Getting the Famous Running

IHC Famous Engine

Parts of the Famous before assembly.

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22251 Pillsbury Avenue, Lakeville, MN 55044

On the way home from the annual swap meet in LeCenter, Minnesota, my friends Dale, Gordy, Roger and I stopped at a local restaurant for supper. After spending the day in the rain and mud, we deserved a break, to dry out and reminisce the day's events.

There was still some iron left on the trailers, including an 8 HP IHC Famous and a 4 HP Associated. Soon talk centered around a possible swap of my old Harley motorcycle for Dale's Famous and Associated engines. Of course Gordy and Roger helped this conversation along considerably. Anyway, we hauled the trailers to my place so Dale could check out the cycle. The next thing I knew, two ton of iron was in my yard and the cycle was loaded on the trailer.

Did I mention these engines were in pieces? My wife probably thought I was even more crazy when she saw the pile of primed and rusty iron lying there that night!

I thought I'd try restoring the Famous first. Having never seen one all together, I had my work cut out finding how the pieces should be assembled. Roger helped with a few pictures and a Titan book. Now I could see what the parts would look like should I get them in the right places.

First I made wood blocks for the cart frame of red elm, then painted and assembled the cart and wheels. Next I painted the larger engine parts, after retapping most of the pipe and bolt holes. I built an engine hoist and lifted the block and flywheels onto the cart. A cam gear was ordered from Tennessee, and my nephew Tim machined a collar for the ignitor trip arm. Then came more assembly of the piston, rod, and head. It was starting to look better all the time.

I was coming to the point where I needed to see how the rest of the engine went together. A man in Henderson, Minnesota, had a 10 HP Famous; he was most helpful, showing me the engine and explaining how the parts worked.

After all the plumbing and assembly work was done, the fun part was next- seeing if I could make it run! Gordy and I tried to start it by hand, but all that happened was a couph of puffs of smoke. Out of necessity to our aching arms, we belted the Farmall B to the Famous. After about a minute the 8 horse fired up and was running on its own, although a little rich! My neighbor came down to see what all the smoke and ruckus was about, and got a lesson in hit and miss engines in the process. We got it cleaned out and put smaller springs on the weights to slow it down. It was now running better and starting it was getting easier. After three months of work it was sort of exciting having the Famous in running order!

At our Pioneer Power Show in Le-Sueur, Minnesota, we weighed the engine to settle a bet. The cart and engine weighed 2900 lbs. I lost the bet with my guess of 4000 lbs.

I wish to thank all those Engine nuts who aided with information or manual labor to help get my Famous running.