'Second Chance' 7 HP Witte Runs Again!


| February/March 2001



Witte Engine

Pres. Miracle of America Museum 58176 Highway 93 Poison, Montana 59860

Some GEM subscribers remember the story I submitted in the June 1998 issue about pulling the main part of a 1923 7 HP Witte engine out of Flathead Lake. It was in thirty feet of water and had been used as a buoy anchor for forty years. Fortunately, for some unknown reason, the flywheels, crank, rod and piston assembly, gas tank and oiler had been stored in the boat house. Some of you may have wondered if I ever got it going.

Cylinder bore and babbitt bearings cleaned up pretty well after some forty years in Flathead Lake.

Who would have thought that after forty some years in the lake, the Witte mag and carburetor would ever function again?

I set the goal of having it running this year for the Miracle of America's annual Live History Days, the third weekend in July. Remember I had steam cleaned it after pulling it out of the lake and 90% of the parts moved. I should have gotten to it right away, or at least sprayed it down with light oil, because its surface rusted pretty badly in places.

With the encouragement and help of friends, Ed and Sue Brueckman, who have recently become addicted to old iron and flywheels, it finally started. The engine cleaned up well. I had to braze a broken ear on the mag mount. Ed JB welded a broken corner on the needle valve boss on the carburetor. Fortunately I had a newer 'parts' engine which had the carb and filler cover, valve springs and retainer, which had rusted beyond use on the original engine. Ed just touched up the valves and seats. We sent the magneto to WJW in Maida, North Dakota/Morden, Manitoba, Canada. He had read of my previous story and was anxious to help get the Witte going. He provided quick service and it worked perfectly.