Restoration of my 36HP Rumely #6153


By Jerred Ruble

Hanlontown, IA


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Restoration of my 10-Bottom Rumely Plow that will be paired with the steamer



A little known 36HP Rumely surfaced and now resides in Hanlontown, Iowa. Per the wishes of the previous owners I will not reveal their names or location, but it is engine number 6153, making it a 1911 model. I do not know much about the history of the engine at this point other then I suspect this is the engine that Kevin Small mentioned in the SmokStak forum thread “Rumely steamer” post #23 that was seen at a restaurant near Ripon, CA. I guess it is also conceivable that this is the same engine that Gary Yeager mentioned in his post #24 in the same thread. The research on this engine continues.


Anyway, using tensile strength of 55,000 and a safety factor of 6, UTs indicated that the boiler is in excellent condition, and will safely carry 200 PSI. It has a J. Brennan boiler stamp on the rear bulkhead. The date on the boiler is 7/11/11. It as a 4X4 firebox stay pitch pattern, 9/16” flue sheets, 9/16” shell and a 7/16” firebox and crown sheet. I am still researching the boiler maker, but apparently they had shops in Detroit and Battle Creek. Of course if I were to follow in the path of most other 36-120 Rumely owners I should call it a 40-140. With a 200 pound boiler, if any of the surviving 36 Rumely’s qualify to be called a 40-140 this one certainly does.


A lot of TLC will be required to restore the engine as the old girl is showing lots of wear. All the gears will need to be replaced, the flywheel hub is cracked (not sure how to address this yet), pieces of the clutch are missing, one of the engine D valves is broken in two and its valve stem is broken as well, and all bearings will need to be poured throughout the engine and traction components. Although it means another busy winter and summer, I am putting a plan in place to have it restored and plowing at her 102nd year birthday. The birthday party will be held at the 2013 July show at Heritage Park of North Iowa in Forest City, IA.


Although I know that several steam people have known about this engine for some time, it is amazing to me that such a majestic engine could have fallen off most of the steam community’s radar screen for such a long time. Without revealing too much of its pervious location I will say that except for the last 6 years the engine was in the public’s eye since the mid sixties.