It's Official: I'm A Fuller & Johnson Collector

Fuller and Johnson Engine

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Rt. 2,Box24-C Ceresco, Nebraska 68017

I first became interested in Fuller and Johnson engines at an auction in Western Iowa, where a huge collection of desirable engines was being auctioned off. I was a new collector and, unfortunately, most of the engines were selling for more than I wanted to spend. However, a line of engines that had been in a fire some years earlier caught my eye. Among others, this line included a 1? HP Fuller and Johnson 'N', a 2? Fuller and Johnson 'N', and a 3 HP Fuller and Johnson D. E. that had been partially disassembled at the time of the fire. There was also a complete 4 HP Fuller and Johnson D. E. on trucks.

To make a long story short, I went home with a 2? HP 'N,' a 4 HP Cushman binder engine on banjo trucks, and a 1? HP Cushman X engine. My friend and fellow collector Ted Schultz purchased the 1? N and the 4 HP D. E. We returned home, and I started to work on the 2? HP. First, I freed the frozen parts, and had to find new springs for the entire engine. Then I had the entire engine sandblasted. After that, the real fun started-I had to pour all new babbitt bearings. This was my first attempt at pouring bearings, and fortunately, everything turned out alright.

Next, I constructed a new gas tank and rebuilt the igniter.

Then, it was time for reassembling and painting. The castings were all smoothed, primed, and given three coats of Delstar acrylic enamel. As a final touch, I put new decals on. All of the hard work paid off, and I had a very fine engine.

At this time, my son Garth was talking about a project for a 4H engine club, so I thought about my friend Ted's 1? HP Fuller and Johnson. He finally agreed to sell me the engine, and the whole process was repeated. The engine received the trophy for best of show at the Camp Creek Threshing Show in 1985.

As any collector knows, having two nice Fuller and Johnsons is not enough, so I turned my attention to the D. E.'s that were sold at the same auction. The 3 HP was owned by Fred Reitz of Alpha, Minnesota.

After several letters and phone calls, I was able to purchase this engine, but upon getting it home, I found bigger problems. The governor was missing, and the entire engine was generally worn out. The engine's condition was due in no small part to the fact that it ran a line shaft somewhere for many years, with minimal maintenance. It was eventually scrapped because of a broken piston and a badly bent connecting rod.

I borrowed some parts and cast other ones from patterns. The piston was welded and the ring grooves widened to accept new rings. I poured new bearings, and reassembled the engine. Alas, the compression was very poor, and I found out this was because the cylinder had been left egg shaped by the fire. I had to power hone the cylinder until it was round again.

In the meantime, I put this engine aside, and purchased the 4 HP D. E. from Ted. This proved to be a very good engine, because the piston was still free. I poured new bearings, painted, and restored the engine, then built a new truck. When this was all done, it was time to finish the 3 HP. Then, I built a truck from an old Galloway truck that was given to me by a neighbor, then mounted the newly painted and restored 3 HP on it.

All of the engines look and run great-my restoration efforts were really worth it, and I can now consider myself a collector of Fuller and Johnson engines. Being a collector, I am now constantly on the lookout for new Fuller and Johnsons to add to my ever-growing collection. I hope to see all of you at the giant Fuller and Johnson roundup at Baraboo this summer.