Harry's OLD-ENGINE #12

International Harvester
4HP Famous Horizontal
Hit and Miss Engine

Built in 1907 at the Milwaukee Works

I acquired this engine from Mascoutah, Illinois in the heart of engine country, where it spent its beginning running a saw and doing other odd jobs around the shop. I also have the small line shaft that coupled the engine to the saw. The old engine had a rough environment with all that sawdust and you'd think that sawdust mixed with oil would be a good lubricant, but oil must have been a luxury item in those days. Wear and tear are evident although not beyond repair.

The engine's ignitor was sparked by a Thordarson coil and a Remy generator. I suppose the Remy later became Delco-Remy, but this Remy isn't going to do too much more. Lack of oil in its poured Babbitt bearings wore them away severely and I have not yet melted and repoured Babbitt. The forms for these bearings are made of 3/4" threaded galvanized plumbing pipe, cut at 90 degree angles to fan out four mounting tabs. A very creative yet primitive original repair.

I have also acquired a Motsinger Autosparker, which was the generator of choice for this engine. Many other things ($$$) havebeen picked up prior to now such as; water tank, muffler, crank guard, fuel pump, fuel pump linkage, water pump, speed control, etc. etc.

Restoration work began in earnest this November '97 with a complete teardown right to the base of the engine. When you go this far down, there is only one way out - hopefully up. The main bearings are of brass and rather than attempt to remove them, possibly breaking an irreplacible item, they were carefully wrapped and covered with masking tape. This was true of the upper shell covers as well as the base. Both upper and lower shell areas had been factory stamped with matching numbers so as not to mix them up or get them turned around. The whole base was then scraped and cleaned. Primer, sanding, coating, sanding, coating, sanding and top coat then followed.
Simultaneous with the base work, other parts and pieces are processed in a similar manner. The crank shaft went into my parts washer (just fit) and that thing is HUGE. For a 4HP engine you cannot believe the heft and strength of the crank, rod and even the piston's wrist pin. The rod was previously painted black (over grease, grime, sawdust and red paint), which I completely cleaned off to reveal shiney steel. A thin coating of red grease will be all it needs!

And yes, that's a WINDOW FAN in the background. It's 70 degree winter days here in Florida with the garage door open and the fan 'a blowin out. ;-)

Two strange tapped holes are on the side of the base right below the ignitor and trip roller. I have seen these holes on many IHC drawings and in my photos of other engines. Nothing is mentioned of them, however, due to their size, I suspect that they are for a magneto or generator mounting such as the Wizzard. My serial number ends in "E", and I have heard that it stands for "Electric", implying Remy, Auto-Sparker, Wizzard or others.

1. Tappet Arm, 2. Exhaust Valve, 3. Exhaust Valve Guide, 4. Exhaust Valve Spring, 5. Tappet Hanger, 6. Inlet Valve, 7. Inlet Valve Guide, 8. Inlet Valve Spring, 9. Inlet Valve Check, 10. Cylinder, 11. Fuel and Air Mixer, 12. Gasoline Feed Cup, 13. Gasoline Throttle, 14. Air Throttle, 15. Air Passage, 16. Exhaust Passage, 17 Igniter Opening, 18. Igniter Peep Hole, 19. Water Jacket, 20 Water Outlet.

It should be noted that one must not look into the igniter peep hole while gasoline is exploding within the cylinder! This peep hole was discontinued on later models.

The infamous Famous fuel pump linkage is at the left. That'll be $45 please! (Cheap by today's standards.)
IHC Famous 4HP Antique Gas Engine

I'm not sure if I caught the whole firing cycle on audio. The Famous runs a LONG time between firings and with the muffler attached, the linkages make more noise than the exhaust.

Its first showing was at the Bodiker's Florida Flywheeler's meet on January 10, 1998. The latest was at Koreshan Park March 17, 2000

New movie clips:
Fuel Pump
Water Pump

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Published by Harry F. Matthews © 1995 - 2000. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED!