How Not To Start An Engine

By Staff

Rt 2 Box 332 Clarksburg, West Virginia 26301

I’ve read a lot of stories on the history of gas engines and
heard tales of how people used and abused them. I’d like to
relate a true story about a man who still pumps an oil well with a
25 HP Reid.

Seems that this gentleman is quite elderly and somewhat too
frail to start his Reid by himself. I’ve never met him, but I
have been told that he will run rope through the well-house door
and wrap it around the engine clutch. Next, he will back his John
Deere tractor up to the door, hitch the rope to the draw bar, give
the engine a good yank, and off it starts.

Being the proud owner of a newly restored 20 HP Patton Bros, gas
engine that I have kicked, cussed, cranked and still couldn’t
get started, I decided to try this rope venture.

I had built a crude pump-house around the engine, so it was only
a matter of prying off a board to run the rope through and wrap a
few turns around the clutch. Next, I backed ‘Oink’ up to
the engine house. ‘Oink’ is my trusty Chevy 4×4 truck. I
dropped the rope over the trailer hitch, and tore off through the
yard, leaving two deep ruts behind me.

Now I know all of you engine buffs have heard of the word
‘backfire.’ I was on my second pull and looking back
through the rear view mirror, when I heard the old gal give out
this ungodly bellow. Whiplash, recoil, or whatever you want to call
it, yanked me and the truck back across the yard, past the engine
house and out through the hedge like the blast from a .44
Magnum.

Early last fall my daughter was transferred to a job that called
for the use of computers. Now I like to hop in the old truck and
travel back roads to look for engines and such. Having had a little
background in computers, I decided to install a portable computer
and the whole nine yards in the truck. This way I could help her
out, if she ran into a problem. So if it weren’t for my lap-top
computer and cellular phone, I wouldn’t be able to fax this
story into GEM as I fly into the sunset.

Summer is on the way and we’ll be shining those old clunkers
up for another season. I too hope to join you if I ever get to the
end of my rope!

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