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I'd like to rebuild a small motor to 1) refresh my memory of how four-stroke motors work, and 2) teach my sons how they work. Which engine is:

  1. relatively inexpensive (< $200 used)
  2. requires only common tools (e.g. wrenches, socket set, screwdriver, etc)
  3. readily available parts
  4. appropriate for eventual use as a generator (not intended for dependable use, more like a science project)

There are many references to Briggs and Stratton 5hp motors as good general-purpose motors; anything special to know about them? My previous experience with engine repair is limited to VW flat-four Beetles.

  • Is there any reason not to buy a used generator and start from there? – Bob Cross Jul 1 '14 at 18:32
  • Eh, just to be able to say I built it myself, and to force myself to consider some of the issues like pulley size, ideal RPM, etc. – Eric R. Rath Jul 1 '14 at 19:42
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    Most generators today are direct drive (no belts involved). Also, the generator will dictate engine speed. It will require it to run at a specific speed to maintain 60Hz output. Most of the engines which run smaller generators are pretty much throw away engines/generators. When they die, you just replace them. This is pretty much any generator up to around 8500 watts (running). And when they die, they die spectacularly (as in rod out the side of the block, or some such). – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 1 '14 at 20:16
  • Thanks for the comments -- I edited the question to deemphasize the generator aspect. This effort will be more in the vein of a science project and teaching tool. – Eric R. Rath Jul 3 '14 at 19:01
  • I was going to say that a nice engine to work on is the Vauxhall/Opel x14xe engine, but it's probably not going to be useful unless you want to put it in a car. Also, seeing as you're in the US somewhere, you probably won't (easily) find parts for it. – Captain Kenpachi Jul 4 '14 at 7:39
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The SAE Supermileage competition equips participating student teams with a single-cylinder, carbureted & air-cooled Briggs & Stratton engine.

Make aside, these characteristics would suit the endeavors listed well.

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