Friendship Forged on Seager Olds Engine Repair

Friendship forged on restoration of a 4-1/2 HP No. 3 Type A Seager Olds engine.

| June/July 2014

A few years ago a young man named Keith Sulak came up to my display at a show. He asked me if I would help him get his Olds engine running. As soon as he said Olds, I was interested.

The first thing I asked was if he said Olds or Olds engine. He assured me it was an Olds engine because the decal was still visible and easy to read. So, of course, intrigued by the thought of working on an Olds engine I said yes, that I would be glad to take a look at it and see what was needed to get it up and running again. Because of my interest in these engines I asked him if it was for sale, but as it once belonged to his uncle he wanted to keep it. We agreed that I would work on it when he was ready.

Some time went by before I heard from Keith again. He came into the store where I worked and asked for me. When I walked up to the counter he asked me if I remembered him, “the guy with the Olds engine.” I said I sure did. Then he told me the shed the engine was stored in was beginning to fall in on itself and he figured it was time to restore the Olds.

Closer examination

When he brought it over to my place, we unloaded it and upon inspection it turned out to be a Seager Engine Works Olds No. 3 Type A, 4-1/2 HP, shop no. D9907 with patent dates of Sept. 25, 1906, and April 6, 1909.

The engine appeared to be pretty much intact except for the ignition. This particular engine is set up for a battery and buzz coil ignition. Someone in the past had started taking it apart: The crankshaft, flywheels, and piston and rod were removed. Luckily, whoever did that greased the piston and rod and wrapped them up to protect them. The cylinder bore was also greased, although the grease had hardened over the years. Thankfully, there was very little rust to deal with on these surfaces.

After taking a lot of close-up photos, I finished taking the engine apart. I then asked Keith if he wanted to paint it or leave it as-is, as some of the paint and one decal were still present. He said he wanted it to look sharp, so we decided to repaint it. His research turned up the correct paint color and new decals.