Yeah, so the engine in the woodsplitter finally crapped out.
Not like it is a surprise, mind you….My brother and I bought the thing something like 19 years ago at an auction, and it had a bad motor then….at the same auction, there was a mower with the same Briggs and Stratton vertical shaft motor that was purported to run….So we bought the woodsplitter for a song and the mower (which had, IIRC, a broken axle) for even less.
Now, this woodsplitter was a project that someone had built….likely using parts and scraps from industry….maybe even from the steel mills in Gary (which wasn’t unusual for the time and place that it must have been built)..Massive construction, much bigger than what is needed…huge forgings cut down to make ’em fit, etc. Interesting “engineering” in some places….Like a 5″ diameter hydraulic cylinder. (This thing will split oak SIDEWAYS…against the grain)….Yet the wedge guide is 3/64″ X 1″ angle….odd.
So, anyway, 19 years (more or less) ago I put a used engine of unknown hours on this woodsplitter. And it worked for all that time….and worked well…. until about 5 years ago. Then it began “clanking” when cold…but I’d just let it warm up a bit longer and run it. Warm, it ran fine…It never ran well, but it always ran and it split wood very nicely…..
In preparation for the day it finally died, I did buy a 12 hp vertical shaft Briggs & Stratton engine about 4 years ago from a guy I knew who was parting out an old Cub Cadet lawn mower….Same engine “family” so I figured it would bolt right up when the time came….
Every year, I’d debate “Should I put the “new” motor on this winter, or will the old motor last another year….?
For 4+ years, the old motor “clanked”, each year getting a bit worse…. but it ran. Since it wasn’t broke enough, I never fixed it….
This last Monday, it fired up in the usual way, being obstinate and cantankerous, but finally starting. It ran for about 30 seconds…then it went “clank!” and ceased to turn.
Not even a little bit.
Locked up tighter than Ahmed’s virgin goats on Payday in Syria….
So, I towed it to the shop, scraped 19 years of oily dirt off of the thing, and began the disassembly process.
Wasn’t difficult, really. While it hadn’t been disassembled in nearly 20 years, neither had it been uncovered and out in the rain. Not much rust, and most of the bolts were covered with a slight sheen of oil from the gently leaking Briggs motor. (It never leaked much, but it always leaked…Like a half a pint a year or less).
So I pulled the wiring and the linkages and fuel lines and such and then lay down under the frame and put a deepwell socket and ratchet on the bolts holding the motor to the frame with a box wrench on the top and began to turn….Now, the first two are easy, as they are easy to reach. The third one less easy, as the ergonomics make reaching bolt above and below the frame …interesting. But I was able to get my hands in the right place and break that bolt loose as well.
The fourth one required a bit of interesting positioning…One cannot see either the bolt or the nut, and must do both the top side and underneath by feel…… and I cursed the microcephalic, motherless, inbred, hermaphroditic, slimy redneck asshole who, instead of using a 5/16 bolt (1/2 inch wrench) had used an 8 mm bolt (12 MM wrench.) I tried and tried and tried and TRIED to get that half inch wrench to fit….. it wouldn’t hold, kept slipping off. Same underneath…..The socket just wouldn’t quite fit properly….. I finally figured it out and planned my revenge (think baseball bats and dark alleys and suchlike) on whichever asshole who had set such a trap…..Only to realize that the engine had been set in place by ME and hadn’t ever been off of the frame since then…..at least as far as I know, anyway. Perhaps gremlins. Yeah, that must be it….
(I usually am not afraid to cobble something together when needed, but I (generally) go back and do it right if it is gonna be kept in use and not just temporary…..I honestly don’t remember using a metric bolt when assembling the splitter….But I must have?).
I did, however, punish myself….I mashed the shit out of my hand when picking the motor up off the frame, so I got my own revenge upon myself…..
The reassembly went fast, as the motors were the same “family” and used the same mounting holes, same shaft size, same carb, same wiring, etc. (I did go buy 4 new bolts all the same size….I will likely never have to pull the motor again, but some poor dude may). New fuel lines and everything else hooked up fine.
It runs like a champ. Smoother, and with 2 HP more. I split 2 ricks in about an hour.