Posted by: Mike Clark
Iím having difficulty seeing the oil winker wink! The steam oil consumption of the H is much too high at the moment - I set it deliberately high when fitting my new block, oil being cheaper than cylinders - but now want to cut it back to 60-80 miles per pint which I believe is the accepted rate of use. Trouble is that using Morris steam oil which is a golden/green colour it is very hard to see the winker with the pump set to give anything over 30 miles to the pint.
I suspect that period steam oils used in America were like the present Pennsylvania Black - just that, black and therefore much easier to see.
My question is - has anyone found an alternative way of indicating oil flow?
A pressure gauge on the oil pipe to the winker might help but I am running out of space on the dashboard and in any case just having oil pressure doesnít mean that oil is flowing against the steam pressure. The winker of course ingeniously does indicate that there is a pressure excess on the pump side and that oil is flowing. This is hard to do in any other way as we need to prove the existence of a pressure difference.
However hereís an idea for an indicator which would warn if the pumped oil pressure were lower than the steam pipe pressure. I've not tried it yet - just seeking your thoughts.
I propose to use a diaphragm sandwiched between two plates with steam pipe pressure to one side and oil pipe pressure to the other just like the winker. The diaphragm would be flat against the steam side (as in the steam automatic) but would be free to bulge a few thou toward the pump side. A button on the pump side of the diaphragm would, when the diaphragm bulged, connect with an insulated contact on the pump side and make a circuit to light an LED. A light spring may be needed to bias the diaphragm back to the off position when the car is stationary. In action the light will come on as the throttle is opened but would, if all was well, go out as the oil pressure rose to equal or overcome the steam pressure. Undoubtedly the light will come on and off as the oil pressure plays catch up with the steam pressure but if it remains constantly on then we know we have a problem.
Connected in this way the indicator would not show that oil was being pumped when the throttle was closed and it could be reversed in function so the light would come on when the oil pressure was up. The disadvantage then would be that the diaphragm would move with each pump stroke possibly interfering with the winker and needlessly using part of the pump stroke - each stroke moves less than 0.02ml of oil by the way - not to mention fatiguing the diaphragm. In the chosen mode, the diaphragm would mostly be pressed back flat against the steam side plate as for most of the time the oil pressure will be greater than the steam pressure.
I would connect the indicator in parallel with the winker so the steam pressure was taken from the oil feed to the main steam feed to the engine, after the winker check valve which on this non condensing car is part of the winker. On a condensing car the connection would need to be made between the oil pipe check valve and the steam pipe.
In case you are wondering - yes electrical contacts do work even when immersed in steam oil.
Well - would it work or has anyone else found a better way?