Old iron isn’t the easiest thing to haul
around. Al Marcucci, EDGE &TA member, Branches 13 and 111,
managed to come up with a pretty unique way to move his engines by
designing and building a trailer specifically for that purpose.
This is no ordinary trailer, either – not by a long shot. The
design is a classy way to haul old gas engines and the materials he
needs to show them.
While this engine collection includes a pristine 1917
Associated, a 1918 headless Fairbanks and a 1914 Field-Brundage,
the trailer is a work of art in its own right.
Designed to carry four-plus engines and water pumps, along with
their accompanying demonstration materials, the trailer’s main
frame is made of 3/16-inch wall, 2-by-3-inch box tubing, and the
side rails are made from 2-by-2-inch box tubing. A standard
single-wheel axle with 5-bolt Chevy hubs was bolted to the
trailer’s leaf springs and set in place. Al used the 5-bolt Chevy
bolt pattern so he could use the same wheels as on his Chevy S-10
pickup. The 1,385-pound-empty trailer is also equipped with surge
brakes, which Al says work very, very well. Once the basic
construction was finished, Al painted the trailer the same shade of
blue found on his truck.
Up front, a 3-foot wide, 19-by-13-inch Dee-Zee polished aluminum
diamond plate utility box is securely bolted to the tongue. Inside
the utility box, Al has placed each item in neatly arranged
compartments specifically designed to protect them from being
jostled around. The 5-by-10-foot trailer has a purpleheart floor,
while the sides and fenders surrounding the hardwood are made of
polished stainless and aluminum diamond plate.
A 2,000-pound winch is located at the center front of the
trailer to assist in loading and unloading, and diamond plate
chocks hold the forward most engines in place. Old aircraft cargo
rails coupled with moveable D-rings are used for tie-downs. Cargo
lights make certain that day or night loading is never an issue,
With the tailgate folded down, a heavy-duty handicap ramp allows
the engines to be unloaded, while leveling jacks located at the
rear of the trailer relieve the need for it to remain hitched to
the truck. Loading feet fold neatly into the bottom of the trailer,
allowing Al to load and unload his equipment smoothly.
Al likes to do things down to the last detail. An LED display
along the rear bumper adds a nice touch to his trailer: “I Love Old
Contact engine enthusiast Al Marcucci at: Savage Magneto
Service, 2415 Radley Court, Suite 7, Hayward CA 94544; (510)
A “Lazarus” Project
By Leon Ridenour
A 1/2 HP Maytag Raised from the Dead
Last April, a friend presented me with a
challenging problem – a 1918 1/2 HP upright Maytag with a very
stuck piston. The piston resisted all conventional removal methods:
heat, hydraulics and, finally, a cable doubled around the wrist pin
that succeeded only in removing the wrist pin.
I began by mounting the cylinder on an angle plate on the mill,
and used a hole saw to remove much of the interior of the piston. A
boring head thinned the piston wall until I could peel out the
remains with an ice pick. Fortunately, enough of the piston
remained so I could obtain dimensions for future reference.
The cylinder was badly pitted, so I used a larger boring head to
oversize the bore to 2.030 inches. The cylinder was further
stabilized while machining by screwing a 1/2-inch pipe plug into
the spark plug hole, clamping the pipe plug in a vise and clamping
the vise to the mill table. Of course there was some tool chatter,
and the bore tapered down to 0.005-inch smaller at the head. I
don’t have access to a blind hole or precision hone, so I used what
I had available and began lapping the cylinder bore with
successively larger cast iron discs. I used a non-embedding
compound with the discs and got the cylinder in much better
From 2-1/8-inch gray iron stock I made the piston and rings. I
left extra stock length on the piston head to use as a tailstock
live center while cutting the ring grooves. The finished piston was
also lap-fit with the same non-embedding compound used on the
First, I cut the rings from the same gray iron bar, then cut the
grooves in the piston to fit. The rings measured 2.060 inches
outside diameter prior to installing them. I cut the diagonal gap,
then spread and heat treated them. I then pushed the ring up to the
exhaust port to check and adjust the gap.
I made a plug to fit snugly in the cylinder; then, using a ball
in the 1/8-inch pipe plug hole in the cylinder as a set screw, I
trimmed the cylinder base flange perpendicular to the bore. I
finished the top of the piston with a band saw, belt sander and
ball end mill.
After I cleaned up the crank pin, it was necessary to bore, tin,
babbitt and rebore the connecting rod end.
I repaired the cooling fins with a modeling clay form with a
sandwich bag mould release and the restorer’s friend, JB Weld. I
also replaced the crankshaft main bearings while I had everything
At this point I returned it to my friend for assembly and
painting. After painting the correct color as near as we could
determine, we proceeded with the assembly of the engine. We rebuilt
the carburetor and governor and installed a new deflooder valve. We
then mounted it on varnished oak skids along with a matching
battery box. After considerable tinkering and adjusting, it fired
up and ran beautifully. The little Maytag now starts easily with a
turn of the flywheel by thumb and makes quite a show. This is how
you bring a “Lazarus” back to life!
Contact engine enthusiast Leon Ridenour at: 4610 Sunflower Road,
Knoxville, TN 37909; (865) 584-9759.