Remember the Alamo: My Alamo Engine

A reader/contributor shares a short story about the Alamo engine he found and restored.

| March/April 1968

  • alamo-engine
    The Alamo engine Richard N. Campbell purchased for $5 and restored to good working order.

  • alamo-engine

I have an Alamo Blue Line Engine in running order and completely restored to original. It is a 3 1/2 hp., 400 rpm, serial No. 64537. The water bowl has large letters "M" on each side, which stands for Moline. I learned recently that my Alamo engine was manufactured for the Moline Plow Company in 1914. This engine was handed down in the Garfield family, Susun Valley, California. The engine was used for sawing wood twenty years ago.

I spotted this engine from the road and bought it for $5.00. The piston was frozen, so I hoisted the engine head up and poured cyclohexene on the piston. After letting it soak for one week, I poured hot water around the cylinder wall. I was then able to break the piston loose. I thoroughly cleaned the piston and ground valves. Then I made an exact replica of the original gas tank. The magneto is a Wizard with hand-type action. On the magneto is inscribed "Guaranteed if not tampered with." I found this was true, when I had the head off. I was able to clean and test the ignitor points.

After engine assembly I replaced the governor springs and made a crank from a 1 1/2-ft pipe. The engine readily started and still is ready for service. This engine is a dry crankcase type. Everything is lubricated by grease cups and is a hit-and-miss fired controlled by the governor in the right flywheel.

I want to thank Mr. Edward A. Gay of Hillsdale, Michigan for identifying the name of the engine. Also, Mr. Stan Read of Gunnison, Colorado who helped me identify the engine's age.