Curtiss Jenny Restoration

Welcome! We hope you enjoy following the restoration process of a 1918 Curtiss JN4D Jenny. Once completed, the aeroplane will be flown and displayed at the Candler Field Museum in Williamson GA (30 miles south of Atlanta). You can contact me below by clicking on "VIEW MY PROFILE"

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Location: Peachtree City, Georgia, United States

Thursday, December 23, 2010


When I had a company build the radiator, they did a marvelous job, but the flange on the side was not correct. I asked for an .050 gap and I got a .250 gap. The flange hangs over the side of the spider plate and keeps the radiator from moving side to side. So, I ground off the flange and decided to build another one.

Here you can see how the radiator fits against the plate. I cut off most of the old flange.

I never did any brass soldering before, so I practiced on a piece of scrap brass using a Bernzomatic torch, some flux and 50/50 solder. It was easier to do than I expected.

So, A 3/4 in. strip was cut from the copper purchased from McMaster Carr. Their catalog listed all kinds of brass, but after some discussion with John Gaertner, I decided to get Formable Brass Alloy 260.

Nervously, we fired up the torch and soldered the first six inches of the flange. No problem! With a generous amount of flux, the solder flowed nicely. I wanted to make the joint look finished, so we went over the joint with a dremel tool and a small sanding wheel.

Filled with new confidence, the rest of the flange was soldered and dressed.

The new flange now fits the spider plate perfectly. The .050 lip will eventually fit the .040 sheet metal side cowling.

Last week when we trial fit the engine and radiator, we discovered that the water well touched the Hisso cylinder banks. So, the corners of the well were removed. New copper will be added. It was getting late and we decided to keep this job for the next time.

We had the radiator made using the OX-5 radiator drawing. I was surprised to see the water well touch the cylinders. This bothered me. I didn't want to cut up a perfectly good radiator but there was no other choice. However, looking at some pictures I took of the Waldo Pepper Hisso powered Standard J1 in Kermit Weeks' collection, I noticed that Otto Timm did the same thing to make his radiator fit the Hisso - cut off the ends.

I suddenly felt better.

If you notice, they cut the ends deeper than I did because of the water hose connection angles from the cylinder banks to the radiator. Hmmm... May have to rethink this one again. Our radiator hose tube sticks straight out the back.

Lastly, I may need some help. This is a picture of a Hisso fuel pump. My engine does not have one and I have no idea where to get one. This picture came from Kermit Weeks collection too. I suspect they are as hard to find as an honest politician. I plan on modifying an old Pesco fuel pump but I would sure like to find an original. Anyone know where to find one? I think there is a Hispano Suiza car club somewhere.

Another option is to adapt a modern automotive fuel pump which is OK to me. But finding a rotary pump is difficult. Most fuel pumps are lever actuated from a cam lobe. I need one that is gear driven. Anyone have ideas here?




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