Getting the Famous Running

By Staff
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Parts of the Famous before assembly.
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The Famous assembled, August 10, 1990.

22251 Pillsbury Avenue, Lakeville, MN 55044

On the way home from the annual swap meet in LeCenter,
Minnesota, my friends Dale, Gordy, Roger and I stopped at a local
restaurant for supper. After spending the day in the rain and mud,
we deserved a break, to dry out and reminisce the day’s

There was still some iron left on the trailers, including an 8
HP IHC Famous and a 4 HP Associated. Soon talk centered around a
possible swap of my old Harley motorcycle for Dale’s Famous and
Associated engines. Of course Gordy and Roger helped this
conversation along considerably. Anyway, we hauled the trailers to
my place so Dale could check out the cycle. The next thing I knew,
two ton of iron was in my yard and the cycle was loaded on the

Did I mention these engines were in pieces? My wife probably
thought I was even more crazy when she saw the pile of primed and
rusty iron lying there that night!

I thought I’d try restoring the Famous first. Having never
seen one all together, I had my work cut out finding how the pieces
should be assembled. Roger helped with a few pictures and a Titan
book. Now I could see what the parts would look like should I get
them in the right places.

First I made wood blocks for the cart frame of red elm, then
painted and assembled the cart and wheels. Next I painted the
larger engine parts, after retapping most of the pipe and bolt
holes. I built an engine hoist and lifted the block and flywheels
onto the cart. A cam gear was ordered from Tennessee, and my nephew
Tim machined a collar for the ignitor trip arm. Then came more
assembly of the piston, rod, and head. It was starting to look
better all the time.

I was coming to the point where I needed to see how the rest of
the engine went together. A man in Henderson, Minnesota, had a 10
HP Famous; he was most helpful, showing me the engine and
explaining how the parts worked.

After all the plumbing and assembly work was done, the fun part
was next- seeing if I could make it run! Gordy and I tried to start
it by hand, but all that happened was a couph of puffs of smoke.
Out of necessity to our aching arms, we belted the Farmall B to the
Famous. After about a minute the 8 horse fired up and was running
on its own, although a little rich! My neighbor came down to see
what all the smoke and ruckus was about, and got a lesson in hit
and miss engines in the process. We got it cleaned out and put
smaller springs on the weights to slow it down. It was now running
better and starting it was getting easier. After three months of
work it was sort of exciting having the Famous in running

At our Pioneer Power Show in Le-Sueur, Minnesota, we weighed the
engine to settle a bet. The cart and engine weighed 2900 lbs. I
lost the bet with my guess of 4000 lbs.

I wish to thank all those Engine nuts who aided with information
or manual labor to help get my Famous running.

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