| May/June 1995

  • Challenge engine

  • Challenge engine

2253 Harding Avenue Bismarck, North Dakota 58501

The hug of searching for old stationary gasoline engines hit me about fifteen years ago. As many collectors do, I started out with Maytags and John Deeres. Then I diversified into other engines. About five years ago Ed Borchert called me wanting information and parts for a John Deere 1 HP engine. Of course we all have a few extras. He also mentioned a Challenge engine that needed several parts; however, it wasn't for sale.

After the spring thaw in 1990 I called to visit with Mr. Borchert. He said come on down, so on a nice day, Ed Tibesar and I headed out of town for a drive to Lark, North Dakota (a ghost town). Stopping for coffee along the way we arrived at Mr. Borchert's farm. He was very nice and gave a full tour of his old rusty iron. During the tour, a 'basket case' Reo lawn mower was found. After some negotiating a deal was struck on the Challenge engine and Reo mower. Now to load the engine it was no big deal, just start up a WD Allis with a loader and place it on the trailer. After the engine was loaded we started back and had dinner at the small town of Carson.

I had heard about a really good meat store in Carson which made its own sausage and other special meats. We found it across the street and bought ten pounds of their products. It was good!

After several phone calls I located another 2 HP Challenge engine in Washington, belonging to Bill Moldenhauer. He was very helpful in sending me the parts I needed. I had them recast and machined them to fit.

Now back to the engine itself. With its piston stuck and water hopper suffering from North Dakota hard water (ice), some real work was needed. After working on many engines I have come to appreciate a lesson given me by a retired blacksmith. The lesson is about how many of us tear into a project wanting to tackle it all in one day. The old smithy said, 'Remember this rust didn't get there overnight, so use your head not your hammer. God gave you a head for a reason other than a hat post.' I have used the method described below on several engines with good success.


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