Gas Engine Magazine

FOOS 30 HP No. 38902

By Staff

3491 E. Deckerville Road, Cass City, Michigan 48726

Upon hearing about a large hopper-cooled Foos engine in the late
1970s and how derelict it was, I soon put it out of my mind.

About 15 years had passed, and not that I needed another
project, but I found myself still thinking about that big Foos.

In August 1991 I went to look at it. The engine had been sitting
at an antique shop location since about 1972. Rod and piston were
out, as were bearing caps. Gears, governor, ignition and many other
parts were missing.

Still, it was a big engine, and I like big engines.

I made a deal with Mr. Bob Ogorek and I brought it home in
September 1991. I sat it outside and decorated it with lights at
Christmastime 1991.

About the first thing I did was to have a new timing gear made
at a local gear shop. Not cheap. I now knew I was in it for the
duration. The next year I devoted time to making the trucks. The
wheels came from Kansas and were believed to be from a wooden
threshing machine.

I contacted Preston Foster, and after he gave me advice and
sympathy, he agreed to make the wipe spark ignitor. Now I was
really moving.

After a while I was in contact with other collectors, and was
getting help with parts, loans and castings from their engines. The
cylinder was bored to 10.925 and Joe Sykes fitted the piston and
rings. The crankshaft was badly pitted and had to be built up. Main
bearings were poured and line bored. Crankshaft counterweights were
cracked on both sides. They were welded and hands were attached
with screws for additional safety.

Danny Carroll from Tennessee sent me governor castings and
blueprints from his 25 HP. Bob Gray from Vassar, Michigan, machined
the governor, valves, guides and other parts.

Internal carburetor parts were rotted and gone. Preston helped
me with those parts, too. It was 1997 and it looked like it would
run after all.

Finally in late March, 1998, I had a ‘starting party.’
The governor was not yet on and still in primer, but with a few
items and correct gas setting it was running nicely. About 50
people came over to see it run.

LP gas was used as a fuel instead of original kerosene-gasoline,
as the carburetor bowls and fuel pump were missing.

It runs so well I probably will just leave it. After seven years
of much time and money, I believe it was worth it.

The original owners grandson, Brad Powell, lent me a photo
showing four new 30 HP engines at the rail yard in Lapeer,
Michigan. This engine powered the factory of the Powell Dredge
Works in Lapeer, before they had electricity. They used many 30 HP
Foos engines on the cable winch of the dredges they built.

This engine weighs 8,500 lbs. with trucks. The flywheels are 68
inches in diameter, 10.925 bore and 18 inch stroke.

I would like to thank all those who helped me on this
restoration who are not mentioned. The engine can be seen at
Coolspring Power Museum at Coolspring, Pennsylvania.

  • Published on May 1, 1999
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