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Restoring and Exhibiting

| April/May 1999

  • Rig
    This rig may look different later this year, as it will soon be painted.

  • Rig

5228 Clarks Mill Road, Louisville, Georgia 30434-4700

About thirty years ago, noticing a 3 HP Fairbanks-Morse model Z in a scrap pile at a shop that repaired heavy machinery, and asking the owner if he would sell it, I soon made up my mind when he asked only twenty-five dollars, although at that time such things were probably not so sought after. Being kept busy farming and trying to pay all the bills, I put the restoring of it on the back burner until semi-retirement three years ago.

It had no magneto but everything else was there, so with the cylinder honed, new rings installed, and fuel system cleaned it seemed to be in very good shape--but still no ignition system, even though we had tried to find a mag, but could not at a decent price.

I began to wonder, if a few million air-cooled engines could be sparked by a piece of magnet passing an armature, why the same idea wouldn't work on an eighty-year-old Fairbanks-Morse.

I mentioned the problem to the local small engine shop manager, and so, he gave me a flywheel from an eight horsepower engine, and sold me an armature to match it. I cut the magnet part out, leaving enough on the ends to bolt it to the rim flange of a flywheel, and the armature to match it at the right place.

Of course, both parts need to be ground to the right circle and miss by ten-thousandths of an inch. If anyone should try this, they will find the fitting of the two parts properly will be rather tedious unless you have a well-equipped shop for precision work.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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