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Ever Get Discouraged?

Has this ever happened to anyone? You buy a project engine that seems like it only needs a few things. But when you dig into it, there are about five times more things wrong with it than you ever imaged, and it stops being a fun project?

I just got the flywheels from my 5HP Bulldog back from the sand blaster, having decided to spend a few dollars and save some time. I found that the hub was repaired, and three of the spokes are cracked at the hub, and one where it meets the rim. All this after having taking four months to have a new mixer made because the one with the engine was wrong, and having the mag and ignitor rebuilt, and having about $400 worth of miscellaneous machine work done, and building a cart out of 2x6 white oak, and buying over $200 in parts. The guy that sold it to me said, "it should be no problem getting it running... just needs a few springs and nuts, and she'll purr like a kitten!" I guess I'll have to look into finding another flywheel (fat chance) or getting another one cast and machined. I guess I should have saved my dimes and bought one done. – Chris

Chris, I've found out this hobby has "peaks and valleys". You have to experience the lows to enjoy the highs. Some day you will have an engine to be proud of. Don't give up. -- Dave

I never get discouraged. I’m sunny faced and happy ALL the time! Now...where'd I set that sledgehammer? What size are the flywheels? I ask because I know where there is a pair of them on an old ironworker. If I remember right, they’re about 24-36" across. I’m not sure about the shaft size, but they have nice spoked wheels. They sat on top of the machine to run the gear drive. I figure they weigh at least 130 lbs each, likely more. – Roger

I know what you mean. Sometimes I get so aggravated that I ask myself, "why do I even do this." Then I take a break from my aggravation and start up one of my engines and say to myself, "that is why!" There has been more than once that I have bought a restorable engine, and put more money into it than it is worth to get it restored, then end up selling it to get something else. I guess in the end, if you get what you want out of it, it is well worth the time, aggravation, busted knuckles and $$$. – Tanner

Hang in there Chris. We can feel your pain. I bought a 9E economy and thought it would be an easy restorer. Now I know the bore is real bad. I still need a mag bracket and Webster for it too. What helps me feel better is when I think how things could be worse. A little perspective makes things seem not so bad. I remember a guy I saw in Indonesia last spring. He had no legs and was begging in the street. Whatever troubles I have at work or play are not so bad. Work on something else for a while if you want to. Hang it together with the busted flywheel just to look somewhat complete for inspiration. Trade it to a good friend who will dump more money in it. You can dump more money in one he's sick of too. Post pictures of the Bulldog when it's done! -- Kevin

While working on my drill engine, the cord pulled out and at the time had no idea how to replace it. I put it down, wondering why I even bought the darn thing. I walked over to my Jaeger and tried to start it - no fuel. I had some two-stroke gas, left over WD40, old whale oil and motor oil. That was some of the best fuel I have ever used; it did not foul the plug, the engine ran cooler, one pop and it would get right back to speed, and with the 3 inch steel exhaust pipe it could make real nice smoke rings. Ah, how wonderful these engines are, they will run off most any thing. I certainly could not run that concoction through a new 4 stroke engine. After 30 minutes of great smoke rings and funny smelling exhaust, I felt much better (not because of the funny smelling exhaust) and I was glad to have another project. The Jaeger was so much fun and after all the problems it was worth running it. I imagine most people have had unpleasant times, but in the long run it is worth it and you will have some thing to be proud of. Oh yeah, and the exact mixture of my gas and oil and "other stuff" is now a closely guarded secret! – Mac

Just run your own small business and try to deal with some of the public who are obviously educated FAR beyond their intelligence level. You will be glad to work on your engines that won’t tell you how to do the job. – Ed

Chris, when the seller said, “a few springs and a few bolts and it will purr like a kitten”, that should have been enough to start alarm bells going off that you were being taken. In other words, it should have told you, I need to take a closer look at this thing before I buy any kitty litter. Don't be so anxious to buy engines, as I was when I first started collecting 23 years ago. I was Gung Ho to buy anything that even looked like an engine and of coarse the sellers could see me coming and I learned a lesson the hard way a time or two. For the most part engine dealers are honest and up front with their answers to your questions about the actual condition of what you are buying because they want your trust and repeat business, BUT, once in a while you will run into a "pet store" operator with " kittens" for sale. This is a good hobby so don't let a few bad eggs spoil all the fun and satisfaction and lasting friendships of honest people it can bring. -- Joe

Just a silly idea but why don't you have the flywheel welded? There has to be an old time welder in your area that could braze the cracks up and make them as good as new. – J.

Ooh yea! I have bought many a project and been discouraged once I started on it. A case in point: a John Deere H 1940 that I bought thinking that after little tinkering it would be ok. It needed another block, pistons, head and all the bearings etc. I will say the seller did not know anything much about it and made no comments as to the condition other than it was all there. It’s now finished and running and that is all in the fun of this crazy addiction to old discarded stuff. This little project cost me many $$$$, and a lot of heated discussions with my significant other. but it all washed out in the end. Now moving on to my vertical Famous… -- Denny

Thanks to everyone for their kind words. I wasn't getting discouraged with the hobby, just with this particular engine. Joe was right that I was too eager and probably did not look at this particular engine close enough. Lesson learned. I guess I'll put it off to the side for now while I look into either getting the flywheel repaired or having a new one recast. – Chris

Yeah, just put it aside for a while. You're not on a schedule, it's not a job, and you're not doing this to make money (I hope)! Like the last guy said, consider leaving the hub welded and braze up the spokes. Old repairs are a part of an engines history, and I see nothing wrong with our own (good) work adding to the history. A replacement flywheel will come along when it is time. Most of us will never own the best example of our particular engine (or engines) anyway, so relax your expectations and just do what you can with what you got. Chances are that the brazed spokes will make the engine more conversation worthy than one that is perfect anyway! – Brian

I wouldn’t sweat it Chris. As far as I’m concerned in this hobby you win some and lose some just like any other. Granted there are lots and lots of honest sellers and dealers out there but once in a while you run into the occasional scumbag looking to dump a money pit. It happens whether its engines, cars, etc. In all fairness maybe because of all the paint on those flywheels he really didn’t know they were cracked. I would just set it aside and wait till a replacement one comes along. -- John.

Is there a common flywheel that is close to the correct size and style that you could easily and cheaply adapt and use on the Bulldog until you find or make the right one? Maybe paint it a slightly different shade of the same color as the rest of the engine. – Patrick

Chris: I don't know about size of flywheels, but I do know about getting discouraged on an engine. You can pull them out of the garage and 1/4 turn will start them. Then go to a show and pull all day trying to start up! Is there something to spectators depleting the oxygen level to where the engines won't run? -- Byron

YES! It is fact that the more spectators, the bigger the odds that your engine won’t start. I have a couple that I won’t even try to start if strangers are around! -- Bob


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