Letters & Miscellanies

Shop Work, Belt Dressing, Victor Traction Gear Co. and Montgomery Ward Engines


| July/August 2004



Bull's Eye

Machine Shop Mess

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

Montgomery Ward Engines

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.