The Rest of the Story


| July/August 1994



510 Plain Hill Road, Norwich, Connecticut 06360

I would like to start this article by introducing myself. My name is Mac Macomber. I have been a gas engine collector for twelve years. I also have had about ten tractors through that time and with that said, I can get to the business at hand.

Early in December, I was looking through the Publisher's Letter in the January 1994 issue of GEM. I noticed in the editor's opening letter that a gentleman had written in about the lack of 'how-to' articles. I often thought to myself as I was reading a story about the restoration of a collector's latest find, 'what a good story, I wish he would have gone a little deeper with information.' I am also guilty of this same practice.

I had a story published in the November 1993 issue and I just scratched the surface of what I went through in the restoration process. So to set the record straight, I'm going to share with all of you, some tips I have picked up along the way. I would like to stress to all of you, these tips are not carved in stone, they are merely suggestions that I have found to work for me. If any of you have a better idea, feel free to write into this fine publication of ours and share it with the rest of us.

When I get an engine home, the first thing I think about is getting it started, but before you can do that there are a few things that need to be done. (This is going on the assumption that the engine just purchased was not running.) You first need to make a visual inspection of the engine to make sure all the parts are there and none are broken. After you have replaced or repaired all the broken or missing parts, you can move on. Check the timing the exhaust valve should open just before bottom dead center and close just after top dead center. You should have spark just before top dead center.

After the timing is checked, see if you have enough compression to make the engine run. An old rule of thumb I picked up is: if the flywheels will rebound against the compression stroke, you should have enough to make it run. If there isn't enough compression, it could be a sticky valve or stuck piston rings.