35 HP Black Bear

Ed Roininen and 35 HP Black Bear built by Oil Well Supply Co. Photo courtesy of Sue Austin, Tecumseh, MO.

Sue Austin

Content Tools

RT 4, Box 88 Gainesville, MO

A phone call from a friend in Oklahoma started it all. During the conversation, he just happened to mention an engine in his area that was going to be available. Thought it was a 35 HP Black Bear. If I was interested, I'd best come take a look in a hurry. I couldn't get away at the time, so I did the next best thing. I called my sons, Tom and Charles, both of whom live in the Tulsa area. Tom, working nights at the time, called our friend and arranged to go look at the old sow. The next afternoon he called back with a very good description. As soon as the pending jobs were cleared up, a fast run to Tulsa started. The next morning Tom and I met our friend, coffee'd up, then took a short ride out to an old powerhouse. When he rolled that door open, there it was! A Bear, a great big old Black Bear, all of 35 HP. We looked, checked, and looked some more. The only thing wrong was, someone had stolen the connecting rod brasses. 'No problem I'll make new ones.' It didn't take long to decide. Transaction completed. Next step measure up for timber scribbing and start planning our moves. The tape told us the old girl would just squeeze through the door. After a busy summer and fall, the time came to go get the Bear. Loaded with gear and timbers, we were Tulsa bound. The next morning, as soon as Tom got off work, we started out. At the old powerhouse, we surveyed the situation for a few minutes, backed my trailer closer to the door and unloaded some gear. We started by disconnecting the two four inch pipes that served as exhausts, next came the water, and the fuel lines. Fuel line my foot! The old girl must be a real addict, an inch and a half pipe fed her, then the clutch pulley, and shaft. In order to lower them down safely, we chained a 4 x 6 across the top of the flywheels to act as a boom. We also had to chain the flywheels to keep them from turning. After undoing the outboard bearing, we let the entire unit down to the floor, and rolled it out of our way. While I was doing that, Tom loosened the base nuts, after which we jacked that mass of iron clear of the concrete base, in order to cut the anchor bolts flush with the top of the base. Then with pipe rollers we headed for the door. As the engine base started to hang over the end of the concrete, we bolted on precut and predrilled 6 x10 skids. As the rear of the base cleared, we finished the skid with the other cross piece bolted into place. We finally cleared the door, and got the nose of the skids raised enough to start up the beavertail of the trailer. A pair of Roustabouts, we had arranged for ahead of time pulled up with a winch truck. A snatch block, and their cable had the Bear up on the trailer in less time than the planning. After we chained her down, we were on our way back to Tulsa. Barely 6 hours all told we weren't even late for supper! The next day we left for home, the Bear followed us all the way from Out an around, Oklahoma, with a lot of swiveled heads on the way. I would like to hear from any one out in engine country who is well acquainted with these old Bears, and some of their idiosyncrasies. Any starting and operating tips would be appreciated.