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Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: (
Date: May 17, 2012 07:08AM

As a complete Stanley novice,I've been putting together a checklist for steaming, on the road, and putting away at end of run. Here is a link to it on google documents


Comments appreciated.

Peter Turvey

Re: Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: (
Date: May 17, 2012 08:50AM

Hi Peter,

On my Packard pilot –

Cleaning – I screw the needle all the way in, counting the turns, to recover a similar position after cleaning. Then I remove the needle completely, clean it with carburetor cleaner, and squirt cleaner in through the jet.

Pressure – I run between 20 and 30 psi. Have not experimented with John’s recommendation, although the pilot continues to burn (with more needle opening) even when pressure drops.

Heating – I can’t reach the pilot vaporizer through the peekhole, the only thing accessible to a torch is the H casting. I heat that, being careful not to apply heat to the needle stem packing.

On lighting up – If you plan to let the pilot burn for a while, there is no need to manually heat the branch forks. The end of the vaporizer over the pilot, and the forks, will become hot enough to get the pilot fuel burning in the main burner with the firing-up valve. I enjoy using just a little torch to heat the pilot, getting some breakfast, and letting the system do the rest of the work.

On fuel pressure tanks –

Unloading – Opening the pressure retaining valve will not relieve pressurized fuel to the supply tank. Its job is to isolate the pressure tanks from the pumping system when resting, reducing leak-back through faulty checks. People often plumb a separate return line from the pressure tanks to the supply tank, with its own valve, to dump pressurized fuel on demand.

Too much fuel – When the needle moves too quickly, it’s never necessary to remove fuel manually from the pressure tanks. While you’re firing up, when fuel pressure falls, simply pump in more air instead of operating the hand fuel pump. Check with a hand fuel pump stroke to see if the needle is acting like you want, and if not, let pressure fall and put air in again. You’re basically allowing the system to send the excess fuel right to the burner and can avoid extra actions.

Your IMPORTANT note – I would always leave the drip valve wide open during firing up, and control the amount of exiting steam solely with the throttle. Trying to control it by reducing drip valve opening will definitely increase the odds of the car moving without being asked.

When firing up, I like to cut off the fuel to the burner with the hand valve before the automatic closes. I’m often sitting for a while before driving, and it’s not nice when the automatic valve later decides to open when the car is not moving. Same idea as you specify at the beginning of 2.2 .

2 - On water management - I like to tell people to think of the "forward bypass" valve as the "master bypass" valve. When it's closed, any pumped water goes to the boiler. When it's open, all pumped water returns to the tank. You can't control the front pump independently (with typical Stanley plumbing), but the rear bypass valve does independently control the rear pump. Note that a direct-reading boiler glass will show a higher water level when the throttle is open than when it is closed.

2.1 – The fuel valve to close is not the main valve on the far right. Not sure of the advantage of running out steam pressure before relighting, although additional travel will help to evacuate some unburned vapor. Twisting the metering valve on a Packard pilot does not accomplish the same carbon-clearing action as on a Stanley pilot.

2.3 – After a long enough stop, I like to begin with a short time on the firing-up valve. You get a guaranteed light and nice reheat of the vaporizer. Obviously this works better if the firing up valve is on the dash. This is probably not so important if you are using a petrol/diesel mix, as it is a lot more volatile than kero. In fact I have seen a car that was intended to use the mix which was not provided with a firing up valve at all.

3 – not sure about your 4th line, “check pressure has fallen” – I don’t think there’s a step needed there.

Blowing down – the visible difference is that while water is coming out, it’s white and fluffy, but when the water is gone it turns weak and gray. You will also hear a difference in the sound. Also, while the water is coming out, the boiler pressure gauge will barely drop, but once the water is gone, it will drop quickly.

This is a great reference document – thanks for posting it.


Re: Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: (
Date: May 22, 2012 07:55PM

Thanks to Peter and Kelly. I will study both papers and use what I can. TOM

Re: Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: Rolly (
Date: May 22, 2012 09:09PM

I noticed on Peter list he fires up with the water level in the glass.
I never do this; I want my water in the boiler full to the top with the drip valve and throttle opened.
Then I light my pilot and in no time water is dripping from my engine drip valve. The heat from my pilot expands the water in the boiler and chargers the superheater.
This keeps water in my superheater and I never cook it cherry when the main burner comes on. Once I get up some steam pressure I blow down the boiler to operating level.
The superheater never gets cooked. Steam passing through it is enough to keep it from turning red.
I don’t like rebuilding things any more then I have to.

Re: Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: (
Date: May 24, 2012 12:45AM

Great list!
On 2.2 I like to leave the drip valve open when I leave the car unattended while it is in steam. If by some chance the throttle gets moved, the car is less likely to go far!

Re: Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: Mike L Clark (
Date: May 26, 2012 04:43PM

Like Rolly I would fire up with the boiler as full as possible, certainly well above the normal sight gauge running level. When the main burner is lit I would open the blowdowns a little and let water out to give steam space, leaving them open until signs of steam start to appear (letting out about a couple of gallons of water) - it's amazing how much crud this will shift from the boiler, helped by the boiling over the bottom tube plate. The other reason for starting with a well filled boiler is that it gives another 2 or 3 miles range before needing to refill the water tank.

Edited 1 times. Last edit at 05/26/12 04:44PM by Mike L Clark.

Re: Non-Condensing Stanley checklist
Posted by: (
Date: May 27, 2012 05:09PM

Thanks for your advice everyone; firing up a Stanley is very different from lighting up a coal-fired traction engine (my previous steam road vehicle!), so as a complete Stanley novice its great to have the benefit of your experience. Peter

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