New Life for an Old Chore Boy

Oregon collector dives into first restoration, fixing up a sad 1-3/4 HP Associated Chore Boy.


| October/November 2014



Old Associated Chore Boy

A 1-3/4 HP Associated Chore Boy.

Photo by Randall Marquis

While working at my regular job as a heavy equipment operator, I am always on the lookout for any signs of old iron. This vigilance was rewarded one cold December day in 2010 while working in an area just south of the city limits. As I drove by an auto body shop, I saw a couple of flywheels just inside of the chain-link fence. Well, I knew then where I was going to be spending my lunch break that day.

When lunch time finally arrived, I went over to talk to the owner of the business. Yes, I could look at the old engine, and, yes, it just might be for sale. A quick examination showed the engine to be a 1-3/4 HP Associated Chore Boy, serial no. 302602. The engine had a rolled top hopper, a Webster magneto and a battery/coil box. A gentle attempt to roll the flywheels (yes, I know how easy it is to snap a rocker arm) revealed slight movement of the piston, which told me that she wasn’t completely stuck, but there were definitely some issues. The good news was that the engine appeared to be complete. After a brief discussion with the owner, and after consulting the financial department of my household (my lovely wife) a price was agreed upon, and after work that night I became the proud owner of yet another project.

Besides the rolled top of the water hopper, another unusual thing I noticed about this engine was that it had a Webster type K-62 magneto. While I am not an expert on Associated engines, this struck me as being odd since most pictures of Associated engines I have seen were either just coil and battery fired, or if they did have a magneto, it was one that was driven from the timing gears. I contacted Keith Smigle of Keith’s Associated Engine Website. He told me that a lot of Associated engines that were shipped to Canada had Webster magnetos. This tells me that at one time my engine spent some of its life north of the border.

Work on the Associated didn’t begin right away. I also enjoy collecting and restoring antique machine shop equipment. At the time I was right in the middle of restoring a 1910 Greaves-Klusman lathe, as well as building a rotary phase convertor so that I could run my 1941 Kearney & Trecker milling machine. That, along with some remodeling of my house, put the Chore Boy project on the back burner for a couple of years. In the meantime, I had it safe and sound, out of the weather, on the patio.

Getting started

Finally, in September 2012, I was able to start tearing the old girl apart. While pulling the cylinder head I found that the rocker arm mount was badly cracked at the center of the hole for the pin. As soon as I removed the rocker arm, the pieces fell to the floor. Thank goodness it stayed in place as long as it did, as now it would be a simple brazing job to repair. I also found that both intake and exhaust valves were stuck, and once removed, the stems were badly pitted. The valves and seats, however, looked to be in pretty good shape.

The valve cam gear had literally welded itself to the shaft. This was the reason that the engine wouldn’t roll over in the first place. It took quite a bit of heating with the torch and some not-so-gentle persuasion with a hammer and drift to get the gear to come free from the shaft. Once apart, it looked like the engine had at one time been run without any lubrication to this area since the shaft was badly scored, in addition to being slightly bent. The cam itself was also grooved due to the fact that the cam roller on the pushrod had also seized up and had simply rubbed against the cam face instead of rolling over it. The sliding collar for the governor was also badly seized to the crankshaft, and the roller for the latch arm was missing and had been replaced with a small piece of square stock.