Gas Engine Magazine

RESTORATION OF AN F-M 2 HP

By Staff

10400 Witt Lane La Vale, Maryland 21502

As some of you GEM readers might remember, the gas engine bug
had bitten me with the restoration of my first ‘one
lunger,’ a Hercules 3 HP that I wrote about in the December
1996 issue. This engine obviously led to the search for others.

This is the story about finding and restoring my F-M 2 HP
‘Jack-Of-All-Trades.’ I started asking everybody and
anybody I could about the whereabouts of a ‘one lunger’
that might be around the Cumberland area. I found out that nobody I
had talked to even knew what a ‘one lunger’ gas engine was,
let alone know where one might be. Right away I realized that to
find another engine to restore was not going to be very easy!

I started to just drive around the outskirts of town stopping
along the way at almost every farm to ask the owners about the
whereabouts of a one lunger. At first, my wife and two little boys,
four and six years old, were more than eager to go along for a ride
in the country. But after a couple of months of riding around, my
wife decided that shopping or doing whatever she does when the boys
and I are not home was much more fun than sitting in the truck
while I talked for hours with farmers looking for the ‘needle
in the haystack,’ as she was referring to the search for a one
lunger. The boys and I were having a great time though. We were
meeting some very nice people on our search. The boys even got to
feed chickens, watch cows being milked, search around the barns,
but their favorite event so far was one friendly person gave them a
pony ride, while he and I talked engines. The friendliness and the
eagerness of the people I talked to, to help me find a one lunger,
really impressed me about the people in our area.

A couple of months went by and I had not even found one little
lead about the whereabouts of a one lunger. Then! One evening I
stopped by a farm and was talking to the owners, when I asked the
question that I had asked so many times I practically had the lines
memorized. The farmer’s answer practically threw me into shock.
Within spitting distance of Interstate 68 he knew of an elderly
gentleman whose family owned the big farm where Rocky Gap State
Park is now. The two brothers back in the ’40s, ’50s and
’60s used to clean grain for everybody in the area, with a big
double flywheel one lunger as the power source. Also I was told
that in the same building where the big one lunger was, there were
some smaller double flywheel one lungers.

The boys and I were really excited! The boys couldn’t wait
to get home and tell their mommy that we might have a good lead on
the ‘needle in the haystack.’ The farmer who told me this
information gave me directions to the home of Mr. John Raines, who
is one of, the two brothers who ran the big engine used to power
the grain-cleaning machine.

The next evening the boys and I went to see John Raines. His
home was only a short drive, a couple of miles from mine, and
within the city limits! After introducing myself and my boys, I
explained to him my search for a one lunger. John told the boys
they could play around in the yard while he and I sat on the wooden
swing and talked. John told me about the big one lunger that they
used to clean grain for the local farmers. It was a 16 HP
hopper-cooled Foos. John said that in the early Thirties, during
the depression, he and his brother, who were the only two that ran
the family farm, heard of a big gas engine which was for sale in
the Mt. Savage, Maryland, area. They went to Mt. Savage with a
wagon pulled by a team of horses and purchased the big Foos. The
Foos was loaded on the wagon that the horses then pulled to the
farm. John said that this took a day and a half to accomplish.
Through the ’30s and ’40s John and his brother purchased
about thirty hit and miss engines. John said some of them were used
around the farm and some of them they just bought because they
wanted to. My Fairbanks was purchased from their pastor, as a parts
engine, in about 1935. John remembers that it was missing parts and
had a very badly bent crankshaft. The crankshaft was bent to almost
a 90-degree angle out past the flywheel hub, but he and his brother
had another F-M just like it. They figured that there might be some
parts they could use for the other engine someday. John related
that in the ’30s some models of hit and miss engines were
becoming scarce and parts were hard to find. That’s the only
reason John and his brother bought my F-M. This engine sat around
with the others for quite a number of years. John remembers this
engine particularly because of the badly bent crankshaft. He could
not remember what the pastor used the engine for.

John and I talked for a couple of hours that first evening. He
took me into his garage and showed me the only engine he had left,
the F-M Jack-of-all-Trades. All the other engines had been sold
when the state bought the farm to build Rocky Gap State Park. John
said the only reason that the F-M wasn’t sold was because it
was in such bad shape when he and his brother bought it so they had
stored it outside in the woods and had forgotten about it until
everything was sold in 1969 at their farm sale. John remembers that
he had wanted to keep the big Foos, but his older brother wanted it
sold. A person from down around Baltimore or Washington bought all
their engines at the sale. John remembers that all 30 or so
engines, including the big Foos, were sold for three hundred
dollars at the sale that day.

I made quite a number of trips out to John’s house to talk
about engines. Finally after all the trips and long talks, John
agreed to sell me the F-M. Every time John and I talked, he
reminisced about running the big Foos, and wished they would have
kept it. I could tell from our long talks that he really missed
running hit and miss engines. The talks brought back fond memories
for him.

One day after school was over, I went out with another engine
enthusiast, Ron Paul, to John’s and picked up the engine. Some
of you GEM readers might remember that I teach industrial
arts/technology education, and that gas engines just happen to fit
right in with our Power Technology class at school.

The next morning some students helped me unload the engine. My
partner in restoring engines is Jim Cogan. Jim also teaches
industrial arts/technology education a couple of rooms down from my
classroom. Over the next couple of days Jim and I assessed the
condition of the Fairbanks.

Right way we knew we had our work cut out for us. When John and
his brother had bought the Fairbanks they intended to use it for
parts, and over the years they had stripped it of everything right
down to the head, cylinder, block, and flywheels. After leaving the
farm, John had become a machinist. Years later he decided to
fabricate parts and make the engine run. The engine actually ran
when I bought it, but had no original parts. He fabricated
everything from an old parts catalog.

Jim and I decided that we wanted it to be restored to original
condition. All the fabricated parts were removed. The parts search
was going to be extensive. We needed the complete governing, fuel,
and ignition systems. After many phone calls I found out that parts
were not available from any of the regular GEM advertisers. I
realized that we were going to have to try to find someone who
would loan us their original parts. Then I could send the originals
to the foundry to use as patterns to have original looking new
parts cast.

I learned that Mr. Ralph Unterzuber of Richmond, Virginia, a
long-time engine collector, had a 3 HP type T Fairbanks. A call to
Mr. Unterzuber was made. He graciously gave me permission to visit
him, take apart his engine, and use his parts to cast from!

Jim and I made the trip from Cumberland to Richmond one warm
sunny January day last winter. After arriving at Mr.
Unterzuber’s home, we were treated to one of the most memorable
southern style lunches that Jim or I could ever remember having.
After lunch we went downstairs to see Ralph’s engine. The
engine was taken outside and started for us. It ran perfectly. I
was now more inspired than ever to get mine back to original
condition. After running the engine for a while we took it back
inside and proceeded to take off the following parts I needed to
reproduce: rocker arm and support, fuel pump and priming levers,
lockout, and ignitor and ignitor trip. I also needed the
carburetor, governor gear and weights, plus the crankshaft gear.
The carburetor was a intricate casting requiring a core. I know
enough about casting to realize that it would be too hard to
reproduce. I would have to find a carburetor. The governor gear and
crankshaft gear were much bigger than the ones for a 2 HP engine. I
would have to try to locate these parts also. Jim and I were really
excited now. I had most of the parts that I needed to use as
patterns to get new parts recast. I would like to thank Mr. and
Mrs. Unterzuber for the hospitality they showed us that winter
day.

The restoration begins with sending the cast iron parts of
Ralph’s to the foundry to be recast. The fuel pump and lockout
are brass. I will cast these myself. We have the equipment to cast
brass and aluminum in our metal shop at school.

I am lucky enough to have a foundry locally that will cast the
iron parts. To be able to use Ralph’s parts for patterns I did
some preparation work on them. I used body filler to fill holes in
the rocker arms, fuel pump priming levers, ignitor trip bracket,
and ignitor slug, and used tape to build up the ignitor shafts for
turning back down to original dimensions. Those parts were sent to
the foundry.

While the cast iron parts were at the foundry, I started working
on casting brass parts myself. I used Ralph’s fuel pump as a
pattern to make a mold and cast the two different sections of it. I
also used Ralph’s lockout as a pattern and cast it myself.

At this point of the restoration I still needed the carburetor,
rocker arm support, timing gear, crankshaft gear, governor
flyweights, cross-shaft and cam. I had been given Al Koch’s
name as a source for the carburetor. I called Al and he had the
carburetor, and loaned me his rocker arm support to use as a
pattern to cast from. Al’s knowledge on F-M type T engines is
extensive, and I would like to thank him for his help in my
restoration of this engine.

At the June Coolspring, Pennsylvania, show I was able to buy a
governor gear, with the cross-shaft, cam, and flyweights as one
unit. All the parts from the foundry were cast and returned to me.
I sent Ralph and Al their original parts back. That left me to do
lots of drilling holes and machining work. The brass castings that
I did were machined and ready to be installed. I had all parts at
this point of the restoration to complete the engine except the
crankshaft gear. As before, one could not be located, so I checked
my local bearings and transmission store for a Boston gear that had
the right number of teeth and diametrical pitch. They ordered me
one that, with some machining, looks and works like the original.
Now I have all my parts and am ready to reassemble the engine.

Every part was sandblasted, primed and painted. I like to paint
all my parts separately, then assemble the engine. I figure that by
painting pieces separately I will not be splattering paint all over
the place, and in the wrong places. I was surprised that all the
recast parts, that I machined, fit together perfectly. The
reassembly of the engine went quickly and only required a couple of
hours, in comparison to the full year it took me to locate, recast
and machine all the parts needed to complete the engine. The only
thing left to do now was make a cooling tank and truck for the
engine.

I had found some cast iron wheels from an old wheel dolly and
decided to use these to make the trucks seen in the pictures. I
looked at every F-M catalog that I could locate and finally found
one with the cooling tank dimensions. It is 15 inches in diameter
by 35 inches in height, and holds 25 gallons of water! I wanted the
tank to be original size so I began making the tank. Luckily we
have in our metal shop some of the old Pexto sheet metal working
equipment. 1 was able to make the tank using old techniques, a
wired edge on top and a double hem on the side. The tank was then
soldered and installed. Jim used an old F-M catalog to duplicate
the stencil for the F-M logo on the cooling tank. Scaling the logo
to original size, which is 18 inches by 18 inches, Jim realized
that F-M used three different sizes and styles of letters to make
the logo painted on the cooling tank. After cutting a stencil the
logo was painted on the tank. The engine was complete and ready to
start.

The engine fired and ran smoothly on the first attempt. With a
little adjustment on the governor springs, the engine was ready to
be shown. The engine was displayed at the following shows:
Cumberland, Maryland, Heritage Days; Berryville, Virginia, Steam
and Gas Show; the Route 40 Steam and Gas Festival spring and summer
shows; and Coolspring Summer ’98. It was well accepted at all
the shows. The Jack-Of-All-Trades logo seemed to be a real eye
catcher, along with the large cooling tank. I answered lots of
questions regarding what the cooling tank was for. One person even
thought the cooling tank was for roasting corn in! I haven’t
tried yet, but it might work. I am planning to show the engine at a
lot more shows this summer.

As with my first engine restoration, this one taught me more
about our country’s heritage and history. I am more impressed
now than ever with the ability of our ancestors to design and build
equipment using the technology available to them at that time in
history.

I would like to thank Mr. Ralph Unterzuber, and Mr. Alan Koch
for the lending of parts to be recast. And thanks of course, to my
partner in restoring engines, Mr. James Cogan, for his help and
encouragement, let alone the hours he took to weld the water
jacket, in the restoring of my second ‘one lunger.’

  • Published on Jan 1, 1999
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