Eli and Me

| May/June 1996

Eli at Home

The day I brought the Eli home. What was I thinking?

12234 Harris Carleton, Michigan 48117

There were many times that I thought a better title would have been 'Bits and Pieces,' because it seemed for the longest time that I had more bits and pieces than an engine but that could be another story.

I picked up this engine from Ed Laginess a couple years ago. He had received the engine as a wedding present I bet the new wife was all excited about that gift! Oh, I'm just kidding! The Eli was in a little bit rougher condition than what he had hoped, but it was not a total loss. Ed has another Eli engine, #1426, that was very much complete only missing the original fuel mixer. The engine that was sent to him did have the proper mixer on it.

When Ed did get around to getting his Eli repaired and running, he used the mixer from the gift engine. Now what do you do with the old Eli parts engine? He did with it as the rest of us would do. He put it in the corner of the garage. And when you clean the garage, you move it from one side to the other, but you don't throw it out.

Now this is where I come into the story. Ed was restoring a 5 HP Columbus. I was helping him with the cylinder. The bare cylinder weighed 135 lbs., so it was a two-man job. The repairs took a couple months to complete. Now, being dedicated collectors and restorers, we would work on the Columbus for a while, then go and play I mean study other engines he had in the shop. We started and ran his Eli, and I was quite surprised how well and smooth it ran, for a two cycle engine.

Now I must have walked by the Eli parts engine dozens of times, but never paid any attention to it. But then it happened. One night I had a dream about the Eli engine. If I'd had any brains or common sense whatsoever, I would have gotten up out of bed, taken two aspirins and a cold shower, gone back to bed and forgotten all about it. But no, when the weekend came, I went and saw Ed and asked him what he was going to do with the old Eli parts engine. Before I could say anything more, Ed said, 'That would be a good project for you. Why not take it home and see what you can do with it.' He also said I could take his running Eli home and use it to make up missing parts. At that point I told him I wasn't worried about needing any parts. I said if the inside of the cylinder was cracked, that would be too much work and money to repair, in light of all the other damage and missing parts on the engine.