The internal combustion engine is a surprisingly robust machine. As a case in point, this 1916 Federal Motors truck is over 100 years old and no longer has a cab or body. The flathead four-cylinder engine is still there, though. This video shows the process of getting it running again.
The process starts using PB B’laster penetrating fluid to free the spark plugs and then the cylinders. From what we can see, the interior of the engine is in good condition, especially considering its age.
This powerplant uses a crank start. Even without a carburetor, it’s able to pop off with just some gasoline in the cylinders. He needs to add a new spark plug wire because one of them is broken.
The owner then rigs up a carburetor that barely works. There’s no fuel supply, so the owner has to feed gas with a bottle. Still, that’s enough to get the engine to idle.
Here’s a useful tip. If you’re ever hand-cranking a car, wrap your thumb around the lever. If it backfires, the crank can break your thumb if you’re using a normal grip.
Getting this old truck moving would be a much bigger task. The transmission’s condition is a complete mystery. There’s no steering wheel, and the body is gone. All that’s left is the frame, fuel tank, engine, and some suspension parts.
The owner plans to get this truck running again. It needs a new water pump because the radiator doesn’t appear to be circulating coolant. He also plans to rebuild the carburetor. The axle shafts are missing, and they’re necessary before this truck can be drivable again.
It’s fascinating to think about bringing a vehicle like this back into usable condition with this as a starting point. Finding a body would be a challenge, but as a farm vehicle, someone could cobble something together for rugged use.
The Federal Motor Truck Company started in 1910 in Detroit, Michigan. It built not only commercial vehicles but also military rigs. The brand went out of business in 1959.
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