Holt Power Light


| March/April 1998



Holt Farm Light Plant

54248 Howell Road Cumberland, Ohio 43732

My brother-in-law, Chuck, asked me to haul a Ford Mustang to his friend John's garage where they were going to restore the car. When we got there and unloaded, John was telling me about this old engine he had, and wanted to show it to me because he knew I liked to restore and show antique John Deere tractors and equipment. We walked to a 6' x 6' building about 100 yards from the house, and there was an old power plant. It was different from anything I had ever seen. We talked about it for a short time, and I was telling John he should restore it and bring it to our show.

As time passed, I kept thinking about that old power plant. Several months later I was talking to Chuck, and I asked if he saw John anymore. (John had been laid off and had a new job that required a lot of traveling.) He said he still talked with him on most weekends. I told Chuck, 'When you see John, ask him if he wants to sell that old power plant.' Chuck called later, and told me John said to come up and get it and we would work something out. We had to postpone our dates to pick it up because of snow and bad weather, since the building sat down over the hill from the house. Chuck said he would help, and we set a date of February 26, 1995 to pick it up. It had some wiring cut off that went to the house, and some missing. It was also wired into a water pump regulator which had been run by a flat belt from the engine to a line shaft. John's tractor and boom were used to remove the power plant that weighed about 550 lbs. It took about 3 hours to remove it from the building and get it loaded.

After getting it home, we took several pictures of the wiring and engine to help keep everything in order when reassembling it.

The engine was stuck. Since it is a headless engine, I took the side cover off, and the piston was all the way up and the valves were closed. I took the sparkplug out and started to soak the engine. Not having time to work on it until the following winter, I kept soaking it with everything I could think of. After soaking for eight months or so, I needed to come up with something different because soaking helped but wasn't completely working. I thought of heating but didn't want to break or destroy anything, so I decided to pour hot water into the water jacket and see if that would help. After pouring hot water in a couple of times to get it as hot as possible, and by using a pipe wrench on the coupling, it started to break loose. After working it back and forth a short time, we could turn the engine all the way over.

My sons Craig and Drew and I started to disassemble the engine, getting the jug off and checking the piston and rings. Two of the three rings were broken. After trying to locate rings, I called a number from Gas Engine Magazine, Niagara Piston Ring, Inc., and had a set made. The valves weren't in too bad of shape, but needed some work done on them. The electric governor adjustment pipe needed repairing also. After all the repairs were made, I ordered new wire to match old stock from Lee W. Pedersen, also an advertiser in the magazine. I matched the color as closely as possible from the old paint on the power plant under all the grease and oil. Finding that all the bolts on the engine were stainless steel helped set it off after the engine was painted.