Economy Saw Rig Comes Back to Life

| March/April 2002

The finished Economy saw rig at its first show. A real crowd pleaser, rigs such as this give people a better idea of the kind of work these old engines could perform.

I've been reading GEM for quite some time now, and I greatly admire the magazine as well as the many tractors, engines and proud owners that are featured. Over the years I have done respectable restorations of a Ferguson TO-20, a Case SI and a John Deere B, as well as a number of small engines and implements. My most recent project, however, has given me the most satisfaction, and I am eager to share the results with others in the hobby.

The story starts in September of 2000 when I went with a buddy to look at some antique tractors and gas station memorabilia that were for sale about 20 miles from home. There was some interesting stuff, including a rare Fordson road grader, a Jaeger cement mixer and a nice wooden-tank spray rig. What really caught my eye, however, was a neat Economy saw rig that looked to be in good condition. It consisted of an Economy engine with clutch, belt tensioner, saw arbor and table, all mounted on a nice drop-center truck with steel wheels. It looked complete, and I could imagine what a great working display it would make at the local shows.

After some dickering with the seller, we were able to agree on a price. After some explaining to my wife I was able to convince her it was a good investment. The result was that I became the nervous new owner of the old saw rig. But there were major questions to be answered. Would it run? Was there any internal damage? The next few weeks would reveal whether my purchase was wise, or not.

I loaded up the rig on my trailer and brought it home for a closer inspection. The first step was pressure washing to remove the years of accumulated grease and dirt. To my pleasant surprise, the cleaning did not bring to light any serious problems. The engine nameplate revealed that I had bought a 1918 7 HP Economy.

By belting the engine to my John Deere B, I was able to start the engine and confirm that it did indeed work. I did, however, notice a clicking sound coming from the cylinder whenever the engine slowed down to idle speed. The next step was disassembly to check the parts and prep for painting.


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