| April/May 1991

During the past few months we have again heard of some horror stories involving vintage engines and tractors. By the time this issue is in your hands, some of us will be thinking about getting started again. Thus, we again direct your attention to the use of extreme care.

We think it is important to remember that when these old engines and tractors made their appearance, safety was not always a big priority. Some engines did not have so much as a crank guard, and others were taken off ages ago. These old engines and tractors were not built as toys, and were not intended as such! Of course, we're not trying to scare anyone away from our wonderful hobby, but we're certainly trying to get everyone to exercise due caution. A few don'ts:

DON'T ever put your face or body in front of an engine opening. For example, if there is trouble with the igniter or plug, stay away from the opening when turning the engine over. Remember you are forcing the explosive mixture out of the hole. Believe us, it can explode outside the cylinder! A friend of ours was seriously burned on the face and chest in just this way!

DON'T allow gasoline to leak or drip from your engine, especially if it has any chance of igniting. Fix the leak or solve the carburetion problem.

DON'T have a grease rag or wiper, loose shirt sleeves, or the spout of an oil can anywhere near the moving parts. If the timing gear catches the spout of the oil can, it will have your hand drawn into the mechanism before you can let go!

DON'T leave your engine unattended. Some engines are designed so that if there is a governor failure the engine will shut down automatically. Most are not so designed, and your favorite engine could end up sending shrapnel over a wide area.