The Yukon Jaeger

| October/November 1990

  • Yukon Jaeger engine
    Yukon Jaeger engine

  • Yukon Jaeger engine

1137 Elm St., Huntington, Indiana 46750.

I'm writing this story because I thought it might be of interest to those who go to great lengths to find engines to restore. The engine shown was found on the Yukon in Alaska, just the place you might find an engine sticking out of the ground. I, myself, did not find the engine. I bought it at the Portland Show from its second owner. To make this story shorter I should say that the finder of the engine took it to Portland to sell and when he got there, sold it to another person, who then put it up for sale at a higher price. I then bought it, and I'm glad I did! I later met the finder and first owner of the engine who told me the story behind its finding.

The engine was discovered by T. 'Bear' Rehard who told me that he and a friend were flying around the Yukon, and saw two flywheels sticking out of the ground below them. The area was too rough to land the plane, so they landed on a lake about three miles away, and hiked to the flywheels. Bear said they dug the engine out of the ground with sticks and marked the spot with orange paint. They waited for the snow and cold weather to come so they could land on the lake while it was frozen. Well, the snow came and the lake froze. Bear told me they landed a dogsled team and went for the engine. He said the ice was strong enough to hold the weight of the plane, the engine and the dogsled team and they had no problems until it came time to load the engine onto the plane.

They had to take out all the seats in the plane, and Bear's friend had to sit between the flywheels to fly the plane back to Fairbanks. He said the engine was complete and he was able to get it to run. Bear told me he won a bet with some friends that the engine would not start within two months. He won $50.00!

He told me that the area where he found the engine was once a goldmining town, but all that was left of it was cement foundation. He knew of three very old people who still lived in the area, and none of them could remember the town. He thought the engine must have been in the ground for at least 60 years or more. He was told he could sell the engine at the Portland Show and that is what he did-15 minutes after he got there! I had to pay more for the engine than the first guy, but I'm glad I did. I think I have an engine with a one of a kind history behind it, at least in the finding of it.

After I got the engine home I just had to tear it down, as Bear had not done this. The hopper was full of tar like substance and smelled like - I think it was crude oil. This must have been the reason for the hopper being like new and not freezing and breaking while in the ground all those years. The only parts I replaced were the wristpin bushing and the valve guides, as they were both worn out. There was a point when I was cleaning out the tar in the hopper when I felt these small heavy objects inside. I though I was going to pull out some gold nuggets. Instead, I found 14 cast cleaning stars and a thought-to-be-lost oiler cap, the only missing part on the engine. Well I can't have all the luck! I have found the engine starts the best if I fill the hopper full of ice and sing North To Alaska while turning the flywheels over. The engine is a 5 HP, hit and miss, spark plug, with Wico PR magneto.


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