The Scrap Iron Man Tried...BUT DIDN'T SUCCEED

20 HP Stickney Engine

This is the story of how a 20 HP Stickney almost was scrapped, but was saved to run another day.

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1215 Jays Drive, N.E. Salem, Oregon 97303

For many years Dave Kestler, of Herald, California had heard of a large Stickney engine in the Yreka, California area, but living several hundred miles away, nothing was done about it. In 1978 the decision was made to go north and check it out and possibly acquire it.

Having a fair knowledge of the mines in this area, they arrived in the Fort Jones Country and started asking questions. They were told that a mine up the road had a large engine there. Upon arriving at the site, it was found that nothing was left. However there was evidence in the tailings pile of where a large engine had laid on its side. But now it was gone. 'Well we missed this one, so let's look around before we leave.' A tobacco can is found nailed to a stump, in it was a copy of the mining claim. The name of the mine is the 'STICKNEY LYNN'. The claim also shows the names of three owners.

Upon arriving back in Yreka, a check is made in the phone book, and it shows one person with the same name as listed on the claim. We go to the house, and a lady answers the door. We ask the right questions and are told that that Stickney Steam Motor belongs to her son. We are told to go to the tavern where he is a bartender and talk to him about it. Upon arriving at the tavern, we order a brew and start conversation about the engine. We are told that yes he owns that Stickney Steam Motor and yes it is for sale. For $4500.00, OUCH! Over the hours and much small talk, the price keeps coming down. At the last call, Dave is told to come out to the ranch in the morning and we'll get together on that Stickney Steam Motor.

Arriving at the ranch the next morning, the engine is finally found. But it is in bad shape. Some scrap man sure did a number on it. The main bearing caps are gone. The rod bearing, governor, fuel pump, muffler, carburetor, coil, ignitor and step plates are missing. The hopper had been dynamited, also cracking the area around the ignitor hole. The engine had been rolled on the flywheels, with the bearing cap gone. This measure had broken the crank-case cover.

It is decided that it is still salvageable so let's load it up.

As in most cases there were other projects that had to be done before working on the Stickney.

After several years Dave had gotten married and there was a need to get the family into a better house. So in 1983 some of Dave's engines, including the Stickney, were sold. This engine was sold to Ed Edwards of Big Bend, California.

In 1984 Ed Banke of Carlton, Oregon purchased this engine. The following is told in Ed Banke's words.

Restoration was started by cleaning a wheelbarrow load of sand and gravel from the crankcase. VA gallons of dirt was taken from the combustion chamber.

The piston was stuck solid, 10' diameter and 21' long, a lot of piston to rust in!

The piston could not be taken out through the crankcase as the holes were too small. So, after 30 tons and lots of LP heat through the water jacket holes, I punched it back about 2' to clean up the bore for forward removal. Then, after making a bridle arrangement with the tie rods up each side and the hydraulic cylinder up front, the piston was pushed by the connecting rod out of the front of the cylinder, 10 hours and lots of heat later.

The rings were saved and in good shape. This engine had run very little as minimal wear was found at all points. In speculation, the engine appeared to have failed when a rock possibly had gotten into the timing gears and broke three teeth in the crank gear and had broken the governor off the engine.

The crank gear having two teeth gone and the third half there, required some major repair. I welded up the partial and recut it. The other two teeth that were gone I then made up on the mill, and welded them in after making a jig to hold them. The large timing gear was gone so I cast up a blank and made up tooling to cut it in my little shop, 19? diameter, 56 teeth.

I rebuilt a 3 HP governor for the 20 HP as the majority of it is the same as the 20 HP. A fuel pump had to be made from a 5 HP pump as a pattern, the same only much taller. The main bearing caps were gone (probably taken for their babbitt), so I made a maple pattern and cast up a pair with the correct part numbers. All parts that I cast have the correct numbers in the correct place, thanks to the information furnished by Richard Geyer of DeSmet, South Dakota, who has the other known 20 HP Stickney.

The carb and intake manifold was by far the biggest job of all. After scaling the carb from pictures, and making up casting patterns for the carb and manifold, cores for both had to be made. A lot of work for a 'one casting job'. Also the carb insides had to be cored to duplicate the Stickney carb and make it work well on the engine.

The carb and intake manifold took approximately 200 hours to cast and machine.

The water hopper, although appearance-wise looks very bad, was not nearly the job that the carb and manifold were. As the top 1/3 of the hopper was gone, I fabricated the missing casting out of plate steel, made a couple of forming dies and with a hydraulic press formed the crown of the hopper to match the original. The hopper was welded solid and ground and ready for paint in approximately 50 hours. The hopper appeared to have been dynamited; probably some scrap man tried to reduce it to loading size many years ago.

Also, when the main bearing caps were taken off, the crankcase had fallen down on the conrod journal and broken a hole in the top of the crankcase, which required careful repair. The crankshaft dial, however, indicated dead straight and the journals were in good shape.

Many smaller jobs needed to be done such as saving the 4' valve heads and making up new stems for the valves, 7/8' diameter stems.

The crankshaft is 4' in diameter and is forged steel.

The job took very close to 1000 hours of welding, machining, fabricating and painting.

This was a good winter project for any engine buff.

NOTE: This 20 HP Stickney was shown for the first time after restoration at the National Meet of the Early Day Gas Engine & Tractor Association in conjunction with the Great Oregon Steam Up, Brooks, Oregon in 1987.