Shop Work, Belt Dressing, Victor Traction Gear Co. and Montgomery Ward Engines
Can you top this? This is a true story, and maybe someone out there will benefit from one of the dumbest things I ever did.
I have a 2-1/2 HP Hercules Model S. When I got it, the thing was in bad shape. The piston was rusted and stuck in the cylinder (which had been full of water for years), the flywheels were pitted on the outer rim surfaces, and many parts were just rusted away. I got the piston out and it was okay (maybe), but the block needed to be re-sleeved.
I took the engine block, piston and flywheels to a local machine shop with a reputation for quality work. The owner and I talked about the engine and re-sleeving it, and possibly taking about 1/16-inch off the outer rims of the fly wheels. 1 left the block, bearings, piston and rod, head and most other stuff there at the shop. He said they would get to it pretty soon, and I didn't get a price quote. That was really, really dumb.
I left the engine there in November. I went back in May, and they had not even started on it, and in fact the bearings and several other parts were gone -they knew not where. It was a year later, 18 months to be exact, that 1 got a call that told me the engine was done and ready for pickup. They had re-sleeved it, cut 1/16-inch off the flywheels and resurfaced the piston. This is where the part of being dumb comes in -failing to get a price quote, which is a financial suicide act in California.
In other parts of the country, the work would have cost about $150. The bill they presented to me was for $966. I was flabbergasted, yet they said they did this for me as a 'labor of love.' I had no choice but to pay. I am beginning to feel the physical part of my anatomy they 'love' is the part I sit on. I hate to say it, but from now on I won't trust a soul out here without getting a firm price in advance of the work. I could have bought a running engine for less than that. Out here, being a nice, trusting guy will get you a nice price to pay. Gerald J. Reathaford Jr. 8323 Calle Calzada San Diego, CA 92126-1703 reathaford@aol. com
Regarding Ken Scale's articles on Montgomery Ward engines in the February and March 2004 issues, more information on Montgomery Ward engines can be found in my articles in the February 1990 (page 17) and January 1994 (page 14) issues of Gas Engine Magazine. The articles covered the 3/4 HP Associated Pony that was sold in the 1927 catalog and fitted to Ward's washing machines. The only other engines sold in that catalog were flywheel Nelsons ranging from 2 HP to 7 HP.
My articles showed other Montgomery Ward 3/4 HP engines, including the Associated Colt, a Nelson and an unidentified Sattley engine. The Pony looked almost exactly like the one-cylinder Maytag, but most of the others pictured were clearly four-stroke engines. There were some interesting pictures and information I forgot I had. I sent everything except the catalog to the Reflector (C.H. Wendel) after the second article was published. Hope this adds information to an interesting series. John Hamilton Waxahachie, Texas a. p. hamilton@worldnet. att. net
I was wrong on reporting availability of stick belt dressing (Letters & Miscellanies, April 2004). Recently, 1 tried to purchase some at my usual source and was told that only spray cans are available now. Sorry to have put folks to the trouble of trying to obtain dressing in my area.
In response to the letters about tractors made from stationary engines (Letters & Miscellanies, April and May 2004) I thought I'd send some information about Victor Traction Gear Co. The photo was sent to me about 10 years ago by Gene Hart wig of Goodrich, Mich. This unit is akin to the one owned by Jerry Toews and pictured on page 3 of the May 2004 issue.
On the back of the picture, Gene wrote: 'Victor. I got a mile west down the road from the farm house. This is the clumsiest piece of junk to be called a tractor you'll ever find, but good for show. Running gear made in Loudonville, Ohio.' John R. Heath 494 Township Road 232 Sullivan, OH 44880
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