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Ohlsson & Rice: Herter’s Auger / Hard Lesson Learned

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I ended up learning a hard lesson on buying an item sight unseen and out of state. :banghead: In my excitement to find another O&R auger I ended up working out a deal with a seller out of state. They only had a couple very bad photos for me to gauge condition and make my decision but I went ahead with the gamble. I just received it and unfortunately it’s a disappointment. I haven’t been able to spend any time with it yet to completely go through it but after 10 minutes with it I have uncovered a number of issues already:

1. No spark, I had expected this and wasn’t too worried about it.

2. Some previous owner butchered the recoil mechanism and rigged up some strange spacer system comprised of a bolt and nut through the little oil hole. The distance between the inside of the recoil housing was also affected so they added washers as spacers between the blower cowel. They also ground down the threaded shaft and flywheel nut as part of this butcher job. So that’s pretty disappointing. I haven’t spent enough time yet to see if there is any way improve this, not sure it can be truly fixed ithout completely replacing the recoil and crank shaft.

3.  I don’t think the actual aguer is a match to the gear box. It has a ton of slop at the unition and the paint is slightly different color so I’m thinking the auger was replaced at some point along the way.

4. The air cleaner assembly was also cut and welded on poorly made threaded shaft. The welding created other big holes and distortions so the air cleaner assembly is pretty much trash. They also did a terrible job actually trying to thread the throat of the carburetor to accommodate the newly welded threaded end on the air cleaner assembly. 

5. The gas tank needs a thorough cleaning and new guts.

6. Condition of the coil is unknown and it is a bit rusted.

 

More to come as I dig into this project. I’m not sure yet just how far I will actually go with it in terms of fixing it up. It would be nice to at least see if I can get it to run but given all the other issues I might end up just hanging this one on the wall as a reminder to be extra careful in buying sight unseen. :dunno: Probably paid a bit too much to learn this lesson...

 

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Oh yes, definitely fixable.  I just wasnt expecting this condition based on what I was able to see during the deal. It’s defintely a cool piece!

 

Clint

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I would have to agree. I worked on my first recoil job over the holidays and it was a bit tedious. I didn’t even have to change the spring. I think I have a little technique now so hopefully the next one will be a little easier. 

 

Its really too too bad a previous owner butchered the whole recoil system on this auger.  Strange what some people do to try to fix things. I’ll add some pics once I tear into it more.

 

Clint

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On 1/9/2019 at 2:02 AM, CNew said:

1. No spark, I had expected this and wasn’t too worried about it.

2. Some previous owner butchered the recoil mechanism and rigged up some strange spacer system comprised of a bolt and nut through the little oil hole. The distance between the inside of the recoil housing was also affected so they added washers as spacers between the blower cowel. They also ground down the threaded shaft and flywheel nut as part of this butcher job. So that’s pretty disappointing. I haven’t spent enough time yet to see if there is any way improve this, not sure it can be truly fixed ithout completely replacing the recoil and crank shaft.

3.  I don’t think the actual aguer is a match to the gear box. It has a ton of slop at the unition and the paint is slightly different color so I’m thinking the auger was replaced at some point along the way.

4. The air cleaner assembly was also cut and welded on poorly made threaded shaft. The welding created other big holes and distortions so the air cleaner assembly is pretty much trash. They also did a terrible job actually trying to thread the throat of the carburetor to accommodate the newly welded threaded end on the air cleaner assembly. 

5. The gas tank needs a thorough cleaning and new guts.

6. Condition of the coil is unknown and it is a bit rusted.

 

You shouldn't expect every O&R to be in mint condition, they are around 40 to 50+ years old, most of them were bought to use and some had a much harder life then others (eg, hedge trimmers & crop sprayers in the UK) and people didn't always look after them or store them in a nice dry shed.

It takes time & patience to obtain (or make) the necessary parts for restoring these small engines & their tools, sometimes a donor engine is needed too.

 

1,   No spark, check the usual, points, wiring etc.

2a, Drilled out starter rivet :(, happens more often than you may think, I suspect in the past it was much harder to find out the correct way without service information. Can be sorted with a new rivet if it isn't drilled out too much (been there fixed one before). Putting your first spring back in is more tricky fun. :D

2b, It looks a later engine so a replacement crankshaft shouldn't be too hard to get, unlike an early one (like rocking horse poo, I eventually found a bare donor engine for one once).

3,  Pictures of two others suggest the gearbox is indeed a darker blue than the auger section, they probably bought in/out-sourced the auger section rather than make it themselves.

4,  Carb damage, again very common problem, eg. cracked casting where air cleaner attaches, broken off choke lever, broken needle valve & missing bits (look for spare ones or spares engine). Along with missing/damaged air vane or air filter/cleaner assembly.

5,  Dirty and or rusty tanks, most seem to be like this (unless never used), clean if possible, you maybe able to disassemble with a can opener & solder/braze back together (not yet tried this, I'm also thinking of making some tanks from some small coffee tins). Filter often clogged too, can be cleaned using a glass syringe attached to the fuel line pipe to gently pass cleaner solvent or fuel through.

6,  Coil rusty, I've had very few problems with coils, but they are often rusty from bad storage/neglect, clean with small wire brush/wheel (sometimes you can remove the steel core to make this easier).

 

Good luck with the restoration & if let us know if you find more augers, it something my collection lacks and I'm sure Paul would like one too.

 

David

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David,

    Thank you for all the great advice. After looking at it a bit more I’m actually getting more excited at doing the more in-depth overhaul/restoration on this one. It’ll be fun working through the entire unit and I’m sure I’ll learn a great deal along the way. I’ll definitely keep my eyes open for other augers, I pretty much look on a daily basis and will let you know if I spot one.

 

Clint

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