        • George B. says:


          I think we need ask Lee and David what the home market thinks is best for engines that will run long hours, and if they can find out if any engines were equipped with pressure fed oil on the block side. Your spin concern.. maybe turn a slot around the center of the OD on this bushing? We also need Noel to look for Holes again.. I want to make sure we know what he has..

        • Jetguy says:

          I also need to add some notes about the design. The oil pump is on the opposite side of the block and there are no forced oil passages on the entire side that has the gear train. This means it’s not like you could drill anywhere and hit an oil passage. The crank is fed by the bearing carrier on the flywheel side and is drilled to feed a plain main bearing on the gear side( if you had one) but our engines have the upgraded roller bearing on the gear side and the center of the bearing covers the oil hole in the crank. This might mean, on a plain bearing engine, more splash lube would be present, coming out of the plain main bearing from the forced lube.
          Of note in the pictures of the block with the problem, it looks like the area above the idler bushing meant to catch splash and direct it into the bushing is sludged or filled. Being that these don’t have an oil filter of any kind (only a strainer screen on the pickup) this highlights you must use non-detergent oils, and further, change it often and drop the pan when you do. Sediment will collect in the pan and not be cleaned out if you only drain the oil through the drain hole. This is what caused my initial failure and it’s easy to see it could contribute to this failure too. I think it’s a combination of poor oil with no zinc, lack of oil changes, and possibly the fact upgraded roller main might put less oil in the gear train. It would not be hard to tap into the oil feed to the head and create a spray feed to the gear train. Again, having just gone through mine which is basically identical, these same ideas have crossed my mind.

          • George B. says:

            Jet, if you could send pictures of your case and block side, it would be most helpful..

            One thing we all need to know, there are all kinds of things seen different on these engines, some were equipped with proper oil pressure relief near the pump, others not. This engine is a German design, and I’d bet you a donut that the oil pump was better utilized in some versions of this engine. I would think we need look at what the Chinese Military had built.. if they used this engine for any of their applications, I’d bet they cut less corners. I add this to give Lee and David ideas, if they read it.

            Thanks for your contributions!


  2. bob g says:


    take a look at the spiral,
    it appears to me that it is used to evacuate the oil from between the bushing and the outer seal.
    it looks like the twist is in the direction of rotation of the shaft so that it would pull oil out, not drag it in. that would make sense if the shaft is hollow and crossdrilled, and the the case side bushing had pressure fed oil to it and into the hollow shaft to be transferred out to the outer bushing. it would then need that spiral to get the excess oil from between the bushing and seal to keep it from blowing the seal out or at least being a big leak problem.

    sure is hard to diagnose from pictures, me being about half way dyslexic and all.


    bob g

  3. bob g says:

    if i am not mistaken on the roller main variant engines the oil passages cross over to the bushed side main brg and not only feeds that main, but also the rod via the cross drilled crank.
    this tells me there is an oil passage in that side of the case, and i am thinking that the passage also either feeds the idler shaft bushing via another passage off the main or i was thinking it could be opened up to do so.
    i gotta get to digging up that group of papers i have on this topic, i think i know which box they are in.
    more later
    bob g

    • Jetguy says:

      Bob, this is what I was getting at, The crank has an oil path all the way through both sides and the crank pin. It is fed in the flywheel side via the larger removable bearing carrier that lets the hole crank come out of the side of the block. I’m pretty sure since the oil pump is on that side and plain or ball bearing variants (maybe they are all ball on the flywheeel side?), there is no difference in that method or part that I can see since the crank seems universal. It does have a groove on the inside to line up with the hole in crank as it spins. This all seems proper. On the roller bearing engines (roller on the gear side, ball on the flywheel side), the inner bearing peice is pressed over the shaft and then covers the hole in the crank that would normally feed that main bearing from the crank (not entirely different then how the crank pin is oiled).
      I other words, the crank is the conduit to get oil from the flywheel side of the engine to the other gearcase side of the engine. In roller bearing versions, that hole in the crank is covered. Between the stub shaft for the gear and the fact the inner bearing portion completely covers the shaft, I would not think drilling even a small hole in the crank is a good idea and would lead to stress cracks. (A quick theory would be a straight hole down the center of the stub shaft for the gear, which should in theory intersect the now block hole that normally fed the main bearing.) Regardless, a tiny jet to restrict flow and maintain pressure for the crank pin would be a must have.
      For the record, my engine does have the presure relief in the head.
      To recap, the oil feed is like this, the strainer feeds the oil to the pump on the flywheel side (there is an external plug on the side of the block matching the internal spot where the strainer connects inside) the oil pump forces oil (no relief valves yet) though a hole into the bearing carrier. The bearing carrier has a very tight fit over the crank main (still non contact) and a grove all the way around that line up to the hole in the crank. The crank is cross drilled to the crank pin, and then further drilled to the opposite main. (On a roller engine, the hole is covered and no way around that fact.) Exactly opposite of the inlet hole to the bearing carrier (flywheel side) there is the oulet leading from that inner grove feeding the crank, the outlet and banjo to oil line feeding the head. In side the head is the relief valve and oil pressure indicator combo device. Thus, there is only splash lube in the entire gear train side of a roller equiped variant. I wouldn’t modify the crank, and you definitely cannot touch the roller bearing inner pressed on the crank, so you must go external if you want to add oil feed. It would be trivial to split that line feeding the head (Caution, there might be 100PSI or more since that feeds the relief valve) and have a crossover line to feed a spray quirter in the gear side of the case. Highly recommend compression or brazing the lines considering the pressure. You could also use a longer banjo bolt and just add a second line from the feed off of the bearing carrier. Again, you would have to use a small orfice sprayer in order to ensure oil pressure is maintained hot. Being the oil pump is high volume (trust me on this how I know-a good laugh while hand cranking to ensure she was primed before connecting the head line) oil volume will not be a problem.
      And sorry guys, I will take some pictures of the old crank to help you see why there is only splash lube in the gearbox and that may not be a lot. I know there is some lube, as pulling the cover after running there seems to be a decent amount, but the question is, if the splash high enough to hit those cups for the idler bushing reliably? Without a camera inside while running, it’s hard to definitively know how much actually reaches those. It could be rpm based as well if the gears don’t pull the oil up to the top and let is drip back into that top fed hole.

      • George B. says:

        be careful in calling that thing up front an oil pressure relief, I think a friend in Texas saw 325 PSI in an engine with that flag pressure indicator installed.. There’s a picture of the gauge on one of my old pages. We assume nothing, there may be a good way to install it, and a bad way. JUst too many different outfits build these engines to know all of what might be done I guess.

  4. bob g says:

    just found my 3 different manuals for these engine’s but sadly not my blown up copies, at least not yet

    1. i was not suggesting drilling the crankshaft, it has all the crossdrilling it needs, and yes it is fed off the flywheel side on both the roller and plain/bushed crank variants.

    2. what i was referring to drilling is the engine starting/idler gear shaft, because i seem to remember there is a cross drilling to either bring oil across to that side of the block or i had planned to get it across externally, i just don’t remember and without those blown up illustrations it hard to tell just yet,

    what i can say with a degree of certainty is this

    there are at least 3 if not 5 oil passage plugs that are driven into various passages to direct the oil flow around to where it needs to go. some of these passages could only be drilled from the end of the case and are relatively long and would need to be plugged in order to assure a seal could be made.

    where the oil pressure leaves the pump and enters the case, there is a long passage from the end of the case drilled to toward the main brg housing, and intersecting with the oil pump passage.

    there is a variant that removes the plug at the end of the case, and place the plug inward toward the main brg carrier, this directs the oil flow toward the end cover which is cast with an integral oil pressure regulator and full flow filter, after which the clean oil is rerouted back to a T bango fitting at the main brg carrier, this feeds the main brg and by extension the crank mains and rod brg.

    this variant retains the oil indicator, which on our engine doubles as a sort of oil pressure regulator, but was never meant to be the soul source or regulation, yes it works when hot, but as you know has very high pressure when cold.

    going further, my plan is to reroute the oil flow in the way

    1. remove the oil pump and block the passage into the block
    2. drill and tap the pump boss so that an external #4 line can be installed (flex steel braided hydraulic type hose) from the pump
    and directed back toward the rear of the case.
    3. install a pressure regulator on the rear cover along with an oil filter.
    4. take the clean oil, via another line into the rear passage in the block, after the plug is removed (drilled back out and tapped for a 1/8x#4 fitting. this will allow filtered and regulated oil to reenter the block via the original passage.
    5. the oil relief dump i would attach another line to and admit this dump oil to a newly drilled passage in the top of the gear case cover, positioned so that this drain back oil would dribble/run down into the rotating gears, which would do a number of things relating to lubrication, “and” would also dramatically reduce the gear clatter of the countershafts. much like adding a dribble of oil into the back gears of a lathe head stock damatically reduces its clatter.
    6. back to the filtered pressured oil, we can also take another line off at this point and bring over to the front cover if need be, and admit pressurized oil into the starter/idler shaft outer bushing. this would oil that bushing very well,
    7. we could drill and cross drill the starter/idler shaft so that the oil form the outer bushing could cross over and feed the inner bushing as well.

    bearing in mind oil control might be an issue, there might be too much oil slinging around, one might need to orifice down the feed to the starter/idler shaft feed system, which would be very easily done in the fitting screwed into the block.

    this would get you clean/well regulated oil to everywhere it needed to be, plus get it to the starter/idler shaft and also have oil provided directly into the gear train to dampen the horrendous noise these engine’s are known for.

    fwiw, this is the direction i am going

    lest i forget, i would replace the steel line going to the valve cover low oil pressure indicator with a #4 flexible line while i was at it. this would assure no fractures with resultant oil losses.
    you might be interested to know, i have removed the indicator, made a plunger and fitted a microswitch to my engine, so that when or rather if i loose oil pressure the micro opens and the fuel rack solenoid releases, killing the engine immediately. i am using dual syncrostart solenoids, one for low speed operation (1200rpm) the other for high speed operation (1800rpm) both deenergized the engine dies.

    bob g

  5. bob g says:

    been giving this more thought

    because we don’t hear much about these bushing failing, i suspect
    that there is something obvious that caused them to fail, such as low oil operation, or maybe something getting into the oil drain input ports
    that blocked them keeping them from getting what little splash they need?

    because that starter/idler shaft turns iirc half engine speed, it really isn’t turning very fast, and has little side loading, so i wouldn’t think it would take much of a bushing and little oil for them to last a very long time.

    there were many thousands of lathes that used plain brg headstocks where the spindles ran in the cast iron of the lathe headstock. they were machined very smoothly and while requiring oil they did not require very much oil, certainly not continuous feed, just a felt and a dribble to keep them alive under sometimes much more severe sideloading.

    i can’t tell from the picture, but is the starter/idler shaft finish very smoothly done? maybe it was not finished smooth enough and it was hard on the bushings? just something to take a look at.

    what i am thinking is maybe you don’t want or need to go to all the trouble of rerouting the oil system as previously posted, when maybe there is something simple that can be corrected?

    if you don’t go the reroute i would suggest replacing the steel line with a flexible line, and while you are at it, bring a T off the bango
    and another line over to admit oil into the gear train at the top of the aluminum case, i think at the very least this would quiet the gear noise and improve the chances of getting oil into those bushings.

    still would seem to me that the catch holes would need to be drilled through the bushing so that whatever oil is caught could actually get into the bushing,, i can’t see what is there, so that is up to you to investigate.

    in my opinion i don’t see anything lacking in the original design of these engines, actually in my opinion the design is very well engineered. however the best engineered piece if built incorrectly, with inferior finishes, lack of attention to detail or quality materials, is likely no better than an inferior design when it comes to longevity.

    please let us know if you find the cause of the failure, and what you ended up doing about it.
    bob g

  6. George B. says:

    Jet found some work to collect oil and send it to the bushing, we have yet t see evidence of that in Noel’s engine.. We know that Noel’s and Jet’s bushing material is different.. maybe we keep track of the little differences we know? As you say Bob, there’s not all that much of a load here, and I’m curious if the oil climbs the gear train? If it does, there should be all kinds of oil here. What we have yet to learn is if Noel’s engines have any effort to feed any oil into the bush.. by drip catch (pan fed) or other..

    • Jetguy says:

      Sorry everyone for not getting pictures last night (it was my Birthday and I was out with friends). I will attempt to tonight, give generous write up to George, and maybe he can make a page about this whole oiling system with suggestions.

      Until then, a few more thoughts. I am still pretty sure mine does not have any forced oil passage on the entire starter crank/gearcase side of the block. I don’t remember the camshaft bushings on either side of the case having any holes drilled for forced oil feed (they are the only other bushings in the block), but I think they did have the same top fed hole from drip. I agree, under the back cover, there was a hole or two with lead slugs tamped in for drilled oil passages on the flywheel side of the block. The stub shaft for the governor gear (with the balls) is pressed into the block and has a hole drilled in it to drip oil into the bushing on the gear from the inside. Since that tube goes into the crankcase, flying oil in there splashes into the tube oiling that bushing.

      Things that I am sure about from the original failure in my engine :
      It’s actually good the engine is no longer in that guys hands and the horrible environment that nearly killed it at a young (50) hours.
      With no oil filter, oil with zinc and no detergent is a must. No way around this. Using a detergent oil would keep any dirt in suspension in the oil (definition of a detergent) thus it grinds the wear surfaces. The drain hole on the pan is high enough to leave a 1/4 inch of oil in the pan when changing. Thus if you used non-detergent (and are supposed to), the crap settles and then never comes out of the pan. Just an assumption, but the settling probably works best with a shutdown nightly, not 24/7 operation sloshing about constantly. Maybe some baffles in the pan might help on a continously run engine, but even then , may not be the magic bullet.
      Regardless, you must drop the pan each and every oil change. The old magnet trick is highly advised, but since the wear might be non-ferrous too (carbon comes to mind), dropping the pan is the only way to actually get the dirt out of the engine at a oil change and do it frequently.

      For me, the magic bullet would be a bypass filter. The engine has more than a big enough oil pump. If you want longevity, keep the crap out of the oil. A the same time, it wouldn’t hurt to push some oil into the gearcase side. This is probably accomplished easily in conjuntion with the bypass filter, just drain the clean oil into the top of the gear train on the top balance shaft gear. If you’ve ever seen the Lucas oil demo gear thing on the counter of a parts store, you know how putting oil on thar top gear will spread it to everything inside that case. The oil just walks around all the gears.

      Again, I plan to get every picture I can, document any known oil passages, and let you guys go to town on suggestions.

      One more note: I agree, the head oil pressure indicator/regulator is not perfect. That said, the fix is easier than you think. There are 2 hole that make up the “regulator”. I have a friend that is now an engineer at Cummins. They were testing a new engine back in the early 90s and had oil pressure issues (too high). All the flow rates and passages were all calculated hundreds of times. She was an intern at the time, pulled the oil pump with integeral regualtor and drilled out the bypass hole to the next drill size with a cordless drill in front of the highly paid engineers. The machine worked perfect and that’s the size they use to this day. Let’s just say she became a full time employeee in record time. Machining makes sharp edges. Oil and liquids in general flowing cause turbulence and it may cause less flow higher pressures than intended. Simply breaking the machined edge can be the difference.

      • George B. says:

        Jet, I do like your take on the non detergent, the magnet is a must, and I did have a neat little part made. It replaces the banjo bolt on a stock 185 through 1125, maybe others.. at the top of the bolt head is a standard NPT fitting where you can attach a line and feed a by pass filter. Warning.. omit the restriction and you may have poor or no oil pressure, make a mistake and put it on the output of the filter, and you may blow the filter off the mount! Use a pressure switch designed for 60 pounds and less may cost you an engine, as it could very well leak from excessive pressure and leak out enough oil unattended to cause a loss of your engine.. do the thinking before you apply mods. I find that other people get aways with a lot.. I don’t murphy is always lurking in a corner of my shop..

        As I have written, NAPA has sold a great by pass filter for many many years.. just go in and tell them you have a 1951 Allis Chalmers Model B Tractor, and need a new filter.. cut it open and it looks like a big ball of string. You can get an inexpensive mount for this screw on filter at NAPA, put a guage (if you want) followed by a restriction (lika a valve) in front of the filter, and route the discharge line back into the top cover of the crank case. Adjust your restriction for a slow and steady flow of oil. Yes, the toilet paper filters are great for this mod! My part is $29 delivered in USA, they were VERY expensive to have made 🙁

        Note: on your ‘hands on’ friend.. thousands of examples of engineers with Masters and PHDs that are dangerous around machines. Just look at their hands.. no callous from turning an occasional wrench? Put them on the marketing team where they belong.

        BTW, a little teaser from Bill Rogers, Author of the Book I sell…. home power Producers guide to electrical reality.. yes, Bill is a PE, and dirt under the boys finger nails from working on old BMWs, DIY, Solar Installs, fishin, and more.. Bill asks me.. what part on a car hasn’t changed in 60 or more years, it’s a part that is actually installed, and it’s universally interchanagable from car to car.. yes, you can even move it back and forth between car and pickup.. removing them disables the car.. no looking on the internet, 1930 chev will interchange with the ones installed on my Duramax.

        I know a tool man, he claims to know all the tools that mechanics use, and finds trick ones a mechanic needs. but when I saw him put on that latex glove to pick up a dirty wrench.. I guessed he was mechanically challenged.. his nails are neatly done, but still un painted.. he hires the man to turn his own nuts and bolts.. and likely for a good reason.

        Unless you turn your own nuts and bolts, you don’t learn much.

        • Jetguy says:

          I have a theory here two about the famous longevity of listoroids too that is related. Sorry, I don’t have listoriod but have studied them quite a bit. Anyway, point being is they have a deep sump well below the crank. They too are highly recommended to run non-detergent oils for the same reason, no flow through filter (automotive style), and thus you do not want detergents to suspend the dirt in the oil. What I’m getting at is that the oil has plenty of time to sit and the dirt to settle to the bottom. Since the oil is deep enough and far enough away from the splashing crank, it acts as a natural filter and only the top surface gets much disturbance. Further, we should always place the oil pump strainer well above the bottom of the pan since we know that’s where the dirt is. Obviously, this has some merrit if only based on how long the engine lasts with no filter even in bad environments. The horizontal engines don’t have anywhere near the distance or size of sump. In fact, if you start looking at large highway diesels, old tractors, and machinery in general, they all have deep sumps, far enough away that splash never reaches and disturbs the bottom of the pan. I think there is a long lost design secret in plain sight.

  7. bob g says:

    good points guys

    also a modification that would be easy to add would be a remote
    mounted added sump for increased oil capacity. personally i think any of these engine’s that are expected to run long hours, could surely benefit from having more oil capacity.

    it could be done very easily with a reservoir set at the same level as the oil pan, and a crossover line/hose to balance the level in both sump and reservoir.

    i am also of the opinion with a full flow filtration system, coupled with a bypass system, an added sump these engines could then run a high quality 15/40 diesel rated oil and have extended change intervals far in excess of the oem recommendations. this would make the addition of friction modifiers like the zinc additives cost effective over the long run. i would expect that one could easily run 500 hours on an oil change with these modifications. i am reminded that locomotive engine’s are filled with something like 2000 gallons of oil when they are put into service and that oil is never changed until the engine is ready for a major overhaul. heaven knows how many thousands of hours they have on the clock and yes the oil is a very special blend.. they of course keep track of oil analysis on a regular basis and add additives as needed, and have centrifuges onboard to process/polish the oil. not suggesting we go that far, but there probably is a middle ground where the cost analysis works out.

    i am very much of the mind that these engines could make 20k hours without major issues with a few modifications, food filtration and enough quality oil capacity.

    we all have heard about the balance shaft brg failures in these engine’s, one has to ask a question here… “is it possible that even with lessor quality chinese brgs, the early failures might not occur had the engine’s had enough clean oil provided to them”? with poor maintenance, wrong oils, not enough capacity to allow precipitation of the dirt out of the oil, circulating into the ball races, all it takes is a piece of crap to get lodged in there and start a “skate” condition even if only for a bit to set up an early failure. maybe we see the replacements as being the fix because we are more careful with cleanliness during replacement and after than the chinese were in assembly and we were before the failure? its just a thought.

    recently i took apart a 16hp briggs single cylinder flat head, one of the syncro balanced engine’s, it has a counterweight mounted by a single row ball brg, splash fed and looks like it ran without issue for about 30 years (off and on of course) poorly maintained, with crap for oil, and was still in one piece when the engine was worn out.

    not saying we shouldn’t replace those brgs for insurance reasons, just asking if there might be other factors in play that might have as big a factor as quality of the brgs in the failures.

    just thinking out loud

    bob g

  8. bob g says:

    looks like we all agree on what it takes to improve longevity, and master Jet, beat me to the post!

    anyway, as it pertains to the chinese horizontal engines

    in my opinion the design while being very good was probably intended to fill a need for a compact engine with good power. certain compromises were made, which as it relates to oil capacity probably wasn’t seen as a compromise because 99% of those that use them probably never use them for 24/7 operation.

    as we all know those engines that are either designed to be, or later modified to become extended run engine’s all share some common traits, that being a larger/deeper sump, more oil capacity, and very good filtration. lucky for us these engines can be easily modified to attain these benefits.

    the engine has enough things done right that would be very expensive to reengineer had they not been, which is a huge step in the right direction in my opinion. the engines have been around for probably decades now with a huge installed base, which tells me that they must be pretty good as is. these modifications could be done by just about any diy’er in his garage if he so chose to implement them. more than i can say for a listeroid! (ducking for cover now)
    while i drool over the new girls that show up to the ball from time to time, and there have been many, i keep coming back to the girl i brought to this dance! the changfa s195… she may not be as well endowed as a listeroid with their nice big … er flywheels, maybe she is a bit more of a loudmouth than some of the quieter offerings, but dang she is hard to beat when you get right down to whats under the skin.

    bob g

  9. George B. says:

    We need remember.. one of the principle goals of the Mainland is to manufacture an engine that their home market can afford. We expect the nicer things to be fitted at extra cost.. we need somemone like Lee that can accurately communicate what we want and then assure we get it. Very difficult to write a good spec and assure it’s communicated to the assembler without that knowledge. How many of us will tear down one engine and drive all the parts out for an inspection? to check the hardness of parts, and more.. it’s a big effort.

    There’s one thing you learn in the mainland.. and Noel and I were talkign about it the other night too! Many of the engines in 2 wheel tractors are 195s with hoppers, the driver just puts some water in the hopper on occasion.. no radiator failures, no pump failures..The horizontal engines that do have radiators fail quickly for the most part.. Noel has an outboard on a work boat, it’s hopper cooled. He as workman pour a gallon of water in the hopper when needed. The engine runs at an idea temperature.. and all is well. Noel has the same attitude as the management in the mainland.. the guy is on the equipment anyway, whats hard about pouring a little water in there? Yes.. we know things change WHEN freezing temperatures are involved.

    There is a need for people like Lee and David that can do the ground work.. This is not a paid advertisement. If I were buyign a container load of anything from the mainland, I’d be thinking of hiring David to check it out, and reccomend the better supplier, and paying him to inspect all before it’s shipped..

  10. Butch says:

    Another thread full of great information. My little bit to add is mainly to agree with what has allready been said, nothing wrong with a properly engineered bushing. George I am not sure that zinc levels come into play with the shafts in a Chinese single? Is my understanding that the highest load or pressure levels are at the cam/lifter and the xinc is/was there for that place and purpose? Back to bearings the Laidong 1115 came with a spare load side main bearing in the parts kit and how I love to just look at that nice huge radial bearing! It is quite a piece.

    Quite a while back I lucked into a cheap 195 gen set and when I got it home I was surprized by the size and completeness of the spare parts set AND the fact the main bearings and most others are babbited bushings. I pulled a cover and sure enough babbit bearings everywhere except for the 4 balance shaft bearings. That particular 195 is very smooth and totaly gear quiet. For how many hours? Who knows? My usage is probaly less than 50 hours in the year I have owned it, I will let evryone know in 50 years if it is any good or not? LOL.

    The off grid types who run the daylights out of engines should be very much concerned with things that part timers like me have no reason to sweat. Lee told me of an engine that has the entire gear side seperated from the rest of the engine so it can operate with it’s own lubricant. Now that would be an improvement being as we could then run a proper gear and bearing oil in there instead of having to compromize with engine oils. BUT it is also another fluid to keep on hand, and keep track of levels and servicing, all minuses when waaay out back.

    • George B. says:

      Butch.. you hit the nail on the head.. Noel’s 1000 hour engine will satisfy (most) all who buy it in the home market! In addition, the home market has less money to purchace an engine, and the best efforts (as we envision it) would come at a very high price. A lot of these engines are working to pump water to a tank, grind grain, and other jobs of short duration. Small villages might gather at a milling or grinding site, and run the engine for 20 minutes a week as a co-op effort.

      WE have different uses….

      Still it’s a fact that these engines do go the long haul.. I will never forget the rants that Willem shared on his webside, he has one of the really good (but noisey) 195s, he ran it long hours, preached that he was in persuit of 24/7 running, and that he could easily beat the power company at it’s game. Willem’s posts were a treasure, one of the reasons he hated the noise was the neighbors were complaining, and he knew a slow speed lister was far more quiet. He told stories of being mislead. Why wasn’t he offered a lister 6/1 ? Answer.. the 6/1 would deliver only half of the 6kw output he demanded. But now to the point… Willem’s posts raged on! I hate this lousy noisey engine, it runs and runs and runs. I can’t seem to hurt it with good lube and an occaisional adjustment, so I’ve decided to run it on WVO, and see how long it takes to blow it up. That the way I remember the story. If I remember correctly.. he sold the engine still running! Do correct me if I have any part of this wrong. But now we add.. Lee was visiting a vendor who makes fuel tanks for several engine builders, and took a picture of an old Two Wheel truck. The owner said it had given him good service for 30 years! Teh engine hopper cooled, the delivery routes likely short considering how these complexes grow up nearest the assembly plants.

      As for anti wear agents and their value. As with all things we need identify our goals BEFORE we access the value. As stated, our useage is different than the majority of people, fact is, I’ve written and warned.. ‘we are one percenters’, few will ever pay attention to our market, or want to serve us. There’s several reason.. our numbers are small, and we really don’t want to pay full price for the assembly we visualize installed in our power shed.

      With that said.. What is the commmon use of a anti wear agent? Some might say to assure that those who invest in the equipment get a decent return on their investment, that an acceptable percentage of peole who buy are happy wit the product. We note that there are a lot of Americans who are happy with 100,000 miles out fo their autos..provide that and they’re happy.. they’ve traded off their car by that point.. and it’s someone elses concern. I’d guess diyers (ON AVERAGE) expect 200,000, and if we don;t get that, we’ll likely buy one of the cars that provides that kind of value most times as our next driver. You see.. we are not sheep, and we could care less if the neighbor thinks what we drive is out of style 🙂

      WE now have a lot of equipment with plastic cams, and if you’ve taken them apart and looked at the lobes.. it’s pretty amazing stuff.. We know there are different cam materials, and cams made wrong. A classic cam failure was created when a fixture on the GM assembly line got bumped, and the gas fired torch head that heated a cam lobe didn’t direct enough heat on a particular lobe. A quenching of the cam assured a certain hardness followed this process. Waht we owners found was a particular lobe going flat at around 80,000 miles depending on lube quality and how you changed your oil. Once you made your way through that exterior hardness, it took only an hour or so to make the lobe look a lot more like a cam journal.

      Anti wear agents? The value, what all do they protect? My answer, they offer added protection to any two parts that are separated by an oil film most of the time. where they save our bacon is during dry starts. Want proof of this? Talk to an old retired NASCAR racer who was spending $30,000+ to build a mule engine. They all had pressurized pre lube systems that flooded the journals prior to hiting the ignition switch. High valve spring pressures and many other factors demaned the effort, and of course they paid attentiion to the anti wear agents too.

      My thought, my reason to mention oil addatives was to draw a circle around everything that might contribute to an early failure. We presently see the EPA pushing to have these agents removed. We also see owners of old cars saying look out! The auto industry worried about costs under warranty. but here’s another conversation.. don’t we expect far more useage than the warranty period? I can see the conversation leading to an agreement between the manufacturers and the EPA. The Government will assume the warranty repair costs if only the auto industry do what they say :-). Then the bastards will load it all onto the backs of the tax payers as they do everythign else.

      Others have zero idea how different the latest engines are compared to the older designs. A lot has been done to lower friction, A short block on a test stand all lubed up still need a lever off the crank to turn by you can do it by grabbing the crank snout by hand! The rings are low tension, the oil pump provides only the pressure required, and every part has been designed to roll as friction free as the investment can afford.. roller rockers? They’re standard equipment in some engines.

      Phil Podkanowics wnet to the Ford Dealer for an oil change. He left with two new ford F150s with that impressive V6. High power.. high mileage.. we need think carefully about our direction, these new designs, how durable ar ethey, and what can we do to make them even more durable?

  11. Butch says:

    Your story about Willem and the Chinese horizontal rings close. I was raised to hate Fords, family tradition. Dad wouldn’t even ride in one, no kidding. My first company provided truck was a Ford half ton and for 8 years I tried my best to hate that thing but all it did was run down the road with little troubles while the pre-Obamamotors Chevy I personaly owned could not be trusted to drive further than I cared to walk back.
    I am now a die hard convert to Henrys, Have to park down the street when we go to reunions but a small price to pay,, LOL
    Sometimes it is hard to keep our eyes and minds open,,, in my case a LOT of times.

    • George B. says:

      Your Dad wasn’t the only person who wouldn’t ride in a FORD, and of course it was mostly the man himself.. This page gives you an idea that there were a lot of issues one could take the opposite side of.

      As for me, I don’t mind picking sides either, and yes I do know the value of ‘playing’ neutral. Ford’s anti-Semite views have no place in my family having been here since before the American Revolution, we came from the Isles as many did. As for his anti Democrat stand, maybe he had something? We now see the Democratic party helping to give away what this country is all about. To take from our Children and Grand Children and give to others. They purposely have worked hard to profoundly increase immigration during hard times here to change the very fabric of our voting block. They import a lot of people who have no skills, their dependence pretty much assured, many having a history of dependence. We have warehoused many of these people year after year. Many in this party want to bring an end to the Freedoms my Ancestors came here to pursue. And it’s very sad that so many of our children are too naive to know the real intentions of those they worship. Our children were apparently never taught the dangers of accepting the offers of a free lunch. Some of us thought we had taught them better.

      There are two Americas, one group who have been reared in a cage, another group who wants to live free range. Of course.. when you open the pen door, they scury about inside like so many rats. If their water bottle isn’t full, if the feed run low.. there’s panic! It’s all they know, and it’s how they vote.

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