Trouble at Show time


| July/August 1974


Box 76, Devils Lake, North Dakota 58301

One of the largest shows having the biggest number of different makes of steam engines and gas tractors in operation was the threshers show at Rollag Minn, put on by the Western Minn. Steam Threshers Reunion. The machines are of the largest size down to the small ones in gas tractors. A new addition was a Corliss engine in operation. A Rider-Ericcson Hot Air engine. Wouldn't you like to watch the six ton Kline stationary gas engine running so quiet and smoothly with its 78 inch diameter flywheels? It is owned by Mr. Jim Withers of Osakis, Minn. Another new comer is a 35-70 hp. Nichols-Shepard Oil-Gas tractor all painted and lettered owned by Mr. Norman Pross of Luverne N.D. That is the heaviest built engine I have ever worked on. It was restored at the Larson Machine Shop in Fargo into perfect running order.

May be a show is not complete if someone hasn't got some trouble and this time it was my share to have it when the thin babbit lining melted out of the brass shell in one of the connecting rod bearing in the 40-80 Avery tractor. I had no idea that one of the small holes in the oil tubes in the crankcase had plugged up and I was deep in trouble. Soon some of the good fellows helped take the engine apart and lift the heavy cover off the crankcase. Mr. Larson took the brass shell to his shop in Fargo 35 miles away. Made a new shell out of aluminum in his shop in two hours and was back at the tractor, all in three hours time. Now could anyone beat that or come anywhere close to it? The bearing fit just perfect and was the most beautiful job I have seen. With all the good help, we had the tractor back in operation in short order although to begin with I was a pretty sick man and thought we were all thru for the season. Among the helpers who were so handy with tools were Mr. C.J. Krieger and Mr. Norman Anderson. They worked like beavers which made me feel pretty good when we were ready to crank up again.

This being one of the first 40-80 Avery tractors built there is no way to tell from the outside if a hole may be plugged in the crankcase. I would advise anyone having one of these tractors to disconnect all the tubes and blowing air thru them to make sure they are open and keep the crankcase flushed clean and change the oil regularly, otherwise it is too much guesswork. I am very thankful to all who helped to get the tractor back into operation in such record time.



Pictured is an Oil Pull friend, Mel Rees of Topeka, left, by front wheel, and Del Seuser with his 14 x 28 oil pull in 1916. Vintage taken in evening with shade from willows filtering through. Better shot of engine on top picture. This is an early tractor with the old round water tank under your feet like the old Model F. It has dual spigot oilers on fender tops for heavy traction work.












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