My First Engine was My Second

By Staff
article image

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.

The 25 HP Giant as it appeared when Loren Rarick first purchased
it. Loren had already removed the exhaust valve assembly when this
photo was taken.

Some time after the engine was retired, Carl told his family he
was going to bring the engine home. He jumped into his pickup and
left early the next morning to get it, but he returned home later
that evening without the engine. He went in the house and sat down
without saying a word. When his family asked him where the engine
was, he replied, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’ He
never told anyone what happened or where the engine was, and he
took the story to his grave.

Many years later, some local engine people found the engine
sitting on a small farm on California Mesa, southwest of Delta,
Colo. The man who owned the farm was sometimes hospitable, but at
other times cantankerous. Sometimes he would let them look the
engine over, and other times he would order them off the property,
sometimes with threats. Even Harold Smith couldn’t talk to him
and was ordered off the property.

The finished 25 HP Giant. Restoration work has centered on
returning the engine to working form, and the Giant will likely
remain as you see it here.

As time passed the farm was divided up into smaller acreages,
and a friend of mine, Jim Carr, bought one of the acreages ‘as
is,’ which included the engine sitting next to a cattle shed.
It had been sitting there for many years, evident by the fact it
had sunk nearly six inches into the ground.

Jim liked looking at the Giant, and after he moved onto the
property he moved the Giant into his back yard. At some juncture
one of Jim’s friends expressed interest in working on the Giant
to get it running, so Jim let him take the engine to his farm about
a mile and a half away. Jim finally decided he wanted to get the
Giant back home, and the first time 1 saw it was when Jim and I had
gone over to the farm to try and retrieve it. However, a short time
later it disappeared again, and Jim finally found it on the
property of the man who had sold him his acreage. The man refused
to return it, Jim called the sheriff, and eventually he got it
back.

The sheriff suggested that Jim do something with it, or it might
disappear forever. Jim knew I was interested in old equipment, so
following the sheriff’s advice he called and asked if 1 was
interested in the ‘steam’ engine, as he called it. Jim told
me he didn’t know anyone else who would do anything with it, so
he gave it to me.

Another view of the 25 HP Giant as found. Considering how many
times this engine moved around, it’s amazing how complete it
was.

Getting Started

When I started to work on the Giant, the first problem I had was
a stuck exhaust valve. My friend Andy Moffat and I launched into
it, taking off the exhaust pipe and removing the valve cage. This
was not a one-man job, as just about every part on this engine is
heavy – the entire engine and carriage weighs approximately 9,000
pounds. It took a 12-ton jack, penetrating oil, an acetylene torch,
the two of us, and almost four hours to push the valve out of the
guide. While I applied as much pressure to the valve as I could by
hanging on the handle of the jack, Andy would heat it up. It gave
slowly, and when it finally would break loose it would move about
an eighth of an inch and the press frame would jump about a quarter
of an inch off the floor.

Owing to the fact there was nothing covering the exhaust pipe
during the 30 years or so the Giant sat outside, water had gotten
into the valve cage and the valve stem had rusted along almost half
its length. I was very thankful that the valve was closed during
that time, because if it had been open it would only have been
worse. The intake pipe was covered and it was okay, and fortunately
for me no water got into the cylinder and the engine was free.

Several weeks later Andy stopped by with a gift. While visiting
a friend at a junkyard Andy found a valve from an auxiliary diesel
power unit being used as a doorstop. Andy found another doorstop
and traded for it. The valve was slightly larger than the valve in
the Giant, but Ralph Mulford at Mulford’s Machine Shop was able
to grind it down to size and machine it to match the original. He
then fixed the guide, which had cracked, and lapped the valve and
seat. It works perfectly.

When I got the Giant the cooling tank was missing, so with the
aid of a micrometer and a picture of a Giant featured in C.H.
Wendel’s 150 Years of International Harvester book I
scaled out a replacement tank. There was one picture of my engine
in Wendel’s book, so I measured the flywheel in that picture.
Then I measured the flywheel on my engine, worked out the
difference in scale between the two and came up with a conversion
factor. I then measured the cooling tank in the picture, applied my
conversion factor and worked out my final measurements for my tank.
As a side note, when I took the engine to its first show Max Speer,
the president of our club, the Western Slope Antique Power
Association, told me to go out behind the museum building and in
the junk pile 1 would find the original cooling tank for my engine.
1 measured the two tanks and found they were within one-half inch
of each other.

To connect the replacement tank to my engine I ended up having
to replace about half of the original plumbing, because every time
I tried to unscrew a pipe its threads would break off. I would then
cut the stub with a hacksaw blade and collapse it with a chisel to
remove it, followed by measuring and threading a new piece.

I tried to find a three-stage ratchet oiler at Midwest Old
Threshers, but all I could find was a two-stage. One man at the
flea market had a three-stage oiler, but when I explained why 1
needed it he kept it for his own engine. I use a two-stage oiler
for the main bearings and a drip oiler with a check ball for the
piston.

The low-tension magneto was still in place, and with just a
little work and a magnet recharge it would put out a small spark
but not enough to fire the engine. 1 remembered reading in
Wendel’s book that there was an optional starter kit from the
factory consisting of a battery, an induction coil and a
double-pole knife switch. I bought the coil from John Wanat’s
ad in GEM and made a starter kit as described in the book. Now, if
the battery is charged, it will usually fire after two or three
turns of the flywheel.

The fuel pump piston rod was rusted and pitted badly, making it
so I couldn’t keep packing in the pump. To counter this I made
a new piston, new packing and replaced the rusted check balls with
stainless-steel ball bearings. That fixed that problem, but it
still wouldn’t pump fuel. Pushing a little further, I found
that if I primed the check balls it would pump a little, but not
enough to keep running.

Clearly 1 had a fuel supply problem, so I pulled the drain plug
on the fuel tank shutoff valve -nothing ran out. I pushed a piece
of baling wire up in the hole, into the tank and out came rust.
When I would pull the wire out gas would start to run out, but then
it would plug up again. After reaming it out numerous times I was
able to get fuel to run steady and clean. Then 1 discovered that
the fuel lines were rusted and plugged on the inside. I was able to
ream out some of the lines using a speedometer cable and a drill
motor, but the rest had to be replaced.

After getting fuel to the main carburetor 1 tried to fill the
starting carburetor, but discovered it was full of leaf-cutter wasp
nests and the main carburetor was full of rust. I removed them all,
took them apart and sand blasted them inside and out. I made new
springs for the metering valves and painted everything. Now, with
the exception of an occasional plug at the fuel valve, the system
works great.

The water pump was the next thing that wouldn’t work. I took
it apart and found that the piston was a hollow bronze casting, and
that water had collected in it and frozen, expanding and cracking
it on one side. I had to squeeze it back into shape, weld the crack
with silver solder, then turn it on a lathe to true it up and
smooth it out. I made a new packing using 1/8-inch Teflon packing
string, and now it works just fine.

The Giant running at its first show. After a fair amount of
experimenting, Loren finally settled on 200 rpm as a nice running
speed.

As I got closer to finishing the Giant, Andy and I would
occasionally try turning the engine to see if we were making
progress. These engines are heavy and hard to turn, so Andy decided
we should back his tractor up to the flywheel and turn it with his
tractor tire. After positioning his tractor we jacked the wheel off
the ground and started turning the engine – it worked. But since we
didn’t have all the necessary repairs and tuning done yet the
Giant would cough, sputter and shake until it knocked the tractor
off the jack. Things got very exciting for a moment. Then we
discovered that the flywheel had cut a groove all the way around
the tire about an inch and a half deep. Andy wasn’t very
happy.

Taking a different tack, we belted a 2 HP Fairbanks-Morse to the
flywheel. It took five of us to hold everything in place; one
holding the engine, one guiding the belt, two helping get the
flywheels started turning and one running the front. The result
was, unfortunately, the same, except this time we only had to
contend with a belt jumping off and running away, not a tractor
wanting to fall off a jack. From then on we turned it by hand.

Finally, with all the repairs done, we started it again, and it
was almost a non-event. It took two of us pulling on the flywheels
to turn it and one on the front to run the carburetor, choke, spark
advance and compression release. When it fired the first time it
got easier to spin the flywheels. When it fired again, it started
to turn on its own. Then it started running faster and getting
louder. When we released the compression release and advanced the
timing, it got very loud. The governor was set at 350 rpm, which
was too fast – it got scary without a load on the engine. We
started it again, and when it reached about 300 rpm we held the
throttle back. But even then, with two flywheels each weighing
about 1,700 pounds, the whole engine started to jump and shake.
Finally, Pete Campbell helped me set the flyweight governor to 200
rpm, where it runs nice, smooth and fairly quiet.

According to my research, this engine was built sometime between
1911 and 1913. I’ll likely never know for sure, as the Mogul
engine factory burned down in 1917 and all productions records were
lost. I base my assumptions of its date of manufacture on the fact
that International Harvester started manufacturing this engine in
1911. Early engines employed a low-tension magneto, but because
they were hard to start IHC changed to a high-tension magneto in
1913. My engine has the low-tension magneto with an igniter. Other
than that, it is purely speculation.

Well, that’s the story of how my first engine became my
second successful restoration. My Stover, by the way, is still
going strong. It doesn’t look as pretty, but it still sounds
great.

Contact engine enthusiasst Loren E. Rarick at: 494-1/2 Grand
Valley Dr., Grand Junction, CO 81504, (970) 434-3820, or e-mail:
Ier172@aol.com

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