The Severe Difficulties of 'Moe'

| May/June 1998

Turning rimfirst cut.

Turning rimfirst cut.

Box 523 Covelo, California 95428

Sometimes in the course of an engine restoration one encounters difficulties more severe than the usual ones. Such is the case with 'Moe.' Moe, of course, being a 6 HP Alamo style 'M' which I acquired a few years back.

At some point in Moe's history he 'got in the way,' and I presume the easiest way to get him out of the way was a shove by a Caterpillar.

Anyway, the net result was a bent crankshaft and a broken flywheel. Well, since I have some welding experience, I thought I would try to piece the wheel back together. Easier said than done! I succeeded fairly well except for some side to side wobble at the rim, and a few welds cracked on cooling. After talking to some folks about it and considering the safety factor, I decided it wasn't prudent to use the patched wheel. I asked around and ran an ad in GEM, but no luck.

About this time, I was in the gold country at a Branch 49 show (Jonestown). On the way home we stopped at Knights Foundry (incredible place!). I talked with Carl Borgh, the owner, about my plight, and he said they could cast me a new wheel using the other as a pattern. (Both flywheels on this engine are identical.) He also said it would be cheaper if I did the preparation work.

Armed with this information and hope, I proceeded to do the following: I built up the rim of the wheel to allow for shrinkage and machining. I also ground, sanded and painted the wheel to make it smooth. I also made a plug for the hole and threaded it for an eye-bolt to lift the flywheel out of the sand. I held the plywood strip and tapered aluminum strip to the wheel using 10-24 screws tapped into the rim. The sides of the rim were thickened with Bondo.