Love at First Sight!
(Page 3 of 4)
Before I would buff and polish this old engine, I thought it
would be best to see if she would even run. A friend brought his
John Deere tractor over to help start the engine. We belted it up
for the first attempt to run the engine. Surprisingly, after a
short time, it fired and scared the heck out of me. A five-inch
exhaust has quite a bark. It only ran for about three or four
minutes and then it quit. I was thrilled because I wasn't sure
if it ever would run after coming out of the work field. No one
knew the last time it was operational. I decided the intake valve
was in need of a complete overhaul to prevent blow-back and to be
seated properly. I took the intake valve apart and had a local
machine shop regrind the seats and make two new rings. I had the
parts back in three days and had the intake valve back together. A
week after the first start, we tried again. This time it ran much
better, but it still had a sporadic run-stop situation. After more
questions and answers along with testing, I determined the magneto
was at fault. I promptly sent it away to have it completely
rebuilt. It took three long anxious weeks to get it back. This gave
me time to fine-tune other things that needed attention.
The next couple of times, Ron and I tried starting it by hand by
turning the flywheels. Sometimes it would start very easily and
other times it didn't want to run. A lot of engine people told
me I'd need a pony motor or air starter to start that big an
engine. I was determined to have it start easier. I remember
telling my cousin that if I ran the engine once or twice a year
I'd be happy. Well, I think I caught the engine bug, because I
wanted to be able to run it any time I wanted.
After a lot of research, I thought a hot tube might be the
answer. Russell Farmer, founder of O.F.E.S. and a contributor to
this magazine, sent me a hot tube he had built out of stainless
steel. I was able to start Miss Bessie a lot easier with it, but it
still wasn't as easy as I was hoping for. I knew that the fuel
pressure is very critical, so I decided to build a gulp tank
system. What a difference! The hot tube and gulp tank did it.
This 25 HP Bessemer starts so easily now, even with those giant
flywheels, I can now start it by myself whenever I want to hear
that beautiful sound of a running engine. This summer I went
through three 100 lb. tanks of propane. That is a long way from
running it once or twice a year. Some engine people told me when it
gets colder or the weather changes, it will be harder to start.
I've proven them all wrong. This Bessemer will start in the
wind, rain, cold, snow or whatever. I believe it was just a matter
of setting everything up right. The engine was designed to operate
190 rpm under a load. On the first start up it ran around 175-200
rpm. Now the sweet lady idles at 60-65 rpm.