Restoration of a 6 HP International Gas Engine

Every part was frozen, but now this International gas engine runs great

| November/December 1961

This International gas engine was built as near as we can tell between the years of 1904 and 1906 by the International Harvester Co. It weighs about one ton. The flywheels are 40 inches in diameter and the engine has a 5- by 9-inch bore and stroke, I believe. It has a hit-and-miss governor and make and break ignition.

When I first started to restore this engine in about 1957 every part on it was frozen fast with rust with the exception of the needle valve and the reason it did not freeze fast is because it was brass. First I soaked every nut and every joint with penetrating oil and fuel oil for about two or three days. After about two or three days of soaking the parts were jarred lightly and more penetrating oil was applied, after that I started to take the engine apart. The piston was by far the worst to get loose. After about two weeks of soaking and the cylinder removed from the engine base, I put in a piece of pine board against the head of the piston and then put an oak 4x4 in the cylinder and started beating on the end of this oak piece so as to drive the piston out. Well, I would hammer on the four by four a while with the sledge hammer and then apply more fuel oil and penetrating oil. The process of driving this piston loose and letting it soak with fuel oil took two or three days, but after breaking up three four by fours of oak I got the piston out, used fine sand paper covered with oil and shined the cylinder the best I could.

After a thorough cleaning of all the other parts and painting, the engine was finally reassembled. The only new parts that I had to make were a new fuel pump plunger and a new cylinder head gasket.

Then after about an hour or so tinkering around we got the engine started and it was run for a little while and stopped and reoiled often and checks made for warm bearings etc. After it had been run a few times the compression began to build up again and of course this made future startings much easier. In fact, I got it to start one morning when it was three above zero, which I don't think is too bad for an engine more than fifty years old.

The bearings on this engine are made of solid brass and not of a thin babbitt liner as is used today.

I have helped buzz wood with this engine and it does a fine job on the buzz saw and operates a lot more economical than one might think so far as fuel consumption is concerned.