How I Would Steer the Squirrel Cage Tractor

| November/December 1994

In 1938 I worked on an oil pipeline across Indiana, at least halfway across Clay County. And these Texans, who had the contract to do the work, had a machine that cleaned the dirt and rust off of the pipe. The machine was a Ford V8 engine set on small cog wheels that would travel down the pipe. It had a series of burr wheels and wire brushes that rotated around the pipe, thereby cleaning it. There also was a strip of heavy burlap mounted to turn with the brushes, and by having a can or bucket suspended above the burlap and having a small hole in the bottom, paint would run out onto the burlap thus painting the pipe after it was cleaned.

These Texans had a pole about ten or twelve feet long mounted on the machine, parallel to the ground, with which they could walk along and hold everything upright. They called it a Hoosier Pole. They said it didn't need to know a damn thing, just hold the machine up. So, that would be my suggestion.

Removing Stuck Pistons
On another matter, I read so many stories of fellows having problems removing stuck pistons. I have an IHC model 'M' that was so rusty that you could not discern between the cylinder wall and the piston skirt. The piston was halfway down the cylinder. I asked a few fellows how to loosen the piston. One of them said to burn brake fluid in the cylinder. I removed everything except the piston and set the block up on end and poured about a cup of brake fluid on top of the piston. I lit a small piece of paper, to work like a wick, and dropped it in the fluid.

I started the burning process about nine in the morning and from time to time would check to see if the fire was still burning and to add more fluid if need be. About twelve I thought it was time for a sandwich, so I decided to check on the fire and it had gone out. I looked in the crankcase to see if it had done any good, and sure enough! The brake fluid had come down around the piston and loosened the rust. Lunch was a little late that day because I didn't stop until I had the piston out.

I used a piece of round stock about 1 inches in diameter and about 18' long and held an 8 lb. hammer close to the head and just bumped the piston out!


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