It’s rare to find engine operators who are careful to keep records of an engine’s performance and give them good care and the required maintenance. These people are gifts to our DIYer movement and help us come to learn the strengths and weaknesses of the assembly.
As I have said many times, people are products of their environment, and deep seated in our minds is a set of rules as to how the world operates. What’s sad, is these rules often trump reality! I mean to say, we are reluctant to accept what we see with our own eyes, and refer back to this list of rules (what we’ve been taught reality is or should be.)
One of the things deep seated in the Western DIYer’s mind, is a standard of behavior, and our personal dedication to achieve a certain standard in our personal assemblies. If you are one of us, you may have laid in bed one night unable to sleep until you came to the conclusion you needed to tear something apart again and check one more thing. It’s that constitution inside your head, you can’t shake it no matter how hard you try.
Somewhere in my writings, I shared the perfect Hell for an old retired German Craftsman. Force him to work on one of the Indian assembly lines in Rajkot, give him the job of fitting Gib Keys with a sledge hammer, no doubt this would be a version of hell for him.
I swapped emails with a younger Friend just yesterday, he is one of the better problem solvers I’ve ever worked with, he can meet with a client, inventory their needs, and with a high degree of certainty create a good solid solution. What he shares with me yesterday, is that obvious solutions are often over ruled in meetings because of turf issues, and many are rejected because the solution might impact jobs or budgets elsewhere in the organization. The solution often becomes, what is best ‘for me’, not what is best to improve a process, a company, or a product.
He shares in his email, that we likely share the same affliction, neither of us can grasp and hold onto these facts that Department Heads, and others make decisions based on criteria we feel is unethical and immoral. My friend says he has to go through the grieving process each time, as he can never suppress the urge to just fix the basic problem, nor let go of the fact that his Superiors were driven to consider other factors.
Now, let’s evaluate today’s email from a key player in a third world country where there is seldom an electrical grid to depend on. People need pump their own water and make their own electrical power . Gasoline is near out of the question due to its very high price and rarity.
I have been looking out for you on Skype wanting to discuss problems with Chinese Bearings failing in ChangFas.
I always believed that ChangFas had better quality bearings and that this amongst other things made them the preferred engine of this type to buy.
I recently had the bearings that are fitted to the two vibration balancing shafts fail at only around 1,500 hours. Oil used was the best quality and changes at 200 hours.
This has shattered my faith in the ChangFa brand. Why do the Chinese so badly screw up and spoil what is otherwise a good engine ? They must have made millions of these. Why do they not learn from this sort of thing and improve their brand. The cost to do this is not high, just a few good quality bearings.
Do you know of a better brand of this type of engine. The 195 and the 1115 are popular sizes.
As I read this, I reflect on a conversation with one of our favorite bearing suppliers, it’s pretty much what he does all day long, and he’s in a position to get feedback on what he sells. Some years ago, he told me “The Chinese make some really good bearings, problem is, mixed in with them are bad ones.
Around Y2K, MJ McCarroll, a man who has spent 40 or more years with his hands in the gear works took a few 195 and 1115 engines apart. He was happy with the assembly (mostly) but correctly observed that the two bearings on the countershaft were heavily loaded, and if there was less than a high quality bearing used there, one could expect a train wreck. MJ said it was important to tear the assembly down and replace those bearings, and why not the other ones too? He used Timkens because he trusted the brand.
At one time, Changfa had a website up declaring that they were in deed an International Company and would source parts where ever needed to build a reliable product. With this said, we need remember, this was a snapshot in time, and who is really making these kind of decisions today? Perhaps the Chinese Communist Party has over ruled this decision and forced everyone to use the Chinese bearings, but then again, we need ask, who all are using the Chinese for bearing assemblies and rebranding them with their name? Perhaps there are traders that slap the Changfa name on other assemblies? What all goes on in China?
We need avoid a big mistake Western minds make, and that is to assume we understand what is going on. China might be a lot like the Wild West here was back a few years, just how much law and standards of behavior did you find in parts of the mid west back then? Perhaps it was more survival at the time?
We need ask ourselves, what happens to bearings that don’t pass QC? Are they destroyed? Perhaps they are sold through the back door, and find themselves in a new box, and sold to an unsuspecting assembler at a far better price? Go ahead, rule it out as a possibility.
Now we need also ask ourselves, how long are these engines run at a time in their main markets? If it were a few minutes at a time, we might conclude that most would reach 1500 hours of use many years after purchase, but we know that these engines are used for irrigation and transportation in China, and many parts of the East.
We have heard stories that managers in factories in China have been put on trial and punished for willfully cheating the people of China, and there are factories that build products that sell to the Chinese Military. A question for all of us, Westerners and Easterners alike.. Is the plant manager who supplies 195, and 1115s more careful in selecting bearings for the Military? Perhaps another question. Are those who dump second or third rate bearings careful to make sure they are sent out in the exported engines to assure they are not punished for crimes against the Chinese people?
Now for a curve ball.. India has it’s full share of problems, some stuff out of Rajkot is made to sell, not to use, but I have NEVER seen a bad tapered roller bearing on a one cylinder Lister type.. never, have you? Why is that?
There are many thing made in India that are absolutely first rate! Most of the piston rings are made in India, and they make some of the best ever made. Mico Injection pumps and other parts are precision assemblies, and as good as any ever made.
I think this is true of China, what isn’t made there now, those Japanese bearings you buy, the ones that have always served you needs, are they products of Japan today?
How to source quality? How to protect your investment
MJ’s solution, pull those bearings off the balance shafts and replace them with the best you can source. When these bearings let go, it’s the same as a train wreck! You’ll be hard pressed to re-assemble the engine for less than the cost of a new one, one that oil pump driven off the end of the balance shaft fails..
Perhaps the answer is a kit engine? You get everything in a box minus the bearings, and you build the engine yourself.
There’s a long list of parts you don’t need, and here’s where the problem develops, is there anyone in all of China that can package an engine kit the way we’d like it. Here’s a list of parts a smart stationary engine builder will want to omit, as he knows there are far better solutions in his junk pile. More on this later.
- Fuel tank
- Water pump
- Intake manifold
- Exhaust manifold
- Air cleaner
We here choose to use simple black iron pipe welded to an easy to make or second sourced flange. Stock manifolds have proven to create problems, hoppers are normally taken off, and easy to make manifolds fitted. Air cleaners exhaust manifolds can and do rattle apart, and we have even seen parts sucked into the engine, best you source your own.
What we are left with is a far more compact engine crate, lighter, and we can ship more of what we want per square meter. When missing these parts, we have engine parts and not an engine, and likely no need to worry about EPA certification until you build your own combined heat and power plant.
As per my thoughts, anyone who passes up the opportunity to use biofuels, and run in CHP mode, misses a chance to please Queen Ms Lisa…. who is on the fast track to making most of your decisions for you as head of the EPA. She’s the reason you can’t own one of those really cool little diesel cars that gets 62MPG imperial, yes, most people outside the USA can own one, but not you.
Lee and David, here’s your opportunity.. a kit Engine that contains all we need, and minus all we normally don’t use, and it’s a kit, it should be less money, it should be cheaper to ship, it should be free of the EPA requirements, and many of these parts can be used to create other things, steam engines, air compressors, spares, wood gas power plants, and more. And yes, always consider checking in with Queen Lisa before you assemble a thing, she might even issue you some subsidies J