9531 Lost Forest Drive Richmond, Virginia 23237-4005
I was to take one of my engines to a show after work one day. The trailer was in the parking lot. A guy that did construction work for me asked about the engine. Into the conversation he told me how he would cut wood for the stove as a child. He also said he thought the engine was still at his father's house, and asked if I was interested in it.
Of course, my answer was yes.
As time went on, his father's health was beginning to fail. For a few years I would ask about his father and then the engine. All the while I was told that I would end up with the engine.
Eventually his father did pass away. I almost gave up hope that I would ever see the engine.
One afternoon he and I went to a job site he was doing for me. Then, instead of going back to my office, we went to his father's estate. As we pulled into the long and overgrown drive and went past the house, there sat a David Bradley garden tractor and an International Harvester Cub.
We walked well into the woods to a small open front lean-to. In the very back, there sat the engine, up on wood blocks, an International Harvester LB 3-5. It was not stuck. He told me that he had to talk to his brothers but that I would end up with the engine.
My friend Bob would always ask when I was going to pick up the engine. It got to be a joke with us if I would ever get it.
Finally, one day I got the word that the brothers were in agreement that I could have the engine for free. I was excited.
For over a year I would ask when I could pick up the engine. The response was always the same: 'I do not want to push the brothers and make them mad and you not get the engine.'
I was beginning to again doubt it was to become mine.
The father's estate was settled and everything had to go. I expected to hear from him then. When that did not happen, I again lost faith.
About six months after the estate was settled, I got a call from my friend. He asked if I was still interested in the engine. Except now the David Bradley had to go with the engine as a package deal and not free anymore.
Not collecting garden tractors, I was reluctant to agree. At the same time I was not about to lose this engine after well over five years of patience and hoping. I agreed, and the time was set to finally take delivery.
I called my engine buddy, Bob Cox. I asked if he wanted to go to finally put to rest the LB International saga. He said yes, so we met and got the tractor and engine.
Both were in great shape. The tractor is in great condition and should require only minimal work, but that may be another story. As I have no inside space to work on my new find, for the next week very little happened.
I got it to turn smoother and drained the forty-year-old oil. Then I called Bob and asked if he wanted to work on it on the weekend. He was agreeable as long as I helped repair his garage door. It took fifteen minutes to repair his door spring. Then we focused on the LB.
We took the gas tank out and carefully removed the fuel line and cleaned it. The check ball was loose! We began cleaning the gas tank. We got a pile of rust and dust from it.
I filed the points on the magneto and soon got a hot spark. I installed fresh oil and began to turn the engine over with it. Then we got brave. Bob asked, 'Do we put a can under the carb and try it?'
We did, and after just a few pulls it fired! A little carb adjustment and it was running smoothly. I immediately reached for the cell phone to call my father. I was so excited that it was running and took so little time to do!
After the gas tank dries out I will put it back in. There was no rust on the outside and it is solid!
It took five years to get this engine, and less than two hours to get it running. It is the first engine I have had the pleasure and misery to find and get on my own. I tracked down several with my father when I was growing up, but this was my first!
I have several other engines. This is my first throttle governed engine as well.
A big thanks to Bob for all of his help. And a big 'I finally got it!'