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Dave Rotigel stands in front of the dedicated trailer he made for his 16 HP Galloway.
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Patrick Livingstone and his 12 HP Root & Vandervoort.

Besides the blowing of smoke, shooting flames and exhausting
gas, another dimension of stationary engines has emerged: The
successful, therapeutic healing of a momentarily overwhelmed member
of the group.

As ever, various individuals started, commented on and concluded
the following bulletin board thread, which can be found on SmokStak
on the Internet at:

I always wanted a big engine and I’ve seen lots of them at
the shows. Boy oh boy! They always make great showpieces! When I
had a chance to buy this Fairbanks-Morse 15 HP Type Z, I had that
happy feeling you get when bringing home an old engine. After a
while, I began to understand that the bigger the iron and the more
weight, the harder it is to work on. The engine is now broken down
so it can be moved – and I don’t even have a trailer yet that
can support it.

After two years, I’m going to have to make up my mind to
either put it all together (maybe on a skid) or trade it off for
something smaller. What has my emotions mixed, is that it is a
Fairbanks-Morse and that’s my favorite. Anyone else feel this
deep about their old iron, or am I just carried away? – Fairbanks

Big engines? I wimpier every time I think about moving my little
Cushman cub. I don’t know how something so small can be so
heavy. – Steve

I’ve got two of those things and I load the one that I show
on and off the trailer with a come-along. It’s easy when I put
1-inch pipe under the skids. Sometimes I put 4 x 4s under the
flywheels and roll it off the trailer with the plug taken out to
relieve compression. It is easier to unload if your unloading site
is close to the same height as your trailer, but it would be better
if the big one had its own trailer.

I just turned 65 and I can still crank the 15 HP, although it
may not be long until I quit showing it. Maybe this will help you
get over the blues. – Lon

Hey kid! Just get motivated and get the job done. Even if you do
decide to sell it, it’s worth more in running condition. And
once you get it running you most likely won’t sell it anyhow.
Pick up a cart so you can move it around your shop, or take it out
and run it until you get a trailer. I just bought a 10 HP Z and I
love it. Just getting ready to tear it down for minor repairs, cart
alterations, new screen tank and paint job. Looking forward to
showing it late this year or early next year. Don’t sell it. –

I have several small flywheel engines, but there is nothing like
my 9 HP Hercules for me. I believe you would find it was all worth
while to restore it. -Ed

Don’t sell it! It took me two years to be able to buy a
trailer to move my 7 HP Hercules after I put it on old,
steel-wheeled running gear. Always remember; even if you don’t
have a trailer to move it now, it will still bring you a lot of joy
to listen to it run at your own home. – Dave

I only have one thing to say, Kid: ‘Dedicated Trailer.’
Check out Dave Rotigel’s 16 HP Galloway and the trailer he
built for it, a very fine way to show a large engine. – Ted

If it has been a dream, or a long-time goal to obtain an engine
like this, then you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
Will I be sorry if I get rid of it? Will I always be kicking myself
for getting rid of it? I’m bummed out now, but will it be worse
if I get rid of it? Why do I really want to get rid of it? Is my
reason for getting rid of it sound? If it turns out that you really
want to keep it, then keep it.

You have been in this hobby for a while, and are resourceful
-you have to be resourceful to be in this hobby. What you are
feeling or thinking might be temporary. If you want to keep it,
remember what your mom and dad told you, ‘You can do and
accomplish anything you set your mind to.’ If they never told
you that, I’m sure they wanted to. So turn around twice, look
in the mirror, and say, ‘I own that engine, and I know about
that engine, and it’s going to be my pride and joy.’ This
will all just become a memory. Get on with it! – Chuck

Hi Kid, I think the problem is you have big chunks you are
trying to move. Break that thing down into smaller pieces, and work
on one part at a time. Find yourself a place in the back of your
shop, back yard or wherever, and build some skids. As you get a
part ready, put it on the engine. You’ll be amazed at how fast
it will come together.

I have to handle parts all by myself because everyone around my
house is female, and they don’t intend to sweat! I just have to
figure out a way to manhandle the BIG parts. I have two 15 HP
Fairbanks that I am building, and I most likely will just keep them
at the house for myself and take my trailer of smaller engines to
the shows. I have a sign in my shop that says, ‘A person who
WANTS to do something will find a way, while a person who does NOT,
will find an excuse.’ So find a way! – David M.

Shortly after I got into this hobby, I got the bug for a big
engine and I bought a an oil field engine. She weighs about 5,000
pounds. I have been building a cart for her to take to a show or
two and the cart alone has become a big project. You have to take
into account the weight of the engine, balance, flywheel to ground
clearance and, above all, safety. I’m almost done with the
cart, and with almost 20 pounds of welding rod into it I am very
proud of the end result.

Sure, the big engines are heavier, and working on some things on
them are more difficult, but when I take my engine to a show,
chances are it will be the only one of its type there. Next time
you attend a show, check out the crowds of people admiring those
big old engines, especially hearing them run! To me it’s all
worth that alone. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the little
ones, too. But, there’s nothing like those big guys just
popping along. Good luck, Kid! You’ll have it running one of
these days. – Pete

Granted, my 6 HP is nowhere near as massive as yours, but it was
laying around in parts like yours and it took me months to complete
working on it in my spare time. Even if it takes another two years
to complete, if you get rid of it, the time is still going to pass,
but then you won’t have the engine. Take your time, work on it
a little bit as you can. You think bringing it home was a thrill,
wait ’til she fires for the first time after YOU did all the
work. – David.

Thanks, guys, for such great support! I read everyone’s
advice and thought it over last night. I’ve decided to keep the
big engine.

I’m going to take my time and your advice about trailer and
skid ideas – maybe even post some pictures of my progress as I go
along. From what I read, there are all kinds of ways to move a big
engine around and work on it. And I would miss it if I sold it. We
really have a lot of good folks here. – Kid

That’s the right attitude. My biggest is a 10 HP Mogul
tank-cooled. Fortunately, it’s a portable and I can drag it
around the yard with my lawn tractor. The ladies of the house pitch
in and help push it in the shed and run the winch when loading it
on the trailer. – Paul

It might feel like you’re pushing an anvil uphill, but
that’s how you get it to the top of the mountain. Hang in
there! – Chuck

Good to hear you are going to keep the big one. I have had my 12
HP Root & Vandervoort running for less than a year now, and it
is always stunning to watch. I thought I was mad taking on such a
big engine (my previous biggest restoration was a 4 HP) but it was
worth it in the end. I bought a small workshop crane to help move
parts around and a larger trailer to move the finished engine. The
big ones are well worth the effort once you get them to a show. –

There’s no replacement for displacement! Nothing starches my
jeans like dragging out the Bessemer half-breed (7-1/2-inch bore)
on a summer eve and firing her up. Big iron is a pain to move, but
put it all on good carts or dedicated trailers and it is a breeze.
The carts/trailers come with the turf – pay to play and save your
back. I’d say get her restored by talking through a nice long
stack and you’ll be hard pressed to let her go. – Paul

This thread hits close to home for me, as well. I have a 15 HP
Fairbanks oil engine just waiting for restoration and some way to
move it to a show. See – Harry

SmokStak is an engine conversation bulletin board with over
15,000 messages on file and is part of the Old Engine series of Web
sites that started in 1995 as ‘Harry’s Old Engine.’
Harry Matthews is a retired electronic engineer and gas engine
collector from Oswego, N.Y., now residing in Sarasota, Fla.

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