Trophy Bagged While Horn Hunting

Harris engine

Content Tools

6230 E. 81st N., Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401

D. J. Baisch, 6230 East 81st North, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83401, in his story 'Trophy Bagged While Horn Hunting,' shares his tale of how finding an engine can even cure the sick! Look inside for his account.

A friend of mine buys game horns and antlers, and asked me to go along for a couple of days while he looked for them. I wasn't feeling well, but I decided to go anyway.

Well we used up about two days, stopping at a million places, and all this time I'm getting sicker and sicker. My friend is still stopping at every pile of rock dwelling that might house a person who 'woulda-coulda' killed some horned animal in the last decade or so.

Finally, I told him, 'We are going to have to go, because I would have to get better to die, and if you stop beyond this last place I'll muster up enough energy to hog-tie you and throw you in the back with the horns!'

I thought I couldn't feel any worse when we pulled into the last place wrong again. But, I decided to get out and talk to this last old guy, and handed him my 'old junk collector business card.' I asked him if he'd seen or had anything like the drawings on the card. He looked at it for a minute and said, 'Well, I got a couple of old motors my uncle bought way back when one is that old fell-in shed, and the other one is out in the pasture north of here about a quarter of a mile. We used it on a thresher 'til about 1935 or '40 and the one under the shed was used on a grain grinder.'

Well, I'm here to tell you there was apparently some heavenly intervention for me at this point and I was feeling a whole lot better now!

I waited for the boring deal to be made on the horns and then said, 'Let's go look at the engines.' My friend said, 'I thought you wanted to go...' with a chuckle. We all went over to the fallen-down shed. We were able to negotiate our way to the engine and discovered a 4 HP sideshaft Mogul, absolutely original, including skids, gas tank and toolbox. When we went to the pasture we found the Harris in the picture. It didn't look anything like this, but it was complete; just bruised; partially buried in once-used hay; and in a most disheveled condition.

I couldn't make a deal on it then, though I tried. Finally, over the next two months I did get the deal made. The Mogul only needed grease clean off, and the cracked head repaired at my cast iron repair and machine shop business. I left it original.

The Harris was a horse of a different color entirely. After removing the used hay I discovered that every single nut and bolt was stuck. As this engine does not have a removable oil pan, all the stuck internal bolts had to be removed through the hand holes, and remember, with everything stuck, the crank won't turn. So you can imagine the trouble getting the rods loose and taking the crank out through the front covers!

In about 40-plus ???? hours, and with the help of a few select phrases, the disassembly was completed. The cylinders were bored and sleeved, the crank ground, the cam built up and reground, the lifters surfaced, all new seats and guides installed and all new valves manufactured. So now it's ready to assemble, but oh my God! I now discovered all the timing marks were rust-pitted and gone! So, the valve timing and the mag timing had to be figured out from scratch!

But all's well that ends well, and those of you who have a project similar to this one know there is a lot more to this story than is printed here. I think it looks good, and it runs very well.

My next project in the shop is a Bates Steel Mule. Anybody out there with help? The Bates makes the Harris look like it was a new engine when I got it.