Steam Car Club Forum
Steam Car Club : The Steam Car.....Forum
The Official Forum for the Steam Car Club
The fastest message board....ever.
Having trouble logging in or posting messages? Email for help.
Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto: Forum ListMessage ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Bower and Bell Projects
Posted by: Brian McMorran (
Date: July 19, 2014 10:42AM

Hi Folks
Over the years I have been in correspondence with various members about the Bower and Bell engine and I think it would be useful to share some of this within the forum.
The most recent enquiry is about cylinder lubrication.
The original Model Engineer article only suggests using a mechanical lubricator but the engine speed can exceed 3000rpm so the linkage flails around. Attached are some photos of the linkage arrangement from Richard Pink's Bolsover Simplex radial engine and the internal ratchet mechanism of the Manzel pump.
The other photos show a trial arrangement for the Mini project. Here I have used a 20:1 reduction gearbox to directly drive a Manzel pump without any ratchet mechanism and relying only on the piston stroke adjustment.
The sump oil of the engine needs only to be non emulsifying and some hydraulic oils are adequate. Reader used Shell Turbo 33 which is now Turbo T68 in their steam engine sumps. Morris Lubricants suggested their Liquimatic No 6 ISO 68 Hydraulic Oil as an alternative.
Steam oil is a different ball game since the engine was intended to run at 1500psi and with superheat. My temperature control has not been good so the HP piston rings have lost all tension. There has been some discussion on the SACA forum and Mobile 1 synthetic 634 gear oil has been suggested but I need to experiment more before I can be confident.
Any other experiences or information is welcome.


Attachments: crank mechanism.jpg (86kB)   Ratchet.jpg (75kB)   Mini 02.jpg (82kB)  
Re: Bower and Bell Projects
Posted by: Brian McMorran (
Date: July 19, 2014 12:32PM

Whilst I am in the mood and as a warning to other B&B owners here is a little warning that should have been born of common sense rather than an expensive experience.

One engine I bought had a weld repair to the HP cross head casting ('1' in the first photo). Not tidy but it was strong enough to survive the dynamometer test. I was steaming the engine for a demonstration to an American visitor when I heard a slight ticking noise, before I could stop it the low pressure cylinder was noticeably flexing. The LP crosshead (2) had cracked in the mirror image to the HP one. Reason was the valve gland nut had loosened and made contact with the rising crosshead piston. The clearance is very small with new packing and the nuts need to be wired. The second picture demonstrates the small clearance and I have just noticed this engine has no locking nut on the valve rod which further reduces clearance.

Just for interest I have included in the first picture crosshead '3' which came with another engine. Cause of failure is unknown but inspection of part '3b'shows a porous casting. The final part '4' is a brand new casting.

Although the crosshead piston can be made with a single piston ring I have found the engine still inhales condensation to mix with the oil. Next step is to extend the breather/filling point above the engine away from the water vapour. Pressurizing the sump pushes oil out of the crossheads and a vacuum pulls in water vapour. Never said it was a good design!!


Attachments: BB Crossheads 006.jpg (88kB)   BB Crossheads 009.jpg (60kB)  
Re: Bower and Bell Projects
Posted by: Brian McMorran (
Date: July 20, 2014 05:47AM

A while back someone from Australia asked about making the the B&B steam pump. I have lost a number of my emails and contacts so have no idea who it was but recently I found an article which describes the pump in more detail than before.

A Dependable Simplex Pump
Roy Anderson was the person who created the drawings for the B&B power plant which Light Steam Power sold but never credited.
In the July-August 1961 edition of Steamboats and Modern Steam Launches, Roy gives a description of the steam pump designed by Clifford Bower and Francis Bell. Along with the articles in Steam Car Developments & Steam Aviation this is all I have found about the pump.
Steamboats and Modern Steam Launches by Bill Durham were reprinted in a book full of great information and importantly still available.

If anyone has any spare castings for the pump I would be interested.

Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
The Steam Car Club Forum
Having trouble logging in or posting messages? Email for help.
Web by NPC