Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob
Date: May 2, 2014 07:31AM
Hopefully the system is now returned to normal after a computer attack. I have struggled to get it working again. You may note that the Whistling Billy section on the front page of the website has now expanded and I can feed into it pictures etc.
I completed the work on the 1902 White and have done a couple of good runs. Nick Howells with his 1902 Toledo and I with the 1902 White went up to my brother’s house in Lifton one beautiful clear day and with John with his 1910 White we drove along the old A30 on the edge of Dartmoor to Bridestowe where we had a good lunch. We then checked the water levels and topped up with buckets over the bridge. John chucked his bucket over the bridge and unfortunately the chain link pin came unscrewed leaving him with the rope in his hand and no more. We could see the pin and yolk on the bottom of the river and the bucket went down the river. John rolled his trousers up and went paddling. Luckily he was able to retrieve everything except his dignity!
John's White is now going well and he went home but returned to rescue Nick Howells who had run out of fuel as he has two connected fuel tanks and he has found that filling one does not necessarily fill the second. He still lacks power on the hill as he has not yet completely sorted his burner and jet problems using a remade Toledo type burner. In the meantime I had pottered on back. This road would make an excellent base for a tour. We went past Jethro's place on this little trip.
Next I turned my attentions back to Whistling Billy. I tried lighting up and found that I had persistent blowbacks when things got hot. I cleaned the burner, the slots (with a 25 thou broken slot cutter with a crude wood handle), the vaporizer and the pilot light and I think that the firing is now alright. I suspect that the main problem was bits of grass etc. blowing into the venturi as it is very near the ground and uses the forced draft from around the nose cone but there was a surprising amount of debris on top of the burner and some of the slots had suffered rusting from our damp sea air.
The next task was to sort the steam leaks on the engine. My 1908 White potters on with very little attention to the engine usually but Billy is quite different using lots of hot steam and large pressure. I took the simpling gear off the top to remove the top aluminium casing plate. This is really an unnecessary chore that involves banging out two tapered pins and several split pins etc. I do not need to do that anymore as I have now cut this top plate in half under the simpling shaft so I can get at the cylinders and the bits under the casing. I am going to take off the top of this the two cast mounting brackets for the fan shaft that usually runs over the engine but of course Billy has no condenser or fan. I know that I am busy destroying an original White part but those brackets were broken off in the original accident in 1908 that this engine H4 had when its car was written off. I had welded them back on but they would not be strong enough for their proper use. I will then use these holes to put top drain cocks into the cylinder heads. I have not done this yet as I am working the system out on the spare engine H383 first. I need to find or make drain cocks with about 2.5 inch stems before the threaded part. Hopefully I will then be less likely to blow out the piston rod packings or the top gaskets. Part of the problem here is that Billy has a light flywheel and turns over very quickly on starting. On the original cars you carefully turn the engine over as you move the Stephenson’s link motion back and forth but it is all a bit hectic with Billy and I seem to blow out packings at a rate of knots probably at engine starting!
I have just discovered another reason for the valve rod packings to blow out. The Stephenson’s link motion rods come through the top of the crankcase to meet the valve rods with half inch rods running in bronze. Seeing these a bit rusted on the spare engine I mic’ed them up and found that they were about 6 thou worn which will allow play of the valve rods in the packing and thus blow the packing. I am going to turn them down slightly and re-sleeve them with old hard chromed piston rods which are spot on for size and very smooth. I use these old rods, which I have discarded as the tops have come loose on the piston, on the water pumps as well and I find it a cheap, quick and efficient method of repair.
On taking the top plate off Billy’s engine, I found that the simpling gear plate needed a new copper gasket and that the plugs where the main valves are inserted were loose. I tried tightening the HP one and found the thread was poor so I mic’ed them up. They were 20thou undersized presumably due to the bronze trying to expand in the iron block and being shrunk. I made new ones still in bronze as I would rather they went again than crack the block. These are 1.25 inch X 20tpi, so quite a fine thread for the job. They clearly do not like Billy’s fast supplied hot steam. I never quite know what the next problem will be! Having checked for leaks I reassembled the top and am now ready for the next steaming possibly this weekend.
Last weekend I had about 40 people here from the Cornwall Vintage Vehicle Society (C.V.V.S.) with their vintage and classic vehicles for a couple of hours look around the cars and workshop. I brought over my son Michael’s 1914 Stanley too which needs the scorched boiler sorting so I hope to get that done soon as he is very busy with his business. It was a good excuse for cleaning the cars, the garage and the workshop!
I did however fail to go to Trevithick Day in Camborne on the 1902 White, which was all ready to go, as the weather was so fowl for me and the old car. I usually drive there and back whch gives me about a fifty mile round trip with my various deviations to avoid traffic.
I have just got back the main bearings for Billy’s spare engine from HB Bearings. They look to have done a fine job and now I can get on with assembly but I seem to have many events coming up and am running a bit behind where I hoped to be by now.
I am having some problems at present trying to get entry to events such as Hill Climbs although the Bugatti Club are happy to have us at Prescott and Castle Combe want me on that circuit(Unfortunately both have appropriate events on the same weekends!
The VSCC which I have joined seemed to be the problem at first but eventually I found that the block was at the MSA. I believe that Mike Clarke and Basil Craske have both trod this path before me. It does seem extraordinary that similar problems have been going on for over 100 years. Basil found at first that the problem was with the iron wheels and the coal! Having educated them a bit he still came up with hurdles.
The petrol car boys seem to be almost afraid of the steam cars even if like Billy they do not have a boiler ready to explode (even if they do not). I am pushing just to be allowed to hill climb and possibly race in the open Edwardian class if I can get my engines strong enough.
If you have a steam car, especially a racer, do contact me as larger numbers might make things easier. I did note a little hope when I mentioned that these cars run on petrol or petrol/diesel mixture. This might just be the key to getting in.
Edited 1 times. Last edit at 05/03/14 04:32AM by Steamcarbob.
2014.5 Billy\'s top engine cover modified.jpg (109kB)
2014.5 Cars on show.jpg (110kB)
20145.5 Spare engine,burners and benders.jpg (123kB)