How I Restored My 6 HP Model Z Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine

| January/February 1994

  • Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine
    Sandblasted before restoration with bad valve guide in head.
  • Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine
    Second phase of restoration.
  • Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine
    The finished product, with new trucks made from scratch.

  • Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine
  • Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine
  • Fairbanks-Morse Kerosene Engine

Rt 2, Box 325 Crawfordsville, Indiana 47933

First of all I was in Kentucky visiting my wife's aunt and uncle. We happened to go into an old shed which had this 6 HP Model Z and a saw mounted on two long skids. It was set up for pulling to the woods for use. It was free and not stuck, with a large amount of dirt and dust on it. I asked my wife's uncle what an engine like that would be worth. He said about $5.00. I gave him $5.00 for the engine and told him the next time my father-in-law came down with his pickup truck, I would take it home. That's how I became the proud owner of the Model Z.

It did run. I played with it until the magneto went bad. I was cutting wood with it when it quit. It ran for a long time off a battery and coil set up. I decided it was time to quit fooling around with all the necessary items to get it to run. I sent the American Bosch oscillator type magneto to Branson Enterprises of Illinois for repair, and they did a good job. Now it fires real good and runs like a top, all except a small ball check gas line valve problem, which I will master one of these days.

I took the head off first, because the exhaust valve guide was worn real bad. The valve stem was 7/16 diameter. I went to an auto shop and bought a 7/16 replace able auto guide. Then I had the head put on a lathe face plate and bored the bad guide hole to the same size of the outside of the replacement 7/16 valve guide which was press fit. I put Locktite cleaner on it first, then Locktite pressed it into place. The valve itself was worn. I had it welded with hard surface rod. Next, I had the valve put in a lathe and ground down to 7/16 .437 thousandths and it works perfectly. The new guide was made of cast iron and the valve was repaired of a hard material. The combination works real good together. The engine cuts wood now with plenty of power for recovery in cutting large wood or crowding it faster if the wood is in pole length and ready. It is really faster than a chain saw. I have a saw with a rocking table, pretty fast that way. I run the engine about 400 R.P.M. with a 12' pulley on the engine and 6' on the saw that turns the saw, probably at a good R.P.M.

I hope this information helps some of you readers. This will work on any head type engine.

These pictures are a start to finish project which turned out OK. When I put the engine on trucks, I did not know 900 lbs. could be moved so easily.


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