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IHC Model LA Excitement

IHC Model LA before 

Normally, collecting gas engines is not real exciting unless you happen across a real rare engine or a really good deal. Recently, I bought two engines at a sale. One is a Pelton Marine Engine; I had never seen another like it. The second is a common 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 hp IHC Model LA.

The Pelton had a bad rod bearing. The LA looked like it would run. These engines are usually very good and reliable, so I put it on my backyard work table 2 feet off the ground and proceeded to clean the magneto points and reset the mag impulse. I cleaned the fuel system, took the back cover off the engine and looked inside. All of it looked good; even the oil was clean.

The fuel tank was not original and mounted on top of the water jacket and it had no check valve. The engine was mounted on two 4 x 4 wooden pieces 24 inches long with a piece of plywood as a bottom. I mounted the fuel tank between the 4 x 4s and made a new fuel line with a foot/check valve. I put new fuel in the tank and cranked it over to try and start it up. I had oiled the valves and done a little checking over before this. It fired up and started to run away wide open! I reached down to shut it off before it got too fast, just then the flywheel came off and went across the yard and crashed into the wood pile! I live on top of a hilly area; if it had gotten out of the yard it could have possibly gone two or three blocks downhill and caused some real excitement for someone. The bolt that holds/clamps the flywheel on was not tight and I didn’t notice this. The table the engine was on was not level and slanted downward to the side, aggravating an already bad situation.

I am told by experienced LA guys that either the throttle plate is stuck or the square 1/4-inch drive shaft from the governor is not installed correctly. At any rate, I have had all the excitement I need from this guy. I plan to do the Pelton Marine Engine this winter. If anyone knows about a fuel mixer for it (it’s missing), please call me. My limited research shows it was made before 1907 when the company was disbanded or bought out. The nametag reads “Manufactured by the Pelton Gasoline Engine Works, Lyons, Iowa.”

Lyons is now part of Clinton, Iowa, and is on the Mississippi River and they built boats so I will do more research and write more when I get the engine done. This engine was most likely on a small skiff-type boat. I would trade the exciting IHC LA engine for a period correct 1-inch NPT fuel mixer for the Pelton.

Dave Irey; 6348 Mildred Avenue, Edina, MN 55439


IHC Model LA after

IHC Model LA flywheel