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Found, lost and Found again, a 1944 IHC LB gets a Third Chance

| October/November 2003

For years I have read other people's stories about their engine finds and restorations, and I thought it was my turn to do my part.

This story is about a common 1 -1/2 to 2-1/2 HP IHC LB engine I bought back in 1984 from Bob Zeigler of the Berkshire Engine Farm. Bob told me the engine was almost new and that it had come from an International Harvester dealer's warehouse. I am sure this was true, as the engine had no visible wear and came with the original owner's manual - and even a factory tag.

It ran just fine, and I kept it until 1998 when hard times forced me to sell it. I ended up selling it to a co-worker, who wanted to use it on a buzz saw to cut firewood. I told him that with only 2-1/2 HP - and an antique, at that - I didn't think it would do what he wanted it to.

I lost track of him and the engine until June 2003, when we had occasion to see each other again. After talking a few minutes he asked me if I wanted my old engine back. 'It was never any good and had no power. It finally quit and won't run,' he said.

When I went to buy it back I found the pulley sitting next to the engine with a stub of the camshaft still in it. The engine was covered with sawdust, oil and grease. I almost changed my mind, but I really wanted this engine back as it was from my 'younger years' and it was the second engine I bought when I entered this hobby.

The more I got into the engine the sicker I felt, both from seeing what this person had done to a good running, antique engine and the feeling that maybe I was on 'the shorter end of the stick.' The camshaft was broken from overloading the engine, and to make matters worse he had screwed the governor lever screw in as tight as it would go. When the camshaft broke, it broke the exhaust rocker arm and bent the valve. I will never understand how some people have so little common sense and no regard for machines such as these old engines.