My First Engine was My Second

Trials and Tribulations in Returning a 25 HP IHC Giant to Working Form

| May/June 2002

Loren Rarick's circa 1912 25 HP IHC Giant Mogul. Loren constructed the cooling tank working off photographs. Later measurements showed he was only off by a half-inch from the original.

In the October 1996 issue of Gas Engine Magazine, wrote an article about my restoration of a 1941 Stover CT-4. It was my second engine find, but my first restoration. I called the article My Second Engine was My First. 1 ended up restoring the Stover first because my first engine, the IHC Giant Mogul featured here, was stored some 65 miles from my home, and outdoors to boot. Not exactly prime working conditions. Well, I finally got the Giant home - and it only took me two more years to make it run.

Engine Background

This engine has spent its entire life in the area, and it history is interesting. It was originally purchased and shipped to Delta, Colo., sometime around 1912 or 1913 by a Mr. Obergfell, who used it to pump water from the Uncompahgre River to irrigate his farm. From what 1 have learned, in the fall of the first year he used it his son suggested they drain the water out of it. Mr. Obergfell told him it wouldn't get that cold, and besides, they were going to use it again the next day. That night it froze, resulting in a broken head and cracked water jacket on the cylinder.

The head was removed and repaired by a blacksmith, but the crack in the cylinder is still there after 88 years. It makes an interesting conversation piece, and I can't count the number of people who have told me I should repair it, and even how to repair it. But, I think it is just part of the engine and its history, so I'm just going to leave it as it is.

In 1937 an electric pump replaced the Giant, and it was sold to Carl Smith, who used it to power a sawmill. Carl's daughter remembers as a littler girl calling it the 'singing engine,' because when the tappets would hit it would make a ringing sound. She says she could hear it from three miles away as they drove up the road to the sawmill it powered. You have to listen to it to really understand, but it is a very pleasant engine to listen to and to watch.

In 1953 it was retired from its sawmill duties, a REO truck engine employed in its place. Harold Smith, Carl's son, says he had his brother replace the engine because the REO was easier to start. Just pull the choke, turn the key, push the button and it was running.


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