Forklift Rebuild Progress, Part 1
Five or six years ago, I made a deal with the owner of the building where I have my shop, for an old non-functioning forklift that had been sitting outside under a rotten tarp for many years. If I could make it run, it was mine.
And so I did. At first it ran only on three of the four cylinders of it's Continental flathead engine. Because of how much smoke it made, you could basically only use it on windy days; otherwise the cloud of smoke surrounding you would soon prevent you from seeing what you were doing. Not to mention, it leaked a watery-oil mixture all over the parking lot wherever it went (you can see the beginnings of a water/oil trail in the photos below). But, it was useful for getting machinery up and down from loading-dock height, and I used it like that for a couple years.
This forklift is a 1930's Clark Carloader; apparently the first model of "short-coupled" hydraulic forklift that Clark ever produced (photo courtesy Clark: https://clarkmheu.com/en/company/history):
I do have pictures of the chassis, once everything else had been removed, and the chassis was being painted. Once the original finish was entirely sanded off and wire-wheeled, the entire chassis was scrubbed with acetone, and left to dry. One coat of self-etching primer was applied to the entire chassis, followed by a coat of filler primer, which was then followed by six coats of gloss black enamel paint.
Almost all of the paints used on this project were alkyd enamel paints, sourced from Gillespie Coatings Inc., largely through a military-vehicle restoration specialty site, armyjeepparts.com. Gillespie Coatings produces very durable coatings and paints for industrial applications, and as far as I understand, has a history of producing paints and coatings for the US Military. Links:
The rest of the original 4-cylinder continental engine was also in very rough shape. It turned out that a critter had been living in the fourth cylinder, and the debris that had been packed into that cylinder by the critter, had caused the walls of the cylinder bore to become deeply pitted. The cylinders would need boring and sleeving, if the original engine was going to be saved.
The cause of the constant oil leakage all over the parking lot from the engine, was overflow of an oil/water mixture from the oil overflow tube. Engine coolant was leaking into the engine oil, whenever the engine ran, causing the engine oil level to rise and overflow. At one point, while running the engine with the radiator cap removed, it was discovered that exhaust would bubble out of the coolant water and escape out of the top of the radiator.
The original engine was a Continental F-162, with some special machining done on the front of the engine block to accommodate an extra idler gear, used to connect an engine-mounted hydraulic pump to the crankshaft gear.
Continental F-162's and F-163's are fairly ubiquitous industrial 4-cylinder engines. They were used in all sorts of applications; forklifts, tractors, combines, generators, welder-generators, water pumps, dedicated-pto power units, etc.. The engines themselves are easy to find, and replacement parts are still cheap and readily available. The F-163 has some minor design advancements over the F-162, but 99% of the parts are compatible between the two models.
So, I found a generator for sale on craigslist in Vermont with a continental F-163 in good working order; and Emily and I made the trip into a weekend getaway.
Here's the new generator engine mounted to the rebuilt transmission (all new bearings, seals, gaskets), in the chassis:
Important note here: before any torch related work the gas tank was washed thoroughly, inside and out, with soap and water several times before applying a torch to any part of it. Further, an initial flame test was done in an outdoor area where I waved the torch past the various openings of the gas tank, to verify that there were absolutely no flammable residues still present in the tank.
You should never weld steel that is galvanized, the zinc fumes are very toxic. What I had for raw material for the exhaust piping construction was 2" EMT (electrical conduit), and to remove the zinc, I soaked the pieces of EMT in vinegar. Normal household grade cooking vinegar would work for this, but wanting to speed things up, I used "cleaning vinegar", which is just very concentrated vinegar.
Alternator pivot bracket, after fabrication and paint:
Fit-check of the tensioning link; looks good:
Thanks for reading!