l2717 Shore land Avenue Toledo, Ohio 43611
I do believe that sometimes we must get off the serious bent and
touch on the lighter side of life perhaps try for a smile or
After reading stories of how to start old iron, I would like to
share with you a surefire method I have used many times on old
worn-out machinery. And, quite successfully, I might add.
In 1991,1 attended the Portland, Indiana show a fascinating and
fun-filled weekend. That’s when the bug hit me.
Shortly thereafter, my son-in-law called to ask if I could make
a quick trip to Indiana bring the pickup I thought he needed
something hauled. On arrival, I was directed to the pole barn.
There sat a 1920 ignitor ‘M’ with a red bow and
Father’s Day Card attached. Needless to say, I could barely
contain my enthusiasm. After nearly breaking my back loading and
unloading it, I made a promise to this pile of rusty iron that if
it would show any sign of life, I would treat it to a new set of
rings, valve grinding with new guides, a decent paint job and oak
After untold hours and many days under a shade tree, nothing! We
even cranked it with a half inch electric drill getting only a
couple of weak ‘woofs’. So I decided it was time to take
drastic action. Now I know that when all eke fails, you read the
instruction book; but I was well beyond that stage.
So, on the head I drew a picture of an ear and on the crankcase
a picture of an ass (rear end-backside-toekus-just doesn’t cut
it) yes, as I figure if they can parade them naked on TV every day,
I can call a spade a spade in a letter. Next, I sat down by its ear
and said unto it, ‘you dirty rotten no good nasty name if you
don’t get moving I’m going to kick you squarely in the
ass.’ And I swear I felt it shudder a bit and the flywheel move
an inch or so. After walking around the engine, giving it a loving
pat on the posterior, I applied the crank. After about four
revolutions, presto chango, out poured more black smoke and flame
than a Chinese dragon could hope to match, eventually settling into
a rhythmic blurp, blurp, blurp at spec RPM of 650.
Quite naturally, I kept my promise, taking it to Portland with
my son-in-law’s exhibit, where it ran flawlessly for three
days. Then with the onset of cold weather, same old problem,
NOTHING, even after recharging the magnets and acquiring the
strongest and most developed right arm in the Midwest. I
couldn’t revert to the aforementioned solution, because by now
this old chunk of cast iron knew that I was by nature the kindest
and most gentle person you could ever hope to encounter.
So, after determining proper polarity and placing a small bar
magnet on each side of the magneto, it starts and runs flawlessly
every time, regardless of temperature. Magneto output is now nine
volts, an increase of one. I assume the amperage is also up
somewhat. One volt may not seem like much, but percentage wise, it
is quite substantial. After starting, the magnets are removed.
At Portland in ’92, I acquired hit of miss T & M #330
which looks as though it has been sitting behind someone’s barn
for about 40 years. Many problems, but I am certain it too will be
in Portland in ’93, bright and shiny.
Isn’t it amazing how much time, energy and money you can
pump into a project such as this? And don’t forget the cursing.
But if you can label a project ‘HOBBY,’ any such outlay can
I thank you for allowing me to bend your ear.