From Rust To Run


| March/April 1974



Pile of Iron

My restored 'pile of iron'. Courtesy of Ellis L. Birkey, Fisher, Illinois 61843

Ellis L. Birkey

Fisher, Illinois, 61843

It all started one fine spring morning when a decision was made to visit a fellow engine collector, who lives at Russellville, Missouri, about 35 miles from our cottage, on the Lake of the Ozarks, where vacation time is divided between fishing and engine hunting.

Arriving at the Basil Amos farm, one wouldn't have to look twice to see a fine collection of restored gas engines. Basil just doesn't pass up any old engines, no matter what shape they are in. That is why there was an old rusty and broken pile of iron laying under a tree. As I was trying to read the nameplate, Basil asked if I ever saw an engine sold by the Lansing Company? I said 'no, but if I had that pile of iron home I would restore it. What do you think.' Basil said, to my surprise, he said 'if you will restore that mess I will give it to you. I should have used my eyes better and kept my mouth shut.'

After loading the pile in the trunk of my car, I found the following missing; both main bearing caps, the connecting rod bearing cap, governor assembly, both valve heads rusted off, the crankshaft cut off with an acetylene torch just beyond the main bearing, one flywheel missing with the missing part of the crankshaft.

The cylinder was rusted so deep that one could lay a split pea in some of the pits, so to rebore the cylinder was out of the question as the head gasket area would be too narrow. A dry sleeve had to be installed.

The bore was 3-5/8, so a sleeve from an IHC model H tractor which has a 3-7/16 bore and was a few thousands toolarge O.D.to fit in the cylinder so with a small amount of noning the sleeve was driven in the block. That made a nice smooth cylinder. The IHC model H piston fit the bore, the connecting rod had to be cut and the tractor wrist pin end welded on as the tractor piston pin was too large for the original rod.