Gas Engine Blogs > Field Notes

Not So Dirty Deere

The John Deere engine after restoration

I see you had my dirt engine in your October/November 2014 issue. I want to thank you for putting it in Gas Engine Magazine. I thought you might like to see what it looks like three months later.

I found it in my corn field after planting corn over it. We had to bulldoze a fence row out so we could plant a 2-acre field down next to the creek. We'd been driving over it for 29 some years. It was in the opening to the field where we went in to bail the hay. The bulldozer just missed it by a few feet. My son, Gary, and I were picking up sticks after planting corn in late May 2014 when I saw a small piece of metal sticking out of the ground and I told Gary we should pull that out of the ground before we cut a tire on it. I tried to pull it out with my UTV but it wouldn't shake it. We started digging around and found some spring and a rod. I still didn't know what it was. Then Gary found a piece of metal and said, "What is this?" I said that is the end off of a John Deere igniter. That was when I kind of knew what was in the ground. I told Gary I was going to get the tractor and loader. On the way home I though I should get the camera because no one is going to believe this.

I set a goal of two parts a day when I started to take it apart. I made it, but some days got really long. It took me three months to get it apart and back together. I could not find anyone that could bore it for me because the block was too long to fit their machines. So I filled the pits with Lab Metal and honed it out. When I put the new ring in I had a 0.050-inch ring gap at the top and a 0.0006-inch ring gap at the bottom. I thought it would never run this way. I had an old set of John Deere rings that were cut at 45-degree angles. I put them in and got enough compression to make it run.

I have had it to two shows and it has more than 20 hours of run time on it now. I found the old well pump and pipe under it with a metal detector but couldn't find the broken pieces out of the block. So I took it to a metal fabric show and had them make some pieces to fit the block and weld them in. I wanted people to see the scars where it was welded so I didn't paint it, I just used metal conditioner and it turned it black and looked as good as paint so that's the way it is.

Wayne Summers, email: waynesummers@wildblue.net.

The John Deere engine after restoration

The John Deere engine before restoration

The John Deere engine before restoration

John Deere engine parts