Letters & Miscellanies

Silo Farmall, Seized Engines, Information Sought and More on Welding Cast

| July/August 2003

  • Bulls Eye

  • Weaks' headstone
    The Weaks' headstone, showing the family home plus a Cat 60 and Cat Holt combine.
  • Nameplate
    Bill May wants to hear from you if you have a West Coast built by Sterne Bros., San Diego, Calif.
  • Dental shell machine
    Dental shell machine.

  • Bulls Eye
  • Weaks' headstone
  • Nameplate
  • Dental shell machine

Homelite Generator

I have a Homelite military generator like the one owned by Don Zumstein and pictured in GEM (May 2003, page 4). I used mine all one winter during a demolition job I was doing. It ran well, but after lugging it about for three seasons we called the little machine a 'Homeheavy' rather than a Homelight.

Henry Dana Rotman 44 Gibson Road Milford, CT 06460 nrotman@juno.com

Photos 38/5/2A and 38/5/2B on page 4 of the May 2003 GEM showing two generators owned by Don Zumstein were inadvertently reversed. Henry tells us he sent Don photocopies of manuals he has for Homelite generators, along with copies of letters from Homelite about the unit. - Editor

Stationary List Thanks

Please pass this word of thanks to all the 'iron people' who answered my question on how to clean out the water hopper on my 3 HP IHC M.

I took their advice and popped the cylinder out of the block. I'm glad I did this, as I dug out about two pounds of dirt, glass, nails and a spike. For the price of the o-ring it was worth what little trouble it took to remove the cylinder. Thanks again for getting me some answers to my questions.

John M. Edgerton 27 Loon Lake Road Bigfork, MT 59911

Silo Farmall H

In reference to the Farmall H on the silo (see GEM, April 2003 page 3): It was put there by Ivan Weaks, who called his place 'Row on Oak' farm, and it has been an attention grabber for several years now. Ivan is gone, but of equal interest is his (their) headstone, which is located on the far corner of the square the farm is on.

The stone depicts the house and Ivan's Cat 60 with a Cat Holt combine, not a common combination, especially in this area. Ivan had a large collection of IH tractors and a number of Cats, and of course some Fordsons, the first modern, affordable rigs built.

One of my old neighbors farmed with his 1918 Fordson into the late 1960s. He never used more than a two-bottom plow or 6-foot disc and I can well remember the Fordson doing whatever the chore with a wisp of steam ever present at the radiator cap.

On another matter, Larry Rife asked about a Lycoming engine off a John Deere combine in the December 2002 issue of GEM. My book says it could have been equipped with a Hercules six-cylinder (9XC-5) or a Hercules four-cylinder (OOC 4-inch; OOB 3-3/4-inch) or a Lycoming four cylinder. It would look as though John Deere didn't make an engine suitable for combine power. I know the combine itself is nearly identical to the Cat Holt rigs, so I'm not sure how much of it was really a John Deere. I believe they were more hype than substance.

Brent Mackey 2992 W. Fremont Road Port Clinton, OH 43452

Seized Engines

I read Gary Grinnell's story about seized engines (see GEM, May 2003, page 15), and thought I'd add a thought. If it's a spark plug engine, knock the porcelain out of an old plug and braze in a male air hose fitting. Install this in the oil-filled cylinder and hook an air hose to it. It really helps.

Jim Wohlfeil 6040 Eldridge Waterford, MI 48327

Figure #3 on page 17 of Gary Grinnell's article may cause some problems for inexperienced engine restorers, as it makes it look as if piston rings should be spread open far enough to slide over the diameter of the piston. Such an attempt would surely result in two piece piston rings every time. Of course the rings should be placed on top of the piston and expanded just enough to slip into place.

A second word of caution: Unless you have the crankshaft out or you are positive that the piston will clear the crankshaft, never drive a piston down so far that the rings expand below the cylinder wall. A better method, after you get the piston to move down even a little, is to clean up the cylinder wall and then drive the piston out the top end.

Thanks for a great magazine. Keep up the good work.

Ken Hollenbeck 607 Cherrywood Lane Sister Bay, WI 54234

That was an interesting article about removing stuck pistons, but if the crankshaft won't turn, check to see if the valves are free. If possible, check the camshaft too. Trying to free a stuck engine without doing that can result in a broken valve, valve lifter, rocker arm or a broken camshaft gear. Stuck valves can be worse than a stuck piston.

Billy Griffith griffith@sunshine.net

West Coast Engine Info

We are compiling a book on the Sterne Bros. Co., San Diego, Calif., builders of the West Coast Engine, and would like to include pictures of all known San Diego-built West Coast engines and their owners.

We have pictures of the San Diego West Coast plant on H Street, plus we have patent papers, financial reports, sales manuals, parts list and instruction manuals. We also have pictures of the prototype West Coast as found in a shed out by the Singing Hills Golf Course at the Campbell Ranch, El Cajon, Calif.

We would like to know bore, stroke, flywheel diameter and any other data (along with pictures) to include in the book. We encourage everyone with a West Coast engine to send material data by Sept. 1, 2003, for inclusion in the book, and we thank you for your help.

Bill May 9152 Hector St.San Diego, CA 92123 (858) 277-2566 bmay9.52@san.rr.com

Unknown Device

I am writing regarding the 'Unknown Device' that appeared in the April 2003 issue on page 6.

My father, Richard Mueller, gave me similar device about 18 years ago. Mine was manufactured by the S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Co. of Rhode Island, date unknown. My particular device has 20 pins with rounded ends on a lower base with corresponding holes on a separate top plate. It is a 'Dental Shell Machine' and was used to make temporary crowns for patients who were waiting for their permanent crowns to be made in a laboratory. I hope this helps Mr. Spark of West Australia!

Barb Mueller Nissen 2213 S. 91st St.Omaha, ME 68124

Welding Cast Iron

This is in reference to the discussion in the April 2003 issue of GEM. It concerns the response to Mr. Bond on the issue of cast iron welding and the response from Mr. Hull, re: welding cast iron that has been repeatedly heated, such as cast iron fire grates.

I remembered reading years ago in Arc Welding Lessons for School and Farm Shop by the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation (2nd edition 1957), about this problem. I located the book and the section that addresses this issue. On page 200, under the heading 'Burned-Out Casting,' it says:

'Cast iron parts which have been subjected to high heat, such as engine manifolds or stove grates, often are described as 'burned-out.' These castings are relatively high in sulphur content. When the welding process begins, one notices that the action with the arc is similar to the action when grease is present. The deposited metal instead of fusing rolls up in little balls and forms a crust. Non-machinable type electrodes sometimes give more satisfying results on this type metal. The casting skin is removed by grinding, and in order to prevent burn-through the metal is never veed as thin as is recommended for ordinary cast repair work.'

I realize there may be something more recent on this issue. If you receive any other feedback on this topic it might be good for discussion, as old engine and tractor people are always dealing with broken exhaust manifolds that are considered 'burned out.'

Anyway, I hope this is helpful. GEM is a great magazine and you are doing a great job. Keep up the good work. Mike Bernal 16590 Oak Glen Ave. Morgan Hill, CA 95037

Send letters to: Gas Engine Magazine, 1503 S.W. 42nd St.,Topeka, KS 66609-1265; rbackus@ogdenpubs.com


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