25 HP Superior Restoration Wins 4-H Prize

A blue ribbon restoration

| June/July 2004

  • 25 HP Superior oil field engine

    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • WD-40 and a 5-gallon bucket
    Honing the cylinder meant using plenty of WD-40 and a 5-gallon bucket covered with sandpaper.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Circa-1920 25 HP Superior Engine
    The Superior's restoration garnered Isaac Kinney a Grand Champion blue ribbon at the 2003 Vanderburgh (Indiana) County 4-H Fair.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Lester Alumbaugh
    Lester Alumbaugh (right) looks on as Isaac works on the mixer, while Curtis inspects the crankshaft.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Isaac
    Isaac's shirt says it all as the Superior fires for the first time in decades.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Superior tool box
    Superior tool box and oil can holder on finished cart is a nice touch.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • 25 HP Superior Engine
    Three generations of Kinneys pooled their talents together to restore the 25 HP Superior, making it a family affair to remember. The obviously satisfied trio stand with the Superior after its first run. From left: Curtis Kinney, Isaac Kinney and Keith Kin
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Circa-1920 25 HP Superior Engine
    The circa-1920 25 HP Superior, serial no. 12008, as it looked when found by Glenn Karch about 1976.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • 25 HP Superior oil field engine

    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Standard 5-gallon bucket
    A standard 5-gallon bucket gives scale to the Superior's huge piston.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Piston, valve chests'
    Parts laid out for cleaning include piston, valve chests, sideshaft and mixer.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • 25 HP Superior Engine
    A young Keith Kinney secures the 25 HP Superior before trucking it home in 1979. Glenn Karch is just visible behind the engine.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Superior's cart
    Isaac works on the Superior's cart. Axles from an old thresher (visible to the right of Isaac) were modified to fit the cart.
    Photo by Keith Kinney
  • Isaac
    Isaac practices the time-honored sport of flywheel rolling.
    Photo by Keith Kinney

  • 25 HP Superior oil field engine
  • WD-40 and a 5-gallon bucket
  • Circa-1920 25 HP Superior Engine
  • Lester Alumbaugh
  • Isaac
  • Superior tool box
  • 25 HP Superior Engine
  • Circa-1920 25 HP Superior Engine
  • 25 HP Superior oil field engine
  • Standard 5-gallon bucket
  • Piston, valve chests'
  • 25 HP Superior Engine
  • Superior's cart
  • Isaac

This story starts back in the mid-1970s, when our good friend and Gas Engine Magazine columnist Glenn Karch offered to sell us a 25 HP Superior oil field engine. Glenn had recently removed the engine from an oil lease in Sullivan County, Ind., about 80 miles from where we live. The engine had pumped oil on that lease for over 50 years. We bought it and a second, identical parts engine.

Glenn partly disassembled the engine so it would be easier to move, and with the aid of a borrowed crane truck he delivered the engine to our house. Mounted on its original 10-by- 10-inch wooden skids, the engine looked to be in good condition, needing mostly a cleanup and reassembly.

After unloading the engine, we covered it with a tarp and tried to determine the best way to tackle an engine of this size - the flywheels are 6 feet in diameter, and it weighs 6,500 pounds. We needed to get it into the workshop so we could work on it, but lacking equipment large enough to move it, it just sat there. It seemed we might have bitten off more than we could chew.

Fast-forward about 20 years. It was killing me seeing the Superior sitting outside. A bulldozer operator once moved it when we built a new barn, but otherwise it was just sitting. Its tarp had long ago disintegrated, and the elements were not doing the engine any good.



It was about this time that my son, Isaac, was looking for a 4-H Americana project, which is where kids display an original antique or something they have restored. Isaac was about 11 or 12 at the time, and his eyes fell upon the Superior sitting out behind the barn. Maybe this was the motivation we needed to get it restored.

Getting Started
We used a couple of old farm tractors and manhandled the block and flywheels onto our flatbed trailer. We then took it to an industrial sandblasting company where they sandblasted it and gave it a coat of industrial metal primer.



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