Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob
Date: August 13, 2019 04:58PM
I have had a busy month trying to keep many appointments with the three White steamers so have had little time to keep the updates going!
I went to Chateau Impney with Whistling Billy. Three days before the event I had a large bang while running in the engine with the new block and it broke the three bronze pillars on the HP end of the block mounting. Old bronze goes crystalline and is always a weakness as I have found to my cost over the years. I looked in the cylinder and there is no foreign body there or obvious reason for it, so it must have been an hydraulic incident- and I had temporary taps on it but I had already shut off the top HP one. I am awaiting automatic taps which I hope will solve the issue. I spent the next two days preparing and changing the spare engine which I had recently taken out. I rushed to then get off up to the Chateau Impney Hill Climb for scrutineering. I was joined by my two sons William and Michael and two grandchildren Polly and Joe.
My efforts on the hill came to little as we were held up each time at the start. The first two runs (officially practice) I had a blocked jet each time and the third I had a slug of carbon in the vaporizer. The fuel was burning in the vaporizer as we sat still. Each time I went up the last half of the hill with only 400 psi and sounding like an ordinary steam car.
For the final run I had the full pressure and temperature ready at the start, fancying a good run. A car a couple ahead of us went off the track and it took an hour to sort him out! When I eventually got off, everything was overheated but I got up to in front of the Chateau when I was red flagged as the chap ahead of me had stopped on the course. Billy did not like that and we had a very large petrol explosion it the steam generator which blew open and bent the chimney cover! So I ended up officially 20 seconds slower than the last time! If only the officials would recognize that these cars cannot sit still when ready to go. I do not really want to fit any form of fan to keep things cool as I have no electrics on the car. Chatting to others, they also have problems sitting still ready to go with racing cars.
We all had a good weekend and Polly and Joe seemed to enjoy the experience with lots to do around the grounds such as tank rides and The Wall of Death. I still remember with affection being taken to Prescott as a young teenager about 60 years ago!
The racing cars present were great. One does not often see twenty vintage Bentleys in a line or so many Bugatti and later racing cars together. There were many unique cars such as Babs, the Leyland No 1, many early hill climb specials such as Bloody Mary, racing cars from the 1950’s and 60’s, rally cars and of course various monsters with aero engines as well as our group of pre WW 1 racing cars. I have never seen such a varied collection of racing cars before even at Goodwood.
I went on from Chateau Impney to the Cotswolds’ gathering where we had an enjoyable few days but a bit of a White disaster! Chris Ashton’s 1909 White had problems which ended up with his thermostat having a hole being brazed. He now has a new one to machine! It took the few days there to sort it.
I joined my brother John and his wife Anne there and we were going to go around in his 1910 White but he had a problem just before going up there. He brought the car up not working. We checked through the clack valves before steaming it as that was thought to be the problem. It was not! On steaming, it was obvious that the problem was a severe leak from the head of the flowmotor. This has a copper washer in it squashed by about a dozen screws around the periphery which puts a lot of strain on the bronze. I do not know why it suddenly started leaking, perhaps overheating with steam in it! We tried taking it apart, cleaning it and resealing it several times, all to no avail. We even tried Billy’s flowmotor which did not fit and then tried the end of it which would not seal. We really needed to machine the parts.
We gave up and came home a day early with the weather getting very poor!
I needed to refit Billy’s flowmotor and also Chris Wedgewood had noticed that my water pump was leaking from the steel shaft! On this I had a hard-chromed casing from an old but undamaged piston rod. It was leaking up through the fitting! This is a new problem for me. I now have fitted a spare new pump rod as I made a small batch of them last year. I then went on to the flowmotor.
I tried fitting the "O" rings both on the end plate of the flowmotor and two on the piston. For the end plate, I used a full brass plate under the screws and 55mm ID x 2 mm thick “O” ring. I started with 2 mm brass plate and machined and then emery papered the plate down 10 thou. The hole in the centre of the disc was 59 mm to allow for the ring. I machined flat the flowmotor end plate which had some distortion from being repeatedly tightened. I then levelled the body side of the plate to it with a file and fine emery block. That too had some distortion where the screws had been tightened.
Next I grooved the piston for the “O” rings which had five small grooves in it, using the second and forth groove to take 1.5 mm "O" rings leaving 5 thou clear of the surface. I then reassembled the whole thing with a new main spring and new small spring on the end by-pass valve.
I added half a cupful of synthetic oil to the water tank as Billy does not condense and the flowmotor was dry. One usually has some oil in the water tank which lubricates the pumps and the flowmotor. I steamed up at Sunday’s event and this worked very well. There were no leaks and the fuel needle shut fast bouncing twice as it went off; it is a long time since I have seen this so well demonstrated which is what Dick Hempel tells us should happen in his letters on Whites!
I was still getting overheating of the steam so I have reset the flowmotor to the 30 hp setting, passing an American gallon of water in one minute twenty seconds where it was on the 20hp setting, 20 seconds slower. Billy has a 30 hp steam generator and 20 hp engine. It clearly uses the steam faster like a 30 hp car would so I should have done this before. The flowmotor has a slow regulation and a different regulation for going fast. I don't think that Billy uses the slow one much! The “O” rings in the piston may have reduced the flow slightly so I should have checked the flow on assembly but I did not have time as I was rushing to get to a small local show at Geevor Mine yesterday.
I steamed Billy joined by Chris Relf who is now steaming his 1909 White as a chassis while awaiting the body to be upholstered. This is the x-Francois de Backer White from the South of France. The engine and generator are now working much better as he has sorted most of the leaks.
I took Billy’s flowmotor off today to re-calibrate it to sort out the water flow which is done by deepening the groove in the bronze cylinder. If one goes too far, one has to refill it in with soft solder. I have removed the two “O” rings on the piston as they reduced the water flow too much which was confirmed on the test rig.
The 1908 White has been to several shows recently but had a severe episode of overheating on the last outing and I need to get to grips with that this week. I have yet to work out the problem. I have not done any road running in this car other than about four miles last week since I refitted the rear axle from a remake of the crown-wheel, pinion and front shaft by Llewellyn’s of Bristol.
1908 White and Chris Relf's 1909 running chassis.jpg (187kB)
Billy's flowmotor.jpg (203kB)