Live and Learn

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2821 Wilmington Road Lebanon, Ohio 45036

I started a search for a John Deere LUC combine engine in the
spring of 1995. In April I found two basket case LUC engines. I
bought them and had them in my possession June 26, 1995.

I needed to get a carburetor, gas tank, and engine house for the
one engine that I had hoped to end up with. I put a want ad in a
John Deere magazine in June of 1995. In late August I received four
calls from Ohio, one from each of the following states, Washington,
Oklahoma, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. Each person was
very nice and offered the parts I needed. A gentleman from Ohio
offered me a complete and running engine that I could not afford to
turn down. So, November 4, 1995, I drove to northern Ohio and
looked at the complete combine engine. It was overhauled, painted
and even had bills for the parts he had in vested in. The gentleman
even had the original manual with the serial number written on the
first page. We started the engine and it seemed okay. I bought it
that day, loaded it on my pickup truck and brought it home. I
called a friend to help me unload the engine that night. We got it
unloaded onto a work bench that was the same height as the pickup
truck. The engine weighs 438 pounds, so we used paint roller
handles to roll the engine onto the workbench.

The following day I called the friend who helped me unload the
engine and I invited him and his father over to look at it. His
father had a 12-A combine with a similar engine, so we started mine
and it ran perfectly.

The engine had been painted over the decals. You could faintly
see the decals. So, I used Strypeeze paint re mover and took all of
the paint off the engine house. I have now sanded the metal, but
have not painted the metal yet because of the cold

I also had to get more information on the engine, so I called
John Deere Archives in Moline, Illinois and gave them the serial
number LUC 50970. They told me the engine completion date was
February 27, 1951. I thought the engine was much older than that.
They told me it was considered to be a late model engine because
they went to another type engine in the early 1950s. As near as I
can find out, this is a two-cylinder engine made by John Deere for
the LA tractor and the 12 A combine. I hope some interested reader
will clarify this information for me.

I also now have a new reproduction muffler for the engine. When
I got the engine it had a stainless steel exhaust pipe coming from
the elbow on the manifold. I also called Travis Jorde of Rochester,
Minnesota, and got the correct decals for it. I have not put the
decals on it yet, because I haven’t painted the engine

Now, back to the original problem of what to do with the two
basket case LUC engines. I have never been able to remove the
radiators, magnetos, heads, gas tanks, manifolds, rusty carburetor,
air cleaners and a whole lot of dirt and grime. I have one
engine’s stuck pistons and valves soaking in Marvel’s
Mystery Oil and the other engine’s pistons and valves soaking
in a mixture of olive oil, transmission fluid and diesel fuel. I
hope in the spring, when the weather gets warm, to disconnect rods
from the crankshaft and start pounding with a tough piece of wood
on the pistons. I hope ten to twelve months of soaking will have
done some good. I would like to then call back my ten different
people, who offered me parts, and start put ting one engine back
together. I have written each of the ten people and thanked them
for their offers of parts. I hope they remember me!

In September I went to the Old Timer’s Convention in Xenia,
Ohio, and had a gentleman go over my two magnetos. They’re now
in working order.

I have spent seven months cleaning, soaking, taking pictures,
writing letters, making telephone calls, making mistakes, learning
a lot, and I am having a lot of fun!

I hope that readers of GEM who have suggestions, parts, opinions
or whatever the case may be, will feel free to write. I have
included several pictures of the basket case and restored

I really enjoy the hunt for engines. You never know where or
what you are going to find. The people along the way are extremely
interesting and nice.

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