Well this was always going to be a big project. The sales literature suggested the engine had been running last year. However, I found an old log entry which suggested that it had last been used in October 2009 when it had broken down passing the London Eye on the way up from Essex. As such, my hopes of a quick and easy fix were not high.
The P5 has a crank start and has a little brass carburettor that need to be ‘tickled’ to fill it by pressing the pin on top up and down until the bowl fills and it floats.
On Wednesday evening myself and a friend who knows about motors headed over to see what state she was in. The good news was that the engine would at least turnover and amazingly the batteries still had a decent 12v charge. The compression was a passable 50, the plug had a spark and with a little ‘tickle’ the carb filled. Enthused, we began cranking away but to no avail.
Next we decided to change the fuel. Unfortunately there was a nearly full tank of at least 10 litres. Luckily we were able to find an old petrol can knocking about and a five litre container. Draining from the bottom proved far too slow so we had to disconnect the whole tank and pour it out through a funnel. A good thing we did. What came out smelled like varnish and was a deep red colour and would probably put a fire out.
After flushing the fresh fuel through and adding some oil it was time to start cranking again. This was exhausting work. The engine seems to have an odd system whereby the crank will turn freely for a random number of turns before finally engaging with the flywheel to turn the engine over. As a result, it can often catch one unawares thereby missing the chance to give it a really hard spin when the right moment comes.
Despite checking the timing of the spark was okay (it was) and trying to get it going for another hour we had no luck. Not even a pop, and come nine o’clock when it started getting dark it was time to call it a day. This was not a very satisfying experience, but at least we had covered most of the basics and it was turning a bit easier when it engaged.