All Workshop

1944 US Navy Generator

I have been in negotiations to acquire a 1944 portable generator for a few months now.  Finally, this weekend I went to pick it up.

From the looks of it, it has not seen much use.  The generator case had some welds on top but other than that, it looked brand new.  It still had the first use label on the front and the parts box in the lid had all the original parts.  The motor would not turn so I guessed it was just “glued” together given there was little to no oil and the gas tank was completely clean inside.  I was just going to look under the cover panels and that quickly turned into an almost complete dismantle.

Update 30-Apr-2012

  • Mechanical
    • After checking out the major parts, everything was in good working order…with the exception of 3 of the lifters.  They were completely “glued” to the block with old fuel.  Some gentle persuasion (dead-blow hammer) and Corrosion-X finally freed them up.
  • Electrical
    • Wanted to make sure there was good spark and I have had good luck with sealed electronic ignition conversion kits so I removed the points and converted to electronic ignition.  Tested and there was still no spark.  I put all the original components back and got it to fire with some starting fluid in the cylinders.
  • Fuel
    • The mechanical fuel pump leaked as soon as gas was poured in the tank.  Removed the carburetor and fuel pump and began a quest to replace the main diaphragm in the pump.   After a few weeks and dozens of calls, I decided to make the part myself.  A stove bolt and a heavy nitrite glove were donated to the project and appeared to work fairly well.


  1. First attempt
    • Belt to Bosch drill
  2. Second attempt
    • Direct drive to retainer nut on generator shaft – bolt un-screwed
    • Direct drive to retainer nut on motor flywheel – tightening while starting.  Was working until motor fired and reversed retainer nut of the end of the shaft.  The nut backed off and snapped off a cooling fin on the flywheel.
  3. Third attempt
    • Found a pulley and shaft that would fit in the drill and tried the belt again.  It almost worked however it seemed to never fully fire.
  4. Fourth attempt – success
    • Was thinking of how I could get more power to start the generator and happend to look over at the snowblower.  A quick removal of the pulley cover and belts and a long belt made for an efficient and strong starter.  After a few seconds, the motor finally started and ran for about a minute and stalled.  It looks like the fuel pump fix is not keeping up with the motor.  Back to the drawing board..

If anybody has any experience with this type of generator, please drop me a note.


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