Hit And Miss A Hit At Thresherman’s Reunion

If your tractor sounded like this, you’d be bracing yourself for a major repair bill.

With disturbing irregularity, the sound of detonating gasoline inside the 10-inch bore of a 25-hpType C IHC Mogul model 25 chuffed its way out of straight pipe directly out of the cylinder head.

Each explosion inside the 1,105-cubic-inch cylinder was quickly followed by a puff of smoke, which added another flavour to the air at the 55th Annual Thresherman’s Reunion and Stampede last Saturday.

Once it warmed up, the tractor, made in 1911, was soon running in perfect form.

Hooked up by a long belt to a Prony Brake, a dynamometer that uses friction to determine horsepower output, the Mogul was registering 22.2-hp, just shy of its 25-hp rating. Not bad considering that it’s almost 100 years old.

That clunky-clanky sound – a bit like an out-of-control cistern pump – is normal for the early “hit-and-miss” engines that predated modern diesel and gas-powered tractors. They may seem crude now, but the first internal combustion engines represented a significant advance over steam.

“It only fires when it needs to,” explained Erron Leafloor, who resurrected the machine after it had succumbed to a number of age-related maladies.

“There’s a governor on the flywheel, so that as the r. p. m. s slow down, it allows the exhaust valves to close. By doing that, it creates suction to bring in fuel, so that it can fire. It doesn’t waste fuel if it is coasting.”

The hit-and-miss engines running originally on kerosene were introduced to appeal to farmers who sought a lighter, stationary power source than the heavier steamers. The Mogul’s design, with just one forward gear and a friction reverse, was basically a stationary engine plopped onto a “truck” gear, he said, with a top speed of about two miles per hour.

“I’m running on gasoline right now, but originally, you’d run on kerosene with a slight bit of water being sucked out of the water jacket. That would keep it from pre-igniting, and give it a little more horsepower. The expansion of the water would actually give it a little more oomph.”

So water in your gas would be a good thing?

“As funny as it sounds, yes,” he said with a grin.

The Mogul had been a regular at the Thresherman’s Reunion for decades, but it needed some repairs. Leafloor was up to the task, and after some clutch and governor work, fuel tank and line restoration, it was being put on the dynamometer Saturday to see if it was in top form before going in Sunday’s parade.

The 55th annual Thresherman’s Reunion & Stampede, held from July 23 to 26, was put on with the help of 600 volunteers.

This year, a new steel roof over the grandstand provided shelter to the crowds who came out to see the popular threshing competitions and rodeo events. [email protected]

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