Essex engine weakness question

A buddy of mine (age 78)  tells me his grandfather had an Essex (probably circa 1920's) that had a quite troublesome engine, pertaining to the valves. Actually he said the car was, directly quoting, 'A piece of shit'. I realize the poppet valves of modern engines are extrordnarily reliable, were they less so in the early days or did the Essex have some other valve system (sleeve, etc) that was less than perfect?  Discuss.

Thanks
David

Comments

  • charles4dcharles4d Posts: 499Expert Adviser
    Maybe he just got a bad motor they are some still on the road today still running 
  • Jay GJay G Posts: 380Expert Adviser

    Was it a 4 or 6?  The first Essex 6s were not the most reliable so I am told.  The 4 is a great little engine.....  My 22 is still running.

    Jay

  • BeforemytimeBeforemytime Posts: 111Member
    All I know is the valves were a problem. I wondered if Essex used some non traditional valve system that was not worthy.
  • tombiatombia Posts: 141Member
    Geoff Clark can answer this one, But what I remember was that original problems were with low displacement, high rpm,s and low gearing.  
  • GeoffGeoff Posts: 3,630Senior Contributor
    Valves were not a problem if everything was maintained properly. Essex used side valves, like most cars of the day.   I've done half a million miles in my Essex.   Valves were troublesome in the mid 60's when extreme quantities of lead were used in  the fuel, but otherwise they were no bettor  nor worse than in any other make of  car.  
  • Jon BJon B Posts: 6,942Administrator
    Never heard of any valve problems in Essexes.  I was told that when Essex went to six cylinders (1924), they initially burned out rod bearings.  This problem was cured, and by 1929 Essex was third in U.S. sales behind Ford and Chevy.

    Of course, no matter how good the engine, some cars are simply lemons and your friend's grandfather may have owned one of those.
  • BeforemytimeBeforemytime Posts: 111Member
    Jon B said:
    Never heard of any valve problems in Essexes.  I was told that when Essex went to six cylinders (1924), they initially burned out rod bearings.  This problem was cured, and by 1929 Essex was third in U.S. sales behind Ford and Chevy.

    Of course, no matter how good the engine, some cars are simply lemons and your friend's grandfather may have owned one of those.
    Or the mechanic might not have known what he was doing. Dunno if the car was a 4cyl or six. People were not mechanical savy then.
  • dave11dave11 Posts: 134Expert Adviser
    Not an Essex man myself, but My father had some experiences with them when he was a young fella.
    He used to say the Essex was not a bad little car, although it had an extremely low speed differential, so if you were inclinded to try and keep up with rest of the cars on the road the engine would not stand up.
  • AlanBDahlAlanBDahl Posts: 4Member
    Once again most of the complaints about Essex engines were the 6-cyl. The 4-cyl, like my 1922 were much more reliable. Now problems can happen when you try driving a nearly 100 year old car at modern freeway speeds but on the roads of the day at the speed limits of the day (usually 35 mph max) an Essex 4 would have lasted anyone a good long time. The 4 was also an F-head engine with one valve in the block and one overhead valve which was also better than the later flathead 6s.
  • ESSX28-1ESSX28-1 Posts: 1,357Senior Contributor
    I've fitted a diff internals from an Essex 4 to my 28 Essex Coupe. This drops the engine speed by about 12% for any given road speed. It's an easy drop-in fit requiring only minor mods to the Essex 4 diff & is totally reversible to original if wanted. Only downside so far is that I use 2nd gear more often but the ease of cruising id great.
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