Learning the Ropes with Galloway Engines

By Staff
article image
by Bill Vossler
Dana Kehoe and his recently restored 1910 1-3/4hp air-cooled Galloway. Behind him is the 1908 2-1/4hp hopper-cooled Galloway he restored in 2015.

1910 1-3/4hp air-cooled Galloway

Manufacturer: William Galloway Co., Waterloo, IA
Year: 1910
Serial No.: 12103
Horsepower: 1-3/4
Bore & Stroke: 3-7/8in x 5in
Flywheels: 17-3/4in x 1-3/4in
Belt Pulley: 12in x 12in
Ignition: Igniter with battery and coil
Fuel: Gasoline
Cooling: Air

Dana Kehoe has accomplished a great deal with gasoline engines in his young life. “I began working with engines when I was about 6 years old,” says the 20-year-old student attending the University of Northwestern Ohio (UNOH). “Mostly I’d help my dad, John Kehoe, with his 800hp 1970 Chevy Nova race car, rebuilding it after races. My family has always been into engines, so I’ve been around it for a long time,” Dana says. “Those vivid memories are what motivated me to go to UNOH.” Dana is earning his Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive/High Performance Technology.

At Christmas when Dana was 14 his family members began talking about gas engines. “They’re all part of the Thresherman’s club at Edgerton, Wisconsin,” Dana says, “and we got on the subject because my cousin was restoring a Fairbanks air-compressor for a large Y-type engine. So I asked my uncle, Jim Faith, how I could find an engine and get started on restoring it. He told me to come by his shop the next weekend and we would figure things out.”

Figuring it out meant a circa-1923 John Deere E 1-1/2hp gas engine for Dana to work on, and in seventh grade he reworked his first hit-and-miss engine. “The John Deere E had been sitting for the better part of 30 years. It was ratty and needed to be freshened up. The piston was free, but the gas pickup inside was broken,” Dan recalls.

Dana conducted basic measuring with a simple micrometer and took the entire engine apart. “Uncle Jim helped me with it. We put an oversized aluminum piston in it, and he showed me how to run an air drill with a four-finger stone hone, so I honed the engine and went through it and did all the crosshatching with a berry hone, and sized the piston to the final bore size. It kind of took off from there. It was pretty much a winter weekend thing to do over at Jim’s shop to help out with sandblasting and other work.”

That led to Dana choosing a 1908 2-1/4hp hopper-cooled Galloway to completely restore (see the article in the February/March 2016 issue of GEM) for his 4-H project for the Young Americans 4-H group of Monroe, Wisconsin, when he was 15 years old.

The result was impressive: First place blue ribbon, Award of Merit, and Best in Show for Small Engine projects at the Green County Fair in Monroe, Wisconsin. “The Green County Fair judge selected the project to be shown at the Wisconsin State Fair, if my parents could deliver it to the State Fair grounds. At the Wisconsin State Fair, my project received the Judge’s Choice Ribbon,” Dana says proudly. Dana had the bug and began working on other gas engines, like a Chore Boy and Hired Hand Associated engines, Waterloo Boy and others.

Galloway No. 2

After restoring the 1908 Galloway, Dana and Jim set out to find the air-cooled sister Galloway to restore. “We wanted to find the bookend to the water-cooled engine,” Jim says. “It took a couple of years, because air-cooled Galloways are really difficult to find.”

Two years after restoring the 1908 engine, Jim attended the flea market at the Badger Steam & Gas Engine Club Show in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and found an air-cooled Galloway engine in the back of a pickup truck. “I waited around until the owner showed up. When I asked if the engine was for sale, he said it wasn’t, adding, ‘Even if it was for sale, you wouldn’t have enough money to buy it.'” Shortly thereafter, Jim saw another air-cooled Galloway. “I don’t know if these two guys went to school together, but this owner had the same story, that it wasn’t for sale, and I didn’t have enough money to buy it.”

Two small red portable engines in a garage

At first, the owner wouldn’t even let Jim see the engine, but finally relented, even though he didn’t think Jim would be able to afford it. As it turned out, Jim had a couple of engines to sell at the show, and after doing so he returned to the owner of what was a 1910 1-3/4hp air-cooled Galloway. “He was sitting on a milk stool,” Jim says, “and I pulled out this wad of cash and said, ‘Does this do anything for you?’ He told me to come back in an hour and we’d talk.” Turns out the man had bought the engine only that morning, but Jim convinced him to sell it. “Funny how that happens.”

Working on one air-cooled Galloway would be a project, but Dana decided to double his pleasure and work on two of them at the same time. “I had taken a pause on working on the air-cooled Galloway when a family friend, Todd Hasse from Monroe, Wisconsin, found out I’d been working on mine, and he thought it would be good to have his circa-1913 air-cooled 1-3/4hp Galloway worked on at the same time. Todd and I have collected engines together for years, and he was very instrumental in helping to find parts for our air-cooled Galloway as well as his, including reproduction fans for both of them and getting the twisted handle for our carts. Without his help, we wouldn’t have been able to finish both engines.”

Doubling up

That year the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion at Rollag, Minnesota, was featuring Galloway engines, and Todd wanted to get his there by the Labor Day weekend. Dana and Jim started working on it in June, and finished in time for the show. Dana’s 1910 was in not too bad of shape, Jim says. “It had a lot fewer problems than the water-cooled one we worked on before. What was unique about it was that it had a Webster magneto on it. But Todd’s was in really bad shape and needed a ton of machining done.”

The two red small engines in front of the garage.

Dana says they documented the engines’ condition before taking them apart to determine which parts were worn out. Dana’s block had to be blasted and repainted, and the wrist pin was damaged and had to be refashioned. The bore was decent, Dana says, so they did a valve job, cleaned it up, put in rings and went through the bearings. “I can work with all of that except the painting,” Dana says. “I don’t have the patience to paint an engine.” Adds Jim: “Even though Dana’s engine was in good shape, it still took a lot of work taking it apart, cleaning it and getting it put back together.”

Jim is big on details and he wanted to make sure that the engine had real pin striping like when it came out of the factory and not decals. “We used literature of the era and had Jeff Verstal of Main Street Signs paint it to make sure the pin striping was accurate. When it was finished it was pretty close to what it looked like when it came out of the factory,” Jim says.

A scale Case steam traction engine hides behind the two Galloways in Jim Faith’s shop.

As Dana worked with the two Galloway air-cooled engines, he found the greatest difficulty was keeping the parts straight. “Todd’s engine had more worn out parts, and it also had some mismatched parts. It was really a jumble of parts when we got it, and Todd wanted it to be fully restored.” Keeping the parts separate was a challenge, as Dana often worked on both engines at the same time. “His needed a lot more work than mine. The head needed work, the bore for the piston had to be resized, and the piston had a big notch out of the bottom.”

There were advantages, in that when the same part had to be made for both engines, Dana could just have two done at the same time, including items like the pins for the governor weight throw-outs, the cam gear pin and a couple of the other mechanisms. “A lot pins had to be made,” Dana says.

A small red restored portable ending

Purely by accident, Dana’s parents found one of the parts he needed for his Galloway. “My parents were on a trip for their anniversary and visited an antique furniture store. My mom texted me a picture of an oiler and asked if it would be of interest to me. I said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what I’ve been looking for, a No. 3 Lunkenheimer oiler.” As they worked on his engine, Dana says he was surprised how similar the air-cooled Galloway was to the water-cooled Galloway they had finished two years earlier, and how interchangeable the parts were.

Dana says working with his uncle Jim was great. “He’s pretty laid back, but he pushed me a lot harder than a lot of the other employees I worked with. It was definitely challenging.” Jim says things worked out right for him and Dana to work on the engine. “He’d graduated from high school and was home for the summer, so we finished up working on the air-cooled Galloway and took pictures with both of the engines together. Both of the engines are going to be displayed at the Baraboo show, and some other gas engine shows,” he says.

Jim says working on gas engines is relaxing. “I enjoy working with my hands, and working on engines or tractors has been a part of me for so many years. My favorite thing is to get off the radar and go into the shop and work on engines. To enjoy what I’m doing and forget all the stress that comes with a business and relax for a while.”

Encouraging a new generation

One of Jim’s goals is to involve young people in the gas engine hobby. “As I get older, I see how the demographics of the engine hobby are changing. I’m 52, and a lot of the guys who mentored me have passed away. People in my age group are very concerned about getting youth to take an interest. I want to pass down what I know and love to the next generation if I can, so I try to get them involved to learn about and understand how old engines work. I want them to get their hands dirty, to work on engines and work through problems so that some day when they’re on their own, they’ll be able to pursue different projects.”

Dana says he’s learned that you have to be meticulous and picky about a lot of things. “Just double and triple checking tolerances, and making sure everything is correct. It’s a better way of going about things, being a lot more precise and accurate in doing anything,” he says. These are lessons that have rippled into the rest of his life.

He’s also learned to put his tools down and walk away when things aren’t going right. “While I was making those pins and getting frustrated, I had to walk away, because more were going into the scrap bin then getting made. When I was cleaning off the mating surface for the gaskets between the block and the head, I needed to take it slow.” Dana says he’s proud of the work he does on engines, and that his friends are surprised by his interest in old engines. “Not everybody takes up this kind of work. I like to get into stuff that other kids don’t get into, and I feel like I’m ahead of other kids my age because of interest in engines.”

A period Galloway advertisement for the 1-3/4hp air-cooled and 2-1/4hp hopper-cooled engines, which were both very popular.

Looking forward, Dana says he hopes to work on some larger engines. “Something over 10hp, but the big engines are pretty expensive. I’m in college right now, so getting enough money to get an engine like that is a problem.” For now, Dana’s favorite engine is that first 1923 John Deere E, “just for how simple it is to run. You don’t need a lot of pre-checking before you run it. When I am home from college I will pull it out of our shop and run it for the night. I love the sound of it. My next favorite would be the water-cooled Galloway. It has such a distinct sound.”

Once the air-cooled Galloway was finished, Dana says he felt relief. “Finally, we had it finished. I was surprised when it took off right away. I didn’t think it would be going right off, because I thought something was wrong with the carburetor. But it fired off, and it was clear sailing after that.” Dana says he loves the challenge of working on old engines. “I like working on them, they’re all different, and there are unique challenges.”

Bill Vossler is a freelance writer and author of several books on antique farm tractors and toys. Contact him at Box 372, 400 Caroline Ln., Rockville, MN 56369; or via email

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