In the September/October 2002 Iron-Men Album we presented Part 1
of Back in the Game, Joe C. Steinhagen’s story of the engine
restoration on his 1913 60 HP Case. This issue brings Joe’s
second, and final, installment – Editor.
After we determined the crank wasn’t worn we torched and
melted out the old babbitt in both halves of all the crank main
bearings. We saved this babbitt for re-pouring into the new
Next on the agenda was building a jig to hold the crank in place
while pouring new bearings. The critical issue here is ensuring the
crank is at a right angle to the cylinder, and this can be
accomplished a couple of ways. Jim chose to machine a round metal
disc the exact size of the cylinder bore and another the exact size
of the unused portion of the crosshead slide area. In the center of
these discs he bored a 3/4-inch hole and inserted a 7-foot long,
3/4-inch diameter cold-rolled steel shaft protruding back past the
crank disc area of the crankshaft. This effectively draws a line
through the center of the piston and crosshead slide area to which
you can square your crank disc, providing your crank disc is square
on the crank (mine was).
The assembled rebuilt parts and the adjustable crank support to
hold the crank during the bearing pour on the clutch side of the
We assembled all the new clutch parts and drive pinion
(everything except the flywheel) onto the crank and lifted the
crank back into the main bearing saddle with the hoist. With the
crank suspended on the hoist we built supporting jigs (adjustable
up and down and forward and backward) on both sides of the Case to
set the crank on. The jigs stood on the floor but were spot-welded
to the wing sheets to make them stable. After making sure the drive
pinion gear was meshed properly into the intermediate gear we
squared the crank disc up against our shaft, which was centered
through the cylinder and engine frame.
Crankshaft in position. Note the adjustment fittings at
approximately 4 and 8 o’clock for centering the crank before
pouring new bearings.
Once the crankshaft was in place we were ready to build forms to
hold the hot babbitt during our pour. We lifted the crank up
slightly and smoked the bearing journal with an acetylene torch so
hot babbitt wouldn’t stick to the shaft. The shaft was lowered
back into its saddle and tin forms were put around the crankshaft,
held snugly against the main bearing frames with hose clamps on the
crank. These were then sealed with babbitt-rite packing held in
place with wire.
The tops of the bottom bearing halves were sealed with steel
plates against the crankshaft, held in place with spacers on the
main bearing studs. The upper one of these plates had a pour hole
installed in it with a dam of babbitt-rite put around it to form a
funnel for pouring in the melted babbitt.
Jim melted the babbitt we salvaged earlier, adding new babbitt
as needed to fill the pouring ladle to full. You have to have
enough babbitt to pour each section at one time, so you want to
make sure your pouring ladle is big enough to handle all you’ll
need for each pour.
When we finally got ready to pour, Peter Mandt donned a pair of
welding gloves and grabbed a fist full of shop rags in each hand,
ready to stem any leakage of babbitt during the pour. All it takes
is a momentary stop in the flow of the hot liquid babbitt to make
it set up, and shop rags work fine.
The babbitt was poured through a quarter-sized hole in the top
plate. Note the wires holding the clay-1ike babbitt rite in
Jim brought the ladle of hot babbitt over and we made our first
pour – no leaks and it filled right up to the pour hole. We let it
cool and then removed all the forms and the babbitt-rite. We reused
the side forms for the pour on the flywheel side, but we had to
make new top pieces since the bearing on the flywheel side is much
wider then the crank disc side.
We set everything back up, with babbitt-rite to seal any small
gaps, and melted another ladle of babbitt. With Peter again on
standby with a handful of rags to stop any leaks, Jim poured the
babbitt into the formed spout for another successful pour.
After the second pour cooled we removed all the forms again and
lifted the crankshaft out of the freshly poured lower bearing
halves so we could grind and scrape the lower halves. This first
grinding removes any over pour that might be in the way for setting
up to pour the top bearing halves. We used an air file to rough
grind the bearing and then hand files and scrapers to finish the
job. Once the grinding was done we used an air hose to remove most
of the filings. The crank was then lowered onto its holders and
To fit the top caps for pouring, we first made plates we could
slide over the cap studs and fit tight against the crankshaft.
These plates were 3/16-inch thick and long and wide enough to cover
each half of the bearing mating area. During the pour the plates
hold the hot babbitt away from the newly poured lower half and
provide a flat parting surface for the top bearing cap. When the
pour is done these plates are removed and shims (which can be
removed as needed to make up for wear in the bearing and crank over
time) are installed.
We installed the plates and the top bearing cap, and we reused
the tin forms matching the crank diameter for the bottom halves and
sealed everything tight with babbitt-rite, again building a pour
spout on the top cap with babbitt-rite. The Case’s bearings had
obviously been re-poured before, as there were pour holes – which
we used – already drilled into the bearing cap at the highest
Once everything was set in place we melted more babbitt, Peter
stood by with his rags and Jim poured the first of the two caps.
Another successful pour. After it cooled we installed the dividing
plates, bearing caps, crank forms and babbitt-rite on the remaining
flywheel side and poured that one.
After all four pours were done we removed the forms and the
stands holding the crank in place. We also removed the alignment
tools we had installed on the engine frame since the crank was now
located. We then removed the top caps from the bearings, removed
the steel plate that formed the parting line between the bearing
halves and started grinding and scraping the bearings to fit the
crank, at the same time making oil grooves in the bearings. We used
bluing dye on the crank to determine where high spots on the
bearings were, slowly scrapping those down to get a nice, even fit
all the way across the bearing face.
When the steel plates were removed from between the bearing
halves they were replaced with shim stock of varying thickness,
making sure each side of a bearing was shimmed the same thickness.
As mentioned earlier, these shims can be removed as time goes by to
make up for normal wear in the bearings and crankshaft. It took
some time to get the shims made and fitted, and we had to lift the
crank again to finish the bottom halves of the bearing, but when we
were done the crank turned nicely in the new bearings.
During the rebuild process I toyed with the idea of converting
the main bearings to run in grease instead of oil. Jim explained
that while grease may provide better lubrication, it also grabs and
holds dirt from the outside, with the risk of eventually running it
into the bearing. Oil, on the other hand, will lubricate and then
wash any dirt out as it leaves the bearing. On his recommendation I
reinstalled the cotton batting in the main bearing cups and left it
After the crank work was done we started reassembling the rest
of the engine. We put new rings on the piston and made and
installed a new valve rod. We installed a new bearing in the crank
pin and put the correct grease cup on the rod. The crosshead slide
checked out well, so that was put back as it was. New ends were
installed on all the eccentric rods, the valve rods and the reverse
rod. We also redid the rocker arm, and new wooden shoes were made
for the reverse head and the clutch. The wrist pin was in good
shape so that was reused.
I centered the piston myself, but I had to have help setting the
valve and getting the height of the pedestal correct. I mentioned
earlier that before the overhaul the engine was getting harder to
start in one direction than the other, and this, it turns out, was
because the crank was sitting lower in the main bearings. This
affected the pedestal height, and hence the valve timing, so we
machined the bottom of the pedestal to obtain the correct height.
Now, the valve rod doesn’t move at all moving the reverser on
dead center each way. This made it run smoother yet, and also made
it easier to start in either direction.
Pouring the top cap on flywheel side. Note the babbitt-rite used
to stop flow around the cap and to form a pour spout on top of the
After getting everything assembled, including the clutch and
flywheel, we talked about relief valves. Jim asked what I had on
mine, and I told him the state allowed me 115 psi but I had a 100
psi valve on it. He suggested I change that to a 115 psi valve as
they use less water and fuel, and also run better. 1 installed a
115 psi valve, and I also discovered later that it is easier to
maintain a pressure of approximately 110 psi than 95 psi.
Now all that was left for reassembly was to put the canopy on.
Jim had some prior commitments the weekend I wanted to set the
canopy, but he said there would be plenty of people around the shop
to help set the canopy in place.
As mentioned earlier, I cut off the old dome brackets (which
were wrong) and threw them away. I then had two pieces of angle
iron bent in a half circle to cover the rivet line on the steam
dome and welded brackets on them so they could be bolted together.
On these I welded angle irons running up at approximately a 45
degree angle and bolted iron from this support running up to the
canopy. A few braces here and there and the canopy was absolutely
solid, and with a much cleaner-looking dome bracket that I can
simply unbolt when I want to remove the canopy. The back bracket
pipes were cleanly cut during removal, so all I did was find some
shafting that fit tight in the pipes for support and then welded
flats across the cuts, one each on the upper half and lower half. I
bolted these together where they overlapped, and now all you have
to do to remove the canopy is unbolt and lift.
When it came time to lift the canopy back up on the machine I
asked four guys who were working in the shop, four guys I
didn’t even know, to help me. These guys quit working on their
projects to help me, and between the five of us, two forklifts and
an overhead crane we got the job accomplished. You can’t buy
that kind of help. It was great! I should mention that Jim’s
shop was busy every weekend I worked there, but only once or twice
were paid employees there working to finish a professional job.
Everyone else was donating time (and some of the materials) to fix,
create or replace some piece of vintage equipment, primarily for
the Rollag show. Jim Briden is a major contributor to every project
– it’s his shop, his nuts, bolts and steel, and he’s paying
for the electricity. And a lot of the time he bought lunch for
After everything was assembled it was time to fire the engine up
and get some break-in time and make necessary adjustments. We
needed everything done on it before the first weekend of April,
because that is when Jim hosts the Minnesota Steam Engine
Association for their annual spring steam-up at his shop. This
group of people (not exclusively Minnesotans) is dedicated to the
preservation of these engines. Through hands-on repair, through
legislative activity and by promoting safety and working against
unfair laws they work to preserve the ability to run these
The first weekend for the run-in was the first of March and it
was a cold -15 degree F outside. We positioned two completed
engines in the shop under exhaust stacks that went through the
ceiling and roof and a third machine with its stack end pushed out
a pair of swinging shop doors. Tarps were put around the remaining
gap. It sure is easy to fire an engine this way – there is a
natural draft so the fire bums well. Firing on the first day went
well, but I wasn’t impressed with the way the Case ran – it
seemed kind of hesitant. And yet, with each consecutive firing and
more adjustments it ran better every time.
For the next day of firing Jim borrowed a big, home-built Baker
fan, which we put behind the shop. It was cold (10 degree F)
outside, and we thought we’d hide from the northwest wind
behind the shop. We fired the engines up in the shop (again using
the roof vents) and after putting on all the clothes we had we
drove the machines around back to take a turn on the fan.
New welded roof mounts on steam dome. The roof is now installed
so that it can be removed by simply taking out a few bolts. The
previous install was permanently welded together.
We chained the Baker fan to the building and some steel racks
behind the building and backed the engine into the belt. It was
tough firing because we were against the wind, but we were able to
run it long enough to do some readjusting and breaking in. While
running under load the Case developed a clicking noise, and after
searching for a bit we found the flywheel was loose on the crank.
When we reinstalled the flywheel we put the same amount of shims
under the key that were used i when we first removed it, but it
didn’t stay tight. We ended up taking the flywheel off again,
boring the I center out and putting a sleeve in it to true it back
We drove the engines to the shop when we were through, and just
outside the door we pulled the fire, drained the contractors tank
and drove into the shop with the steam in the boiler. When we were
done there were icicles hanging off the side step board right next
to the boiler, and the drain on the bottom of the tanks was frozen
as well. It was really cold out!
The next weekend was a little warmer, and with the northwest
wind less of a threat Jim moved the Baker fan to the front (north
side) of the building where he welded it directly to one of the
steel racks. With the fan firmly mounted it was much easier to
tighten the belt for running. I’d never been belted to a Baker
fan before, and I believe this was a big fan, perhaps too big for
my 60 HP. I would liken it to sawing a log three city blocks long –
the big load just doesn’t quit. 1 would get everything rolling,
turn on the injector and basically leave it on until the tank was
empty, which took about 20 minutes. The paint burned off the smoke
box and at first it was throwing a lot of stuff out of the stack,
but it ran well and sounded fine. We ran the engine every weekend
in March to get it ready for the Minnesota Steam Engines
Association meeting the first weekend of April.
Well, the weekend for the meeting and show finally came. I had
everything done on my Case, including repainting where needed, but
the weather turned cold, windy and rainy. There weren’t many
people outside the shop admiring the engines, but it was a perfect
day to be at a meeting where you know a lot of people with like
interests. Special thanks to Lynette Briden and the other women
from the Rollag show who served a delicious noon meal to everybody
at the meeting.
That’s pretty much the story of the overhaul of my 60 HP
Case engine. I’m sure there are other ways to do some of the
things I did, but this sure worked for me. So many people helped on
this project, and there are people whose names I don’t even
know, but I want to especially thank Jim Briden, Peter Mandt, Dr.
Jerry Parker and Nick Olson for all their help and knowledge.
Contact steam enthusiast Joe C. Steinhagen at: 11980
Kluver Addition Road S.E., Alexandria, MN 56308; (320) 762-2706.
Special thanks to Jim Briden and Jerry Mandt for help with