New Way Stationary Engines

Aim - To serve and support the New Way Stationary Engine restoration community.
There was a New Way Stationary Motor inclined to Hit and Miss. It was designed that way but intermittently it would missfire and this in the confines of the beekeepers shed fired my imagination, grabbing my senses. I just loved the sound of the New Way 3.5Hp working - likely fuelled by a too rich mixture.
With each missfire came the tell tale puff of blue smoke and via the old sawbench, the beekeeping manufacturing business was underway, alive and well. Alf was in his element. Romance, nah, hard work but Hoots the New Way went a long way in firing the imagination of times past running in the present. The present, after all, that's where life is, it's not in the past, but romancing the past, that's the present if you're living it.
The priveledge of life. Present and past is now!!! - alive.

Ye Olde Sawbench & New Way Motor kept company by Howard Rotary Hoes

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


The following restoration story and most working details were supplied by John of Tennessee to highlight and pay tribute to the New Way powered Centaur Tractor. Many thanks to him for his time and effort in providing much of the finer important detail.

It is likely almost universal that successful restoration of a broken down machine of any sort will be a labour of love with a good feed of enthusiasm and perseverance injected at regular intervals to ensure it doesn't die on the floor. This proved to be the case yet again in the restoration of the New Way Powered CENTAUR MODEL "A" Tractor of c1921 vintage, Engine Serial Number 11880.

Early Centaur tractor history is very sketchy with at least some of the early models (A - F) utilizing the New Way "CH" engine. The most significant power train departure came with the fitting of the LeRoy 10Hp. 2 cylinder engine in the Model G in 1926. New Way Motor Company initially produced their CH as a 5 Hp  Engine. Later engines of this same model (CH) were rated as 6 Hp engines.


The Centaur Model 'A' is powered by a New Way 5Hp air cooled engine. New Way Motor Company fitted Bosch high tension magneto ignition to their throttle governed engines. In many ways the Centaur could be described as an "Iron Horse" as it's function was just that, to replace the horse with a machine. Drive was achieved by chain drive through the large cleated/spiked front steel wheels that ensured good traction in the paddock.

  • Walk behind
  • Sulky equipped - "Ride Behind" - to get the farmer off his feet and into the seat. 
The operator, steered using handles from a type of riding sulky from which the tilling attachments were hung so providing good all round visibility. Steering while simple, utilizing long control arms for leverage is similar in principle to a modern day rotary hoe or garden tractor. Maneuverability is achieved by mounting a differential in the drive sprocket of the left front wheel. The transmission gearing provided only for one speed forward and reverse. Two large levers are mounted on the steering control arms, one for forward / reverse and the other to actuate and release the clutch. The whole set up was obviously built rugged including the clutch mechanism which can be quite a challenge to repair and understand.


The CLUTCH is a double sided sliding plate design, engaged by a sliding conical device that spreads a pair of pawls, which in turn engage the first sliding plate, forcing all of the plates together, thus engaging the drive line. The plates slide on, and are kept in alignment by, an internal bushing that is attached to the transmission input shaft. Slots in the cone align with tabs on the pawls, so that when moved to the extreme position, the clutch remains engaged with out the operator having to hold the handle in the engaged position. Moving the handle to the disengaged position simply pops the pawls out of the slot and the discs move apart.

Removal of the clutch simply requires removal of either the engine or transmission, so that the two halves of the clutch can be slid apart. Disassembly is obtained by completely backing off the threaded core of the conical device from the internal bushing, which releases the sliding plates. This threaded arrangement is also the adjustment for the clutch. The plate farthest from the cone is fixed to the internal bushing and thus becomes the backing plate against which the pressure of the sliding plates is reacted. Removal of this plate requires backing off two set screws that retain the bushing to the shaft. Once removed, all of the components of the clutch are slid off the bushing.

John's actual project:
The Centaur sulky tractor was acquired on Ebay in 2015. No information on its history was
available. It was in very poor condition, and the project called for a complete restoration. There was no data plate on the tractor, thus year of manufacture and tractor S/N is not known, however, based on the known information about the New-Way engine, is was likely manufactured in the early 1920’s.
Restoration included a complete disassembly, paint and rust removal, priming and repainting. The New Way motor was fully stripped and cleaned. 

Where possible, original fastener hardware was retained, but most had to be cut off for
disassembly, and thus was replaced with new. Major components, such as wheels,
transmission, drive gears and chain, etc. were in decent condition, owing to their sturdy design
and manufacture.

The fuel tank was rusted beyond repair, however I was fortunate to find a shop that custom
manufactured a new one, reusing the original fittings.
The New-Way engine was free and mostly in good condition, except for the deteriorated sheet
metal. With the help of George I was able to identify it as a Model CH 5HP with a 4 ½
inch bore, S/N 11880.

Initial attempts to run the engine were frustrating but all came down to using a process of elimination and finding the solution. It was determined that the valves were incorrectly timed, therefore the front cover plate was removed and the gears retimed, once again with the aid of George. At this time the cylinder was removed to inspect the bore and piston/rings,which turned out to be in excellent condition. However, once timed, it still would not run. It was time to look at the magneto - no spark!

The magneto was removed and sent to a local shop for repair, and now we had spark, but still
would not run. Carburetion was determined to be the issue and what an issue it was. 

The carburetor has a cast iron body so prone to rust and clogging of its fine passages when left idle for long periods. Many hours were spent trying to get the rust out of the cast iron carburetor. As a trouble shooting tool, an aftermarket carburetor was temporarily installed, and lo and behold, it RAN! So, back to the original carburetor. After much soaking in rust remover, boiling it, running it through the dishwasher,and poking at it endlessly with wire in the passages, it was, after multiple attempts at running finally cleared. Running on it's original carburetor - what a relief.

On the metal work side, one item that took time and patience was positioning the cooling shroud so that it didn’t interfere with the cooling fan. Bearing in mind clearance needs to be assured given the rigors of operating the tractor in a rough paddock.With it finally running smoothly, attention turned to the drive train so we could take it for a spin. It might be running, but of course that was only half the project. It needs to be operational, to work as a tractor. Everything was fine except for the clutch, which would not engage. 
Investigation revealed that the lining material was completely worn out, and that the rear disc had separated from the retaining sleeve, so, we moved back to dismantling just a little. To remove the clutch, the transmission had to be removed and the disc taken to a custom shop for renewal. The rear plate was reattached to the sleeve, which was a challenge, as the sleeve is cast iron and the plate made of steel. I was unable to find any information on the clutch, so repairing it was a trial and error learning curve. Once reassembled and adjusted, the tractor moved as it should, both forward and
Now I had a New Way powered Centaur Tractor that not only ran but it was also operational, likely much the same as it was when produced near 100 years ago.

Time for a new project, time to fulfill the passion of restoration once again on a new challenge.

The Centaur Tractor now has a new home. It has been acquired by the Yadkinville Museum in North Carolina. No doubt it will take pride of place with many other fine displays in the museum.

Check out the PHOTOS: (Click to view)
Stripped to Bones
Rear End
Drive Train

Finally the photo here shows the Centaur near completely restored. Just a few trims to fit, like the shroud and fan cover pieces.

Thanks John.
Regards All.

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