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

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.'