Restoring an Oil City Boiler Works/South Penn cross-breed engine, Part 4

Labor of love

| April/May 2010

Editor’s note: The following is the unedited version of Part 3 of a multi-part series about the purchase, retrieval and restoration of an Oil City Boiler Works/South Penn cross-breed engine purchased by the North Jersey Antique Engine and Machinery Club in 2006. The edited version of this article ran in the February/March 2010 issue of Gas Engine Magazine;  Part 3 can be found here . 

The North Jersey Antique Engine and Machinery Club (NJAEMC) display building is not heated, and the fairgrounds itself have the power shut off for the winter. The last club meeting of 2006 was spent getting everything ready for the cold winter.

All the engines and pumps had to be drained to prevent freeze ups, and all supplies that could be chewed on by furry visitors had to be secured.

I readied the Oil City Boiler Works/South Penn engine by thoroughly soaking all exposed machined parts with SAE 50 oil, including the piston and the cylinder bore. Also, a list was made of things we needed to complete the engine and parts were ordered.

Tom Schoolcraft explained what was needed on the ignition end and these parts were ordered from Bob Burns’ company, Oil Well Supply LLC. This included the hot tube, hot tube chimney, burner assembly and a gas flow control valve for the hot tube itself. I found many needed nuts and bolts on my current job site. We received the hot tube parts by Christmas, but with the building closed, no action was taken until the power was turned back on in May.

New members join the cause
In the interim, the NJAEMC held meetings through the winter and we had quite a few new members sign up. Among them were Rich Magera, and his two sons, Kyle and Luke. Howard Squire and his son Clay also signed up. Along with other club members, these guys were instrumental in getting the engine back together. Club member Bob Twiebel works for a company that services the New York Waterway ferry boats, specifically engine rebuilding and maintenance. At our first meeting of 2007, we discussed how to clean up the slight rust and mouse damage to the cylinder walls. Bob suggested that we use a ball hone to clean up the cylinder bore instead of the flapper wheel. He brought it in at the next meeting along with an antique 1 HP electric drill which was used to turn it down the bore. What a neat, but heavy tool.


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