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Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: November 3, 2013 05:51AM

Thank you for your comments Mike and Don. That certainly is the easier way for present and probably the best. I will save the bonnet repainting for another time although I do tidy up bits around the chassis and I am now using “a heat-proof paint”. I do not believe that it will stop me catching it on fire again but I hope to have learnt some lessons about that. The under-tray seems to be the main problem as it holds any fuel and thus fire up to the rest of the works rather letting it flow away into the ground. I just have to make sure that it has no fuel on it and I am putting holes in the corners. I want to keep using the under-tray as it
1) Was on Billy originally
2) Allows the forced draft system to work
3) Protects the pilot light from blowing out
4) Probably gives some “ground effects”
I have just remade the forced draft venturi door open/shut spring device operated from the driver’s seat. This was to protect the burner from filling up with dirt when the car was racing on the trotting horse tracks if it was behind another car especially at the start of a race.
I have used an over-centre spring mechanism which I am very pleased with as it does away with magnets and other odd springs which should never have been on the car and works easily and efficiently. I always intended to do this but had difficulty working out the mechanism getting the levers right. It uses some of the space above the venturi door where the water tank is cut away. Some pictures should be attached.

I have been having some interesting correspondence lately about Billy featuring in some motoring magazines and also setting up a steam car record at Castle Combe. I hope to get a few “starter records” set up around the tracks and hill climbs next year. I hope that others will have a go at them. One of the problems seems to be to get accepted at tracks as steam cars do not to exist as far as the VSCC is concerned. I think that they must still be worrying about the mess we will make with iron wheels and the coal!
Whistling Billy always used to race in the open class against the big petrol cars but the VSCC do not seem to even have a class such as “The Edwardian cars”. I think that the politics need to be pushed this winter to get ready for next year. Any help is very welcome!

Attachments: overcenter leaver up & door open(s).jpg (102kB)   Overcenter lever down & door closed(s).jpg (99kB)   Venturi door & mixture control levers(s).jpg (98kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Ray White (
Date: November 4, 2013 03:37PM

Hi Bob.
Just in case you had missed it, I notice in the photo that you posted on 22/10/13 that a pipe had collapsed where it joins the pilot fuel valve. It looks as if it has twisted on tightening.


Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: November 6, 2013 06:07AM

Hello Ray,
Well done for noticing that. Yes, I was aware of this pipe's poor condition but it is just part of my test rig for testing the pilot lights and I have been ignoring it for too long.
I need to replace the old bit of bundy that I used (thin walled copper and stainless pipe) with some small diameter thick walled pipe which would make the pilot valve respond quicker to adjustment of the valve on the filter-this gives the height of the flame. It would also spill less hexane when taken off the car.

I steamed Billy again a couple of days ago and found that the packing glands were again leaking on the HP valve and piston. This must be due to the water pushing it out on first steaming. I feel that it is essential to put drain cocks on Billy especiallty on the HP side but there is very little room on the 3 inch cylinder base with the half inch piston rod and its's packing gland. I am trying to work out how to put one in slightly remote but with small diameter pipe to it.
On the LP side there is much less problem as the 5inch base has plenty of room for a drain cock. Also the LP valve is a slide valve and it will come off its seat.

There was also a problem still with the pressure regulator blowing the oil out and leaking steam. I will take this off and make sure that it has perfect surfaces and a new pressure copper sealing washer. I had to take it apart last when not in my workshop and obviously did not get it completely right. It will not take the full steam temperature for long so must seal -then one should be able to put a hand on it.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Ray White (
Date: November 7, 2013 01:06PM

Bob. I have sent you a P.M.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: November 14, 2013 04:32PM

The crankshaft of my spare engine H383 is now apart and the bearings cleaned to a state where I can see what I have to sort out. Note the crankshaft comes into five parts held together on tapers which in turn have 3/8th inch tapered pins through them except for the HP big end which just has the tapered pin though it and the small end is then riveted over. This one must of course also be perfectly aligned for the crank to run true. White told us that the crankshaft is put together and taken apart with a 70 ton press. I keep that at the ready!
The valve straps and bearings seem to be quite alright although they have slight pitting.
I believe that the big ends will be satisfactory but I will chat with the experts about those as there is a little wear there.
The main bearings are what concern me the most. All of these have varying degrees of wear but little corrosion on the rolling surfaces. All the balls were well corroded. I will consult some experts on these.
Any thoughts on what to do are welcome. You may be able to see that the rear two main bearings have the outer races fully grooved but the front two were smooth presumably to allow for some expansion on the crankshaft. The latter have a worn path in each one.
The main complication here is that the rear mains have the inner race as part of the crankshaft as do the valve eccentrics. All the big ends and valve straps have the outer race of the bearing ground into the rods. One suggestion is to use smaller rollers where the balls would be. I may have to make the outer cases in steel to hold the new bearings.
A complication here could be that it might be impossible to get the crank apart again unless these were cut off first as the press to pull the tapers apart is quite a large bit of gear by necessity. If the bearings are cheap enough this is not a problem. I do seem to have a bad habit of twisting the crank on these tapers with Billy! Originally they just twisted and broke the universal joints on the transmission. If I get the engine really on top form I may be able to do that too! I want this engine’s bearings as good as I can get them.
I hope to add some pictures of the crank apart and a couple of pictures of the rusty parts that I still have to sort out. The sump has corrosion in it that has gone right through in a couple of places. I am going to try aluminium welding on this initially.

Attachments: H383 Engine in bits.S.JPG (221kB)   H383 Crank valve gear.s.JPG (241kB)   H383 Rear mains.S.JPG (224kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: November 14, 2013 04:40PM

Here are three more pictures

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 11/14/13 04:44PM by steamcarbob.

Attachments: H383 Corroded parts.s.JPG (228kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Ray White (
Date: November 14, 2013 06:18PM

This is most interesting and for me it is both obvious and mysterious at the same time. Presumably this is what I have heard of as being the steep learning curve! With regard to your bearing surfaces - that pitting, in my opinion, will need to be machined smooth and possibly (I'm only guessing)have over size balls fitted for the engine to run quietly. Please feel free to contradict at will.

Are you familiar with 'lumiweld'?. If your sump requires repairs I should think this would be an ideal low heat product to use. As I am not skilled in conventional aluminium welding, this has proved to be a most useful alternative for me.


Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: (
Date: November 15, 2013 03:10AM

Hello Ray,
Yes, that is certainly a possibility but there is minimal spare metal there. The original bearings did however have a brass cage with a small block between each ball. Leaving out these cages which I partly damaged getting off will leave enough space for slightly larger balls keeping the same number. I am off to discuss the alternatives for these with some engineering friends.
This engine needs to rev a little higher than it did in the tourers and needs the “quiet bearings” to give the performance safely.
One suggestion is that rollers would give a larger running surface area. I would make individual cases to fit the outer diameter for the rear two bearings.
I am quite keen to keep the aluminium finish on the sump which is obviously not essential – does Lumiweld look something like aluminium? There seem also to be several Araldite based alternatives that could do the job.
I have added some more detailed pictures of the rear berings. The first shows the rusty state from which I started. The ground ball track is clearly shown on the rear pair but the front two show their flat internal surface with a worn groove.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 11/15/13 03:19AM by steamcarbob.

Attachments: H383 rusty rear bearing(s).jpg (72kB)   H383 Rear main outer cases.s.JPG (196kB)   H383 Front main outer case.s.JPG (186kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Donald Cook (
Date: November 15, 2013 11:26AM


I know a little bit about bearings as I worked for the Torrington Co. Ltd for 27 years.

Yes you could regrind your races but it all depends on the depth of case hardening and you cant tell this short of cutting a race in half. The brass cages are there for a reason, to stop your balls rubbing together if you know what I mean! As the bearing rotates the two opposing faces of the balls rotate in opposite directions and if allowed to come in contact with one another they will wear out quicker - In saying that this didnt stop Stanleys doing it!

If at all possible I would replace them with new bearings of a quality make.

When I was in the process of buying my Stanley I asked the previous owner what he had done to the engine during restoration, he said all it needed was new piston rings and new balls to the main bearings. Shortly after I bought the car the crankshaft broke (a common Stanley fault), upon dismantling the engine I found the main bearing races to be in a shocking state and the new balls were egg shaped, up to 0.100 out of round after only 2500 miles.

We are currently changing the big end and main bearings in the Planet engine (in the model T) due to rust pitting. With this engine being single acting it is impossible to keep condensate out completely, and having stood for 60 years I suppose its to be expected.


Edited 2 times. Last edit at 11/15/13 11:31AM by Donald Cook.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Ray White (
Date: November 15, 2013 01:51PM

Bob, I will defer to Don with regard to bearings. You don't do 27 years service at Torringtons without picking up a thing or two about bearings!!

I might be talking tosh but would it be possible to metal spray the bearing surfaces prior to grinding. As to case hardening (again I am not as engineer so I may be talking out my back*****) couldn't you heat to cherry red and with some case hardening compound and let it cool in sump oil? D.I.Y. case hardening!

Where I am on firmer ground is that I can confirm that 'Lumiweld' is indistinguishable from aluminium and in my opinion is ideal for "filling". Also, if you have any stripped threads the hole can be filled, drilled and tapped. The other day I was drilling some fixing holes in a length of aluminium cope moulding and I inadvertently drilled in the wrong place. The job looked ruined but after filling the hole with Lumiweld when filed down and finished off with fine glass paper, the mend was invisible!

Are you familiar with Click Metal? I have found the service to be excellent.


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