Murphy Diesel Engine Restored

Murphy Diesel Co. mechanic finds and restores 1952 Murphy Diesel Engine.


| June/July 2013



Murphy Diesel

This is the smallest engine of this design that Murphy built.

Photo By Jim Hilgartner

A few years back, I mentioned on the ATIS (Antique Tractor Internet Services) forum that I would like to have a Murphy Diesel engine. When I was young I worked as a mechanic for S. M. Christhilf & Son Inc., a construction equipment dealer in Maryland. Christhilf sent me to the Murphy factory in Milwaukee for service training courses four or five times. Murphy Diesel engines were the main product I serviced; I traveled the Middle Atlantic States working on Murphys in various settings.

I got an email one day from Tom, who lives in Susquehanna, Pa. He had gotten a 1952 Murphy Diesel engine out of a Northwest #25 crane that was being scrapped. The crane had been used as a pull shovel.

I had some friends and my wife, Rose, go with me to get the Murphy Diesel engine the first weekend in November 2011. It had been sitting out in the open for 15 years. Luckily, the exhaust and intake had been covered.

We had a hard time loading it on Brian Ellingsion’s gooseneck trailer. A large part of the crane revolving frame was still attached and was filled with gravel as a counterweight. It took a large Michigan loader on one side and a big skid steer loader on the other to lift it on the trailer. My wife met Tom’s wife, who was gracious enough to serve us a hot meal before we traveled the long ride home.

This engine was built in 1952, and it did not require heavy dismantling. The injectors gave me the most problems, so I had to disassemble them and adjust the settings. I worked on the Murphy in my spare time, and I was able to get it to fire up by Thanksgiving morning 2011.

This is the smallest engine of this design that Murphy built. These were used for many different applications: rock crushers, oil well drills, marine propulsion, generator sets, electric locomotive power, irrigation pumps, etc.