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The Cultivator

Thoughts from the editor.

Gearing Up for 2017

I know it’s early for New Year’s resolutions, but this being the December/January issue, it seems appropriate to set out some goals for the new year.

Yet much as I like to procrastinate, I’m running out of excuses: The kids are out of school, with daughter Madeline graduated from college and son Charlie from woodworking school; the roof’s been replaced; and while the old cars continue to play up, they’re running OK. There are always other projects, but it’s time to get the IHC – and the 1920 5 hp Piersen sitting next to it – running.

Both engines are fairly complete, the Piersen in particular. Still wearing its original paint, I plan on leaving it as is cosmetically. Mechanically, I think it only needs a partial tear-down and inspection. It hasn’t been run in probably 15-20 years, so the seals for its odd combined flywheel/radiator are probably suspect. The single rocker arm that opens both the intake and exhaust valve was welded up long ago after breaking, and while it looks OK, I want to look into replacing it, likely by modifying something from another engine, as Piersen parts are thin on the ground. I think the crankshaft and big and little end connecting rod bearings are fine, but I need to find out why the magneto isn’t hot.

I like original over restored, so I’d like to leave the IHC alone, but I’m resigned to the fact I will probably have to paint it. Mechanically, I’m not sure what’s in store. A farm auction find, the IHC has no history. The gas/kerosene mixer is missing parts and I’m pretty certain the mag is dead. On the plus side, the crankshaft and connecting rod bearings appear good and the cylinder has compression. Unlike the Piersen, I expect to strip the IHC down to its base.