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Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: May 30, 2014 04:52PM

Hello Don and Leslie,
Yes, the plan is to steam it in the next week or so. I have remade most of the joints that were stainless and replaced them with steel. All of the stainless ones were totally seized and just twisted off the thread. Why do people use this? Some of the old mild steel lasts about 100 years -I have a 30hp steam generator that is about 106 years old and still sound - I used it for a pattern for Billy's new one as I did not trust it running at near twice normal pressure at that age but it does test alright.
I still have the brakes to service, put a drain cock in the rear axle and check the oil in it and sort the simpling valve. I will of course have to fit and insulate the steam line also but this should be easy with new steel joints.
I have put in pictures of the steam generator from below, the burner, vaporiser and pilot light, and one of the engine and the separate band brake system of these cars that all became one in 1905.The hand operated dog clutch is just behind the brake.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 05/30/14 04:59PM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: 30.5.2014 001.JPG (249kB)   30.5.2014 004.JPG (221kB)   30.5.2014 002.JPG (239kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 3, 2014 04:00PM

I finished sorting the simpling valve on the 1903 White -it was rusty and seized up. Polishing and grinding in plus new packing and all should be well. This little steam inlet valve is one of the most common problems that people with Whites have when recommissioning them. It may be small but it must seal.

I looked at the pistons and all is well but I cleaned and lubricated the bores as the oil had gone sticky. I also oiled the pumps and packing glands.

Paul had fitted a Schroder air valve under the front of the engine on the bottom of the air pump. That will have to move as my knees cannot cope with it there. It is needed to pressurize the fuel tank. The mechanical engine air pump needs a bit of servicing too.

The engine was only going about 360deg on compressed air so I decided to try steam assuming that something like a valve was not seating properly yet.

I had a few blowbacks but I think that a part has been left out in the venturi - I think that it should have two tubes on that one (a concentric internal one). At least there is fitted a bulb blower out for blowbacks which seems necessary at present. My other Whites do not have them!

It first went into over heat mode but soon settled almost on the correct pressure. Turning it back and forth a few times eventually got it just running so I let it keep going and soon it was quite sweet and smooth. I kept pumping in lots of oil.

It has been fitted with a ghastly great oil separator in the left side of the engine compartment. I will remove it. It is in the way for servicing etc. Drizit in the water tank seems to do the job well enough.

I had it running for about two hours and it is quite free. I drove up the yard but I had problems with not enough water in the coil as I do with the 1902 car in the yard. Anyway by the time I finished I think that I will soon be ready for a road test.

Sealing the modern temperature gauge going into the steam line seems a problem that I have not yet solved. It needs some hard but thin packing, I am going to try a copper packing that I have somewhere if I can find it.
I also need to go through the clack valves and put new balls in them and check the Finnegan pin.
The other job that needs doing is to fit an isolator valve on the fuel tank in case of fire and I like to make sure all is off at the tank when putting the car away. I have found a suitable almost new valve but it needs a little machining to fit.

I also need to be road legal with a tax disc and a mirror - not fitted at present!

This weekend Whistling Billy and I are off to Tregrehan Hill Climb near St Austell. I want to perfect my starting on the line with a reasonable amount of power and the burners coming in very quickly. It is all about tricking the by-passes!

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 7, 2014 05:58PM

On the 1903 White, the modern temperature gauge probe is now packed with copper packing hopefully not to leak again and the fuel tank has an isolating valve on it for safety. The non-original oil separator has been removed leaving space to get at the left side of the engine. I have checked and reset the pump clacks and just have to have a fill of petrol to go for a steam hopefully tomorrow. There is no weather equipment so I hope that it will be fine enough.

Today I took Whistling Billy to Tregrehen Hill Climb where although invited as I went last year, I could not have a run up the hill and was not really wanted there, so I returned home. This is partly because of the twitchiness of the marshals following the death of two spectators recently on a Scottish rally and partly no doubt goes back to the usual rubbish from the MSA who do not want steam cars as competition on the hill climbs or circuits. They are afraid of the unknown! There had also been a failure of communication between committee members to get insurance sorted.

We are trying to get some steam cars on show and for a lunch time run up the hill at the Shelsley Walsh Vintage Hill Climb on July 19th & 20th although it is looking as if we cannot go up the hill on the Sunday (so I might then go on to Les’ “not a tour” in the Cotswolds’ on the Saturday evening. We are looking to get the steamers entered as normal Edwardians for hill climbing but it seems that progress will be slow but we need to keep pushing.

One of our French Members, Francois de Backer and his wife Colette who have a 1910 White are over here for a couple of weeks. We stay with them most years in the South of France near Narbonne and go to events in France. They stayed with my brother and his wife this week - I went up to help out with some ferrying about as John is recovering from surgery on his broken pelvis (he is getting on well-he thanks you for your good wishes!). Francois is down here next week and we will take him about hopefully in the 1903 White.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 8, 2014 05:51PM

I have been steaming on the roads in the 1903 White. It was not a great success as the copper packing on the modern temperature probe again blew out and I had to be towed back up my steep drive. The car did go very well for a short while and demonstrated its power and agility, being much lighter than my 1908 White.
I have done more work on setting up the simpling valves more accurately. Springs had been used on the bronze valves and removal of them and setting the opening correctly makes them feel like a proper White simpling system and I hope that they will no longer drain all the steam from the system instantly. I have also set the throttle back so that it should not open quite so far and throw away too much steam. These systems on the early cars have small reserve and you must nurse the steam.
I still have an issue with the maximum power being on about half cut –off. The solution to this hopefully will come soon.
I am going to blank off the modern temperature gauge hole as I am unable to seal it properly. These modifications always seem to give more problems than the White system! I will eventually make a small plug going into the steam line which the probe will go into but it will be slightly slower reading as the probe will not be within the steam flow but in a case in the stem flow. This is the system all the later Whites have for setting them up. The temperature on the car has been fine when it has been running and it would not originally have had a pyrometer at all but just be set up at the correct temperature on servicing.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 13, 2014 02:17AM

We had a good days steaming in the 1902 White covering about 45 miles up some good West Cornwall hills with the 1902 White two days ago. We had Mike James in his Stanley as company although we only met him at the stops as I was slower and I took a few interesting diversions as I had Francois de Backer as passenger who was sight seeing.
I still have problems with the valve gear on the 1903 White - I think that something has been bent on it. I suspect that it was put into reverse at some time rather than the other lever being pushed, the brake! I am going to take the engine out and go through it properly. It occasionally shows itself to be very lively but at other times is only running on the LP cylinder. I think that I am going to remove the dog clutch also. It is a great convenience but it is good to have to handle this car as it was when new for the year. This device has also hit the fuel tank at some time and is a possible danger.

Whistling Billy is loaded in my trailer and I am just off to the Brooklands Double Twelve on the old race circuit site for the weekend. If you are coming along, do introduce yourself. I hope to do the test hill and a couple of other events.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 18, 2014 05:34PM

18. 6. 2014
Whistling Billy and I went to The Brooklands Double Twelve last weekend. Billy seemed to be quite an attraction and many mentioned that it was worth coming to the event just to see Billy!
I was at the rear of the pavilion in quite a good position where Billy could have a good howl without disturbing too many (hopefully). We had a gentle drive about but I turned down the offer of doing the test hill as the car would almost certainly ground going over the top. I kept the car steaming for 6 hours on the first day and about 5 on the second before loading up and driving back to my brother’s house in Devon. I need to keep it moving a bit as it does not otherwise lubricate a bearing in the rear axle.
I went to visit the pre-war racing and sports cars which were having a little go on the Mercedes track and we had an enthusiastic reception from many competitors and one even wanted me to take his place on the track. I was however soon ejected by the officials as we are persona non grata! As you may now know, Whistling Billy or any steam cars are not allowed to partake in any speed events. At least I found out that it is because the MSA cannot be bothered to write more legislation to allow steam cars to compete.

I will however keep pressing the bounds to see if we can get some action. Numbers applying to do events to the MSA could be helpful. What may get us in is that we burn petrol and diesel. I just want to compete in the open Edwardian class.

There is some video of Whistling Billy at Brooklands and I expect some more pictures will appear. In the video I had just got up steam and there was much leaking of steam. Most of that goes when the car is hot.
I will put in a couple of pictures, one was with the Brooklands record holder John Cobb’s Railton Special.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 06/19/14 04:29AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: 2014 June 007.JPG (229kB)   2014 June 006.JPG (235kB)   Brooklands (S).jpg (199kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: July 15, 2014 03:30AM

This Saturday and possibly Sunday Whistling Billy will be at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb and hopefully we will get a run or two up the hill.

The MSA are still stopping steam cars racing or competing in any events where, so I can not do a quick time. I have written to their general secretary (as well as telephone calls), explaining that Billy is proper racing car in some detail but have had no reply.

Yesterday I finally picked up Billy's block which is now repaired and ready for fitting apart form a couple of small jobs. I now need to get on with the crank shaft assembly and the sorting of the drain cocks. The cast bronze cross-heads were away with the block for fitting to it and I required them for the quite delicate work of fitting the bottom drain cock system. There is very little room for the one on the HP side.

It will almost certainly be next year before this engine (H383) is ready for fitting.

Perhaps I will See you at Shelsley Walsh on Saturday?


Attachments: Prescott (S).jpg (89kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rog White (
Date: July 15, 2014 02:57PM

Hello Bob
Your red hot burner in the mag looks splendid. Is it in steam - as the heat appears to be travelling through the elbows?
You mention trouble with a thermometer packing. I have thermocouples (from RS) which are 1/8" sheathed with a stainless olive, 1/8" BSP threaded holder, tested to 1500 plus psi.
I read somewhere of filing out the groove in a Flowmotor. These must be rare - would not a bypass pipe with a preset restriction in it do the same thing? except that such a pipe would interfere with the original plumbing...
Finally - I can't remember whether it was Tallow or Lanolin which you put in crankcase oil to stop rust - would be grateful if you could clarify that one.
Just steamed the Landy on sticks - Brian Mcmorran is coming for a repeat tomorrow.
ASll the best with 'WW'
Rog White

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: July 16, 2014 04:42AM

Hello Roger,
Good to hear from you. The red hot burner was an error by me -it should never quite get to that stage! I can not remember the exact circumstances now but I believe that I was steaming up and had missed filling the steam generator with enough water. It does not take many seconds on Billy to get the steam generator like this! This was when I had just started steaming. Whites did "relax" the coils by heating them apparently on an electric plate; so I have done that!

I might try your stainless threaded olive but one problem is corrosion on the thermocouple. I will be happier sealing the whole thing having a heat well going into the steam line which the thermocouple drops into - guaranteed no problem if a bit slower reading.

The groove in the flowmotor is tapered to allow more water past as the piston goes down when the engine runs quicker. When the fuel needle has travelled 15/16th inch the flowmotor should pass one American gallon of water in 1min 40secs(1min 20secs for the 30hp cars). I keep a hose fitting that goes on the flowmotor for setting this up and a one American gallon pot.
Whites must have taken a while to sort the system. Can you improve on it?

I was adding 20% tallow to Morrison's Steam cylinder oil ST 1000. I still believe that this is the best answer but I am now using Mobil 600W which is what White recommended and is very convenient and seems fine. White also recommended it for the sump and rear axle.

I have attached some flowmotor pictures. The much repaired brass bodied flowmotor is off my 1908 White. Like many it had got frosted in its years of inactivity and had gone banana shaped so had to be straightened and has developed a few leaks since! Unfortunately replacements are as common as hen's teeth so it soldiers on! Luckily Arthur Thomson had a late flowmotor body casting which he let me have for Billy and I had just done the machining in the pictures.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 07/17/14 03:41PM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: DSC_2080 (Medium).JPG (75kB)   DSC_2085 (Medium).JPG (55kB)   DSC_2077 (Medium).JPG (64kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Donald Cook (
Date: July 17, 2014 03:52AM


Thats a cracking picture of you and Billy at Prescott, very atmospheric!


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