1-1/2 HP Fairbank-Morse Model Z

A Christmas project

| November/December 1967

  • fairbanks morse z
    George Addison's 1-1/2 HP Fairbanks-Morse Model Z.

  • fairbanks morse z

It was a cold day in December of 1965 when I was on my way home from a day of teaching school that I followed up a tip on the location of 1-1/2 HP Fairbanks-Morse Model Z. I pulled into the driveway hoping that this was not a dry run. I got out, knocked at the door, introduced myself and inquired of the engine. The owner and I drove down the road and into a woods. I was shaking, not from the cold but from anticipation and hope. We uncovered the object and there stood the gas engine still connected to the pump jack. We agreed on the price and with a mighty heave it was in the trunk of my car. Thank goodness for snow treads on the car or I might still be stuck in that woods. I then drove back to his house, paid my bill and headed for home.

When I got home I began to wonder how to get the engine out of the trunk by myself when it took two of us to get it into the trunk. I changed clothes, went back out to the garage, and with the aid of two pieces of lumber I slid the engine out.

Next problem-I cannot stand too much cold weather so how could I work on it? I pulled the head and brought it into the utility room where my workbench and tools are kept. With no background I began the problem of the stuck valves and I do mean stuck. I didn't hammer too much but did free the intake with only a little work, but not true with the exhaust.

The next Saturday I went to a local mechanic and he laughed. With one mighty swing on the hammer the valve broke. Now what? The following Thursday after teaching high school all day and before my adult welding class met in the evening I went to the auto supply house in town. We searched for a valve that could be machined down and ended up with a valve that had a stem of the correct diameter and length.



Then on a lathe I ground down the face diameter and reground the angle. It fit very well.

Christmas vacation was coming and I would have more time for my new hobby. It was going to be too cold to work in the unheated garage so I proceeded to make a base of 2 x 6's found a pair of old wheels, loaded up the engine, pulled it into the house over three steps, and was ready to go. After getting the engine in the warmth of the house I discovered that I had a remarkable Christmas present when I found the manual and the operating instructions in the bottom of the battery box under the old batteries. The papers had been wrapped in waterproof material and were in excellent condition other than being brittle from age.