Broken IHC Famous

Sometimes it's Better to Just Spend the Extra Money

| December/January 2001

  • Piston and Cylinder Sleeve
    Show base, piston and cylinder sleeve.
  • Broken Cylinder

  • Piston and Cylinder Sleeve
    Show base, piston and cylinder sleeve.

  • Piston and Cylinder Sleeve
  • Broken Cylinder
  • Piston and Cylinder Sleeve

Don't do what I did if you want your engine to run for more than 10 minutes. I drove over 500 miles to get what was supposed to be the best little 1 HP Famous, all equipped with mag, cream separator pulley - and with over 75 percent of its original paint left. The owner knew what he had, and he knew the going price for an engine like this.

After looking at the engine I found there was not much compression, but I figured a dry piston with no oil and a stuck ring would do that. It was beautiful but dirty, but I bought it and took it home. I paid his full asking price, and it wasn't $500 - I had to multiply that by three. Once home I took it apart - boy, was there a big groove in the cylinder. I went to a few places to find out about putting a sleeve in it - expensive. A friend said, 'I'll do that for you for $50 cheaper.' 'Okay,' I said, 'the job is yours.'

After a month he told me it was ready. I picked it up, took it home, cleaned it with fine steel wool, a pocket knife, a tooth brush and some diesel fuel, and finally put three coats of the best varnish money can buy covering the remaining paint. I also made a buggy for her, almost like the original. New rings, new gas tank, ready to go.

Well, after playing with the timing for a while the engine finally went 'puff,' started, and ran okay for the first minute or so. While I was adjusting the needle valve to make her run smooth, the cylinder-sleeve suddenly let go and moved all the way to the back of the engine. The pictures show the result. I am now the proud owner of two-s of an engine.

The moral of this story is; pay the $50 more. It may save you some bruises and save the life of a nice engine. The fellow who did the work did his best, and we are still good friends, and another friend bought the engine and should have her running soon enough.

Contact engine enthusiast Andre Racicot at: 129 Clark, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1J 2N4.


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