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Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Ian Vinton (
Date: September 22, 2009 12:12PM

Anyone know of a source for thick walled steel tube to make the burner vaporiser out of ?

The one I have, which is now blocked with a broken cable, is 1/4" ID and 9/16" OD but I cannot find a source to make a new one.

Any help greatly appreciated.

Ian Vinton

Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Mike Clark (
Date: September 22, 2009 03:04PM

Ian try these people for stainless - very helpful.



Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Rolly (
Date: September 22, 2009 03:29PM

I use ľ pipe size SS 316L Sch 40 or you could try Sch 80 I never found the need for it.
But the closest thing I found to what youíre looking for is a six-foot length of 4130
Look at aircraft grade 4130 tube McMaster-Carr #89955k99

Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: (
Date: September 22, 2009 11:44PM

With 4130, Rolly has the best pipe choice. 4130 works great and it lasts. Schuedule 40 is heavy enough for the vaporizer. In over 30,000 miles, I have never had a vaporizer burn out. Becoming plugged is its biggest problem. The super heater is a whole different problem. Use 1/2" schedule 40 stainless pipe for the super heater and do not have any welds on the super heater pipe within the burner area.

Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Nick Howell (2.31.99.---)
Date: September 23, 2012 11:19AM

If it is a question of not burning out then surely 10mm OD hydraulic steel pipe--which has a 1/4" Nominal bore and 1.6mm wall thickness, is better at heat trnasfer? Stainless is 2.5 times less efficient. Has anyone had problems with thick walled steel tubing on either vaporising or superheating coils?
Examining Bob Dyke's White boiler coils, which are steel tube, after 100 years they look fine.

Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Rolly (
Date: September 23, 2012 12:29PM

I have had the opportunity to study two White generators both have had the superheater grid as well as the spiral coil just above it burn out, they were replaced with 3/8 IPS A-106 This is an ASME approved pipe for pressure vessels, seamless and rated 2500 PSI at 1000F, I have built several ASME code boilers with this type of pipe. A-178 is another common ASME approved tube, tube not pipe size. Bob went with the hydraulic tube because it matched the OD and ID of the original White tubing. 0.720-OD I asked him what the metal was and he said he didnít know. He did a beautiful job.
Granted Stainless as a metal has a poor heat transfer rate but itís the nickel and chrome content that makes it last. Heat transfer to a liquid, wall thickness makes no different, heat transfer to a vapor is another story. Also you always want seamless in the combustion chamber, no welds. If you can afford 310 seamless SS tubing itís combustion grade and 90% of the heat passes right through. For cost I think 4130 aircraft tubing might last and be just as good. Not ASME approved for pressure vessels that I know of but is seamless and has a high content of nickel and chrome. Itís great for welding flows like butter on a muffin. I used it for my vaporizers on my burner for my EX.

Attachments: Vaporizer tubes .JPG (53kB)  
Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Nick Howell (2.29.118.---)
Date: October 7, 2012 08:46AM

Thanks Rolly.
The biggest problem so far is carbon building up on the inside, which seems quite common, but when I was using unleaded petrol (gas) last week the problem was so serious that it stopped the main burner lighting up after about three hours of running. I had a 3/16" wire inside the 1/4" NB tube and after I took the wire out it was back firing up the main burner again. Pressure is 30 psi by the way.
Because of the quick carbonisation using unleaded gas and ss the burner originally burnt keroscene I changed to the UK's nearest equivalent, home heating oil. I was using the ex petrol fired vaporising coil, with no wire inside, that had not been burnt/cleaned out and the pilot light took longer to heat up the coil, understandably, but once the main fire was going the flames were higher, hotter, and "roared" rather more. Fine. I installed it all back in the car and it produced steam at 250 psi from cold, within about 25 minutes. Today I fired it up again with the intention of getting some driving hours in and the vaporising coil is so blocked that the main burner won't light up. Taken it all out and I can't even get an airline to blow through. Tomorrow I'll burn the carbon out with ox/acetylene.

The coil shape and size is a copy of the one in a photo that I saw in The Horseless Age magazine showing the Toledo burner so I can't be far out on length. I made two, one in thick walled hydraulic steel tube and one in 316 stainless, both Schedule 40 and both just under 5' long.

I have about three weeks to get the Toledo running sufficienty well to do the 60 miles from London to Brighton, because I have an entry on the famous Run for 4th November! This could be an expensive embarrassment, especially if I only get out of Hyde Park and passed the Houses of Parliament before clogging up.

Attached are photos of the burner out of the car, showing the vapourising coil, its postion above the flames and burning keroscene. The wok is my test kit with one litre of cold water in it!

Attachments: forum.jpg (41kB)  
Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Rolly (
Date: October 7, 2012 10:10AM

I know these burners can be awful frustrating at times. My vaporizer in my 18-inch burner on my Stanley EX is only straight across the burner, 18 inches long. The pilot useís one tube and the main burner useís two, one for each side. I use unleaded regular gasoline.
A lot of things can affect the vaporizer. How high the tube is off the burner grate, how long ect.
First I think I would cut it shorter and adjust it to about 1-1/2 inches off the burner.
I have no magic solution.
I have never had a carbon problem on my 1920 nor my 06 but have made and repaired many vaporizes and burners for others for different cars.
I never worked on a Toledo but just finished rolling all the tubes and cleaning a Locomobile burner, also a short vaporizer straight across the burner. It also had carbon problems but has been fine for the last year.

Attachments: Burner.JPG (210kB)  
Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Nick Howell (2.29.118.---)
Date: October 7, 2012 11:22AM

Very good of you to reply to so many threads from people.
I don't like using unleaded petrol because of the fire risk and so am perservering with kerosene, and because it was the original fuel for the burner. I reckoned that if the "original" length of the vapourising coil was sooting up with unleaeded petrol that perhaps it would be right for getting enough heat for vapourising kerosene. My latest trial was with the steel coil and when I have cleaned both coils out I will fit back the stainless steel version to see if the less efficient heat transfer of stainless reduces the carbonisation with keroscene.

I'll also make up a shorter version, as you suggest. During the winter I might change over superheating coil and vapourising coil posititions above the burner so that the vapoursing coil is then the higher of the two. I only have 3" total space to play with as it is, but I suspect that it is the coils of the vapourisng coil that are directly over the pilot light that may be causing the problem. They glow dark to medium red when it is all up to heat, and the bronze pilot light casting is dark red.

Thanks for your help.

(I've now ticked the box in my "profile" on the Phorum so that I know when someone has replied instead of relying on chance log in's).


Re: Steel tube for burner vaporising coil
Posted by: Mike L Clark (
Date: October 7, 2012 04:01PM

Could you see from the carboning up of the wire of your vapouriser which part is getting too hot - is the carbon gathering on the area of the wire above the pilot?

It definately seems like something is getting too hot - if the tube starts to show red hot then the fuel will be insulated by vapor from the wall of the tube, the tube in that area will get even hotter and any fuel which does touch (possibly as gas) the inside of the tube will just cook. Could you, as a temporary test method, put some sort of shield to limit the amount of heat sent to the vaporiser by the pilot?

The ideal, which is hard to achieve, is to get enough heat to vaporise the fuel yet have enough fuel flow to stop the vapouriser tube from overheating which is where the length of the tube and its position above the flame come in.

Later Stanley's than Rolly's EX had about six feet of vaporiser - mine was 1/4NB schedule 40 stainless and like yours had a 4mm braided stainless wire inside. This worked fine with a 4 gallon per hour fire and hardly carboned up at all on 50/50 unleaded/diesel. I never, in 8 years use had to burn the vaporiser out or do anything other than wire brush the wire a couple of times a year. It never jammed in the tube so they can work without coking up.


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