Route 2, Carroll, IA 51401
About five to six years ago I got a phone call one evening and the conversation went something like this: 'Hello. Hello, Walt? This is Jim Miller.' 'O, hello, Jim.' 'Say, Walt, I had a barn fire yesterday and you know those engines in the horse stalls are all shot.' 'O gosh, Jim, that is too bad.' (I could hear the tears splashing on the table.) 'I'll help you fix them up.' 'No, I'm not going to fix them up. I spent one whole winter on each one and they're much worse now than they were when I started. You want them? I'll sell them for iron price.' 'Sure, I'll take them, but I think you should reconsider.' 'No, my mind's made up you come and get them.' 'O.K., Jim, I'll be over tomorrow.' 'Good night, Jim, and I'll see you.'
Well, the next morning I hooked up the trailer and headed to Denison. When I got to Jim's yard there sat six burnt down hulks, all a uniform color of red rust as a result of the paint and grease all burned off and a generous amount of water applied by the fire department. The oilers and mags were burned off, springs just rusty wire, bearings all gone, wood on carts gone, axles in a bend and gas tanks exploded. It sure was a mess. I wasn't near as sure I still wanted them as I was the night before.
About then Jim showed up, and I offered my condolences and again urged him to keep them, but he said 'No'. Well, we loaded the junk up and I asked, 'How much money, Jim?' He said, 'Well, I'd like to have a hundred dollars.' I said, 'If I get one fixed up of the lot it will be worth quite a lot more than that, so I'll give you one hundred and fifty dollars.' He said, 'Well, thank you, they are all yours.' The roster of the pile was this: 3 HP Hercules, 1 HP Monitor with pump jack, 1 HP Galloway, 1 HP Waterloo Model E, 1 IHC Model M, and a 1 Vi HP Headless Fairbanks Z. These were all running before the fire.
When I got home with them my wife asked why I hadn't just left them off at the junk yard as I drove by. I put them all in my shed and kind of kept each one separate so I could tell what belonged where. I didn't get started on the Galloway until the next day and when I drug it out to start work I noticed that the hopper and the hollow under the camrod were full of wet charcoal. I took the head off and the bearing caps as well. Next I took the crankshaft and set it on the concrete floor. It began to roll to the side as I watched and that's when I became aware the crank was sprung. More headaches I knew were sure to follow. I pulled out the piston and rod, and sure enough, the rings were weak as tin.
I then honed out the bore and oiled it, cleaned up the head, and looked up a pair of usable valves and ground them in, ordered some springs and quit for the day.
I had to sleep on how to align that crankshaft. I'd had that problem before and spent quite a lot of time and money, taking off the flywheels, putting it in a big lathe, porta-press, the whole bitnothing was very satisfactory. Long about midnight I had a brainstorm, so I fell asleep.
The next morning I was ready to try a new method. I got a couple of sawhorses, set them close together, and set one flywheel on the horses, the shaft upright with the other flywheel above. Next I began to measure the distance between the wheels. I found a variance of inch width between the wheels. I marked the narrowest point and put a big hydraulic jack at this point and proceeded to jack the wheels apart, measuring carefully until the wheels were equidistant all around. Next we started up the acetylene torch and heated the shaft at the connecting bearing until it began to look pink, then shut off the torch and let it cool. About 45 minutes later I let the jack down and the shaft stayed right there. I laid it down on the floor and it rolled as straight as a string fast, easy, and above all, cheap.
Now I had to pour bearings. I slept one night with an expert at the job and some of it must have rubbed off on me. On the main cage I drilled two small holes toward the end of the lower cage about way up from the bottom at a 45 degree angle, threaded them out with a 3/16' tap and put stove bolts in from the bottom. Then I put in a dummy shaft and raised or lowered each screw for perfect alignment of the shaft. Next welded two bushing washers together for each end of the cage, one being the exact size of the shaft, the other the diameter of the flange I wanted on the bearing. Next I needed shims good hard paper the thickness of a post card works well. I use a steel one top and below to keep the inside edge square. For anyone doing this, be sure to cut V notches in the shims for the metal to flow through; also have them touching the shaft. It isn't necessary but if you want an oil groove just tie a length of mason cord in a figure eight on the shaft with the square knot on top right under the grease hole. Put in enough shims so the shaft will be the same distance from the cage all the way around. To check this simply use a drill bit of the right size (heelend), stick it in along side of the shaft and go all the way around. This done, I put on the washers, small ones outside, stole the grandkids' modeling clay (any sticky clay will do) and smeared it on so the molten metal wouldn't leak out. If the shaft of the engine is worn or cut from too tight a belt and (or) lack of grease, all is not lost. Simply smooth up the shaft with emery cloth and use the damaged shaft to pour new bearings around it. It will work perfectly and any steps or taper will be fitted with the new bearings. Also this will eliminate any end-play in the crankshaft. On engines having the bearing cage tilted forward, block up the base in the front until you can pour the metal straight down through the grease hole. This will avoid having an unfilled space in the bearing. I like to pour these on a hot day with the sun shining on the cages, else you must preheat the cages. Be sure to back out the stove bolts several rounds after the bearing is finished, and leave them in to anchor it. Cut them off flush with the bottom of the cage with a chisel.
Having gotten new rings for the piston and pouring new bearings in the rod, I proceeded to put in the piston. Then came another surprise the piston would only go halfway in the bore. It had gone in and out of the bore a jillion times and now it hung up. The problem was caused by the charcoal fire around the end of the piston, and it had grown too large for the bore. So I took it apart again, put it in the lathe and cut it down to proper clearance. It fits perfectly now. Next the Webster Mag I just happened to have a spare, complete with ignitor so that was easily solved. I put on a different oiler and thought I was ready but no, the oil pipe was full of brass that had run in during the fire.
I made a new gas tank and check, then came the paint job which I did myself nice fire wagon red and script lettering. It runs fine now. I have four of the six engines restored, but the IHC and the Waterloo E are still waiting.