REBUILDING A BIG 20 HP MORTON


| March/April 1983



20 HP Morton

Box 157, Floresuille, Texas 78114

Last February I received a notice from an auctioneer that there would be a large auction in Uvalde, Texas-about 150 miles from my place. A rancher that had moved there about ten years ago was selling out and moving to Oregon. He had lots of antique-like tractors, engines and equipment from a winery in California.

Well, the weather was bad, but I couldn't miss the auction, so my son and I put on the heaviest coats we could find and headed west. Regardless of the weather, there was a good crowd and bidding was very brisk. I bought a two cylinder Stover, an express wagon, a large vise and finally the big 20 HP Morton. Since we were in a pick-up, we could not haul what we had bought, so my son went back the next day with a gooseneck trailer and brought our junk home. Where the engine had been standing, people had tramped a trail around it while wondering what it was!

Taking it apart was like going on a treasure hunt. Wondering how it worked was something as this was a first for me. After taking it apart and putting it together, I found that all the parts were there and if I could get it to fire with a model T coil hook-up, it would be worthwhile to put new rings in it. Well, I got it to fire by turning it with a belt driven from a tractor.

I did get a few pops out of it so then I began the task of taking it apart so that I could put new rings in. Since I couldn't get the original size rings, I had to take it to a machine shop to cut down the pistons so I could put two rings in each groove.

After putting it together, we tried to run it with a small John Deere, but it couldn't pull it, so we used a larger John Deere. It turned but didn't start and instead, crashed and locked. The gears locked and broke out the bottom of the gear case and the casting that holds the shaft on to the cylinder housing. One of my sons called it a 'disaster'.