How I Tamed A Wild Old Gas Engine

By Staff
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Box 86-B, Marietta, Minnesota 56257

One day I took this old Fairbanks Morse engine, that I had
gotten some years ago at a sale in South Dakota, from the old barn
to my shop.

This is a double flywheel engine with open crankshaft. I did all
the usual things such as grind the valves, put in new rings, new
check valves for the gas line, and take up the bearings and

The magneto was missing, but no problem. I ran it on a battery
and coil. The little devil has a lot compression, it takes both
hands to turn it over.

BANG it went, and started jumping all over the floor!
Flabbergasted I can’t let it run that way, it might fly to
pieces. Tried to grab a wire, which I did pull loose, to stop

Someone suggested that I bolt it down on a big cement block. You
wouldn’t bolt a wild horse down, that would be cruelty to
animals and maybe to engines too and it would be kind a hard to
take the engine to threshing bees.

The engine sat dormant for some time, but I looked at it when I
went to the shop, afraid to start it up. Then looking it over one
day, I noticed the hollows, or holes, on the inside of the
flywheels after talking to an engine friend or engine nut, as we
are called, he said the hollows in one side of the wheels were to
compensate for the throw of the crankshaft.

That remark was on my mind for three weeks! Don’t get in a
hurry, when you’ve got lots of time at age 80.

Then one day out in the shop I drilled some
3/8 inch holes in the hollows in the
flywheels, and put in bolts and washers to fill in to balance the
flywheels again. Then I started the engine carefully and it ran
smoothly. I put the engine on a homemade tractor I built to
resemble a Twin City engine with chain steering. See the picture

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