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Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: May 27, 2015 04:31AM

Thanks for your comments. The engine is now back in the car with the two water pumps hopefully ready to work. I took the siezed oil pump off and cleaned out lots of grubby old oil and some bits of red rubbery substance. It then was free with new oil in it. I almost hand pumped the oil through the pressure line around to the steam line. It got most of the way and it seized again.
I first checked the pump with the oil pumping through it. Fine.
Next I disconnected the unusual valve that allows one to redirect the steam oil to the pressure regulator instead of the cylinder. Fine.
The pressure regulator was next and this was blocked. I am going to take the end off it to see if I can find the problem.There is a small spiral channel in this which will be blocked. I am fairly sure that the blockage will be caused by the rubbery gasket seal that had been used on the oil pump parts to excess in the past.
All this goes to show that I should have just taken this car completely to bits when I got it and rebuilt it fully although it was owned by a good engineer for petrol cars!

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rog White (
Date: May 27, 2015 08:30AM

Can sympathise. You would'nt believe what goes wrong on the first Spring steam after draining for Winter. One would think that someone else had used the vehicle for a couple of years.
Silicon sealant is outlawed. Hermatite can be used with caution.
Rog White

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: May 29, 2015 04:28AM

The red rubbery sealant was found in the pressure regulator head and removed as expected.
I also found the the oiler drive spindle was almost seized. This I believe should have an oil well and a small pipe feeding the bearing. Certainly the slightly later cars did. Both the shaft and the pulley are smaller than they should be and the shaft had been drilled up the centre to be oiled through it. It is very annoying to find these things altered quite unnecessarily so. I am going to borrow a pulley off Arnoud Carp and remake the correct fittings.
While I had the water tank out I also noticed that the large inspection hole (about 5 ins diameter) had had a tap fitted on it - quite useless as one is not able to get to it to open it. Presumably the idea was to be able to drain the water tank. This should have an open pipe in it about 3/4 inch OD going to the top of the tank. It is an overflow pipe but if one puts a hose in the water tank, one can run it and use the pipe to flush off any excess oil on the water. I refitted this correctly.
The car is now all back together and ready for steaming.
On Wednesday we were in charge of a couple of grandchildren, Joe and Emma. Joe helped me get out the 1902 White from its winter hibernation and clean the paintwork and brass. It was last out in the South of France last October. It still had some pressure in the fuel tank! I added some petrol and filled the oiler, gave the engine a good oiling and fired up. No problems. We set off and did a circuit around Sancreed and off to Drift Reservoir before returning home. She climbed up my drive with ease.
This little 6hp car is not so quick with its simple engine under the seat, chain drive and tiller steering as the 1903 White with its 10hp compound engine in the front, chassis, prop-shaft and four seater body.
This is great development over the one year but was essential as there were many of the earlier Locomobile types of car unsold in 1903. The bottom of the simple steam car market had fallen out with such cars as the Curved Dash Oldsmobile coming in which were much easier to operate and more reliable.
Do not under estimate this little White however. The original owner Sir Charles Ross bought it to climb the hills on his 356,000 acre estate (Ross-shire). It is a strong little car and should be capable of about 35 to 40 mph although I need to fit new rear hubs as incorrect ones were fitted just after World War Two as tyres of the correct size could not be found. The car was not really sorted and run then however (a gas burner was put under the steam generator to run around a field) until I got it running in 1996 for the Centenary London to Brighton Run.
I have been putting this job off for years but I have just found some new smooth tyres for the front which should stop any hint of wheel shimmy (treaded tyres are too strong for the simple very light steering and I fitted a steering damper which may well now go).The rear hubs are keyed on but the present ones are hollow in the middle so the key only fit at the ends and all is now getting quite worn so needs attention.
I am taking this car on Peter Stevenson's Tour in the Midlands next week as I hope to bring back the body of my very original 1908 White from Northampton University where the front seats are being restored.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 05/29/15 04:38AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: 02WHITE (Medium).JPG (88kB)   Kate, Eve, Bob,Emma and Ray by Sancreed Beacon.jpg (227kB)   1908 White in France 2010.jpg (235kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 10, 2015 06:00AM

The tour at Peter Stevenson’s splendid little bit of England near Rugby is now completed. He has about eleven acres of what he has developed into woodland with open grassland containing a lake about 100 yards long. On the Wednesday his steam boat was on the lake and the model trains were running around the track. While we were there, many of the birds had chicks on the pond with more appearing each day. His grass carp are now large fish and swim near the surface.
Unfortunately only eight steamers attended. The tour was really a little too long on most days for my little 1902 White and it was quite hard work. The first day we covered about 60 miles where we should have gone further around Leicester. The small cars, consisting of Nick Howells 1902 Toledo and my 1902 White and Arnoud Carp’s 1904 White from Holland (almost identical to my 1903 White), opted not to go quite as far but we were in the seat getting lost for all the day. Arnoud hardly managed any distance.
The second day again was really too far for us. I had adjusted my thermostat up a little and the car was going much better. It will keep up 20 to 25 mph and probably do 35 mph but I treat her with some respect in view of her 113 years. The reason for the adjustment was that the modern petrol has ethanol in it and this really upsets this little car that has always worked well on plain petrol.
Arnoud and I stopped near the start raising the steam temperature but Arnoud still could only run his White at walking pace with the steam temperature at about 250 deg C (useless in a White which runs at 395 deg C).
We came back along the Fosse Way which really is a bad road for these small cars as it is very busy but although straight on the map it has steep short hills on which we slow down to almost walking pace. I filled up with fuel slightly off the road up a dual carriageway and had to go for some miles towards Rugby. My passenger Alun Griffiths (he has a non-working condensing Stanley and the steam GN special) navigated us back. Near Rugby by a cement works we ran out of water. Fortunately water is usually at the bottom of a hill and we made it onto a bridge with a stream 30ft below us. I keep a canvas bucket with about 40ft of climbing rope in it on the back of the car and we filled the tank about half full by chucking the bucket over and pulling it up full. A very satisfying job!
Nick phoned me here to say that he had broken a con-rod which had come through the sump on his Toledo which has bronze bearings on the big ends. This was on a nasty bend on the Fosse Way on top of a hill and he had to take the chain off to be able to move the car. Peter was rescuing him!
We went on until about 5 miles from Peter‘s house where the car suddenly developed a steam leak, luckily just outside a pub! We were then both very tired and on inspection the oil pipe supplying the cylinders and valve gear had broken off, easily repaired back at base but not worth risking engine damage. A quick phone call to Nick found Peter with him and it just left us enough time for a pint before he rescued us.
I think that this is the first time that we have had to be rescued in this car since the Salvage Squad failed to do the remedial work before the London to Brighton in about 2002 (the film is still repeated on the television on “The Salvage Squad “series). This car is normally very reliable and we often re-pass the big Stanleys filling up when we keep going past the water stops as we have quite a good condensing system and a large water tank.
The next day we sorted the pipe and compared Arnoud and my burners to make sure that his was reasonable. It looked good. We went to Cotesbach Hall to see a splendid little museum where they started up a Merlin engine for us.
Thursday was another quite long day and my car went well. Chris Howells joined me to go to Foxton's Locks which is a splendid place to pass a few hours watching the narrow boats going up and down the 10 locks.
Arnoud was still in trouble and had his vaporizer out. I looked at his main jet and found that it had a narrowing in it and that it was too small. I opened it out to 65 thou where I have my 1903 White. The next day he had his best days touring so far in the car but unfortunately blew out the HP cylinder packing after about twelve miles probably because it is the first time his steam temperature and pressure have been near where they need to be and he may well have worn cross-heads as this is often the cause of this problem. I think that we will see this car and Arnoud keeping up with the tour soon. The car was taken apart and modified with a petrol engine fitted in the 1950’s for a film and was then rebuilt to go into a museum. It had many problems and has taken a lot of sorting over about 10 years although it looks very smart.
On the last day, I opted out and went to collect from Northampton University the body of my 1908 White Roi des Belges which has had the leather work restored, with most work needed on the front seats. All looks well.
I got it back to Peter’s house and then unloaded it and loaded the 1902 White with its wheels in cut-outs at the front of the trailer. The body on its trolley just fitted in behind it but I had to take the metal work out of the rear door of the trailer as it would not quite shut. I had made this rear door easily removable before leaving Cornwall the week before by making the hinge pins removable.
All went well, my 1902 White and the 1908 body are now back home undamaged after the 300 mile trip.
Nick Howell will probably replace his engines bronze bearings with rollers which seems a good idea and I believe has been done on other Toledos. He is getting his broken crank-case welded.
Arnoud is very pleased with his progress!

Next I will take out Billy’s engine and put the correct top back onto the restored bottom half of engine H 383. I will then get the bottom end of engine H 4 restored with decent bearings while hopefully running Billy this summer with the spare engine H 383. The block of H 4 is already repaired and ready for action.
I am sorry but I did not take any pictures while I was on this trip apart from featuring the Merlin engine.

Edited 3 times. Last edit at 06/11/15 03:51AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: Merlin engine 1.jpg (191kB)   Merlin engine 2.jpg (176kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rog White (
Date: June 10, 2015 07:11PM

Well done Bob - Peter's sounded like a marathon.
I take it you won't be doing the Wales tour?
I've taken your comments on the 1903 White to heart and am making sure that the Landy water pump bypasses when adequate working pressure is reached and no further.
It starts pumping also depending on the temperature of a coil about 1/3 from the top of the stack. I think that I've got that somewhere near now.
Tempted to put a larger thicker coil at the top to 'mortgage', but that's cheating the control a bit. Could do that later when I'm happy with the existing set-up.
All the best
Rog W

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 11, 2015 04:25AM

Hello Roger,
That sounds correct.
You do not want the pressure to over-run but you do need a close working pressure regulator. The Whites after 1902 used a pressure regulator with a 4 to 1 lever to maximize the movement of the famous Finnegan Pin. The diaphragm still opens this by-pass valve at the correct set pressure but the relief valve works with about 4 times the movement making control easier. This improvement is shown with the control in my 1902 (1 to 1 ratio) and 1903 Whites (later 4 to 1 ratio).

Naturally, the thermostat needs equally good control which is not damaged with the heat. This is not so simple as the heat at about 400 deg C tends to damage the packing and can seize the rod or overheating can bend the copper rod. Overheating is easier done than one might imagine. The temperature can appear quite reasonable but once past the 400 deg C can suddenly run away another 200 or 300 deg with some faults.
I had this about 5 years ago on my 1908 White when it suddenly developed a tiny squirting leak in the bronze body of the flowmotor where it had been repaired from earlier "banana-ing" from frosting while in its 70 years of storage. I had the test thermometer on (in deg F) at the time and there was a peak of over 1000 degrees within a few hundred yards when approaching a bridge. Luckily there was a model engineer living in a house by the bridge and I took the flowmotor off and we soldered a penny from my pocket over the hole which lasted the rest of the tour!

In 1907 Whites combined the effects of the two to much greater effect by the flowmotor which regulated the amount of fuel at different water feed rates rather than just controlling the fuel with thermostat and the pumps with the pressure regulator.

I am sure that trying to design your own system shows how clever the White engineers were in sorting this which when all sorted and working well will keep the needles right on the mark in all but the most extreme conditions.
I am attaching some pictures of the flowmotor that I made up for Billy after being given the casting for the main body by Arthur Thomson who had a spare which went with his car.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 06/11/15 04:39AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: DSC_2080 (Medium).JPG (75kB)   DSC_2079 (Medium).JPG (58kB)   DSC_2085 (Medium).JPG (55kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rog White (
Date: June 11, 2015 05:22PM

Thanks for that Bob.
I'd often wondered how Whites came to make the brilliant switch between using an expanding copper rod to control a liquid fuel supply, to using the same rod to make water do the same job in a far better manner.
The dates are the clue, if they produced the flowmotor after 1906.
!906 Lee de Forest put a 'grid' into one of Ambrose Fleming's diode valves, enabling amplification for radio. Whites must have been quick off the mark in using a leak of water to influence the position of a much more powerful hydraulic piston - to drive the fuel needle. Surely the first hydraulic amplifier?
Whites work demands a lot of respect, and they weren't fooled by the concurrent i/c developments.
If you get a chance to have a look at CO in the exhaust tubes I'd be interested.
I'd wondered why I was so off colour that day after Falmouth conference - when you dropped me off at Truro station, after a splendid 'stop-over'.
A similar thing happened when Billy Wilson's Stanley was having burner problems after he first got it, and we set off for Balmoral.
I took no chances when the Landy was LPG fired. The side-screens came off easily.
Keep the ideas coming and I'll get this Landy sorted yet !
Many thanks
Rog W

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 12, 2015 04:58AM

Well done Roger. I did not realize that the electrical science was working in time with White’s development. Whites realized that the old thermostatic fuel control was not good enough and I suspect developed the flowmotor on Billy because they wanted the burners on with water going into the generator and not switched off when their steam temperature just got too high. Control of the water volume to give maximum power but avoid overheating was essential.
For those who need a little more explanation of the system and using the pictures of the flowmotor from my last rambling:-
The flowmotor piston has a tapered groove in the cylinder in which it runs giving more water by-pass as the piston goes down and is a very good fit otherwise. This groove is filled with soft solder which is carefully scraped out to give the correct flow. This involves taking the end off the flowmotor each time to scrape out a little solder until the flow is correct. The 2 inch long piston moves just over one inch between the large inlet pipe and the angled pipe to the generator.
The flow is measured by putting a hose pipe on the water inlet (I have made a connection for this), turning the tap on until the lock-nut on the flowmotor needle moves 15/16 inch and measuring the flow of water out of the pipe to the generator. On the flowmotor is shown the other small pipe which is part of the thermostat by-pass; this needs to be sealed off.
It is interesting to note that the piston movement is independent of the pressure as long as it overcomes the spring mounted piston but dependent on the flow of water, hence it is called a "flowmotor" and the mains water pressure and flow is ample to work it.
The flow needs to be one gallon of water in 100 seconds for the 20 hp cars and one gallon in 80 seconds for the 30 hp cars giving more water (30 hp cars have a 5 thou deeper flat on the fuel needle to give a little more fuel). With the 1908 White, the first one that I sorted, it took me a while and a 6 am magic moment to realize the obvious that these are American gallons!
Once set up with all other parts working, the control of steam temperature and pressure is very satisfying. The problems start again when the piston or the flowmotor needle become worn. From the packages that have come with most cars or engines that I have had, I think that the flowmotor needles, the rod they screwed into and the partial water by-pass to prevent generator flooding on full piston movement were all changed at least on annual service.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 06/13/15 04:20AM by Steamcarbob.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: June 15, 2015 05:28AM

For the sake of us geeks who want the smaller detail and completeness, I am going to give the detail on the flowmotor needle.
This needle as we have seen is gradually pushed down by the piston regulated by the flow of water from the water pumps to the steam generator. At fully down, much of the water is by-passed back to the water tank.
I am attaching a drawing of the flowmotor needle done some years ago and modified a little by the late Dick Hempel. Dick sent me this in about 1988 when I was trying to sort out my 20 HP 1908 White Model “L”. Whistling Billy is on the 30 to 40 HP needle with the flat a 0.004 inch deeper.
When you see these needles they are really very thin – under 1/10th inch. I have had a couple from America but the threads on them have been very poor and I prefer to make my own starting with the correct size of stainless rod. It is about a day’s work for each one.
First I make a tapered head and thread it on sealing it with a touch of silver solder. With the needle in a collet in the lathe, I then true the head with a small skim off it. A small center in the head is quite useful and on my first one I put a square which was handy for adjusting it.
Next I thin down the body of the rod by about 0.002 inch using fine emery and a steel block. This seems quite crude but it works in conjunction with a very accurate digital micrometer. The thinner part runs in packing. The neck must of course be left the full diameter as this part’s fit in the bush is what stops the fuel from flowing rather than the head of the valve. Get this right and one gets no blow-backs from this cause.
I like to thread the other end next. From memory, I used 7 BA on Billy because I had some good nuts for that size and it is almost the same.
Next the fiddly bit. First I hand file the small flat with the needle still in the lathe to hold it firmly. Again the micrometer is essential. I then turn it over and do the other side starting with the flat and finishing with the taper.
That is all there is to it. I like to do a couple of needles at a time. I am sure that a CNC machine would produce 100 quite quickly and more accurately but I have never got around to getting them made. Mine seem to work well!
When setting it up, one screws the needle into its tube which in turn attaches to the spring-loaded piston. Once the tension of the spring is felt, add an extra five turns of the needle before tightening the lock-nut to get what should be the correct adjustment.

Yesterday I took the 1903 White out for a run to our village show and around Sancreed. She is now quite a different car, climbing the hills with ease and wanting to get on. I seldom managed to get the steam pressure below 300 psi although I had full throttle on some of the hills where I would generally hold back some steam.
What a difference! I think most of my problems resolved when I found the leak between the high and low pressure valve chambers while in Germany but doing all the other work insured that most parts are now in good order. I do need to sort out a slightly binding left rear brake and remove totally the clutch which I have not been using at all lest I fracture the water pump again.

For the present I have Billy’s engine out and almost apart. The parts need a good clean and service before being ready to transfer them onto spare engine H 383 for use this season’s running while I sort the bottom half of engine H 4.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 06/17/15 04:27AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: White Flowmotor drawing(s).jpg (124kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Rog White (
Date: June 20, 2015 06:31AM

Hello Bob

It looks as if you have sorted the 1903 White.


Your flowmotor water figures are useful. (100 secs /gallon for 20HP and 80 for 30HP).
Landy pump delivers 10ccs / rev. At 300rpm (where it spends a lot of its running time) that's 3000ccs /min. Or near enough 90 secs per gallon.
The engine, if 50HP at 1500rpm must be about 10HP at 300rpm. (The indicator says so as well).

I have two tricky questions which would be a great help.
Any idea how much water the thermostat lets through at 400degC ? (I'm expecting either half, or equal to flowmotor at full travel)

The other one is - how much fuel do the tapered needles let through at full flow ? (20 and 30HP).
I know that the fire is somewhat bigger than needed to boil the gallon in 100 secs, but I didn't think it was twice as big.

Very difficult to test, because I'm sure you wouldn't idle the engine to full flowmotor travel, except maybe briefly before the thermostat opens.

Just finished revising the Landy boiler controller - no more alterations...(please).
It notices the exhaust cooling when the water pump cuts in. I put an exhaust gas temperature sensor in to stop melting the draught fan rotor.

Happy 1903 steaming

Rog W

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