The Old Creek Engine


| November/December 1987



Old creek engine

Ronald E. Valliere

R.R. #1 New Providence, Iowa 50206

I have been an avid reader of Gas Engine Magazine for quite a few years. I especially enjoy articles written about the different ways and conditions some of these old engines are found. This is an experience that happened to me about six years ago. I thought maybe some of your readers would enjoy reading about it.

I farm near the town of New Providence, Iowa. I have a close friend by the name of Lewis Harrell, who is a carpenter by trade, who lived in town and is a part of this story. Louie (what everybody calls him) and I share a lot of common interests, fishing being one of them. This story started about the first part of June. There is a stream four miles north of town where we fish quite often. Due to a lot of high water that spring, we were unable to fish it until the water had receded. We started that evening at an old iron wagon bridge that had been there at least 75 years. The road ran north and south with the stream flowing west to east. We parked our pickup truck on the north side of the bridge with the idea of fishing downstream. We had to climb down about a 15-foot bank to enter the stream. The large amount of spring water had formed a big sand bar about 200 feet below the bridge.

After sliding down the bank, I noticed a large pile of trash that had formed high and dry on the middle of the sand bar. When I walked by it, I saw part of a wheel of a gas engine peeking out the bottom. I hollered at Louie, and the two of us started picking through the pile of rubble. Lo and behold there was the saddest looking 1? horse John Deere engine you ever saw. I told Louie I sure would like to take it home. Being the good friend that he is, he suggested we give it a try. Both of us are pretty husky fellows, so we just picked it up and started out. We had no trouble until we got to the bridge-getting it up the bank was a different matter! One thing an old gas engine nut has is a lot of determination! When we got it in the back of the pickup, I told Louie that that would be the biggest and best thing we would ever drag out of that stream. The fishing ended right then, and we took the engine home.

My wife came out while we were unloading it on a small flatbed truck. She asked where in the world did we find that pile of junk and what were we going to do with it? When I told her I was going to fix it up and make it run, she just laughed and said, 'That will be the day!'

The first thing I did was wash it off. It smelled just like the bottom of a swamp. The old engine had been purchased with the original John Deere truck under it. The front axle was broken off at the swivel and was lying beside the engine. The back wheels were broken off at the legs and were gone. Both flywheels were broken off at the hubs, with one hanging on the engine. After hosing down the engine, I found that there wasn't a screw or nut that was stuck-I suppose being down in the mud pretty well sealed it from the air. There wasn't any water in the crankcase, but the head was completely full of sand. The piston had stopped clear forward but with a block of wood and a little tap with a hammer was freed. All of the springs were in fair shape, but the tension was very weak. The rocker arm was broken, both valves were stuck, and the gas tank was beyond repair.