45 Prentice St Taftville, Connecticut 06380
Greetings to all the readers and writers of the GEM. I would like to share with all of you my story of finding and restoring a 3 HP Majestic gas engine. I first spotted the engine about two miles from where my wife and I had just moved to. It was sitting in front of an old barn. I stopped to see if it might be for sale. The gentleman I spoke with said he would sell the engine. He collected tractors, not engines, and was just using it as a lawn ornament.
The price he gave me was fair, but at the time money was tight and I had to pass for the time being. From time to time I would ride by to see if the engine was still there and, fortunately for me, it was.
Some time had passed; Christmas had come and gone. In the middle of January of 1992, I was riding past the Majestic but still unable to buy it. One night a friend from Andover, Connecticut, called me. Several years past I had purchased a John Deere Model B tractor from him and he was wondering if I was interested in another tractor he had. It was a John Deere Model L tractor. It was sitting along with some scrap iron on some property he was trying to sell. He offered me the tractor to clean up the property so he could sell his land easier. I went to look at what was involved to clear the property. It didn't look too bad, so we made a deal.
After a solid day of cleaning, I had the tractor home. After another five hours of cleaning and adjusting, I had the tractor running. It ran very well and I would have liked to keep it, but my garage is very small, and I couldn't see spending many hours restoring a tractor that was going to sit outside.
Thinking back to the owner of the Majestic and remembering he collected tractors, I gave him a call and told him what I had. He came over the next day and checked the tractor out, and after some haggling, I ended up with the Majestic and some money.
When I got the engine home and had a chance to really look it over, I wasn't sure if it was something I should part out or restore. Three corners of the base were broken, the governor weight bracket was broken, there was a large chunk cracked out of the head, the piston was stuck, and the list goes on. From what the owner had told me, he got the engine while in Vermont. The engine was sitting on some blocks about three feet above the ground. The reason it sat so high is unknown. Through time the engine had fallen over on the ignitor side causing the base to break. I don't know how long the engine sat like this.
Little by little I started to disassemble the engine, and before I knew it I was committed to restoring it. After finally getting the engine apart, I welded half inch steel plates that I had to form to the broken corners of the base. I used a nickle rod and did this very slowly to avoid further cracking. I then finished welding all the other broken parts. I repaired the head with J-B Weld. I simply ground the head and broken chunk to fit well together and followed the manufacturer's directions, and it worked very well.
My next problem was the ignitor. The movable shaft was bent beyond repair. A machinist friend made a new shaft for the ignitor.
The only thing left was to grind the valves and make new gaskets. After a lot of time I was ready to attempt to start the engine.
There was only one remaining problem. The fuel mixer is original and is not of the Lunkenheimer type, and I was not sure if it was to be gravity fed or needed a suction fuse and check valve. After studying various types of Waterloo-built engines in what I call the Gas Engine Bible (American Gasoline Engines Since 1872 by C. H. Wendel), I decided to try a gravity feed setup. The engine started and ran very well.
After sanding the flywheel rims and fine tuning I was ready to paint the engine. I knew it was red, but wasn't sure what shade of red. I ended up using the color Mr. Wendel recommends in his Notebook for Waterloo Boy engines. The wagon is made of white oak which was primed and painted also. The battery box is made of pine. The striping and lettering I did the best I could.
The engine now sits proud and Majestic. I hope my story and restoration is as pleasing to all of you as it has been for me and I would like to hear from any other Majestic owners.