Worth The Wait

By Staff
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'Before' picture engine could be run in this condition.
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Fuel pump patterns and parting board.
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The three broken tank castings and four inch plug.
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Damage to fuel tank.
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Fuel pump one machined and the other still in rough casting.
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12234 Harris Carleton, Michigan 48117

This story really starts back in 1995. For some reason the looks
of upright engines had caught my eye. I don’t know why, but
they did. I had seen a Scott Ewing at the Findlay, Ohio, show. I
really liked that steam engine type look. So I started thinking
about a Bates & Edmonds. A Bates has that same look, plus I
like the history behind the company, the Bates and Olds

So I started asking all my engine buddies about Bates &
Edmonds engines. They all said that they had seen them for sale at
shows now and then, at a fair price. When talking to Bates
collectors, I would ask if I could stop by to look over their
engines and take some pictures. When the day came for me to buy a
Bates I hoped to know what the engine should have on it.

Every month when GEM would arrive, I would go right to the
classifieds hoping to find my Bates, but that would be too easy,
wouldn’t it? To raise money I sold a couple of engines,
motorcycle and an ATV. I thought I had all the cash I would ever

The first year went by with no engine. The second year went by;
the only Bates I found was a 5 HP, but that was just too large for
me. I went to one auction that advertised a Bates, but it turned
out to be a Bull Dog (not an upright) had a good time anyway.
It’s not like I didn’t have anything to work on. It was a
good time to restore my Grand Haven tractor that I had been putting
off for about five years. I also picked up a nice Ideal upright, at
a price I just could not pass up.

With no luck at all finding a Bates, I had decided I wanted a
metal lathe. One of the club members had a nice 12 x 36 Clausing.
When I paid him for it, something in the back of my mind told me
the phone would ring the next day and someone would have a Bates
engine for sale. After buying the lathe and some needed tooling,
about half my engine money was gone.

Well, the phone did not ring the next day. It only took three
more months. An engine buddy called and had a line on a 3 HP that a
collector had at Cass City, Michigan. That fellow turned out to be
Dave Babcock.

I gave Dave a call and that next weekend my son and I were on
our way. My son was taking drivers’ training and needed to have
50 hours driving time as part of his training, so he drove all the
way. That Saturday was a sunny, cold January day. It’s about a
three hour trip, and we arrived at 3:00 p.m. The Bates engine I was
hoping to find would be 1 to 2 HP with the early style mixer, the
long tube type and I would really like it to be one that had a
Bates & Edmonds engine tag. Many Bates were sold under the
Fairbanks name, but at this point, and after looking for three
years, I would have been quite happy with anything.

When we arrived, the first order of business was to look over
Dave’s collection of engines and tractors. Why is it that
everybody else’s stuff always looks better than your own? Dave
had started a fire in the large wood stove to knock off the January
cold. We then got down to business to look over the Bates engine,
it was somewhat roughno, it was rough. There were some cracks in
the water jacket, as well as many missing parts. The fuel pump, and
all relative parts, as well as the upper half of the mixer and all
the fuel lines, were gone. The fuel tank was cast in the base of
the engine. The top of the fuel tank was busted in. This is also
where oil is collected for the connecting rod.

For some reason, I don’t know why even to this day, I pulled
up sleeve, and reached down into the fuel tank through the hole in
the top and stuck my hand into about eight inches of old oil,
black, dirty oil and grease. As I was feeling around, I found a
piece of something. We cleaned it up. What luck! It was a piece of
busted tank casting.

Now with a stick, I was digging out all kinds of stuff from this
tank. We even found a large red shirt. We did find all of the
missing pieces. With those pieces, the repair job would be much
easier. We also removed the cylinder head and checked the inside of
the cylinder for cracks. It looked okay. The engine had been fitted
with an aluminum piston. It must have run for some time with this
piston, as there was carbon build-up on the top.

We decided on a price. I was a little short on money. At this
point, buying the lathe had crossed my mind, but Dave said he would
hold it for me until I came up with the cash. So I gave him what I

It was now time to head for home. On the way my son said that he
couldn’t understand how two guys could look at one engine for
four hours. I said it wasn’t that long. He said we had arrived
at 3:00 and it was now past 7:00 p.m.

The Bates & Edmonds was a 3 HP with an early style mixer and
a cast brass Bates engine tag, so I was quite happy, It was a
little big, but so what. It was now time to get the creative
finance machine in gear. I am not saying things were tight, but if
I’d seen a penny on the ground, I would have picked it up.

Well, with no money and no engine, I had some free time on my
hands. So I went through all my Gas Engine Magazines and to
everyone that had an engine like mine I wrote them a letter,
looking for information. Two guys came through in a big way Norman
Parrish of Kentucky and Richard Stancliff of Virginia. They both
sent me pictures and drawings of the parts I needed to find or
make. I also found a fellow with an engine that had a Bates-type
mixer. I was very happy to find out that the missing top of the
mixer was just a reservoir, with no fancy valves or gizmos

The time finally came to pick up my engine. That just happened
to be the same weekend Dave was having a gas-up to start his 30 HP
hopper cooled Foos (see May 99 GEM). That was a great day for me,
finally getting my Bates, and spending the day chewing the fat with
some engine people.

With the Bates at home and a good look over, I probably could
have made it run the way it was, but I thought, why? So I took it
apart piece by piece and each part was given a good look over. I
found that the timing gears did not line up; they ran off to one
side about half the width of the gear. It looked like it might be a
bent bolt.

With a bare engine block, I started to weld up the cracks in the
water jacket. That repair was pretty much straight forward, but the
top of the fuel tank was something else. Much time was spent trying
to figure out how to hold all the pieces in place. With the
four-inch plug removed from the bottom of the fuel tank, I was able
to tack-weld the pieces from the backside. Then from the top, I
veed out the cracks and did what I thought was a good solid weld
job. A new top plug was made and pressed into place; then three
coats of fuel tank sealer was applied from the backside to stop any
small leaks.

That spring at the Coolspring show, I met up with Norman
Parrish, where we talked about the workings of the Bates engine.
While there, I took the opportunity to measure up and make a print
of the fuel pump on a 5 HP Bates that they had there. I also took
some good close-up pictures of the parts I needed to make.

When I returned home, I made a fuel pump pattern and a parting
board and sent it to the foundry to be cast out of brass. Let me
say it was not cheap, but what are you going to do? At the same
time, the crankshaft was sent out to have the rod journal welded up
and resized. At some point in time, the crankshaft sat in water and
was in rough shape.

Waiting for the fuel pump and crankshaft to come back, I went
after that camshaft bolt that I thought was bent. Well you know,
that wasn’t the case. The hole wasn’t drilled straight from
day one. The cam gear bolt is a left-handed thread and of a pitch
that is no longer available. I was able to pick up a left-handed
tap and die. I have a large drill press, and was able to get the
pottorn end in the press. The cylinder end was held up with a floor
jack and blocks of wood. This was a real show, I must say. The old
bolt hole was drilled out to one-inch; a steel plug was pressed
into place. The crankshaft and camshaft gear were installed and
lined up, then redrilled. I even used the drill press to start the
tap in to keep it straight. Now the gears ran true and on center.
Remember that lathe that I had some re-grets about buying, well, it
was really handy to have about this time. Besides the machining on
the fuel pump, all the nuts, bolts and shafts had to be remade.
Most parts were either rusted, worn out or missing. I was only able
to use about six of the original bolts that came with the

I am not a machinist, so making up the fuel pump and lines
seemed to take forever. There are 28 different pipes and fittings
that make up the fuel lines. Finally things started to come
together and it began to look like an engine again. Start up day
was finally at hand. For some reason I was very nervous about this
engine. I had visions of its catching fire, so I had two fire
extinguishers at hand. Everything worked and it started, but it did
not run well or long. I had to replace all the springs on the
engine and igniter, and had nothing but trouble with them. They
were either too strong or too weak. I think I bought two of every
spring the hardware had. It took all summer to get them figured
out, but I did. By fall of ’99 it was running great. With some
horse-trading I was able to come up with a nice engine cart.

By winter everything came apart for painting. It was a complete
case of overkill; all the castings were filled and the bright metal
was shined up and polished. The engine base was installed on a
freshly painted engine cartit made a nice handy work bench for
putting it all back together. Three days after it was done, the
Bates was on the trailer headed for Cool springs spring show

I am guessing the year of this engine to be 1901 with a serial
number of 852. Well it only took three years to find this Bates and
two and a half years to repair and restore it. I would have to say
it was Worth The Wait.

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