Remember the TITAN

By Staff
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Sam Harman’s 6 HP Titan restoration from beginning to end: before, during and after.

My first gas engine was a 1-1/2 HP
McCormick-Deering that I bought in 1976 at my grandfather’s sale. I
just wanted one of the old engines because it was his. Now, almost
20 years and 65 or more engines later, I still look for just one
more engine.

I decided I would stick with International Harvester Co.
engines. As time went on, my taste for the more rare and more
expensive IHCs grew. The one I thought I would try and find was a 4
HP Titan sideshaft engine. These engines were only built from 1916
to 1918, and only in 4 and 6 HP sizes. The 4 HP engines were only
hopper-cooled models. The 6 HP was built in hopper- and tank-cooled
models. All the engines I had seen were hopper-cooled, stationary
models. Talking with other collectors I was told they had never
seen a tank-cooled Titan sideshaft. It was the only sideshaft
engine International built besides the Mogul line. Over time I
found a few at shows or from other collectors, but none of the ones
I found really appealed to me.

One day in 1999 two engine friends, Jimmy Lambert and Don
Crawford, from North Carolina, stopped by my house to look at
engines and visit. They knew I liked my IHCs and I had plenty to
show them. Somewhere in the conversation, Jimmy mentioned he was
surprised that with all the IHCs I had, that I didn’t have a Titan
sideshaft. I told him I had never found one I liked. He said he and
Don had a 6 HP Titan to sell and wondered if I would be interested.
I told him I really wanted a 4 HP, and after a few hours of all the
normal engine talk, Jimmy and Don said they had to get back
home.

As they were walking back to their truck, Jimmy mentioned again
that if I was interested in the Titan, the engine was complete
except for the cooling tank. Whoa, I thought. “Wait a minute,” I
said, “did you say the cooling tank? Is this engine tank-cooled?”
Jimmy said it was. Now I was interested! I told him to send me some
pictures when he got home. That was Saturday. Three days later, I
got the pictures. Holy smokes! The engine was not only tank-cooled,
it was a low-base portable. That night, I called Jimmy, bought the
engine and told him I would be there Saturday to get it. This was
one of those once-in-a-lifetime finds.

Saturday my son Dave, my grandson Tyler and myself headed for
North Carolina. The engine was in Don’s garage. When we arrived,
Don had all the parts laid out on the floor. The previous owner who
found the engine some 20 years before had taken the engine apart to
restore it. He had all the parts labeled and bagged as to where
they went. Remarkably, 99 percent of the engine was there. I don’t
know where I would have ever found missing parts for this engine if
he hadn’t been so precise in keeping everything. We loaded the
engine and headed home.

After getting home, the job of restoration began. I had to get
an original truck for the engine, which was probably the easiest
part. I had new timing gears cut, which turned into a long project
because the gears had a long helix and were an odd pitch; same
problem with the bevel governor gears. I had some worn and broken
parts recast, and all the pins and bushings were made over. The
bore was good and so were all the main bearings. The carburetor had
to be completely rebuilt and valves redone. A new muffler, fuel
tank and Madison-Kipp lubricator were needed. I found an original
cooling tank, and the water pump was rebuilt. Six years later the
day came to start the engine. It started and ran like it did when
new.

I talked with the man who originally found this engine. He lives
in Burlington, N.C. He said he was at an auction about 20 years ago
and saw a clutch pulley that was going to be sold. After he bought
the pulley, another man came up to him and asked if he wanted to
buy the engine the pulley came off. The man said he took it off of
an old gas engine or steam engine in his woods. He went to look and
found the Titan lying upside down. The owner told him it was used
on a sawmill until it flew apart and was scrapped. Apparently the
sideshaft bracket bolts came loose, dropped down, bent the
sideshaft, broke the governor, and broke the magneto bracket off.
At that time it wasn’t worth fixing and was left to rust. Luckily
the scrap man never found it.

This is the only 6 HP Titan sideshaft tank-cooled portable
known. The serial number list shows only 70 of these portables were
built. I think this is the only one to survive. If someone has
another one I would like to here from them.

Sam Harman, 2035 Blacks Schoolhouse Road, Taneytown, MD
21787.

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