The Severe Difficulties of 'Moe'

Turning rimfirst cut.

Turning rimfirst cut.

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Sometimes in the course of an engine restoration one encounters difficulties more severe than the usual ones. Such is the case with 'Moe.' Moe, of course, being a 6 HP Alamo style 'M' which I acquired a few years back.

At some point in Moe's history he 'got in the way,' and I presume the easiest way to get him out of the way was a shove by a Caterpillar.

Anyway, the net result was a bent crankshaft and a broken flywheel. Well, since I have some welding experience, I thought I would try to piece the wheel back together. Easier said than done! I succeeded fairly well except for some side to side wobble at the rim, and a few welds cracked on cooling. After talking to some folks about it and considering the safety factor, I decided it wasn't prudent to use the patched wheel. I asked around and ran an ad in GEM, but no luck.

About this time, I was in the gold country at a Branch 49 show (Jonestown). On the way home we stopped at Knights Foundry (incredible place!). I talked with Carl Borgh, the owner, about my plight, and he said they could cast me a new wheel using the other as a pattern. (Both flywheels on this engine are identical.) He also said it would be cheaper if I did the preparation work.

Armed with this information and hope, I proceeded to do the following: I built up the rim of the wheel to allow for shrinkage and machining. I also ground, sanded and painted the wheel to make it smooth. I also made a plug for the hole and threaded it for an eye-bolt to lift the flywheel out of the sand. I held the plywood strip and tapered aluminum strip to the wheel using 10-24 screws tapped into the rim. The sides of the rim were thickened with Bondo.

With all this done, I took the wheel back to Knights to have it cast. I was informed I had just missed a 'pour,' but not to worry, there would be another in a few weeks or a month. Well, about six months later the foundry owner informed me that there would probably never be another pour as they were closing for good. However, he was sympathetic and told me he knew of another foundry in the vicinity that could probably cast it. This is the Sunset Foundry in San Andreas, California, and Dave Freit as is owner. Sure enough, a couple of months went by and I got a phone call saying 'Your flywheel's ready.'

Needless to say, we zipped right over (a six hour drive one way!) and picked it and the old one up. It was a little rough (surface texture) so I went over it with the disc grinder. But there were no visible flaws or blow holes. The next thing to do was machine it. How to proceed?

I decided to chuck it on the faceplate from the I.D. of the rim. That way I could turn the O.D. and face both sides in one setup, plus bore the hole. I used the I.D. as reference surface as well as the face of the rim (the part usually is not machined). In setting up the wheel to run true, I found I had high spots 180 degrees apart on this face. The casting had sagged a bit. However, it was only about 3/16 of an inch. I figured I would lightly face these surfaces to get the high parts off. The machining presented no problem. The iron came off nicely using carbide bits. The diameter of the wheel is 30 inches and the rim is 2 inches wide. With the rim portion done, I faced, bored, and reamed the hub to two inches to fit the crank. I then turned the wheel around and faced the other side of the hub and the surface where the governor weights bolt on.

Now all that was left to do was cut the keyway and drill two holes for the governor weight bracket.

I machined the keyway in the shaper. In measuring for the keyway, I discovered that the keyway tapers through the hub so that the gib key contacts the full surface for a secure grip. I bolted a heavy piece of angle iron across the front of the shaper table. Then, using heavy C clamps, I clamped the rim to the angle iron. To give support near the center I dropped wedges behind the spokes and clamped here also. To get the proper amount of taper I clamped down at the lowest part of the rim, and using a large nut and bolt as an adjustable stop, clamped this part as well. This put a slight twist in the angle iron but allowed me to get the taper just right. I cut the keyway to depth with a inch bit, then moved left and right ? inch to get the half inch finish width.

The holes for the governor bracket were drilled with a hand drill.

Well, that's about all there is to it. I still have more to do on the engine rocker arm, fuel pump, tank, and I'm looking for the right piston, rod and a crank guard if anyone can help.

When I get the engine finished, I'll send a picture to GEM.