Old Engine Fever

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8635 Cty. Line Dr., Rosholt, Wisconsin 54473

This is a story about an old engine venture. It made my wife finally realize how bad a fever can get. It is called 'Old Engine Fever.'

It all started one day when I was talking to a fella who had an old one lunger out back in an old shack. Of course I couldn't wait to see it, so the next day, my five year old son and I went to visit. When I looked inside the shack, I saw a United, still belted up to a 1907 F.E. Myers water pump. He said he used it to fill up his potato sprayer.

After talking for a while about it, I asked the price. I tried to negotiate with him, but he remained rather firm in this area and as I have 'The Fever,' the negotiations were over. The engine was mine. Phase One was completed.

Next step, get her home. Several obstacles had to be overcome to get this fine iron into my house of restoration. One, it was December in Wisconsin, and with several inches of snow on the ground, the road to the shack, which was a way off the beaten path, was unplowed. Two, my wife didn't have a large interest in my hobby. Hoping the virus would bite, I asked her to go for a ride with my son and me. She agreed, so off we went. Down the road a ways, she asked, 'Where are we going?' I didn't answer her, but gave her a smile and a glance bingo, she knew where we were headed. She shook her head and said I was nuts.

It wasn't long until we got close to the shack. She asked where it was. I pointed across the snow covered field by the creek. With her mouth wide open she said once again that I was nuts. We turned off the road, and headed down the farmer's snowmobile path towards the shack.

We reached our destination. There it was! This fine iron was now within my grasp. 'Let's go,' I said. My young son and I raced to the shack, while my wife took her natural time. Looking over the project at hand, removing the engine-pump setup would be rather simple. With a couple of pipe wrenches and a turn here and there, it was all unhooked.

Then I began dragging the setup out of the shack. My wife stood by laughing as I struggled to get it to the truck. After she saw how determined I was, she felt guilty and offered to help. My plan to get the setup off the ground and into the pickup was to use 2 x 4s and slide it up. That didn't work as the engine kept sliding down. My wife said, 'Forget it. Take the 2 x 4s out of there and let's lift it.' I laughed and said she was nuts. But she said, 'Let's do it.' So she grabbed one side and I grabbed the other and on the count of three we lifted. With a grunt, up it went and quickly we had one side on the tailgate of the pickup. Another grunt and we had the United sitting on the back of the pickup. I turned and looked at my wife she was very red faced and out of breath. I said, 'Thank you. I owe you big.' She replied, 'Don't worry, I will collect!'

After getting it home, I started restoring it. I found it to be in very good shape as there was not a part that was worn out. After dismantling it, sandblasting, priming, lots of finish sanding followed. Looking back at all the long hours of sanding with sore arms and fingers, it was well worth it. I have a very fine finished engine that even my wife appreciates.

It somehow seems that the 'Old Engine Virus' was in the air that December day. I do believe that my wife has caught a little of 'The Fever.' She has since gone to a number of old engine shows with me and helped me lift several more pieces of 'Fine Old Iron.'

My wife, now more knowledgeable, wants to give a word to the wise: 'Watch out all you gals of old engine nuts, the Fever is spreading!'