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Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Ian Barker
Thanks for your comments Norm.

I was having a bit of a problem reconciling a casting date of May 1928 with the cessation of Star production that year, but on another forum it was suggested that the casting date would be more help than the S/N (?V/N) in dating the engine. But you seem to have runs of engine numbers that correspond to model years that one can believe. I have seen one W5A engine installed in working order in Mr Ralph Skinner's 1927 Star, and, confusingly, his head has a casting number that I assumed was the date, same place and format as mine, and it is 12 27 28, which would make it December 1928. So even more perplexing. I'll have to phone him to see if his head/engine is original.

Why would they be casting W5 heads after Star production stopped? For repair part inventory? I'm assuming that W5 engines were no longer installed in other Durant marques after Star production ceased.

Thanks for correcting the engine model # related to specs. I was a bit confused. Do I assume that the specs that you listed attributed to the W4A engine actually were those for the W5A?

Thanks again for your help.

Ian Barker
PS Norm.

If possible I would like to cite sources for the statement regarding the engine serial numbers out of Leaside and model years, and the specs on the engine.

Are there documents or websites that I could check and/or cite for my description of the engine. You referred to a .pdf file for the latter, and a Register for the former.


Where Are You From? Picton, ON, Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? No

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Norm Toone
Sorry my mail should have said W5A not W4A,
1926 / 27 Star M with W4A should be W5A. Model C Star was W4A as were a few Model F's which then used the W5A. W5A F, M, M2 Star then M2, M4, 40 Durant to Dec 31 1929 in cars but continued in Rugby trucks into the early 30's. W8A replaced the W5A about April 1930 and up 406 / 416.
Rereading this message I take it that W5A engines were in use Durants and Rugby trucks into 1930, which answers my question about dates on heads vs cessation of Star production.

I'm assuming that this engine was taken from a used or wrecked vehicle, since the slots on the screws holding the timing chain cover are slightly stripped, and it would have been cheaper than new. That corresponds with the head not being original. The engine was certainly torn down for the conversion.

However, the owner stopped building boats about 1933, when he moved to another locality, so I assume that it was purchased prior to that time.

Where Are You From? Picton, ON, Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? No

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Yes the spec's were for W5A. Ralph Skinners coach is engine # 456381 and car is 1928 model year as produced Aug 1 1927 to Dec 31 1927 when M ceased.
Your engine could be out of a Star M car or Star X one ton truck, These 4 cyl engines got used all over the place pulled out of vehicles and repurposed in boats, saw mills, ice cutting etc. They are forever turning up.
Yes W5A to Dec 31 1929 in Durant 40 but Rugby trucks didn't follow the car line and continued first part of 1930 still using the pre 1930 bodies / engines and so forth. However 1930 the car line was an entirely new body and engine nothing interchanges to prior even the lug bolts on the wheels. 1930 was also scrapping that Aug 1 model year is next year model. If a model was updated then it was changed. eg the 1930 model year 614 Durant is Jan to Dec 31 1930, 1931 is Jan 1 1931 to Jan 31 1932. 1932 is Feb 1 1932 to model end 1932. Mine is 1932 from Dominion Motors. Last US plant was Lansing which stopped Aug 1931. Here Jan 14 1931 Leaside became totally Canadian owned and operated to make whatever it wanted. They chose to continue the Durant / Rugby lines Later name changed to Dominion Motors. Aug 1931 the all Canadian Frontenac came out. The CEO 1932 said Durant was a long dead company months ago and stopped the Durant line. The Frontenac / Rugby continued to Dec 1933. REO was also built 1932 and later at Dominion.
The info I pointed out is in DMAC site Tech area. There are two Registry's when I mentioned that. In DMAC is Terry's Registry under durantcars which lists the various makes models but not the Canadian side. Terry owned and operated his own Registry out in Winnipeg, at Terry's death 2012 his site was transferred to DMAC. Its a good start for info but don't take it as gospel there are errors and omissions. With Billy's empire and offshoots 1921 to 1934 there are more questions than answers, and new info comes out of the woodwork now and then to update or alter info. Billys motto should have been "No Two Cars the Same" Each plant used different parts on same model and we made it worse doing our own thing. We've been told our cars are wrong but are not. We didn't have winter front rads but US did on some models, Beehive taillight lense wasn't used 1930 Durant US but was Canada. Wire wheel rear spares is another which mine has. And so on. You can scan Terry's Registry of vehicles and see the engines used with serial numbers at all the plants which gives you an idea of progression on numbers. Have to remember these vehicles are over 80 years of age now and engines swapped, heads / blocks changed, fenders changed to side mounts etc. Cars dolled up in the 30 / 40's with parts that weren't factory orig. Its clubs like this that help owners get an idea what their car / truck came from factory with.
The other Registry I refer to is private out of Mississauga and we search the world adding new vehicles to it or adding info on existing ones. I didn't know Skinners head date but that is now added.
I can say no one is an expert on Billys cars nor can you be. Like I mentioned new info surfaces now and then to correct or add. Our aftermarkets from Leaside show model 416 but there is no factory info on the Rugby to say this isn't a typing error, until this Spring when a DMAC member in Arizona got a 1933 Dominion Motors parts book and it listed cars / trucks and wasn't one the 1931 416 4 cyl Rugby. Another is the Continental Ace 1933 shown everywhere as model 81 inc the Frontenac Ace. Wrong and blew that out of the water with a surviving Fronty Ace and model 91.

Where Are You From? Ottawa Ont

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1932 Dominion built 614 Sedan

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Thanks Norm:

For the life of me I couldn't access anything off the list to the left of the forum (I accessed the forum by Googling Durant Forum, which must have bypassed the home page). My browser blocked me for security reasons (insecure site). So I couldn't get at the contents of the Technical Page.

But, by chance, I happened to notice a recent posting on the forum about this issue, and it had a couple of alternative URL addresses which did let me access the contents of the Technical Page, which I can use as a source for the info on Model Year and Serial Numbers, rather than citing a personal communication with you.

I want to thank you very much for your help. You obviously have deep knowledge of Durant Motors, and of the Canadian branch in particular, and I appreciate your sharing it with me, a rank amateur when it comes to combustion engines (or any other, for that matter). I have found my foray into Durant Motors in Canada via researching the provenance of this engine to accompany its move to the museum very interesting.

I tried to describe the essence of the conversion in my first posting, but would you be interested to see pix of the converted engine? I think that it's quite ingenious, not being familiar with any other marine conversions, custom or assembly line. Shots of the 4 sides and the top would work. I probably can post them to the Forum, or, if you gave me your email address, directly to you. I'm at ibarker@golden.net.

Regards, Ian Barker

Where Are You From? Picton, ON, Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? No

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Ah read Ricks current posting on Forum we have been having a lot of problems with the site under various addys. DMAC has 8 or 9 different ones to access the site. I switched from the one I used for years to this http://dmacweb.com/ and have had no further problems. Rick told me years back all the various ones go to this one.

A friend of mine in DMAC above you has 3 Stars and a few parts. He also has a converted 4 cyl to marine use he picked up. Let me share parts of this recent emails on this subject.

There's nothing consistent with this stuff that's for sure. If there had been a factory spec manual that detailed each model and year we'd have most of the mysteries solved or able to slot things better. But it seems they just flew by the seat of their pants and we all know each factory did their own thing any time they wanted it seems. Need to get a car or a bunch out the door to generate much needed cash on a deadline or for a dealer that's hounding them?

One also has to keep in mind, the very really likelihood of someone over the last 95 years changing out a head or a block and most certainly swapping out distributors, starters and generators. When I compared all the distributors, genies, and starters on all my W4 and W5 engines, very few items had the same numbers. What else would we expect by now? The marine engine I picked up last winter on the south side of Lake Simcoe has mismatched W4 and W5 head and block so mechanics and tinkerers did over the years what we still do today to keep something running, no surprise there.

When I make a chart with the W4 and W5 engines I own, there is just no consistency at all with the part numbers or even brands used for electrical items. Delco distributor and Autolite.... different part numbered genies, different part numbered starters, but all Autolite... Welcome to Durant!

Like I said don't take info in DMAC as gospel with VIN lists etc. Lot was done without proper research years back. I know Terry used Branhams for a lot of his site and that being US does not have Canadian info, plus copying a former members lists as well. Also Branham wanted vehicle info from makers so he could put out his books before a car was actually made. So naturally some info is incorrect if the maker decided not to produce that model or made changes to it. There is still a lot of debate if a 621 / 622 Durant was ever produced for 1932 year when Durant was history Aug 1931 US. Now add the makers also caused problems by releasing brochures / ads for future cars or models but didn't make them. Good example is the Continental 1933 Beacon and Flyer showing a 2 passenger roadster on the brochure. Never made. If you follow the Durant / Rugby line it has 610 to 619 models but 613 is not there. No car was produced but a lad in Fla has a newspaper ad for the 613 he got Canadian side of Niagara Falls. One of my questions is the Leaside 1931 611, was it even built or scrapped. Lots of ads / brochures / vin ranges etc yet no one has ever seen one. 611 is a clone of the 614 and with things going down the drain it doesn't make sense to have two identical models being produced.
Jon the carburetor king in the US had never heard of a Frontenac nor the carbs we used on our later cars. J4A (mine) J6A, J7A. When doing his site the worst one to figure out was Graham cars and next up was Billys cars, he said. So we are next to the bottom of the barrel in confusion. The lad in Mississauga used actual vin books to create his Registry and even the Canadian one is incorrect in a few places. They have Fronty Ace as 81 and the 81's vin ranges which is incorrect since its 91.

To think all I ever wanted was info on my 1932 614 sedan and what it should look like from the factory. Owners manual pics etc. Why have my rear fenders got slots at bottom on fender which appear factory. I don't think Dominion put out owners manuals but they did put out a none dated generic one sort of covering Durant / Frontenac. From there it seems to have mushroomed into all Billys vehicles assisting on the Registry.

Oh yes another tidbit. Robertson screws we are all familiar with in Canada and not used still, were used on Leaside vehicles and other Canadian made cars. Henrys Ford A slotted US and Robertson Canada. Go figure my 614 and the two 633's from Dominion are half and half. Why would you use both on the door hinges as one place ? That's another kettle of fish now I mentioned the 633 Durant. No factory info other than aftermarket catalogues have some parts for the 633. Production ? Promo ? no one knew of it until a coupe was found in the 90's and later a sedan. Coupe is down your way off hwy 2 and the sedan is in Arizona having been saved from being rodded up here.

No I don't want a pic of the engine but thanks.

Where Are You From? Ottawa Ont

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1932 Dominion built 614 Sedan

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Thanks again Norm, for all of your help and information!

Where Are You From? Picton, ON, Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? No

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

I was thinking on it and being in Picton you can't be all that far from Minaker's or Roblins.

Minaker's Auto Parts
(Milford) Ltd
3073 Cty Rd 10, Box 100
Milford, Ontario K0K 2P0
E Mail : minakersautoparts@hotmail.com
or parts@minakersautoparts.ca
Specializing in hard to get parts.
Ph: (613)476-4547


Travel 2 miles down Fish Lake Road, and we are located on the left hand side. You can't miss it. Should you get lost, call us anytime at (613) 476-5479.


Randy probably has internal parts for the W5A over the main garage with all the stuff he has in buildings / packed school buses.
Roblin's has the front part of a Durant turned sawmill with the W5A still in it.
If you take the Visual Tour its under other makes.

Where Are You From? Ottawa Ont

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1932 Dominion built 614 Sedan

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

hey guys I can assure you the 1931 611 Durant was made ... i can assure you also that atleast 106 were made in leaside. Mine is in bad shape i am stripping it down to make a ratrod of it...lots of spare parts.
How many can still exsist

Where Are You From? TORONTO CANADA

Do You own a car built by Durant? Y 1931 611

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

Hi guys I just picked up a project Durant where can I find the vin or serial number?

I found the engine number 5 8 30

It’s a 4 cylinder car

Thanks I’m advance

Where Are You From? Waterloo Ontario Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? Y 1930 Durant 610

Re: Specifications for Star W5 engine

You own a 610 ? Is this what vehicle you are asking about, if so the VIN plate if it exists will be toe board passenger side. 610 is a US model built in Lansing only and fist letter of the vin will be an L . It replaced the 407 in Oakland plant Sept 23 1930 and has a W8A 4 cyl engine. Engine number will be passenger side of the engine at back under the manifold on a boss, probably four digits. What you refer to as 5 8 30 is the casting date of the head or the block, May 8 1930. Should be casting dates head and block.
How do you know its a 610 ? The 407 is also 4 cyl built Oakland plant and Leaside Ont. We didn't stop the 407 and it was produced into 1932 under Dominion Motors after Leaside became totally Canadian owned and operated Jan 14 1931 and name changed to Dominion Motors. If its a 407 the Oakland vin starts with a C alpha, if Leaside T 1930, A 1931, H 1932.

Where Are You From? Ottawa Ontario Canada

Do You own a car built by Durant? 1932 614 sedan made by Dominion Motors


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