Re: Whistling Billy Replica
Posted by: Steamcarbob
Date: May 29, 2018 01:07PM
The next White to sort for it’s after winter service was the 1908 White. I started with a little polishing of the headlights, sidelights and a few other bits but not up to the standard of my old late friend Harold’s work. I find that while cleaning I pick up a few problems.
The burner, pilot and vaporizer have hardly been used on this car since the last service so I will leave them at present.
I soon got to checking oil, fuel and water and added four extra gallons of petrol as the last time out I had had a nasty fire probably caused by the ethanol in the petrol dissolving out the diesel and then burning it in the burner pan. This, my brother has found, is remedied by having less diesel in it and replacing the diesel with heating oil (a purer form of kerosene). I probably had a bit more than my usual 20% in it as I had been using up old fuel.
The car did steam alright but the flowmotor only came in at much too high revolutions of the engine demonstrating what I already realized, that the piston in it is too worn. I did manage a trip around the roads but it was hard work keeping enough steam in the lanes. Running on the quicker roads was not a problem.
I will go into the flowmotor in some detail for those wanting to do the job! It is an essential part of the running a White well on a steady steam temperature.
Removing and taking apart the flowmotor showed the piston, which should be 1 7/8 inch, to be almost 2 inches in diameter as its cylinder had been re-bored a few times. The bush needs to be 3 inches long. I ordered some hard bronze for this and found the jigs for doing the boring as well as the original piston. I am not certain with what the piston was originally coated. I am not really happy with using bronze again because of the scratching from dirt. I wonder if nickel plating or even hard chroming might be more satisfactory but mine only ever had bronze running in bronze for the 30 years that I have had it, and that was the first time it was run since 1915.
I took the original piston and finally got a decent surface on it at 1.840 inch (it should be 1.875inch). This should make little odds and will allow for extra re-bores. My bronze sleeve had ample spare inside and outside so I bored the inside of the flowmotor to 2 inches and made the insert an easy press fit as I did not want to strain the old outer casing. Old repaired bronze is quite fragile although it will have a pressure of up to 600psi in it!
I next carefully machined the inside of my bronze sleeve to fit the piston, finished it to a fit with fine emery and then polished it so that the piston just fell through with fine oil, as old friend Dick Hempel said it should. It required much cleaning to get all the grit and fine dirt out for this fit which should be measured in 1/10 of a thou.
The next job was to cut a V slot in it 1/16 inch deep at one end and tapering to almost nothing. This lets a set amount of water pass, varying with the speed of the water pumps and the engine. I started this with a hacksaw and then used a hand file. This took some while. It probably should have been machined but setting up the delicate tube would have been a problem. I expected to have to take more out later and if too much is taken out one fills the groove with soft solder and scrapes that out to get it right. The main groove needed to be shaped however while the bush was out of the flowmotor body.
Next I coated the cylinder in Araldite and pushed it in with a bit of old broomstick, a good fit.
When all was dry, after reassembling it, I tested it on my rig. This sends the mains water into the usual end where the water pumps will pump the water. My rig has a useful little clamp on it as it originally was a thread tapping machine. I use this to clamp the hose and adjust the water flow; pressure does not matter as long as there is enough to overcome the spring loading the piston. The jig also has a vice in which I hold the flowmotor by its flat plate designed for holding it; one must never grip a flowmotor by its body or one is likely to ruin it forever. I also have a pipe that goes on the exit where I collect the flowed water going usually to the steam generator. The water volume passed is what one measures.
Opening the tap allowing the water to flow through it, pushes the piston down and opens the fuel needle. One lets enough water through so that when the fuel needle has gone 1 inch, the 20hp cars should pass 1 gallon of water in 1minute 40 seconds (the 30hp cars 1 gallon in 1 minute 10 seconds). Please note; these are American gallons – forgetting this caused me problems when I first set the car up!). Having the tap on the hose allows one to adjust the flow accurately. The needle movement is measured by the movement of the nut at the joint to the rod going to the piston.
Just after 1 inch of fuel needle travel, the bypass at the rear of the flowmotor starts to open. This prevents the steam generator from flooding when the car is running fast. I found that the hole in this was too large and I made a new bush in it with a hole at the correct 73 thou (it was about 110 thou). I wonder if I got this part swapped with Billy’s by mistake when I made up that cars flowmotor. Again, Dick Hempel considered this bypass size to need to be correct to maintain the White’s working steam temperature.
On testing I was passing about half the required amount of water to the generator and had to enlarge the groove several times until I had it right. Each time the flowmotor has to come apart and the groove enlarged. This work should allow the car to run much better and on temperature which it had ceased to do well.
While on the flowmotor, I should mention that I have added a small modification that I am sure that White would have done now. I have fitted a very small nitrile “O” ring under the head of the flowmotor needle (0.093 inch diameter). This is only just compressed because the needle has a tapered head and that restricts the compression. What it does do is shut off the needle so that it is right off and holds a vacuum if sucked on when off the car. Originally it relies on the neck of the needle being 1 thou tighter in its bush near the neck but this will wear to give a slight leak. I have found that this is affective at stopping blowbacks due to whisping fuel at the burner nozzle.
This work left me ready to test steam the car. I found that the burner was on too long and I had some overheating. Think that this is a fuel problem. Fuel that is not burning hot enough strangely causes overheating as the burner has to stay on for too long to bring up the settings on the by-passes for temperature and pressure. Then one gets into the land of burner blowbacks with local excess heating.
The quick answer to this is to increase the fuel tank pressure and make the burner more powerful. This helped a bit.
The second string to the bow is to enlarge the jets until the car starts howling and then drop back one size.
The third way and really the best is to adjust the fuel to get the right mixture while the fuel tanks are at 50 to 55 PSI. This takes longer.
All these this time are complicated by the problem of trying to set up the flowmotor and thermostat correctly with poor fuel. It will take a while! Oh, to have fuel available here with no ethylene in it!
I still have more testing to do with the car and what it really needs is a relatively flat long road to get it sorted. We do not have many of those around here and when we do the holiday traffic is very fast!
flowmotor ready for taking apart.jpg (162kB)