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Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: May 18, 2016 03:16PM


George Hounslow sent me on some treasures about my 1902 White Surrey (“Bessie”, being a Model “B” White) from the 1950s which were given to him by motoring historian Malcolm Jeal.
Bessie was purchased new by Sir Charles Ross who owned Ross-shire (about 356,600 acres) and lived in Balnagown Castle. He had invented the Ross Riffle and sold some to the Canadian Mounted Police. Watching television 100 years later I was interested to see that the new British riffles suffered from the same problem as these. They were too accurately machined and jammed with dirt and sand on the battle field! Do they ever learn?
I gather that Sir Charles also had land in Canada where he probably saw the White steamers running, as Cleveland, Ohio, where they were made, is not far south of the Canadian border. He had by then divorced his first wife.
I believe that he used the car for only a short time but there were at least three runaways in those early days analyzing the repairs and damage found when I came to restore it. The single band brake is on a bronze drum on the central casing of the rear axle. This is invariably oily as it is rotates beside the chain drive cogwheel and was simply not good enough to hold the car on a steep hill. One also needed to be in reverse gear going down hills but, on one of my three runaways, it simply refused to go into reverse on the Stephenson’s link motion. Much of Sir Charles’ estate was mountains. You will see that a “Sprague” was then added to stop it running backwards on a hill but it had been removed before I got the car. It would have been operated by the rear passenger.
The car was then stored in the castle’s coach house for about fifty years. In the meantime I believe that Sir Charles’ second wife had died, he had remarried and then later he had also died.
Sir Charles‘s third wife’s second husband, the Hon Ross-de Moleyns and the chief gardener got the car out of storage probably in 1956. There is a letter from Lady Ross to the VCC. I think that it was at this time, when tyres were hard to come by, that the rear hubs and rims were changed to fit tyres that were probably available from the scrap yard as they fitted early Model “T” Fords. These hubs were not really designed to have a square key in them and that is why one has just broken when over-stressed by the disc brakes now fitted (there was no keyway in the middle of the hub where it is hollow but the key fitted just at each end). I have remade the hubs with full keyways.
There are two good pictures of the car at this time and then another letter as they clearly also had problems with the one inch block chain. I could not get any either and have changed it now to modern roller chain with no more chain troubles since.
The car at this time had some mechanical alterations such as running on a hand controlled gas burner. It was taken to a couple of local rallies but a tow–rope is evident in the rather poor newspaper pictures! It was even entered for the London to Brighton run but I believe it was never taken down south to it.
The car was sold to George Strathdee, an Aberdeen motor dealer in 1968 and then on his death in 1988 at auction to Count Raben-Levetzau of Denmark where it was in his motor museum. On his death in 1993 it was hurriedly put in auction and not sold but afterwards purchased by Tony Smallbone, a Birmingham dealer, who promptly sold the original Ross-shire registration number (JS 77) and then the car to me. I went to see it on the way to our first steam car tour in North Wales. I managed to get the registration number 76 JS from Swansea!
Luckily, the original very cracked burner made of cast iron with a tin base was kept with it and I machined one out of a solid one inch thick billet of 16 inch diameter 300 series stainless steel and then had a stainless steel base welded onto it with about 100 tubes going through it to scavenge air. It has been a great burner with almost no problems. It could last for ever!
They had taken the thermostat off the car and it was lost with other parts after the auction when the Count purchased it but I was lucky there as my 1908 White came with a Model “B” thermostat fitted; it could never have worked on the later car which had also not run since its early days! The early thermostat opens the fuel needle as it cools and the later one opens the water to by-pass the flowmotor as it heats up.
I really did the first proper restoration in 1996 and got all the parts back working as they originally did for the Centenary London to Brighton Run of that year. We managed it but I did experience the first “pilot light out” incident and mistakenly lit up again before draining the fuel out of the burner causing a fire. All sorted we reached Brighton.
We have done several Brighton Runs since and only failed after the Salvage Squad rebuilt it after I had broken it in half in 2002 after brake failure on a hill. They had missed a crack in the Stephenson’s link motion and we had little power (see the Salvage Squad film!).
The thing about these early Whites is that when one finds that the pilot light has gone out, one needs to stop with the left wheels up a bank or pavement and turn off all the fuel. The fuel will probably have flooded though the vaporizer, which of course is no longer hot, as a liquid and squirted into the burner pan on the right of the car under the driver. If you are unlucky, it will have a lot of fuel in it and one must let it drain out before relighting or you get what I had on my first Brighton Run, a large fire with petrol running down the road on fire. With the left wheels high it runs out and one can see when to light up again, having moved the car off the petrol in the road. I must have learnt something because my 1903 White did the same thing last month returning from Trevithick Day and a quick stop with the burner at the correct angle soon sorted the problem with no fire resulting on relighting the pilot light. We were soon on our way again leaving a little petrol on the road.
Bessie usually sits in my garage and is almost always ready for work with just fuel, oil and water. Maintenance otherwise is a minimum. It is always impressive the way she will keep up with the cars on tours partly as the water tank is about 25 gallons and there is a condenser so we go further between water stops and have a look at the Stanleys as we pass while they fill up. We have taken her on several tours in Europe including down to the South of France last year where she climbed very steep switch back roads with ease. I do sometimes remove the rear seat which suspends the passenger over the road and put a luggage trunk on the back as she will then fit in my trailer together with my brothers Steamobile.
The rear wheels should be back in the next few days with my new hubs and new rims after re-spoking at Richard Bros of Cardiff.
The letter here is the later letter about the car. See my next report for the first letter.

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 05/18/16 03:38PM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: 1959 Letter from Balnagown (s).jpg (125kB)   1902 White pictures from 1950's.jpg (240kB)   1902 White with Hon. F.Ross-de Moleyns on back.jpg (215kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: May 18, 2016 03:19PM

This is the second letter that came with the treasures above. I am sorry but I got the letters the wrong way around. This is the earlier letter from Lady Ross to the VCC.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 05/18/16 03:35PM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: Letter from Lady Ross 1956.jpg (191kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: May 24, 2016 06:17AM

This is a letter that I have just written to a White steamer friend with a similar car to my 1903 one. He has had a 5 year battle getting his sorted, which is not so unusual! I am well aware that I have covered much of this before but there are many important points in it.

Well done, at least things are improving but---
1) The steam line must be strong with good joints with threads that are sound. They will not tolerate full steam temperature and pressure for long otherwise. I have had slight leaks on starting up, I certainly do on Billy where I have to take the pipes apart often for other problems, but these soon seal when the steam is hot and usually after a couple of steamings are sound anyway.
Steam leaking on the main steam-line joints can be cured either by grinding them in or inserting a copper washer in the joint but this will need tightening after each of the first two or three steamings as it will squash and leak initially.
I find that the joints around the thermostat tend to block themselves if they are slight. I read once that the Foden steam lorry company used to fill their new engines with water and let them stand for a month which usually sealed any leaky joints with rust and if they still leaked they would leave them another month after the first steaming.

The second problem, initial overheating. IGNORE IT.
If some water runs out of the engine when it is cold. INORE IT. As it warms up and bits expand this will stop and hopefully you still will not have steam leaks.
It will warm up your engine and pipes. Set your system up for normal running at 400 deg C. No less and little more. Then your car will run much better.
It is unlikely to be a fire problem but MUST be set up correctly with full heat in the steam.
The reason for this is that you need SEVERAL TIMES AS MUCH STEAM to make the car run at 30mph when the steam temperature is 200deg C as at 400deg C and the FIRE CANNOT COPE with producing this much steam.
I will here add that the modern petrol is about 100 octane with the ethanol in it and Whites in their literature say the fuel should be between 68 and 72 octane. This contained about 10% heavy oils which I replace with pure paraffin(lamp oil) or kerosene by its other name.
I am adding 1 gallon of paraffin ("lamp oil") to about 5 gallons of petrol with a vaporising additive on my 1903 White but the 1902 with the same burners only tolerates about 1/2 gallon to 4 gallons (it has a smaller fuel tank). The fuel burns cleanly at those levels but more paraffin in the earlier car makes it smoky. Initially on lighting the pilot light it is a bit smoky but it will soon clear. This allows the car to keep its temperature up all the time. Perhaps I have to clean the pilot light out a little more often( twice per year) but the results are much better.
I will say here that I have as yet not been able to use domestic heating oil even with the additive as it does not seem to vaporise so well, modern diesel tends to carbon up the vaporiser much more. On the later cars running the pilot lights on hexane, I am still using 20% diesel but too much soon gets one in trouble.
I am going to try both my early cars on 10% paraffin as having been messing around with fuels in gallons and pints, I suspect that both will run fine at this level, of course this is easy for our continental friends - 100ml of paraffin per litre of petrol.

I have had problems with my brakes on the 1903 White also.
I have a spring fitted on the foot brake lever to take the weight off the brake so that it is almost balanced. I think that it is connected to the chassis cross member but I cannot see it under the steam pipe. It is hooked around the lever near the end towards the foot pedal end. I will add a poor picture as it is difficult to photograph.
With the hand brake, make sure that the bronze shoes are not bent - one of mine was but I had a spare pair with the car. My shoe ends have been built up with bronze. I suspect that the original linings were either thick leather or possibly there was no lining at all and it worked bronze on the steel as my 1906 White did. In this case the shoes could have been worn right down.
Anyway it has taken a lot of fiddling to get the lever working from leaning backwards to coming up to the vertical position when the brakes are on. One of the old tricks was to put a steel wrap-around end on each brake shoe -or the full round brake shoe bending in the middle in our case. I still get occasional dragging on the left rear brake but I am working on it! I think that the location of the shoe was poor and it can move so that it touches the drum. This was the first year of Whites making this type of brake so it is understandable that the design was not perfect (my 1902 White only has a single contracting brake on the rear central casing which is also the chain drive casing so gets oily!).
Of course, the brakes must be off and the car free running when the brakes are off or again the car cannot cope with steam production.
I have had trouble getting tyres on but we have always solved it in the end (a second person can be helpful although I have managed on my own recently).
I do the job on the ground on an old carpet. Warm up the tyre in the sun or on the Aga if you have one. Cold tyres are almost impossible!
I first put the inner tube in the tyre with just enough air to give the tube its shape. I then put on one side of the tyre (some say both should go on together but hard tyres are almost impossible).
Insert the valve.
I use soap on the tyre here. Work on the second side being careful not to pinch it. One needs good long levers, I have a great set about half a meter long, and a good heal on the boot may your helpful.
It sounds simple. It can be quite hard work but I have found so far that I have always managed it.
A simple question--- Do you have the correct size tyres for your rims ---check it!

One interesting thing here; tyres are now said to have a maximum life of 5 years because of the deterioration of the walls with the neoprene in them which is damaged by UV light. I used for several years some tyres that were on my 1908 car when I got it and they were probably 70 years old! They still look good and gave no trouble. Fitting them was easy hardly needing levers. When I replaced them after about 5 years use, the Michelins that I used did not last a year before they bulged!
I hope that this is helpful. GET THAT STEAM TEMPERATURE UP PROPERLY.
Regards Bob

Edited 2 times. Last edit at 06/05/16 03:28AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: 1903 White brake spring.jpg (201kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: July 4, 2016 04:54AM

We have been back now for a week from our South of France trip to stay with Francois de Backer who’s 1909 White is now with Chris Relf in Cornwall. Francois is now in his eighties and found getting under it too difficult. His wife Colette is a great cook and Francois had the swimming pool ready for us after a rebuild because the structure had been eaten by wood boring insects!
We had a great holiday driving the 1903 White Model “C” Tonneau along the Midi Canal from Le Someil near Narbonne to Carcassonne and then on to Canstelnaudary(about 75 miles). We found that we could not follow the canal as close as we would have liked to in many places. We also had some rain for some of the trip but at least it was warm in the face. We have no weather equipment or windscreen on the car but it went well.
We toured around the Narbonne area and visited Chateau Barroubio to buy some of their good wine which involves following a narrow road climbing up a valley for about 10 miles and then going over the pass at the top up to the ancient Chateau of Barroubio. The last mile is deceptively steep and stopped in previous years both my 1908 White and my brothers 1910 White to get up more steam on the way up. This little car climbed it easily at good speed!
The only problem that we had with the car were occasional blowbacks which were put out from the driver’s seat without slowing by turning off the fuel and using the bulb of a horn directed onto the jet to blow it out. Also the air pump to pressurize the fuel tank was not working so this job was done by Chris on the hand pump when required. The modern 95 octane petrol now has 10% of paraffin added with a vaporizing fluid and this works well. I think that the blowbacks were the result of a poor fuel pipe connection in the pilot light which needs some attention but was not easily done when away from my workshop.
I deliberately did not use the clutch on this trip on the car except to show off the engine quietly rolling over at a rally where Francois took us one day. I did not miss the clutch which is a simple dog clutch on the propshaft but is quite a weight if slightly eccentric. When I get around to it I am going to make a new propshaft without the clutch on it so it will be available just by refitting that propshaft. Between that and two slightly crooked wheels I am restricted to about 30mph with the car by vibration. Below this speed it is fine. Now that the engine and steaming system is working reasonably, it is time to sort these.
First I have the 1908 White to get together and this weekend I am at Chateau Impney with Whistling Billy for the first official run after approval to race from the MSA. They want us there a day early to do a TV appearance!
Billy is not yet quite ready to go. I adjusted the flowmotor to give greater water flow for the fire to try to prevent the overheating of the steam. It is now set at passing water through it at a rate of one American gallon in 1 minute 30 seconds which is half way between the rate for 20 and 30hp cars ( the car has a 20hp engine and a 30hp steam generator). This amount of water is passed when the flowmotor piston is just 15/16 inch down of its 1.5inch travel. The other problem of course with the flowmotor is that it was really for touring and not blasting off for short intervals so prediction of its function is not simple. Also a flowmotor can be fooled in its action by too fast acceleration on the tourers. I now wonder if the earlier system of controlling the fuel flow with the steam temperature would not be better on Billy. The present flowmotor system will give me some difficulty in getting up the temperature before a hill climb or race as this usually takes between three and five miles on the road in the 1908 White which has the same system. That is why I have left it in overheat mode but last time out I had serious rapid overheating and need to solve the problem before I get my new blocks which are being machined at the present time.
I have been repeatedly blowing out packing on the HP valve stem so it probably is still not exactly in line.
All four of my original pilot lights are in trouble. I need to make some new valves for them so this is my job for today before retesting Billy. One also has had a screw repeatedly re-tapped larger after being over tightened and now needs the hole plugging and re-tapping. I have only just got this one but it otherwise seems a good pilot light. I only have two days to have the car running well!
The engine seemed smooth but I had many steam leaks of which I am slowly getting control but this car runs at twice the normal pressure that it was designed for and steam leaks especially at low temperatures are much more of a problem than usual for a White. Luckily most disappear as it warms up the steam.
I hope to attach a couple of pictures from out trip along the Midi Canal. We stopped for lunch by the canal but it was showery and we went under the sun cover of an unused factory beside the canal for shelter. Colette still had to put a table cloth on the bonnet for out pick nick!

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 07/04/16 05:08AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: Lunch sheltering from rain with Colette and Chris.jpg (66kB)   The Midi Canal by our lunch stop.jpg (82kB)   Castelnaudary.jpg (63kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Mike L Clark (
Date: July 4, 2016 04:42PM

Well done Bob - sounds like the 1903 is getting close to being"right".

France is such a glorious place for touring with an old car - we always find the locals appreciate what they are seeing.

I only had one trip there with my Model H,to Brittany for a VSCC Light Car and Edwardian Section Rally in 2005, the only steamer on the event. We gave lots of rides to young and old in the village, including the Lady Mayoress who insisted on calling by an old folks' home to show them. Asked afterwards by someone else what she thought of the Stanley, she said it was her first time in a car with no roof - she evidently had no idea that it was in any other way different!


Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: July 11, 2016 07:55AM

We had a great weekend at Chateau Impney for Whistling Billy’s first timed hill climb now the MSA have agreed to let us compete. The organizers used us as part of the advertising but it was all good fun and they did a very good slick job. We went up a day early for a TV and two radio interviews and had about half a dozen more over the next two days. We had guest hotel accommodation and a meal for the first night and attended the dinner on Saturday night at the owner Guy Spollen’s table.
Perhaps the saddest part was that we did not have time to go everywhere and see all the cars on the site. Billy was beside the Chateau entrance hall and had a constant stream of the interested and the confused. Some were still looking for the coal and iron wheels! Others were surprised that most of the wheel parts are wood. All were surprised at how low it is with its underslung chassis and of course the noise it gives out.
We had plenty of steam leaking everywhere each time I started steaming but this clears as it heats up and the copper gaskets in most of the steam line seal. I have found with this car that it is better to have the copper washers in the steam joints as at least they are easy to undo for servicing and tighten if leaky when hot, whereas I usually do not have them in the other cars unless I have a troublesome joint.
To look after the engine I had the steam pressure turned down from the usual 800psi to 600psi and the throttle restricted so that it would not fully open. I am having new blocks made, they may be machined this week. The old one that I have available has both cylinders cracked and welded twice at each end and thick liners. My second cracked block is being used as the pattern for the new ones. More cracks were found and welded internally with x-rays. They really do not stand much chance at 110 years old running at twice normal pressure and having been damaged in accidents about 108 years ago!
I completed practice with runs at 82.9 and 82 seconds and the engine held together. Yesterday I was slower in the morning run but I had tried it with a little more cut-off and it restricted things too much. My last run I managed I think just over 80 seconds. We were fairly quick through the corners but the throttle restriction made the straights too long! Anyway we had lots of cheering going on and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I ended up 192 out of 197, so I was not the slowest but probably the oldest. Some of the large petrol engine cars in our group did the climb in about 60 seconds so I have a long way to go yet but it is a start and the car and I are ready to go again with a bit of minor servicing.
Once the first new block comes back I will start building up my second engine H383 with it. I am working out some more modifications such as putting on drain cocks and I need a new way of fitting the piston to its piston rod as riveting it over does not stop it working loose with high pressure use. I am not sure if a nut will hold it as used in the earlier Whites. At least one can tighten it up if it starts getting loose.
I have not got many pictures as yet but I should be getting some soon.
Thank you Mike for your comments. We always find the French very friendly and use the steam cars over there and in Germany when we can.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Mike L Clark (
Date: July 13, 2016 04:35AM

Bob - I used copper gaskets on the steam line of the Model H but made the two connecting flanges, which were welded to the pipe, spigot one into the other by about 3mm with a good diametric fit. Put together with Heldite, and four 6mm bolts, they never leaked. this included the connection from the superheater to the main steam line to the engine.


Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: August 15, 2016 05:37AM

Thank you, Mike, for the suggestion. The fittings on the White connections are usually rounded and cupped but it would make sense to make them small flats with copper washers. I already use copper washers on the joints on this car but they soon leak when the steam is warming up but tend to seal when it is hot. They always need tightening about three times as they settle in after each steaming.
I think that the problem with Billy is that it always has the steam very hot (with the steam pipes glowing red hot in the dark!) on 750deg F or cold and it takes little time between the two states. I did note that the steam was only up to temperature on Chateau Impney Hill Climb as I went over the finishing line.
I will try this in the winter when I renew the steam line again as the nuts are getting very corroded from the heat, even those that were specially treated to avoid it.
I stripped down Billy’s engine in the car, looking at the pistons and in the crankcase. All seems well in the top end apart from the pistons working loose by about 1/8th turn where the EN24T rods are riveted over. I just screw these tight again and punch them around the outside which holds them as well as anything I have found. Heating and re-riveting is definitely a No-No as the heat will fracture off the rivet top when in use. I presume that this is an expansion problem again as I think that the use would not do this. It invariably eventually happens with my other Whites but Billy just does it much faster. The symptom to look out for when in use is to hear the tapping as the engine ticks over.
The earlier engines used nuts but riveting was used as more power was developed from the engine. I could go back to nuts but I would have to make them large and reshape the cylinder head to fit them. Would they hold?
The only other alternative that I could consider is making the piston rod and piston out of one lump of EN24T but that might give new problems with the expansion and even lead to the piston cracking off.

Looking in the crankcase there was evidence of an escaped ball bearing where it had been tapped into the aluminium sump in two places. I had heard a nasty knocking noise briefly at the last rally that made me suspicious of this but I could not find a ball in the oil and I and Tony Sussex searched the bearings and could find no gaps or missing balls. The bearings are quite easily seen with a good light when the car is on the ramps. It must have come from somewhere! It could have escaped the sump out of the water pump pivot hole. It should make little difference to the function of the engine at present while I have the steam turned down so I just put new oil in and replaced the sump. This crankcase is H4 on which I intend to renew all the bearing with the next large rebuild when I get my new blocks.
I have tidied up the bodywork a little and now Billy is ready for the “The West of England Rally” at Stithians this weekend as are my 1902 and 1903 Whites.

The 1902 White ran well last weekend and is definitely benefitting from its new rear hubs which are much more stable on the rear axle. It seems to have almost added 5mph to the maximum comfortable speed! This car is a real joy to use although it is still tiller steered with chain drive and a simple double acting engine like that of a Locomobile. The disc brakes give some stopping confidence, without them it would be confined to a museum!
The 1903 White keeps on running quite well but I still do not feel that the fuel is correct with my 10% paraffin in petrol. I have reduced the jet size to a 62 thou single jet. This works well most of the time with less “hunting” and fewer blow-backs but seems not quite adequate on steep hills although I took her up the short but steep Nancharrow Hill in St. Just last week (1in 4, I am told). She is now more sensitive to the fuel tank pressure being kept up to about 35psi.

Both these two Whites I had to struggle with to get up my drive. This is a White thing! We come down a long hill with the fire off most of the time for about the last mile and, when I turn up my very steep drive; the pressure, which may be 100lbs over by-pass pressure, just disappears as there must be very little water remaining in the mono-tube coil but the temperature remains too high to bring the fire in. I try to get the throttle open before I turn up the drive but that may take the remaining useful steam and water out of the coil if the pressure is not below the by-pass pressure. Opening the throttle against the brake is the only way to do it but it must be done for longer than one would expect.
Alternatively I could turn the fire off about one and a half miles from home to let the mono-tube cool a little so the pressure would drop allowing water to be pumped into it and turn it on again for the last ¼ mile – if I remember!
The short steep hills around here are not ideal for an early White. The later system with the flowmotor copes better with this than the early system controlled by the thermostat but that needs to be warmed up too to cope well.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 08/16/16 04:18AM by Steamcarbob.

Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: September 8, 2016 06:21AM

I have had a busy month with the cars. First I took three to Stithians, the 1902 and 1903 Whites plus Whistling Billy. All ran well until I developed a steam leak on Billy on the second day on a pipe union that I was aware was leaking slightly but it really opened up. I could not easily shift it in the workshop before I went to the rally, so it was unlikely that I would be able to do it on the field. However, it was soon sorted when I got it back to the workshop and I did not have to replace the union as I thought I might but just used a new copper washer in it. I will leave replacement to the full winter service.
I just used the other cars which George Hounslow and Chris Relf had been driving around on the good dry track that they have there. This is quite testing for an early White driver with short hills and little recovery time and teaches one where to use steam and where to conserve it. These two cars ran well for the three days. Peter Hounslow had his large Stanley there and Mike James put in a brief appearance with his Stanley.

My brother John came down here with his 1910 White to use my ramps as he had persistent blowbacks and his car had stopped going well. Having made a new vaporizer door and set the burner up much better, we used the power-hose to clean the burner out. It had had a lot of carbon in it. We then had a good run around Sancreed with no blowbacks.
John returned home but is again in trouble with the coil dropping down onto the burner. We welded plates to the casing sides below the corners last year as a temporary measure but our weld onto the cast iron had given away. He has now put hooks down over the casing outside supporting the coil. Hopefully they will last for a while. He wanted to take the body off the car and sort it properly but this is not really necessary. With ramps and my gearbox jack we can loosen the steam and water pipes plus the four case mounting bolts from below, twist it a few degrees off its mountings and lower it carefully out of the car with the casing. That is all we need out of the car to remake the bottom coil which supports the generator on its corners as I am sure that it was made too small. This bottom “coil” is not a true coil but more a two layered grid. It must reach the outside of the casing on its corners. It can also bend if it has been overheated which I think is also the case here. The full job can wait for the winter, my 1908 White continued working with this problem for several years before I properly sorted it by making a complete new generator! The early cars also had a support from the top. A crossed frame supported two large half inch U-bolts that go under the coil. My 1908 car had that too when I got it, but having a proper fitting coil, they are no longer required. Also the U-bolts do not last too long. They run red hot when the car is going for there is no water or steam cooling for them as there is for the pipework of the generator.

On the last Thursday of August I loaded the 1903 White into the trailer and went up to John’s house in Lifton. We then had an early start the next day going to the Great Dorset Steam Fair which is very little changed since I last attended 2012 with Billy.
First we met up with Arthur Thomson who was working his Foden traction engine “Watty Pollock” in the thrashing area. I had some new parts for his pilot light on his 1904 White Model “E”.
We then went through some junk stalls to the steam car section which consisted of all Stanleys and Locomobiles plus Richard Hounslow’s Mobile. Whites have not been welcomed without a boiler certificate which we do not have as the steam generator is not an explosion risk consisting of just half inch piping at the largest. I will see if next year we can get in again as the section organizer has changed. I do find it very hard work on that ground with having joint problems including a knee replacement. It is either dusty if dry or very soft and slippery if wet with many flints waiting to be trodden on. I also twisted Billy’s crankshaft there last time with the wet slippery top service allowing too easy wheel-spin and then the softer soil underneath requiring grip to move.
We had a look at the two very late Foden under-type steam lorries restored by Mike Dreelan (not by John Saunders as I mistakenly aid first) who also runs a late White steamer and traction engines. I had never seen these before. They are low for a lorry with the boiler seemingly reversed in the cab but were not in steam. The steam engine looks to have two piston-valved HP cylinders.
The showman’s engines were lined up very impressively as usual with two former engines of our family there; the Burrell Showman’s engine “Star” that John restored from a rusty wreck in the 1980s and the Foden Showman’s engine “Prospector” that our father owned and did much work on in the 1960’s.
We came back carrying a few treasures picked up on the way around, tired but happy, returning with a good stop for a meal in Honiton.
The following day I went on to Morval Rally near Looe where I had two gentle days steaming around quite a steep rally field. The 1903 White worked well but I had to return home Sunday evening as we had two sets of grandchildren coming to visit us.
I took them all for a steam about on Monday with six up in the car, four being in the 7 to 10 age group in the back and my eldest son William beside me keeping order. To their great amusement I got temporarily stuck on the short steep hill going west out of Lamorna. I had turned off the fuel on the long run downhill into Lamorna and forgotten to turn it on again! Some hand water pumping and the fire on again sorted us out and on we went. We returned via Mousehole and Newlyn to Penzance through the end of the Newlyn Fish Festival with the dispersing crowds cheering us along to the amusement of our passengers.
I did come to the conclusion that the 1903 car would benefit from a slightly larger main jet. I had reduced it to 0.061inch from 0.066inch with the fuel petrol (95 octane) with paraffin at 10%. I have now changed the jets around on the 1902 and 1903 cars so that the slightly smaller burner of the 1902 has the smaller jet and the 1903 car again has the 0.066inch. I get the impression that the smaller jet causes fewer blowbacks but there is hardly enough power to maintain the steam temperature with a load up on the hills. Our hills here tend to be short and steep with little distance for recovery between them. My house is over 450ft above sea level but only 3 miles from the north and south coasts and 6 miles to the west coast. Hill climbing on the cars needs to be sorted!

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 09/09/16 05:03AM by Steamcarbob.

Attachments: 2002Dorset Steam Fair 049.jpg (188kB)   2002Dorset Steam Fair 054.jpg (154kB)  
Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob (
Date: September 9, 2016 06:45AM

After the weekend I put in the larger jet at 0.066inch on the 1903 car. A film crew was here on Wednesday filming for “Shed and Buried”. I talked about the steam cars and they had a rummage about in the morning picking out some interesting bits. One of the presenters, Sam Lovegrove, is quite knowledgeable on the various old car parts but he really is an old motorcycle person who knows Brough Superiors and helps Jay Leno with his collection of them (I am told that Jay has 15).
In the afternoon we went for a drive around Sancreed Beacon with four up in the 1903 White while filming went on from the back seat and an escorting 4 x 4. They really enjoyed themselves and were very impressed by the performance of the car and the views. The car went well with the larger jet.
The film should come out in the winter.

Yesterday I took the petrol with 10% paraffin plus the vaporizing agent out of the 1903 White and put in petrol (95octane) plus 10% heating oil plus the vaporizing agent. The car steamed cleanly after being slightly smoky on lighting up and on a good test run performed well. I find that I do have to rock the car as I start it up to make sure that there is reasonable mixing of the fuel and it noticeably makes it clearer (I am told that the ethanol causes the separation of the different parts of it). This, on my short testing so far, is as good as the paraffin and I will continue to use it as it is £1.80 per gallon instead of £8.40 per gallon. I now carry a measuring jug and make sure that I stick to the 10% of this fuel in the petrol as it seems quite critical with the jet size. After all the original fuel White said should be petrol between 68 and 72 octane which had 10% heavy oil in it - that is what I am now mimicking with burners remade copying the originals.

The next job we have is this weekend. On Saturday we have a small cream-tea meeting for a cancer charity at Trengwainton Gardens tea room and on Sunday four cars are going for a steam around the West Penwith moors visiting the Zennor wood burning steam bike project which we hope will be steaming and then on to Geevor for a pasty lunch. We hope to all end up at Chris Relf’s farm for a BBQ in the evening. Chris has the x-Francois de Backer’s 1909 White Model “O” in bits while rebuilding it. John (1910 White Model “OO”), Mike James (Stanley) and Nick Howells (Toledo) are joining me for this.

This week I tried to get the 1908 White rear axle apart. The gears are out and dreadfully worn as I expected following its last rally about two years ago with a very difficult steep bottom gear stint on already worn gears. I still cannot remove one wheel bearing and I am in the process of splitting the inner part of the tapered roller as heat and a 7lb hammer have made no impression on it. It is too long to fit in my son’s hydraulic press with the half-shaft on the other side not removable until the crown-wheel and pinion are out of the casing and split. I must keep the axle casing intact even if I remake all the insides.
I am now looking for the gears and crown-wheel and pinion which seem the same from 1905 to 1908 on the smaller Whites. Please let me know if anyone has a sniff of any of these, or the complete two speed rear axle, otherwise I will have to have them remade. The chassis of this car is now mounted on a Morris Minor rear axle while I reassemble the rest of the car, hoping to have the proper rear axle ready for later in the winter.
Of course, I did do a similar rebuild of Billy’s rear axle about 5 years ago but that was from scratch.

Attachments: 1908 chassi with temporary rear axle.jpg (238kB)   Worn gears of 1908 White.jpg (229kB)   1902 White and Stanley ready for film crew..jpg (230kB)  
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