Humdinger Page

I bought the my Humdinger "mudpump" unit as a sort of last minute purchase at the Waukee swap meet in 1987. It is powered by a 1923 1 1/2 hp Fairbanks Morse throttle governed engine. Made by Ralph B. Carter Company of N.Y., N.Y., it was all original, including the starter crank, and spanner for the hoses!
I took it home, sprayed the magneto down good with WD40 so the armature would move and proceeded to loosen up other parts as needed. Boy, was this thing greasy and sticky! The magneto was so loaded with grease and gum, you could turn the armature back as if to trip it, and it would stay put. In fact, the only reason this engine wasn't stuck is that water couldn't have possibly gotten to most parts for the grease and cement dust on it. Within 30 minutes of unloading, and nearly a can of WD40 later, I had it running. It was missing only the covers for the intake and outlet valves on the pump, which I easily made from flat steel using a torch, grinder, and drill press. I ran it at shows for several years with no means of displaying how the pump worked - running it just to watch the pump go up and down. Finally, I got some 3" fittings and suction hose (let me tell you, those were NOT cheap!) and using an old oil barrel with top cut out, soon had it pumping water. The original diaphragm was weathered, but still functioned. In 1996 at the summer show at Waukee, it finally happened, that old diaphragm developed a leak big enough to shoot a bit of water skyward on each stroke. After a long search, and $125 later, I had a brand new diaphragm. About that time, Barbara asks why I haven't "cleaned it up" and restored it as I've done several others. She also hated that old steel oil barrel, which was starting to look rusty. I didn't have a good excuse, and opinion was running about 50-50 as to if I should restore it, or show it as is. She made the decision for me, saying that I "wasn't taking it with me again until it was all cleaned up and properly restored as it looked like heck".

The rest is told in the picture story below. I had to scrape years of hardened grease, compounded by the fact that it was mixed with cement dust and gravel, just to get to the bolts and nuts! After hours of scraping, pressure washing, several cans of oven cleaner (it works well), soaking in solvent, most parts spending a couple of hours in my electrolysis bucket, and finally, sandblasting the larger parts, it was ready...........................

Below is the story of my Fairbanks Morse powered Humdinger mudpump in pictures.
To view a larger version of an image, click on the thumbnail.

As purchased in 87
Gooey but runs.

10 years later......
Still gooey!

Disassembly started


stripped to bare block,
ready to clean

This much grease from
one part!

This deserves a big photo and some explaining. Click picture to see "electrolysis page" and details.


Note the simple setup here - top half was already cleaned in bucket.
I'm using 2 electrodes this time.

I didn't get it dried quickly enough, so there is some slight rust, but see how 4 hours in the bucket can do?

Note deep pitting, apparently from original casting process.
Sandblasting cleaned out clay filler.


You'd never know from my shop or office, but I like things in order.
Here are cleaned and primed parts.

Sub-assembly primed sitting on unidentified trucks.

Making sure all parts line up right before applying paint.


Painting the parts..........

Flywheels, etc.

Trucks (original equipment)


Block assy.

Some assembly required.



Running for first time
since repaint.

And finally,
pumping water at Waukee


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