The Generator Project and Continental Y112

An overview: Continental Y112

The Continental Y112 is an industrial engine that was built by the Continental (later Teledyne) Corporation. It was used in various applications, from welders to generators, to forklifts to airport ground support equipment, even the first Jeep prototype by the American Bantam company was powered by a Y112. Literally hundreds of thousands of machines have been made powered by the Y112.
Torque/Horsepower Ratings
RPM HP kW Torque
800 12.2 9.17 80.1
1200 19.4 14.5 84.9
1600 26.5 19.8 87.0
1800 (est) 29.0 21.7 85.0
2000 31.6 23.6 83.0
2400 36.1 26.9 79.0
2800 37.8 28.2 79.0
The Y112 was the largest in the Y series, which included the Y91 and Y69. While all Y112's are basically the same, they differ according to their spec number. The differences range from different front plates (from adaptation of a crank driven hydraulic pump, to a plain front plate), governor options, oil inlets, flywheels, etc. The Y112 is a 4 cylinder, 4 cycle engine with a "flat head" or valve in block design. It displaces 112 cubic inches, aprox. 1.8 Liters. Its low 6.07:1 compression ratio means it can run on gas with the lowest of octane ratings. However many applications called for LPG (propane) fuel, which has a higher octane rating than gasoline (yet a lower BTU amount). The engine rotates CCW facing the flywheel, and CW facing the front pulley. The starter rotates CW facing the front. The oil system is a partial flow, using a cannister filter. Cooling system is a pressurized liquid type.
Click here for a torque and measurment specs.

My Engine: The story

I first by started looking for an abandoned piece of equipment to give up its engine for the generator project. This particular motor was removed from a 1962 model year 2000 LB cap. Clark Clipper forklift on a very rainy Saturday afternoon. I found it infront of a used air conditioner parts recycler's shop. The lift looked as though it was abandoned, not run for years. There were rat droppings in the spark plug wells, which rusted the plugs to the point where removal with an impact gun was needed. It was very gunked up, greasy, and abused. Removing it was a real pain. Tied to it's #4 SAE flywheel housing was a transmission and clutch, with more bolts in weird places than you can believe. The engine wasn't entirely complete either; it was missing the starter, coil and generator. Based on some existing parts (voltage regulator), I think it's an original 6 volt engine. When i finished liberating the motor, the owner of the shop removed it with his good forklift and took it to my house. He told me it showed up one day and he didn't know what to do with it. he told me because of the work I put in to getting it out, he decided to give it to me for free. (Thanks Orlando Recycling of Miami, Fl!)

When I brought it home, the first order of business was to get it on an engine stand and get it clean. The pictures at left illustrate the (mis)adventures. Without a lift, I had to get creative. I used a come-along tied to my basket ball hoop. A bad idea, but none the less, it worked. (Addition: Ive since removed the hoop and replaced it with a fabricated lifting arm, i also now use a chain hoist) Once on the stand, I used a home made device to power clean the motor. The device takes hose water and combines it with compressed air to create a pulsing jet of water. Using a little degreaser and the poor man's pressure cleaner, the grease just melted off. Next came basic disassembly. Pulling the plugs proved to be a challenge. They had 18mm threads, and therefore used a 7/8" deep socket. I ended up using a pipe wrench to pull plugs 1-3. I had to break the #4 tower to use an impact for removal, the plug was horribly rusted in the head (see picture at right). When I pulled the head, I found a TON of carbon on the pistons and in the combustion chambers. The good news: the cylinder walls were shiny, and almost spotless and the valves were like new. Further disassembly found a bunch of lumpy cruded up oil. Worst of all, there were metal shavings in it. I pulled main and rod caps. All the bearings displayed good wear characteristics. All rod journals mic'ed out to factory spec. The center main journal appeared to be etched by some acidity in the oil. (Addition: On advice from pros, in plastigaged all the bearings and they were within spec, so I redused the old ones.) The cylinder walls were also flex honed and new rings were installed.

The whole ignition system is going to be freshened up. I totally rebuilt the distributor, which required a lot of dremel tool usage to free up shaft. Everything was cleaned and oiled, and all the consumable parts were repalced. 

Heres a few part numbers:
Parts, Part Numbers, and Sources
Part Part Number Addt'l Part Num. Source
Dist. Cap Std. Ignition: DR405 Motor Scv. Inc.
Rotor Delco: 158 Motor Svc. Inc.
Points Wells: DR1050MV Auto Zone
Condenser Wells: AL1531 Auto Zone
T-Stat housing Stant: 31302 (ChryCo LA, holes mod'd) Discount A.P.
T-Stat (180 deg) Stant: 45358 Discount A.P.
Spark Plugs Champion: D21 AutoLite: 386 Discount A.P.

I chased all the plug threads, but #4 got slightly messed up. Thanks to some quick thinking however, I got everything situated. I also totally cleaned out the water jackets, quite a job indeed. Years of junk from not ever changing coolant had taken its toll. Built up rust, minerals and some weird kind of black gunk were all found inside. Cleaning the water jackets involved using the pressurized tool from every oriface to loosen the junk. All the block to head water passages had a die grinder used on them to loosen up some of the scale and deposits, and clean up the holes. I also purchased a small sand blaster and cleaned various parts, including the head, manifolds, distributor neck, oil cap and dipstick. I also removed (and sold) the gear driven hydraulic pump and fabricated a block off plate from 1/4" plate.

Once things were clean, I reassembled it using a fresh gasket set. Everything was painted gloss black (I had 3 cans of it). I painted the fan, and all oil ports Chrysler Orange (for high visibility). I changed the oil filter from cannister type to screw on, using a remote filter bracket. All oil plumbing is done in hand bent copper hard line. I will also installed a Chrysler style "idiot light" pressure sensor, in conjunction with a delay in order to shut off the motor on low oil pressure. I upgraded the electrical system with a modern Nippon style high output alternator (from a junkyard 88-89 Dodge Diplomat), the ignition coil is from the same vehicle. The starter was the hardest part to find. I was not about to pay $175 for a rebuilt starter outright. I located one on eBay and bought it. It was $47 and thankfully it was the correct one! The starter solenoid is Ford type.

The fuel system will continue to be propane/LPG. It now has an Impco CA55 gas mixer with a Model J vaporizer and VFF30 fuel filter/lockoff. Governing is handled by a Barber Colman electronic governing system. It is a DYNA 1 controller (the blue box), with a DYNA 2500 actuator, and a Red Lion Controls Magnetic Pickup unit. The radiator was upgraded with a larger 2 row unit from a Dodge van, and the water pump was rebuilt.

The Big Picture: Master Plans for the Generator Project

This engine is intended to be used as the prime move for a generator. The generator I got is of Korean War vintage, made by the John Reiner company. Its a single bearing unit, 3 phase 120Y208, 12.5kVA. Fortunatly, it was tied to a continental F162. The engine was locked up, and it was a TOTAL mess. Apparently it had been in the rain for decades. The generator end faired well, as did most of the control panel. I found the generator at the same place I got the engine; Orlando Recycling. We agreed to $100 for the generator, flywheel, end plate, and control panel. I pulled it, he delivered (back in those days I drove a Toyota Tercel). Over the next few days, I removed the old flywheel and back plate that came with the engine, and I installed the new flywheel and back plate from the generator (the flywheel was MUCH larger, deeper and heavier). As such, I had to fabricate up a new set of rear engine mounts. They ended up being much stronger and MUCH more elegant than the other one. Soon after I mounted the generator up and cranked it. No output at first. Then I hooked up the control box, and we had output on all 3 phases! I hooked a 100w bulb on it for its first load which it took without batting an eye. At this point all adjustments: voltage and frequency (engine speed) were manual. I later found out there was a broken wire in the voltage regulator which prevented it from regulating (its now fixed). I eventually discovered the rear bearing was noisy, and upon inspection, I found out it was totally shot. A trip to Blair Bearing got me a new one for $20. I then installed the governor.

The whole thing is getting mounted on a salvaged frame made of 2" angle iron. Im custom adapting it to fit the engine and generator, as well as the control and connection panels.  In an effort to build a decent enclosure around the unit, I have elected to rebuild the generators frame. It was originally mounted on a 2" angle iron frame that was salvaged and modified for my purposes. It was originally some type of construction material delivery container, which was used an abused when I got it. It was twisted, out of square, and a total mess. The new frame is built from 3" channel, and was built "in parallel" with the old frame; the new frame was built and attached one mount at a time, allowing me to create the new frame without lifting or disturbing the generator in any way. The new frame was built from 100% new stock, so it is straight, square, and welded with welders that were powerful enough to make good, strong welds. The next step is to build the enclosure frame, which will likely be made of 1"X2" steel box and skinned with aluminum.

More pix at:
the generator in its previous state
picture gallery of the generator, in no particular order