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Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: March 26, 2015 05:06AM

25.3.15
The 1903 White and I have been steaming around again on the last two days. I studied the White instruction manual for 1903 again. It wants one to go slowly for the first half mile. Perhaps I open the throttle too soon as I go off through our village initially downhill. I did what it said just cruising slowly. Certainly I held the temperature of the steam better to get things warmed up.
After that it states that one should keep the pressure above 300 psi if possible at all times. I have not been doing this but tending to have it just below 300 psi to make sure that enough water is pumping into the coil. Certainly holding the steam where it says is an improvement when one can. As soon as I open the throttle to have enough steam to climb a hill it drops down to about 200 psi. This is lower even than the 1902 White. I suspect that I am still using too much steam! The driving of these earlier cars is rather different to the later ones, especially Billy, where we usually have plenty of steam. One really has to look after it on the early ones and keep the temperature and pressure up with driver input and holding the throttle back. It does however not slow one down over all much as the performance improves keeping the pressure and temperature up.
Things are improving however, laps of Sancreed Beacon are not a problem now and I was able to go down into Penzance returning via Nick Howells who is getting his 1902 Toledo ready for the same trip to Germany but he cannot get his engine in until he has some parts back. He hopes to be running next week for the first time with his larger boiler. Nick has given me a can of “Steam Car Fuel” which he finds works well on his car. I have been using 20% diesel in lead free petrol but it is sooting up the pilot light, takes some time to get warmed up and pops and bangs quite a lot. I am also getting more blow-backs with it. I will empty the tank and try the new fuel after I have cleaned the pilot light and vaporizer again. I suspect that about 15% diesel is the maximum that the pilot light will take without too much trouble. Of course adding a second tank for hexane for the pilot light would give more options for the main fuel. I am trying not to do that!
I still do not feel that the jet size is correct. I am going to make one slightly smaller – about 63 thou. I am going to take out the burner and fit my adjustable air entry baffle to see if less air helps. I have it fixed at present to shut off half the air outside the tube but I think that the flame still could be a little less distance off the grid which is an indication of too much air.
Bob




Edited 1 times. Last edit at 03/28/15 04:25AM by Steamcarbob.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 1, 2015 04:29AM

1.04.2015
Now here's a new one! Yesterday the weather was fowl, blowing a gale with some wet in it. So, as one does, instead of a run about, I decided to recheck the leaks through the engine and take the engine out as it is all of two weeks since it was last out! On re-testing, the steam was leaking through to the LP exhaust at TDC of the HP side to TDC of the LP side and less at BDC of the HP side but nil at BDC on the LP side. The HP simpling valve has minimal leakage so I will regrind that.
Out came the engine which now involves a little more; removing the splendid leather jacket made by David Gibbons off the rear prop-shaft joint and removing the oil separator. David is now making the jackets for the steering joints. These are all very vulnerable to getting dirt in them and were originally cased certainly from 1905 onward which is the earliest “Parts List” that I have seen. Some-one recently telephoned me because he has a 1911 petrol White and his rear U.J. had been worn out by dirt. He did not realize that it is the same as the steam ones and needs a leather jacket.

Once the engine was on the bench, I removed the valve chest cover and was greeted by a very bent LP valve rod keeping the valve off the surface at the top by almost half an inch. This has clearly been done since the last time the engine was out.
I had a stroke of luck; Paul had made a spare new valve rod.
I looked around for a cause for the bent valve;
The valve seems to clear the casing in all positions but is very close to a slight casting protrusion at the top of its travel. I removed this.
I could find no scars on the valve or the seat.
There were no visible foreign bodies.
I will have to take both pistons out and check the pistons and rings in case one has lost a bit.
Since the condenser is passing too much steam and I am suspicious that it should have a baffle which has been left out below where the steam goes in and just above half way up, I shall remove the left panel and, when it is off; see if any foreign bodies have been posted into it from the engine. The tubes on these earlier condensers go across them and the steam should go into it, across the top half and back across the bottom half. After 1905 the condenser tubes were vertical. I have not looked at this at all until now but with a few more days of inclement weather forecast it seems a good opportunity.
I will attach a couple of pictures including one of the new mirror mounting brackets that I made and which have just returned from being nickel plated. I fit mirrors on both sides as we are quite often on the continent and my hearing is somewhat suspect.
Also showing in this picture outside the steam pressure gauge is the steam temperature gauge which Paul had made. I eventually got the better of it and squeezed in the new insides which are a very tight fit as they come out of a larger instrument. The sensor is mercury filled with a tube running up to the instrument. It is interesting that the mercury could well be vaporizing at the temperature that the car is running but it will of course be under pressure. Anyway it seems to work well and closely compares with the modern electronic one which I use for testing.
Bob

Attachments: Bent LP valve rod.jpg (189kB)   New mirror mounts nickel plated.jpg (171kB)   Rear of condenser.jpg (219kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Mike L Clark (---.range86-165.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 1, 2015 05:13PM

I can imagine from the pictures what a pleasure it must be working on all those nice shiny clean bits of steamer! No doubt once you get it running on tours it will get a bit mote oily, just like the rest of us.

Mike

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 2, 2015 03:54AM

Hello Mike,
Although the car looks smart, I too have a underlying grubbiness in my workshop that I have been trying to reduce. Much of it started about two years ago when I started using graphite which I was adding to grease. It got onto all my tools and machines and the cars. I am now not using it, and wearing latex type gloves plus doing a lot of cleaning. I am slowly winning until I go out in the workshop with no gloves and get oily /dirty/graphity again off another tool!
This car certainly looks smart but I have added a few dings on the paintwork which I am going to sort hopefully before going to Germany with it in a month. I really prefer the mechanics to the posh bit! At least I do not have to do any brass polishing on this one.
Bob

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Mike L Clark (---.range86-165.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 2, 2015 05:51PM

Graphite - I have a friend whose speciality is CNC machining of large objects on his large lathe and milling machine.

One day when I visited he was boring a 50mm hole down the centre of a 2.5 metre long, 200mm diameter bar of graphite which was to form the mixing tube and flame nozzle for a scrap steel melting plant. He had found that he had to use sealed electric motors around his works as graphite and electricity don't mix well!

His hobby is rebuilding the 36 Litre Rolls Royce Griffon engines (ex Shackleton coastal surveillance planes)for use in tractor pulling - clever chap.

Mike

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 4, 2015 05:00AM

4.04.2015
We have had my eldest son William down from Exeter with his wife Kate and two girls, Polly and Eve, and yesterday our youngest son Michael came to visit with his two children, Emma and Joe, and father-in-law Ray Clark (who has the Daimler-Doble which he promises to bring to our Devon tour next year) while his wife worked at Treliske hospital for the day. They had come to remove some pampas grass and day lilies from the garden with a small mechanical digger and to sort an old cast iron water main leak.
By the afternoon the work was done and the weather improved so we went steaming in the 1903 White. I had put the engine back in the day before having checked the piston and rings and found no foreign bodies in the engine to cause the bent LP valve rod. I think that it had fouled on the bottom of the cylinder casting when the valve was fully down. I skimmed this area out a little to give some clearance.
I was testing the “Steam Car fuel” with which I had great difficulty getting the pilot light going and the vaporizer hot enough to vaporize the fuel properly. I think that this has too much heavy oil in it for this car but I still have not found out what mixture it is.
We made it to the Rabbit Ground and had to stop at the lane below our house on the way back. I ran the engine and had a look around. I had a water leak by the pressure regulator where I had forgotten to tighten a nut fully. All tightened and with steam up again we climbed the steep little hill and ran on going around Sancreed Beacon where Michael took some pictures. He had followed us in his truck to rescue the children when they got too cold as it was a very cold windy day. We then went out towards St Just and back home making the drive without stopping. The car is still struggling on the hills but does just make them and given time to set it up between the hills, it will climb short ones reasonably but still slowly loses the temperature in the steam and then the pressure. Hand water pumping will keep it going but that of course loses the temperature faster.

Liz Morgan keeps a similar Rolls Royce engine in her living room. They are quite a size! Paul had had it fully restored as a spare for his Mustang Fighter before he was killed in his marine version of the Spitfire.




Edited 1 times. Last edit at 04/05/15 04:09AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: Kate, Eve, Bob,Emma and Ray by Sancreed Beacon.jpg (227kB)   We have made it up my steep drive.jpg (215kB)   Billy looking to come out soon..jpg (165kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 7, 2015 05:06AM

7.04.2015
I think that I am now almost ready for our tour in Germany in three weeks! I can climb almost any hill.
So what has made the difference? I did a few small things to get over the final steps.
1) I cleaned the coil out by pumping through hydro-carbonic acid (it has acid Sulphamique written on the container), which comes as white crystals like sugar, dissolved in water. I used about a pint of crystals in a couple of buckets of water and pumped the solution through for a couple of minutes at a time about with ten minutes static over a couple of hours. There was some carbon washed out but not a great amount so I do not think that the inside of the tube lined with carbon was much of a problem. The carbon comes from burnt oil in the water. I used an old 12 volt water pump that was on my shelf. When I did this last time on my 1908 White, I used a mains dishwasher motor and kept it pumping for a couple of hours before it killed the pump! That time I got much more carbon out but that car had had a lot more use! I blow the car down after each trip and that keeps it clean.
2) I took the fuel needle out and blew compressed air through the pipe to the nozzle making sure that there was no blockage.
3) While the fuel needle was out I gave it another half turn increasing the operating temperature. Sitting ticking over the temperature had been rising to just over 800 deg F but on the road it only seemed to get to about 680deg. Now that I have a permanent temperature gauge I have to transfer to centigrade as it reads in that. Whites usually run at 750 deg F or 395 deg C. It is essential to have this about right, too cold performance is poor, too hot and damage occurs.
4) I fully shut my little adjustable venturi door to stop all air outside the small tube in the venturi.
5) I went back to about 15 % diesel in petrol as the pilot light did not like the “steam car fuel”. I did not take out the remaining fuel so it is a bit of a mixture.

The result was that the car steamed easily and off I went up our steep little hill towards Sancreed Beacon. The steam temperature was maintained at around 380deg C (I now have to be a modern centigrade person) and hardly dipped. We did a couple of laps around the Beacon which we climbed at a much better speed and only lost temperature if I tried to go too fast for too long. I went on to Drift Reservoir and then back to St. Just. On the way back I climbed the long hill with no problem and then came up my drive easily.
In the afternoon I had a job to do giving a ride around Penzance to a Golden Wedding Anniversary party which involved carrying quite a weight up though Penzance town. Not a problem.
I then proceeded to climb the very steep hill up to Nick Howell’s house three times, once with four of us up. Nick has a Toledo steamer which he is bringing to Germany if he can get the valve rings in time! The last trip up his drive I had lost a little temperature, had the hand water pump almost turned off (a valve then prevents one giving a few extra pumps of water to help) and had to stop to get up steam and re-pressurize the fuel tank to 40 psi as it had dropped below 30 psi. This shows that I am still only just on the borders of working well and I may just give her a little more fuel to see if it maintains the temperature slightly higher. I need to get the car’s mechanical air pump working properly too which I have yet to do.
The key here is that I can now maintain the steam temperature much better which is essential on a White. Was it the cutting down of the air to the burner or the increase in the fuel needle setting that caused the main improvement? I shall have a fiddle with my air adjuster to see what happens and probably give it another half turn on the fuel needle, but it must shut off before over heating on the road.
Bob

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Mike L Clark (---.range86-165.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 7, 2015 05:43AM

Perseverance has finally paid off Bob - what an epic.

Don't you sometimes wish for the simplicity of a Stanley?

What is "steamcar fuel" - apologies if you have already told us.

Mike

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 7, 2015 12:38PM

Hello Mike,
Yes, this car has been a struggle but the insides of most parts were modified and some of the main pipework. Now you can follow the instruction manual and it should get you there! I had to take almost all of it apart often more than once. The trouble is that when one modifies the Whites finding the problems is almost impossible. I have many letters written to me about White mechanics by Dick Hempel who was an airline pilot who ran Whites and a couple of Dobles for 40 years. He emphasizes again and again that one must not modify the system and this was done on this car to an unbelievable degree. Many of the alterations were hard to spot like the over-sized venturi.

"Steam car fuel" comes in 40 gallon drums and had no official contents written on it. It seems to be quite a heavy fuel but lighter than straight diesel. Almost too much for the early White pilot light and almost certainly too heavy for the later ones too. I got it from Nick Howell and he did not know what it was either but it seemed to be alright in his Toledo. I will try to find out more about it. The cost is about £6 per gallon.
I will to stick to petrol with some diesel in it as one can get it from any garage.

No, I do not want a Stanley. I inherited father's Stanley (x- Stoneman) before and I found it had many nasty problems such as being unable to stop when going backwards and one had to keep too close an eye on the boiler level. In later ownership of course it caught fire and was severely damaged. I also had the Nelson and scorched that boiler although I added a cut-off as per White on the Stephenson's link and that made it much more efficient.
Bob



Edited 2 times. Last edit at 04/08/15 03:56AM by Steamcarbob.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (---.range86-134.btcentralplus.com)
Date: April 10, 2015 10:07AM

10.4.2015
Sorry Mike, the epic is not over yet. The problems are not going away with the 1903 White, just changing. Yesterday I had about 6 hours on the car pottering around West Cornwall visiting various people.
Nick Howells was the first with a climb up his steep hill as I had to deliver the splendid itinerary for our German tour in three weeks time made by Chis Everett.
Next I visited my son Michael’s garage “West Country Classics” in Rosudgeon going via Marazion past St. Michael’s Mount and he had a ride along the road. We added half a gallon extra of diesel giving about 20% diesel to petrol and that brought the temperature up to about 450deg C which is too high but it would still loose temperature too fast on the hills. After visiting some other friends in Rosudgeon we went up to the North Coast and visited two lots of friends there for a cup of tea and a chat.
The second visit there was to Graham who is making a steam trike using a special engine which is powered by steam in a continuous hose with rollers as the “pistons”. It has five rollers with four 4 sections of hose per revolution. It looks an interesting fun project. The engine is developing more than one HP with the steam at 300 deg C maximum, the temperature limited at present by the material of the hose being squashed. Obviously much more development will be needed.
I then returned home along the pretty St. Ives to Pendeen coast road by the West Penwith Moors. The day’s trip was probably about 40 miles in hilly country.
When I got home and put the car up on the ramps I noticed a slight hissing from the burner area. I have had this before on the 1902 White so I knew what it was. I got out my stethoscope with a length of stainless pipe plugged into the sensor end and had a listen up into the bottom of the steam generator through the holes in the burner (this White burner still scavenges air through half inch holes in the bottom, all the air went into the venturi from 1905 onward). There is a strong leak near the steam outlet end. I have done nothing in the steam generator as yet so that is the next thing to sort out.
I took the burner off this morning. The steam pipe joint from the thermostat tube is cracked but still together. This is a welded joint and I will see if it can be TIG welded in situ. I hope that I do not have to take out the complete steam generator but judging from previous problems, it could be wise, although the thermostat seems to be working well. A new thermostat casing would not be difficult to make if I could break the quite inaccessible joint coming down into that thermostat case beside the coils. Putting it back together steam-tight would be another problem!
Bob




Edited 1 times. Last edit at 04/10/15 11:50AM by Steamcarbob.

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