Huge Chinese Singles: recalling my first encounter

During the VN War  years, we visited Hong Kong as a Liberty port. For a young sailor who liked mechanical things, Hong Kong was magic, so much was different, the food, the cars, trucks, buses, trams and more. The water front and harbor of special interest, famlies living on Junks, and many of them quite large.

I remember our ship in the harbor, and a nearby  Junk attempting to pull anchor and get underway. The Junk was maybe 60 feet long, and when the engine started it blew three huge smoke rings, and stopped. Poof! Poof! Poof! I figured it had to be a single, but just how big?  The voices grew louder and louder on that boat, the person at the helm yelling orders,  others on board relaying messages from the person in the engine room.  About 45 minutes later, I heard the Poof Poof, Poof, and the junk was underway, the smoke cleared to a light haze, and the Junk was quickly up to Hull speed. I wanted to go aboard a junk, but I was way too timid to ask.

This Junk was built the first year I visited Hong Kong.

The Chinese singles are all over the Far East, and even some Yanmar engines that were built in Japan. Whether it’s powering a line shafted machine shop, or re-powering a truck for Ag-work, it was always interesting to see what these backyard engineers came up with.

In my later years, I learned of Western formed minds using Chinese Singles to repower trucks that had lost engines, and were too expensive to fix, and Gwyn in Belize sent me a picture of a Truck the local Witch Doctor owns. I guess it’s the name I give hin, as he sells a number of popular medicinal products to locals, and tourists alike. Snake Powder is Popular in Belize.

Belize 077

Notice the reduction, and Imagine the torque delivered to the rear wheels when the manual transmission is in compound low. Note the engine block is still in place, a simple cover over the top of the block. The local roads are said to be bad, so a top speed of 15mph is all you need.

Yes, I’ve been saving an 1125 Changfa for just this reason, but my list of projects is way too long, and my life grows shorter every day. If you live closer to Seattle, and this sounds like a fun project, consider writing me.

This new and never fired Changfa brand engine is a big bore brute, electric start, electrical system, even provisions for lights! And of course, spares and tool kit included.

I have no interest in shipping quotes, but engine is still sitting on the original pallet bottom, and I will assure it gets loaded into the back of a truck, or to a nearby loading Dock for Pickup. I need the space.

If you are a wooden boat fan, here’s a power plant with that special old boat sound!

It would cost a lot to deliver this engine to Seattle if it were legal to do so today, a relic of the past, but parts will be available for many years to come.

Update, 10/30 looks like this engine has a new home in Southern Oregon, Tom D, Has an 1125 powered generator, and wants another one..

Thump, Thump, Thump. $899 cash and carry… If you were here, you’d know I need the space.  There are secrets to making these engines reliable, a flexible link in the intake and exhaust and remote mounting is a good move, mounting fuel tank off the engine another great idea. All easy to do, and done by those who know.

email me if you like….  And please… don’t tempt me with the perfect boat or old truck, I’m feeling weak in the knees already.

Some of my pages on Viet Nam

George B.

This entry was posted in DIYer Skills, Engines, Projects, Slow Speed Engines, Things I like, Vehicle Design and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Huge Chinese Singles: recalling my first encounter

  1. bill knighton says:

    did you visit Kowloon walled city while there?

  2. George B. says:

    Bill, I was on the Kowloon side several times, but I didn’t visit any walled city, there was so much to see, and not enough time.

  3. bob g says:

    boy George i know exactly what you mean!

    i have several of the chinese engines, none so large, but several just the same and they all take up valuable real estate in a shop!

    and yes i too have way more projects and far less time left to do them, not accounting for my shifting interests toward building reproduction furniture.

    having said all that, you can bet i would be at your door step lugging that big boy off if i still lived in tacoma… and you know very well why!

    because once you get motor oil into your blood stream, or step on a nail and get infected with any metal object…. well? i think it is akin to being bitten by a vampire or a zombie… the end result is a given.

    someone is going to get a fun project with that engine.

    bob g

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