It’s Official: I’m A Fuller & Johnson Collector

By Staff
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Rt. 2,Box24-C Ceresco, Nebraska 68017

I first became interested in Fuller and Johnson engines at an
auction in Western Iowa, where a huge collection of desirable
engines was being auctioned off. I was a new collector and,
unfortunately, most of the engines were selling for more than I
wanted to spend. However, a line of engines that had been in a fire
some years earlier caught my eye. Among others, this line included
a 1? HP Fuller and Johnson ‘N’, a 2? Fuller and Johnson
‘N’, and a 3 HP Fuller and Johnson D. E. that had been
partially disassembled at the time of the fire. There was also a
complete 4 HP Fuller and Johnson D. E. on trucks.

To make a long story short, I went home with a 2? HP
‘N,’ a 4 HP Cushman binder engine on banjo trucks, and a 1?
HP Cushman X engine. My friend and fellow collector Ted Schultz
purchased the 1? N and the 4 HP D. E. We returned home, and I
started to work on the 2? HP. First, I freed the frozen parts, and
had to find new springs for the entire engine. Then I had the
entire engine sandblasted. After that, the real fun started-I had
to pour all new babbitt bearings. This was my first attempt at
pouring bearings, and fortunately, everything turned out
alright.

Next, I constructed a new gas tank and rebuilt the igniter.

Then, it was time for reassembling and painting. The castings
were all smoothed, primed, and given three coats of Delstar acrylic
enamel. As a final touch, I put new decals on. All of the hard work
paid off, and I had a very fine engine.

At this time, my son Garth was talking about a project for a 4H
engine club, so I thought about my friend Ted’s 1? HP Fuller
and Johnson. He finally agreed to sell me the engine, and the whole
process was repeated. The engine received the trophy for best of
show at the Camp Creek Threshing Show in 1985.

As any collector knows, having two nice Fuller and Johnsons is
not enough, so I turned my attention to the D. E.’s that were
sold at the same auction. The 3 HP was owned by Fred Reitz of
Alpha, Minnesota.

After several letters and phone calls, I was able to purchase
this engine, but upon getting it home, I found bigger problems. The
governor was missing, and the entire engine was generally worn out.
The engine’s condition was due in no small part to the fact
that it ran a line shaft somewhere for many years, with minimal
maintenance. It was eventually scrapped because of a broken piston
and a badly bent connecting rod.

I borrowed some parts and cast other ones from patterns. The
piston was welded and the ring grooves widened to accept new rings.
I poured new bearings, and reassembled the engine. Alas, the
compression was very poor, and I found out this was because the
cylinder had been left egg shaped by the fire. I had to power hone
the cylinder until it was round again.

In the meantime, I put this engine aside, and purchased the 4 HP
D. E. from Ted. This proved to be a very good engine, because the
piston was still free. I poured new bearings, painted, and restored
the engine, then built a new truck. When this was all done, it was
time to finish the 3 HP. Then, I built a truck from an old Galloway
truck that was given to me by a neighbor, then mounted the newly
painted and restored 3 HP on it.

All of the engines look and run great-my restoration efforts
were really worth it, and I can now consider myself a collector of
Fuller and Johnson engines. Being a collector, I am now constantly
on the lookout for new Fuller and Johnsons to add to my
ever-growing collection. I hope to see all of you at the giant
Fuller and Johnson roundup at Baraboo this summer.

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