Letters & Miscellanies

By Staff
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The Weaks' headstone, showing the family home plus a Cat 60 and Cat Holt combine.
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Bill May wants to hear from you if you have a West Coast built by Sterne Bros., San Diego, Calif.
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Dental shell machine.

Homelite Generator

I have a Homelite military generator like the one owned by Don
Zumstein and pictured in GEM (May 2003, page 4). I used mine all
one winter during a demolition job I was doing. It ran well, but
after lugging it about for three seasons we called the little
machine a ‘Homeheavy’ rather than a Homelight.

Henry Dana Rotman 44 Gibson Road Milford, CT 06460

Photos 38/5/2A and 38/5/2B on page 4 of the May 2003 GEM showing
two generators owned by Don Zumstein were inadvertently reversed.
Henry tells us he sent Don photocopies of manuals he has for
Homelite generators, along with copies of letters from Homelite
about the unit. – Editor

Stationary List Thanks

Please pass this word of thanks to all the ‘iron people’
who answered my question on how to clean out the water hopper on my

I took their advice and popped the cylinder out of the block.
I’m glad I did this, as I dug out about two pounds of dirt,
glass, nails and a spike. For the price of the o-ring it was worth
what little trouble it took to remove the cylinder. Thanks again
for getting me some answers to my questions.

John M. Edgerton 27 Loon Lake Road Bigfork, MT

Silo Farmall H

In reference to the Farmall H on the silo (see GEM, April 2003
page 3): It was put there by Ivan Weaks, who called his place
‘Row on Oak’ farm, and it has been an attention grabber for
several years now. Ivan is gone, but of equal interest is his
(their) headstone, which is located on the far corner of the square
the farm is on.

The stone depicts the house and Ivan’s Cat 60 with a Cat
Holt combine, not a common combination, especially in this area.
Ivan had a large collection of IH tractors and a number of Cats,
and of course some Fordsons, the first modern, affordable rigs

One of my old neighbors farmed with his 1918 Fordson into the
late 1960s. He never used more than a two-bottom plow or 6-foot
disc and I can well remember the Fordson doing whatever the chore
with a wisp of steam ever present at the radiator cap.

On another matter, Larry Rife asked about a Lycoming engine off
a John Deere combine in the December 2002 issue of GEM. My book
says it could have been equipped with a Hercules six-cylinder
(9XC-5) or a Hercules four-cylinder (OOC 4-inch; OOB 3-3/4-inch) or
a Lycoming four cylinder. It would look as though John Deere
didn’t make an engine suitable for combine power. I know the
combine itself is nearly identical to the Cat Holt rigs, so I’m
not sure how much of it was really a John Deere. I believe they
were more hype than substance.

Brent Mackey 2992 W. Fremont Road Port Clinton, OH

Seized Engines

I read Gary Grinnell’s story about seized engines (see GEM,
May 2003, page 15), and thought I’d add a thought. If it’s
a spark plug engine, knock the porcelain out of an old plug and
braze in a male air hose fitting. Install this in the oil-filled
cylinder and hook an air hose to it. It really helps.

Jim Wohlfeil 6040 Eldridge Waterford, MI 48327

Figure #3 on page 17 of Gary Grinnell’s article may cause
some problems for inexperienced engine restorers, as it makes it
look as if piston rings should be spread open far enough to slide
over the diameter of the piston. Such an attempt would surely
result in two piece piston rings every time. Of course the rings
should be placed on top of the piston and expanded just enough to
slip into place.

A second word of caution: Unless you have the crankshaft out or
you are positive that the piston will clear the crankshaft, never
drive a piston down so far that the rings expand below the cylinder
wall. A better method, after you get the piston to move down even a
little, is to clean up the cylinder wall and then drive the piston
out the top end.

Thanks for a great magazine. Keep up the good work.

Ken Hollenbeck 607 Cherrywood Lane Sister Bay, WI

That was an interesting article about removing stuck pistons,
but if the crankshaft won’t turn, check to see if the valves
are free. If possible, check the camshaft too. Trying to free a
stuck engine without doing that can result in a broken valve, valve
lifter, rocker arm or a broken camshaft gear. Stuck valves can be
worse than a stuck piston.

Billy Griffith griffith@sunshine.net

West Coast Engine Info

We are compiling a book on the Sterne Bros. Co., San Diego,
Calif., builders of the West Coast Engine, and would like to
include pictures of all known San Diego-built West Coast engines
and their owners.

We have pictures of the San Diego West Coast plant on H Street,
plus we have patent papers, financial reports, sales manuals, parts
list and instruction manuals. We also have pictures of the
prototype West Coast as found in a shed out by the Singing Hills
Golf Course at the Campbell Ranch, El Cajon, Calif.

We would like to know bore, stroke, flywheel diameter and any
other data (along with pictures) to include in the book. We
encourage everyone with a West Coast engine to send material data
by Sept. 1, 2003, for inclusion in the book, and we thank you for
your help.

Bill May 9152 Hector St.San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 277-2566

Unknown Device

I am writing regarding the ‘Unknown Device’ that
appeared in the April 2003 issue on page 6.

My father, Richard Mueller, gave me similar device about 18
years ago. Mine was manufactured by the S.S. White Dental
Manufacturing Co. of Rhode Island, date unknown. My particular
device has 20 pins with rounded ends on a lower base with
corresponding holes on a separate top plate. It is a ‘Dental
Shell Machine’ and was used to make temporary crowns for
patients who were waiting for their permanent crowns to be made in
a laboratory. I hope this helps Mr. Spark of West Australia!

Barb Mueller Nissen 2213 S. 91st St.Omaha, ME 68124

Welding Cast Iron

This is in reference to the discussion in the April 2003 issue
of GEM. It concerns the response to Mr. Bond on the issue
of cast iron welding and the response from Mr. Hull, re: welding
cast iron that has been repeatedly heated, such as cast iron fire

I remembered reading years ago in Arc Welding Lessons for
School and Farm Shop
by the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding
Foundation (2nd edition 1957), about this problem. I located the
book and the section that addresses this issue. On page 200, under
the heading ‘Burned-Out Casting,’ it says:

‘Cast iron parts which have been subjected to high heat,
such as engine manifolds or stove grates, often are described as
‘burned-out.’ These castings are relatively high in sulphur
content. When the welding process begins, one notices that the
action with the arc is similar to the action when grease is
present. The deposited metal instead of fusing rolls up in little
balls and forms a crust. Non-machinable type electrodes sometimes
give more satisfying results on this type metal. The casting skin
is removed by grinding, and in order to prevent burn-through the
metal is never veed as thin as is recommended for ordinary cast
repair work.’

I realize there may be something more recent on this issue. If
you receive any other feedback on this topic it might be good for
discussion, as old engine and tractor people are always dealing
with broken exhaust manifolds that are considered ‘burned

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. GEM is a great magazine and you
are doing a great job. Keep up the good work. Mike Bernal 16590 Oak
Glen Ave. Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd
St.,Topeka, KS 66609-1265; rbackus@ogdenpubs.com

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