Tips on Collecting Gas Engines

W.H. Dittemore provides tips on collecting gas engines, including how to restore them and materials to use to restore old gas engines.

| July/August 1966

W.H. Dittemore shares his tips on collecting gas engines. 

I found this 6 hp Fairbanks Morse (Serial No. 642031) in a junkyard in Monahans, Texas. The upper one-half of the water hopper was removed and a cast iron top put in its place. This had a radiator and fan which ran off of a V belt pulled by the flywheel. This looked like a factory conversion kit. I removed this and put on an original open water hopper. The main bearings and piston were oiled with a Madison Kipp force feed lubricator. I replaced this with grease cups and a sight gravity oiler as seen in the picture.

I enjoy collecting and restoring old one-cylinder, water cooled, stationary gasoline engines. Here are some tips on collecting gas engines.

I have five engines. They are a 6 hp Fairbanks Morse Type Z that left the factory on Dec. 1, 1925, a 2 hp Type Z style D self-oiling Fairbanks Morse, a 3 to 5 hp Model LA I.H.C., a 1.5 and a 3 hp Model E John Deere engines. All the engines have high tension magnetos and spark plugs except the two John Deere's which have low tension magnetos with an ignitor.

It takes patience and an understanding wife to restore these engines. My wife Jane helps me and listens to my sad tale of woe when I can't make an engine run or cannot find a part. One also must either be or know an excellent machinist, a welder, and a mechanic who are sympathetic to the cause.

The first rule in collecting engines is never, never turn over the flywheel on these engines until you are sure that every part is free. If you do you will break the exhaust valve rocker arm, the casting that holds the governor (Fairbanks Morse), the magneto armature shaft may be broken (John Deere), or bend or twist some vital part that cannot be replaced.