Case Engine Receives New Bunker

The Haleys build new bunkers for my 65-horsepower Case steam engine

| September/October 2000

  • Jim Haley and John Haley
    Jim Haley (left) and John Haley (right) begin to bend the tank. A pipe in a V-shaped channel creates a smooth curve. All photographs, except the last one, were taken by Jim's wife, Sue Haley.
    Sue Haley
  • The tank and bunkers
    The tank and bunkers are ready for installation. The handles are factory originals.
    Sue Haley
  • The toolboxes
    One of the toolboxes that Sam Haley assembled is attached to a fender, which is cut to conform to the gearing. The bunkers are trimmed with quarter-round. One of the factory-original sliding doors is in place.
    Sue Haley
  • Everything gets a coat of gray primer
    Everything gets a coat of gray primer.
    Sue Haley
  • Removed the original tank and bunkers
    Having removed the original tank and bunkers, the Haleys prepare the undercarriage to receive the new equipment.
    Sue Haley
  • Old Abe decal
    Fancy striping and an Old Abe decal give the new bunkers that distinctive Case appearance.
    Sue Haley
  • The new bunkers
    Sporting a fresh coat of black paint, the new bunkers are positioned on the undercarriage.
    Sue Haley
  • John at the levers
    With John at the levers, my engine struts her stoff at the 1999 Will County Threshermen's Association Show, held near Kankakee, Illinois.
    Dr. Robert T. Rhode
  • Haleys finish bending
    The Haleys finish bending the first piece of the three-part tank base.
    Sue Haley
  • Tank base
    The tank base now takes shape on the Haleys' shop floor.
    Sue Haley
  • The top of the tank
    The top of the tank is ready for installation.
    Sue Haley
  • Fill the tank with water
    Having coated the inside with primer, the Haleys fill the tank with water to test for leaks. The baffles prevent the water from sloshing too far when the engine is in motion.
    Sue Haley
  • Jim drills
    Jim drills one more rivet hole in a seemingly endless line of holes.
    Sue Haley
  • Jim and John
    Jim and John rivet the top in place.
    Sue Haley
  • A coal bunker
    John sets up a coal bunker for a test fit. The bunkers must fit exactly along the lip of the tank.
    Sue Haley
  • The tank, bunkers'
    John and Jim arrive at the moment when the tank, bunkers, and fenders go together precisely.
    Sue Haley

  • Jim Haley and John Haley
  • The tank and bunkers
  • The toolboxes
  • Everything gets a coat of gray primer
  • Removed the original tank and bunkers
  • Old Abe decal
  • The new bunkers
  • John at the levers
  • Haleys finish bending
  • Tank base
  • The top of the tank
  • Fill the tank with water
  • Jim drills
  • Jim and John
  • A coal bunker
  • The tank, bunkers'

4745 Glenway Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45238-4537. rhode@nku.edu. Reprinted with permission from the Winter 1999 issue of Old Abe's News, Dave Erb, Editor 

Only a respect for old iron would motivate someone to build a new water tank and contractor's fuel bunkers for a 65-horsepower Case engine. Only considerable skill would enable someone to create new bunkers better than those made by the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Company. With the requisite motivation and skill, brothers Jim and John Haley with help from their father, Sam gave my agricultural traction engine a show-stopping tank and bunkers.

For as long as they've been in the steam engine hobby, the Haleys, from Odell, Illinois, have been working on steam engines. The family runs Haley's Farm Shop, a steamer repair business located at 23405 E. 2200 N. Road, Odell, Illinois 60460. Readers of IMA will remember seeing a 1982 photograph of Jim and three sizes of Case engine on the cover of the March/April 1984 issue. Jim's letter printed in the Album for May/June 1984 reads in part, 'I managed to get to nine shows and related events last year and hope to go to at least that many this year. The smell of coal and hot oil draws me back again and again. My high school friends don't understand my obsession with these old relics. They get their pride and joy from their new cars. My pride and joy is running our 1922 50 HP Case!' (page 12). The Haleys have built tanks and bunkers before, including the elaborate Case contractor's type. Sam won the 1987 Best Restored Engine trophy awarded by the National Thresher's Association for the preservation work done on his 50-horsepower Case. As far as the Haleys are concerned, shaping and riveting new Case bunkers doesn't pose an insurmountable challenge.

One of the toolboxes that Sam Haley assembled is attached to a fender, which is cut to conform to the gearing. The bunkers are trimmed with quarter-round. One of the factory-original sliding doors is in place.



Jim and John already had put a new smokestack and risers on my Case and had tackled my lengthy list of mechanical repairs, when, at a show, Sam turned to me and said, 'You know what would complete that engine? A new set of bunkers!' I nodded in agreement. 'You might as well get them now and finish the restoration,' he added. I didn't have to think about it for long. I walked across the show grounds to where Jim was running his engine and soon had his word that Haley's Farm Shop would undertake the project.

The bunkers were in need of replacement. Since their debut in 1923, the years had not been kind to them. They had lost their quarter-round trim. The toolbox lids had vanished, with plywood slabs taking their place. The canopy support posts had been bent and leaned to the engine's right. In a 1960s restoration, steel sheets had been wrapped around the outside of the water tank and welded along the edges where rivets once gleamed. Rust was bubbling through the wrapper sheets. I had painted and lined the bunkers. I first interviewed Richard Cherry, a professional painter, and received many valuable pointers. I bought special lining paint and brushes. When I did the lining, however, I chickened out and used masking tape. I also forgot that it's best to remove the tape before the paint is dry. At the end of a hot day, I pulled off the tape, tearing off ragged chunks of red and white lining paint with it. As Jim summarized the general condition of the old bunkers, 'They're good from far but far from good.'



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