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RESTORING PAST MEMORIES

Author Photo
By Gary Martin | Jan 1, 2000

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HCR-61 Box 70M Capon Bridge, West Virginia 2671I

This is a 2 HP Witte headless hit and miss gas engine, serial
number 60400, made in 1922. It belonged to my grandfather; I can
remember him starting it for us when I was young. I acquired it
from my parents in summer 1998, and it was to be my first
restoration project. Since it was my grandfather’s, I was
really looking forward to getting it restored and hearing it run
again.

I started by looking it over to see what was missing and what
other parts I was going to need to restore it. All that was missing
was the gas tank and a grease cup. I ordered these parts from
Starbolt Engine Supplies, along with a spark plug and some new
wire. I checked the magneto and realized that it was going to have
to be rebuilt, since it had a very weak spark. I ended up sending
it to Mark’s Magneto Service in Lisbon, Connecticut, whom I
found in the classifieds in GEM.

I proceeded by taking it completely apart, where I found the
valves badly worn and unusable. The exhaust lever had also been
broken. My brother-in-law, Randy Gochenour, who runs a machine shop
in Virginia, did all the machine work that was needed. He found two
valves in his shop with the same diameter shaft and head size
which, after some cutting on the metal lathe, were made to match
the old ones. He also redid the valve guides and valve seats,
repaired the exhaust lever, and replaced the wornout studs in the
carburetor housing.

The original skids were still on the engine but were too bad to
be used, so I made new ones from a 4’x4′ that I cut down to
the original size. Then I bought an old steel-wheeled cart from a
friend at work and tore it down and refinished it. I sandblasted
all the metal and primed and painted it. The wood was sanded down
and stained, then finished with five coats of ‘Clear
Shield,’ which makes any grease or oil that gets on it easy to
wipe off. Next, I sprayed the engine with two coats of primer and
several coats of Dupont Forest-Green #5204 enamel, which was the
closest to the original color.

Finally, I made new gaskets for the carburetor, main bearing
caps, and the oiler, put it back together with the rebuilt magneto,
and bolted it to the cart. It started after a few pulls of the
flywheels. After some minor governor adjustments it sat there and
ran the way it used to when my grandfather would start it for us
years ago.

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