A4-H Project

By Staff

RD #5, Silo Hill Road Doylestown, PA 18901.

My friend, Jack, is a timberer and, along with another fellow,
Dan, a 4-H leader of a group of boys and girls they instruct in
small engine repair. These two vocations started a year of
unexpected fun and learning for all.

Jack was timbering an area near Reading, Pennsylvania, which had
a collapsed barn on the property. The owner had said Jack could
have anything that was lying around. One day during a break, he
noticed what appeared to be an old milk cooler con-denser just
showing above the dirt. He passed it by, but it bothered him, as it
just didn’t seem right.

A couple of days later, curiosity got the best of him, so he
went back for a second look. After a bit of digging and clearing,
he saw the head and spark plug-with more digging, he cleared the

He got the log skidder, attached a chain to the flywheels and
you can imagine his surprise when he pulled out a Fairbanks Morse 2
HP model Z engine complete with cast iron base, 37? volt generator
and water condenser. The sheet metal was rusted out, piston frozen
and in general, what you might expect of an engine which had been
buried 20 years or so.

It was taken home and at the next 4-H meeting the group, with a
little encouragement from Jack and Dan, decided to make the
rebuilding of this engine their next project. They freed the
piston, dismantled the complete engine, repaired or made parts
including reworking a valve and spring for the exhaust valve,
sheetmetal and gas tank. The generator and magneto seemed about
hopeless, so they were left for later.

They cleaned, painted and assembled the engine on the base.
Rather than wait to see if they could do some thing with the
magneto, they made a set of points and used a buzz coil to try to
start it.

After a winter’s work, you can imagine their anxiety when
they gassed it up. With a little muscle and coaxing it fired and
with minor adjustment, ran well. They videotaped the rebuilding
with the group working on the engine. This included the starting of
an engine that possibly hadn’t run for 20-30 years and, of
course, their elation.

After this the engine was taken to the Agday Festival at
Delaware Valley College, near Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and it
received a lot of attention. It also travelled to the Blue Mountain
Meet and was one of the smoothest, slowest running engines

Their past winter’s project had been the rebuilding of a
single cylinder diesel engine donated by a local auto salvage yard.
This is now running also. As for the magneto and generator, they
are trying to save money to get them rebuilt.

I’m sure you will agree that this was a very worthwhile
project and a great experience for the 4’H kids and their
leaders, Jack Shelly and Dan Burmiester of Fountainville,

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