From Wreck to Resto -1 HP Mogul

The Story Behind the Story

| July/August 2002

  • Mogul Engine
    The Mogul as found. It's almost hard to believe these two pictures show the same engine.
  • IHC Mogul

  • Mogul in mid-restoration

  • Mogul in mid-restoration

  • Mogul Engine
  • IHC Mogul
  • Mogul in mid-restoration
  • Mogul in mid-restoration

I caught the Old Iron Fever about eight years ago, and since then I have restored several engines for myself, letting them go once I'm done and then starting the search for another. For me, the fun is in the finding and restoring, not the collecting. Each one is a special challenge, bringing great satisfaction when all the problems have been conquered and the engine is like new again. And as we all know, the greater the challenge, the greater the enjoyment - right? This is the tale of my greatest 'enjoyment' to date.

It all began with my friend Ron Mason asking if I would help him with the restoration of an engine he had found, which I hadn't yet seen. He had cleaned it and started to reconstruct some missing pieces. He and his daughter, Britany, were very enthusiastic about the project and wanted to see this engine run again. I figured their enthusiasm, combined with their having already started the project, meant it would be a piece of cake - no problem, bring it on.

I will let Ron tell you his side of the story before I go on: 'On a cool, crisp November day in 1995 a few boys and I went hunting deer. They had no luck with the deer, but I found an old engine. While I was looking at it the owner of the property asked me if I wanted it because the land was going to be cleared shortly and it would be lost.

Ron Mason and his daughter, Britany, pose with the freshly restored IHC Mogul. The engine is mounted on a base identifying this Mogul as a 1917 model, while a separate plaque the Masons have says 1915-1917. The lack of a nameplate makes the Mogul's true date of manufacture uncertain. Note the IHC Type R rotary magneto. Some sources say this was used only on Model M engines (the Mogul's successor), which went into production in late 1917. It's likely this is indeed a 1917 model.

'My brother-in-law and I returned with shovels and started digging. We finally lifted the engine -along with an equal amount of frozen soil - aboard our pickup. I thought then I would rebuild it like new for a project. Boy, what a mistake. Once the newness of the idea wore off the engine sat in the corner of the garage for over a year. I had cleaned and primed some of the existing parts, but for every one thing done there were two things that needed doing, and I was getting no where fast.

The Mogul in mid-restoration. Quality engines by any standard, the Mogul line featured a fully enclosed crankshaft protecting it against the elements.

The Mogul in mid-restoration. Quality engines by any standard, the Mogul line featured a fully enclosed crankshaft protecting it against the elements.

'About this time my daughter, Britany, asked, 'why on earth do you keep fiddling with that old engine?' I realized that this is part of life's heritage, that she should see this run and understand how these engines worked and were used.

'Enter Ted and Dave Robedee. I am a pretty fair mechanic, but these old engines are something else. Dave rebuilds magnetos (, and I knew Ted likes to rebuild engines. With a lot of figuring - and guessing - about what missing parts looked like and paint and decals, I am happy to say the engine started and ran like it did when new.

'The best part of the whole project was the time spent with my daughter. To see her reaction when it started and ran. To be able to explain and show her part of things as they were in years past and bring something from the past alive was worth the whole effort.

'Sharing the satisfaction and pleasure with my friends Dave, Ted and my daughter Britany is not to be forgotten. It is as much apart of the hobby as the engine itself. Needless to say, I am looking for engine number two to start it all over again. Hooked? Probably.'

Returning to my side of this saga - when Ron finally showed me the engine he had found, I in graciously told him that, had I found it, I would probably have used the shovel to burry it deeper. The cast iron had taken the corrosive effects of weathering much better than the steel parts. We had to guess about things and engineer a lot of things.

We ended up boring and sleeving the cylinder, we put in new rings, and we replaced the valve springs and push rods as they were all gone. The carburetor was a gas-kero, and very different than any I had seen. This little Mogul is very different than other IHC engines 1 had worked on.

Things started really coming together, and I worked to keep everything as close to original as possible, and with good success to that point. Then it was time to go to a show and look at other engines to try and find the correct color. At about this time GEM featured a bright green Mogul on the cover. I thought it was a little bright at the time, but at an engine show about the same time I saw a Mogul painted the same bright color. Must be correct, two engines the same color, right? I had paint mixed to that color and finished Ron's engine.

Immediately after finishing the engine and turning it over to Ron I rediscovered the old axiom, 'Never assume anything.' It seems that I was looking at the same Mogul engine in two different settings. This engine is painted the incorrect color. It should be almost army drab. So much for assumption.

Color aside, Ron and Britany are real happy with it. Bringing an engine back from 'junkdom' is a big part of this hobby for me. Thanks for letting me share this latest project with you.

Contact engine enthusiast Ted Utess at: Box 146, Three Mile Bay, NY 13693-0146.


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