Fairbanks-Morse Y-V

AGSEM History

In the early 1980s, some of our members displayed engines at a show in Quartzite, Arizona (about 250 miles from Vista, CA). There they were approached in 1982 by a man who said he was willing to donate a large engine (the Fairbanks-Morse Y-V) to AGSEM if they would come and get it. This sounded fair enough, so then-President Larry Thompson and some others went back to Quartzsite to inspect it. They were met there by a man with a rifle who told them to get out and do it NOW. It seems that the owner had never told his caretaker about his planned donation. Larry got the misunderstanding straightened out, and several weeks later a crew arrived and started taking the Y-V apart. 

The engine was located on the side of hill at the top of a very steep bank. The team decided to move the engine by taking it apart, as we had nothing that would lift it in one piece and we could not afford a crane and truck large enough to move the engine in one piece. One of our members did have a truck with a small boom crane on it, so the teams used this to swing parts off the bank and onto trailers and pickups. 

Virgil White hauled back the heaviest parts of the Y-V with his 1924 Mack Bulldog truck. Virgil says he got all loaded about 4:00 one afternoon. His speed back to California ranged from 10 to 40 MPH, with most of it on the slow side. This vehicle has no generator, so the headlights depended on the battery, which died about midnight. He pulled into a rest stop and spent the rest of the night in a sleeping bag on the bed of the truck. He got started early the next morning and made it to his home in Riverside, California, 11 hours later. He made the trip from Riverside to AGSEM the following weekend. Jerry Pagept also hauled out a load of heavy parts on a more modern truck.

The Fairbanks-Morse Y-V had sat outside in the desert for 40 years with no covers over the air intakes or protection of any kind. The crankcase and all of the crankshaft oil cellars were full of sand. Our team did lots of cleaning and then a careful reassembly.

AGSEM's Fairbanks-Morse Y-V now rests on a new foundation under a new roof at Gas Engine Row. Larry and Virgil are still active Museum members and are still busy making things work and restoring old iron.

Link here for information about our Fairbanks-Morse Y-V's details and tribulations

Link here to go to the Fairbanks-Morse Y-V main page

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