Birthdays are always good days, and some
birthdays are really special. I am a big fan of IHC engines and
have collected around 30 in the last 15 years. One of my dream
engines has always been a portable sideshaft Mogul. I had been
unable to corral one for all those years, but the day before my
31st birthday, a 1918 IHC 8 HP hopper-cooled portable Mogul
literally showed up in my driveway!
The appearance was no accident. My friend Ed Johnson knew I had
been on the lookout for a sideshaft Mogul for a long time. He had
been given a lead on an “unknown” IHC engine (probably an M)
located somewhere south of the Camden area in southern New Jersey.
He took a gamble, went to see it, bought it and hauled it home in
the back of his 1979 Ford F-250. It barely fit. He stopped at my
house on the way home.
On the night of Feb. 18, 2000, around 9 p.m., Ed was knocking on
my door. Imagine my surprise when we went out to his truck and he
showed me what he had. The nametag was gone, so a quick measure of
the flywheel told us he had an 8 HP. It was not pristine – not by a
long shot. Bits and pieces were scattered all over the truck. The
previous owner had taken apart everything that would come apart.
Even in the dim light from the back porch, I could see heavy rust
covering every part, deep pitting on the flywheel faces and a
14-inch long crack running lengthwise in the cylinder wall. The
trucks were almost a total loss. Only one crossboard remained
intact. The bolts were all rusted away. I am not sure what was
holding it together besides the rust, but it was a portable Mogul …
and they don’t grow on trees. I decided I had to have it.
Ed and I discussed the “how much” and agreed on a price. I
obtained the necessary wifely approval and I was on my way. Wow! I
had finally gotten one of my dream engines.
Ed told me he bought it from an antique collector who purchased
it from a family who he thought were the original owners. The scant
history that came with it was that it had powered a cider mill and
had probably never seen the inside of a shed. Since it was late, Ed
took it home and I agreed to pick it up the next day (my birthday)
at his shop. It would be easier to take it off the back of his
truck there, as he has a boom truck.
I was in high spirits when I brought the engine and its remains
to my house. My brother-in-law happened to stop by and asked me if
it was a cannon. The cylinder was not attached, so I supposed a
non-engine guy might think it was a cannon. At that point, it might
as well have been one. It sure didn’t look like much of an
I totally disassembled the engine so I could see what I was in
for. Most of the bolt heads were rusted off, but remarkably, the
threads under the heads were new and shiny. Optimistically, I tried
to locate a replacement cylinder. After the laughter died down, I
knew I had to get real and figure out how to sleeve the old
Fortunately, I have the right background for restoring
“unrestorable” wounded iron – I am a third generation machinist. My
great grandfather, Martin, was a blacksmith and farmer, and my
maternal grandfather, Tony Kudrel, has repaired machinery and done
machine work for 65 years. Grandpa Tony built the shop (where I
currently work) back in 1957 on his father’s farm. At that time, it
was a rural area, and higher amperage electrical service was not
available. So Grandpa bought and installed a 34 HP Ruston-Hornsby
HREX-6 diesel engine and its companion 25KVA generator to run the
shop. The big diesel uses compressed air for starting, so Grandpa
set up a 5 HP Otto gas engine he had to power the compressor. Both
engines were retired when the power company ran heavier service to
the area. The Ruston is still in place, but I have removed the Otto
to take to shows.
Grandpa retired in 2002 at age 79 and turned over his shop to
me. Back in 1987, I had started my small shop in a rented chicken
barn. I did well with it and moved up to a unit in an industrial
park. On Grandpa’s retirement, I merged my shop with his – a tight
squeeze, as we both had a lot of machines and tools. Grandpa is
still around for advice and to ask questions about old iron. He
can’t get around too well, but his mind is still sharp. My father,
Bob Charles, started machining in 1963 and had run his machine shop
until retiring. He now helps me in my shop part-time. We pride
ourselves in doing old-style repairs and new machine work. If it’s
metal, we can usually fix it or make it new.
I was prepared for the damage I saw, but a little intimidated as
well. I looked over the engine to determine the cause of the
cracked cylinder. I believe it was a carburetor cap that had been
missing for many years. The carburetor filled with water and
eventually rotted out the intake valve along with all of the
butterflies and shafts in it. Then the cylinder filled with water.
The cold created ice and cracked out the bottom of the cylinder. It
looked like the wall on the bottom was a little thin, so it didn’t
take much to crack. Once it made its own drain, the water ran out
through the open drain in the exhaust valve box. Amazingly, the
piston was not stuck hard and the rings were in good shape. The
engine appeared to have very little wear in the bearings and pins,
but much damage from the elements. I can only wonder why this poor
engine was left out in the weather for so long.
My strategy was to attempt to repair the cracked cylinder first
or possibly fabricate a whole replacement cylinder/hopper out of
steel plates and a cast iron liner. If that was successful, I’d go
on with the rest of the repairs.
Eight HP Moguls have a bore and stroke of 6-by-18-inch.
Unfortunately, the 14-inch long lengthwise crack extended into the
water jacket, requiring me to make a full sleeve for the cylinder.
I wanted to make the sleeve as heavy as I could without
compromising the remaining block. I decided to step the sleeve in
three different diameters, making it heaviest at the head end, and
thinnest at the back where the hopper/cylinder bolts to the
During a slow week in August 2000, the boring operation began. I
didn’t have a 36-inch swing lathe so I used an old-time method of
cylinder boring on top of a lathe carriage. First, I had to make a
special plate to bolt to the tee slots on top of the carriage of my
20-inch swing Hendey lathe. The plate (1-inch thick, 8 inches wide,
16 inches long) was bolted to the bottom of the cylinder where the
exhaust valve cage mounts. The cylinder/plate was then shimmed up
true with the lathe centers. A special bring bar 3 inches in
diameter and 40 inches long was made for going inbetween the lathe
centers and driven by a lathe dog. The bar really wasn’t precision,
just a drilled crosshole for a 1/2-inch square tool bit. To set it,
I used a dial indicator on the tool tip and moved it half of the
amount I needed to move the tool out. This setup allowed for a
nice, clean bore to receive the cylinder sleeve.
The sleeve was made on an 18-by-54-inch LeBlond lathe. Using a
cast iron tube I happened to have lying in my scrap pile (7-inch
outer diameter, 3-1/2-inch inner diameter), I machined the
three-step sleeve with a 6-1/2-inch major diameter and a 1/32-inch
under finished size bore. It was a lot of waste, but the materials
didn’t cost much and I was making the sleeve while the cylinder was
The sleeve was made for a 0.005-inch interference fit in the
bored out cylinder. It was pressed into the cylinder with the help
of a 30-ton Enepac Hollow Ram Porta Power while still in place on
the Hendey to avoid re-setting. I used water as a lubricant hoping
the two surfaces would rust together. It took an hour and a half to
make up the needed plates and pullrod, and to pull the 15-inch long
sleeve in place. For most of the pull, the hydraulic gauge read 6
to 10 tons of pressure.
Next, I reinstalled the boring bar and finished boring the
inside of the sleeve. The final bore was 6 inches, with a section
at the head end of 6-1/4-inch. Since the Mogul has two ports (one
for each valve cage), I drilled the appropriate holes with a hole
saw using the cylinder as a guide. I did this on my radial drill
press. A quick honing finished the job. The bore/sleeve job took
about a week, give or take a couple of hours.
The 37-by-3-1/2-inch diameter flywheels were the next priority.
Both flywheels were badly rusted and pitted, but at least there
were no cracks to be seen. Ed Johnson sandblasted the flywheels at
his shop. I subsequently filled the pitting with 2-part epoxy, and
used a variety of grinders and sanders to bring it back into shape.
With all that pitting, I had to paint the flywheel faces. I
normally like to polish up the faces. On the plus side, they won’t
rust up again, requiring the maintenance that goes with keeping up
the “bright work.” I used a little more than a quart of epoxy on
The block, head, covers, etc., were sandblasted by Ed. The other
cast iron parts weren’t nearly as rusted/pitted as the flywheels.
The steel parts were another story. Out in the wild, cast iron
weathers a lot better than steel. It has something to do with the
higher carbon in cast iron. I had to remake all of the little rods
and pins on this engine. Fortunately, there were enough of them to
use as patterns.
Unfortunately, almost all of the brass parts associated with the
original Mogul were missing and the nameplate and most of the
gas/oiler lines had found other homes. However, IHC stamped serial
numbers on the block and cylinder flange allowing me to date the
engine and fill in the serial number space on the new tag.
The carburetor was a project unto itself. I totally rebuilt it,
making new shafts, all three butterfly plates and a new spring. I
found a replacement carburetor cap (the cause of all the damage) at
the 1998 Portland, Ind., swap meet. It was just a bare casting, but
after a little figuring, I machined a groove in it and it hooked
over the intake, mostly like the original.
The valves and cages received some renovations. I re-machined an
old valve taken out of a gas-engine-powered Mack truck from the
1930s. The exhaust valve needed re-facing, which I did in my
Hardinge second operation lathe. I do all of my valve facing in
lathes with collets. I have found that most valve re-facing
machines aren’t as accurate as I would like them to be. I machined
some on the bottom of the valve cages to get to fresh metal to cut
the new seats. The guides were good, but I made new pins and
rollers for the rocker arms. The valve retainer “hats” were worn
from the top of the valve stems so they were trued up.
Surprisingly, both valve springs survived and I was able to reuse
Since most of the original bolt heads were pretty much rusted
away, I made over 50 “high crown” type bolts as replacements. The
high crowns add a nice touch of originality to the engine.
The original Madison-Kipp Model 50 three-feed oiler was pretty
much wasted. The bottom was completely rusted out. The only parts
left on it that were usable, were the crank arm, sight glass and
the ratchet arm. I had a replacement three-feeder oiler of a much
newer type previously purchased at the Portland 1998 show. I
discovered the ratcheting mechanism inside was much too fine for
the 3/8-inch stroke that the engine provided. I made a new shaft
for the ratchet pawl, which gave it more stroke. I also made a
short ratchet arm for the other end of the shaft. This setup only
moves the oiler one click, which is not much, but will keep the
engine lubed at slow speeds. Someday I hope to find the correct
Mogul three-feeder, but in the meantime, this will work.
The governor parts and gears were OK, so the rust was removed
and they were reused. The fuel pump was a stuck mess. Some
“cooking” with the “hot wrench” got the plunger moving, and then
out. The plunger was badly pitted. I set it up in the four-jaw
chuck on my small lathe, turned it smaller, and sleeved it back to
standard. The body had a bronze bushing, so I renewed that. A
couple of new check balls were installed and it was ready to
All that was left of the exhaust system was the pipe manifold
and the support clamp, which was rusted to the hot air pipe intake
of the carburetor. The pipe manifold had gotten water in it and
froze, splitting the inner wall. I had to cut an access window in
the outer wall to weld it up. Starbolt had just added sideshaft
Mogul mufflers to their extensive catalog, so I ordered one. I
guessed at the length on the 2-inch pipe. I think I hit it within a
couple of inches of the right height for the muffler. The hot air
pipe had a big rust hole where the clamp sat, so after a good
sandblasting, I welded a patch in the pipe.
One of the other little jobs was the throttle rod, which crosses
through the hopper, which was rusted away. I had a tube in my
tubing pile that was the right size. I cut it to length and pressed
it in. The throttle rod was also rusted away. All that was left of
it was a little of the 3/8-inch round steel rod and the two
clevises. Once I had the governor and carburetor on, I could make a
replacement rod. The oiler rod was there, but really pitted, so I
made a new one. The old igniter trip rod was a vintage blacksmith
replacement. It was made without any adjustment other than bending
it, so I made up a new one from photos I had taken. The brass
retainer plate on the end of the magneto igniter trip eccentric was
missing so I made a new one. The monkey motion eccentric and trip
parts on the head were in good shape and just needed new pins to
replace the rusty ones.
The original trucks were a real mess. The wheels were rusted
thin where they had sunk in the dirt. Some of the spokes were
rusted through. The channel irons even had a rustout through the
sides. The only piece of good wood was the middle 6-by-6-inch. It
had a good coat of grease on it from the engine breather over it.
There was enough left of the rest of the wood for patterns. A
little woodworking on my metal working machine and I had the
The axles and braces were sandblasted, primed and painted. I
replaced the stay chains, as there were only six links left of both
of the originals. New square head bolts were obtained to replace
the rusted away ones. I was surprised that the remains of the
trucks held up the engine. It looked like it would fall apart in a
gentle breeze. The original wheels were donated to my wife’s
flowerbed. Sam Harmon had a good set and I had a screen-cooled tank
for his 4 HP Mogul, so we swapped. I had Ed sandblast them. Some
primer and black paint soon had them looking good.
All that was left of the driver’s seat was part of the casting
that holds the seat spring and a broken seat spring. The footrest
had been broken off. It looked like someone had put a chain on it
and tried to tow the engine. The result: a broken seat mount.
Unfortunately, the footrest part wasn’t with the engine. Gary Love
from upstate New York had cast replacements so a little money
exchanged hands and I had my new mount. Paul Spence needed a seat
spring for his 6 HP portable Mogul, so he took my broken spring to
a truck spring shop and had two new ones bent. An old IHC implement
donated the correct tin seat. IHC used a seat that has two rows of
13 holes around the middle of the seat.
When the trucks were done, I installed the major parts of the
engine and used the trucks as a workbench. In April 2001, Ed and I
ran the engine on ether. It was loud, but sounded good, especially
after all of my hard work. In the next two years, I finished up a
lot of the miscellaneous parts.
Making it run
Its first showing, though not finished, was at the July 2003
Jacktown, Pa., show. I set up next to Paul Spence and his 6 HP
hopper-cooled portable Mogul. They made for a really nice display.
I hadn’t made a fuel tank yet, so I ran the engine by filling the
start bowl on the carburetor. It would run 10 minutes on a full
Sam Harmon supplied fuel tank dimensions (15 inches round and 22
inches long) and photos of his tank. Ray Scholl had an extra set of
tank fitting castings, so I machined them. I have some small sheet
metal machines in my shop, so I sheared and rolled some 20 gauge
galvanized steel to make the parts. I made the ends by forming two
discs over a form on the lathe by the “spinning” process. Assembly
took quite a while, as there are almost 9 feet of solder joints and
riveted parts on it. I tank sealed it, just in case.
For its first showing, I also took the rusty parts and mounted
them to a 3-by-4-foot sheet of 1/4-inch plywood to display with the
engine. I got a lot of nice compliments on this idea. A lot of
people couldn’t believe that those parts had come from this
The plumbing took a little figuring, as all I had left was a
short piece of the return line on the carburetor. I had taken some
photos of other Moguls, so I used them as a guide. After a lot of
trial and error, I had a working fuel system.
As with a lot of projects, there are still a few loose ends to
finish. I still need to find a toolbox for it and a new splashguard
for the hopper (when I can find out what it looked like).
Jonathan Luster, who is a sign painter/artist, did the lettering
and pinstriping. Because the castings were rough, it took about six
coats of yellow to do the pinstriping. The next pitted engine I
fix, I will do a lot of filling on the castings to make the
pinstriping easier and come out smoother with less work. That also
applies to decals on the hopper of an engine. If the metal is too
pitted, the decals only stick to the high spots and soon fall
I figure I have around 600 hours in this project. It seems like
a lot, but I took great satisfaction in bringing the engine back to
life. More than likely, it would have been parted out. There are so
few large portable Moguls surviving, it would have been a crime to
chop it up. This Mogul is one of the easiest starting engines I
have, usually three or four cycles and it’s running (unless a crowd
I want to thank my wife, Sue, for putting up with another rusty
pile, my kids, Patrick and Tommy, for giving up some daddy time,
and all of the good people in the engine hobby for all of their
help, advice and sympathy. My next Mogul is a 1/4-scale 4 HP
tank-cooled model that my wife and kids got me for Christmas.
Compared to the 8 HP restoration, the little one should be a piece
Contact Rob Charles at: P.O.?Box 192, Ringoes, NJ 08551; (908)