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Staley 607 Pilot Tank Repair
Posted by: (
Date: November 3, 2013 11:35AM

I've found a 1 3/4" vertical crack in the pilot tank of our car - no significant leaks or pressure loss noticed, just some dampness around the crack on the bottom of the tank.

Problem is that we can not get the fuel & pilot tank assembly out without removing the (new) front seatback upholstery, which is nailed in place. Rather reluctant to do this!

Any repair suggestions?

Attachments: IMG_9589 Stanley #7644 pilot tank Compressed.jpg (129kB)   IMG_9567 Stanley #7644 Fuel Tank lift Compressed.jpg (222kB)  
Re: Staley 607 Pilot Tank Repair
Posted by: (
Date: November 4, 2013 01:41AM

Dear Peter, Please do not run your car until your have your pilot tank leak corrected again. Once I had a simular fuel problem in a soldered joint and the small leak eventually found ignition and the gentle flame from the fuel leak was enough to melt the rest of the soft solder that held it all together. From there, my problem literally exploded and I was lucky to save our Stanley at all. The worst part of all of this was that I had notice the poor solder problem months earlier and rather than to do the solder repair right away, I had put it off. Never again.... If you cannot get a new replacement tank for your old cracked pilot fuel tank, the old tank will have to be annealed before any lasting repair to it would be effective. Thank you doing for such a nice restoration on your 607.

Re: Staley 607 Pilot Tank Repair
Posted by: Michael Dyke (
Date: November 4, 2013 01:28PM

Hi Peter,

that is a pain, my tank wouldn't pressurise above 5 psi after the winter lay up a few years back, it turned out it was leaking into the main tank that surrounds it, to which it is soldered in (not one of the Stanley twins best ideas!). The brass on my tank on closer inspection was badly work hardened, which after 90 odd years of being pressurised on and off isn't surprising.
My temporary(!) solution at the time, as you have probably seen was to put another pressure tank on the running board, this is still there and works well.

To sort the problem properly, I was going to either remake the main tank in stainless steel,(this ethanol in the petrol seems to be causing me problems with corroding copper), then have a new pilot tank in the centre (possibly a modified lorry air tank would do the job), that could be removed from the main tank if required. The other option is to cut out the top and the bottom of the original pilot tank (leaving a cylindrical hole in the main tank) and have a new tank made that will drop into that hole.

Regarding removing the tank past the seat, it is tight on my car, I put a piece of 3mm plywood between the seat material and the tank as it comes out, so the tank doesn't damage the leather as it slides past, but if you have to much stuffing in your seat it could be trickier!

Like SSsssteamer I would thoroughly recommend that you don't fire up until you have sorted the problem, the result of that crack opening and spraying hexane over everything don't bare thinking about!

The other point to mention is that my original and previously repaired pressure pots were replaced last year, because I didn't like the look of the original (again work hardened) brass, Don Hoke's Vintage Steam supplies sent me a beautifully made new pair in copper, so if yours are original, it may be worth checking them closely now you have used the car a fair bit.

good luck,

Mike Dyke.

Re: Staley 607 Pilot Tank Repair
Posted by: (
Date: November 4, 2013 03:56PM

Thanks for your advice everyone

Looks like a pilot tank on the running board is the quick fix solution. Our new upholstery is probably the reason why we can't compress the seat back enough to get the fuel tank out.

Long term a stainless steel fuel tank with an inset, separate pilot tank is the way to go.

The main fuel pressure tanks were replaced with new copper ones when the mechanical rebuild was done back in 2004 - one of the orginal brass tanks had indeed split in the 1940s & been repaired.

Re: Staley 607 Pilot Tank Repair
Posted by: Mike L Clark (
Date: November 5, 2013 05:00AM

Old brass does crack even without pressure cycling. We have an old unpressurized wick type paraffin lamp - the fuel container is cracked in several places - that's just how brass is and, as has been said, copper is much more forgiving.

Re ethanol in fuel - perhaps we should start a thread to record peoples' experience with modern unleaded fuel in the copper and brass parts of steam cars. There has been much talk of dissolving solder, sinking carburettor floats etc but nobody had ever explained how Cleveland Discol (which contained 15% ethanol) was sold from 1930 to 1960 for use in cars with lots of copper and brass in the fuel system with no evidence of problems.


Re: Staley 607 Pilot Tank Repair - Ethanol
Posted by: (
Date: November 5, 2013 02:25PM

Good point Mike, something to keep an eye on. This is why long-term I am considering a stainless steel replacement tank for our 607.

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs is keepin an eye on the situation

see last para of []

However I have not seen a lot on the actual effects of modern unleaded on the fuel systems of our cars.

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