A4-H Project

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RD #5, Silo Hill Road Doylestown, PA 18901.

My friend, Jack, is a timberer and, along with another fellow, Dan, a 4-H leader of a group of boys and girls they instruct in small engine repair. These two vocations started a year of unexpected fun and learning for all.

Jack was timbering an area near Reading, Pennsylvania, which had a collapsed barn on the property. The owner had said Jack could have anything that was lying around. One day during a break, he noticed what appeared to be an old milk cooler con-denser just showing above the dirt. He passed it by, but it bothered him, as it just didn't seem right.

A couple of days later, curiosity got the best of him, so he went back for a second look. After a bit of digging and clearing, he saw the head and spark plug-with more digging, he cleared the flywheels.

He got the log skidder, attached a chain to the flywheels and you can imagine his surprise when he pulled out a Fairbanks Morse 2 HP model Z engine complete with cast iron base, 37? volt generator and water condenser. The sheet metal was rusted out, piston frozen and in general, what you might expect of an engine which had been buried 20 years or so.

It was taken home and at the next 4-H meeting the group, with a little encouragement from Jack and Dan, decided to make the rebuilding of this engine their next project. They freed the piston, dismantled the complete engine, repaired or made parts including reworking a valve and spring for the exhaust valve, sheetmetal and gas tank. The generator and magneto seemed about hopeless, so they were left for later.

They cleaned, painted and assembled the engine on the base. Rather than wait to see if they could do some thing with the magneto, they made a set of points and used a buzz coil to try to start it.

After a winter's work, you can imagine their anxiety when they gassed it up. With a little muscle and coaxing it fired and with minor adjustment, ran well. They videotaped the rebuilding with the group working on the engine. This included the starting of an engine that possibly hadn't run for 20-30 years and, of course, their elation.

After this the engine was taken to the Agday Festival at Delaware Valley College, near Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and it received a lot of attention. It also travelled to the Blue Mountain Meet and was one of the smoothest, slowest running engines there.

Their past winter's project had been the rebuilding of a single cylinder diesel engine donated by a local auto salvage yard. This is now running also. As for the magneto and generator, they are trying to save money to get them rebuilt.

I'm sure you will agree that this was a very worthwhile project and a great experience for the 4'H kids and their leaders, Jack Shelly and Dan Burmiester of Fountainville, Pennsylvania.