Peter Rooke tackles a tough IHC restoration project – Part 1

| December 2007

I had mentioned to an engine friend that I had considered purchasing an IHC M for restoration, but thought the price was too high, so I left it. A week later he telephoned to say he knew of another 3 HP engine, but that it was very rusty and if I was interested he would send me some photos. He was not joking.

When I saw the photos it was in appalling condition, just as I like them, and better, the price was reasonable. Even more good news, he had to travel to Dorset, a 400-mile round trip, to collect another engine, so he could pick mine up for me. Two weeks later, I travelled a short distance to his engine store to collect my engine, which we man-handled onto my trailer for the journey home.

Once home I used a chain hoist to lift the IHC off the trailer and onto rollers, so I could move it around the workshop. For the first time, I was able to examine the engine carefully. Everything was there including the crank greaser, but the oiler was long gone. I later found the broken lower section in dirt at the bottom of the water hopper. From the serial number it was possible to date the engine from 1920, fitted with the more common overstrike igniter. It soon became apparent that while a lot of work would be involved, the restoration should be fairly straight forward. There are lots of parts and information available for this engine, although they are not too common here in the United Kingdom.

Before stripping the engine, it needed some cleaning, so I rubbed it with a wire brush then moved it onto a plastic sheet and liberally coated it with oil. I left the engine for a couple of weeks and in that time coated it once or twice a day with oil. Given the condition of the engine, I guessed it had been stored alongside fertilizer sacks, and the dust from those had covered the engine and advanced the rusting process.


To start the stripping process, I removed the brass pipes and their fittings, as they are difficult to replace. Being brass, they had not rusted in position.

The flywheels and pulley were going to be a problem in view of the amount of rust, so they were liberally coated with penetrant. The cover for the gib key and the crank grease cup were removed, the former by drilling out the screw. The remains of the three other grease cups were removed - they all needed replacing.


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