The Hoke Family Stanley Steamer
Stanley Steamer SVCA 25030 Model 252
Well, I am way way (Months?) behind in keeping you up to date on The BettyAnne! Here is more than you
ever want to know, but it is my little diary of the restoration.
Last Saturday night I finally completed the air system. When I bead blasted the tubing last fall, I lost
some of the tags that indicated where things went. I got sloppy in getting the tags reconnected. Suddenly
I had separated tags and tubes. So it took a while to figure things out, even with a hand drawn notes and
lots of pictures. As someone told me when I bragged about having over 800 pre-disassembly photos, “you’ll
still find things you didn’t photograph and wish you had.” Right!
So, now the air system is done and the pilot fuel system is done – as far as it can go until the burner gets
installed – and the fuel system is done – as far as it can go until the burner is installed. I bent and
installed my first piece of copper tubing. A short connection from the starting valve to the main fuel
valve. Bob Wilhelm’s advice was invaluable.
Actually, the pilot fuel system is not complete yet. I now know that there was a valve on the bottom of
the pilot fuel tank. It is apparently a standard valve, I just don’t have one yet. Here is the picture
of the valve as it appears on another SV. If you have one in your junk box you’re willing to sell,
Now, where do I get a flaring tool for 7/16” tubing? My current idea is to get some think copper or brass
to wrap around the 7/16” tubing and then use the ½” hole.
When I started the piping, I decided to look through my junk to see if there was anything I might need. This
included the material I bought at the Illinois auction two years ago. That was the auction where a condensing
touring car sold for $90,000. (Did I mention that I have a Model 750 for only $75,000?) I bought almost all
the parts and the seller had a business connection in Dallas and shipped them all for free! I found all
sorts of short, cut-off copper pipe with fittings. I salvaged all of these, bead blasted them, and then
coated them with lacquer. I am sure every other Stanley owner has a larger collection than I do, but now
I do have a few spares. I’ve already used several 3/16th nuts. I also bought nuts from Art Hart.
I am still looking for the brass ¾” 18 nuts for water systems. Art Hart sent me two from his junk box, so
I think I have enough, but I am not sure. I’ll know when I get the water tank back in the car and begin
connecting water lines. No one makes these and I’ll take some samples to a local shop that does CNC work
and get an estimate.
Don Bourdon is sending back the boiler ring that I made and gave to him at Hershey two years ago. It should
arrive today or tomorrow, Monday at the latest. He is also sending stainless steel fittings for the blow
downs. Then I can put the boiler in place, mark the blowdown holes, pull the boiler out, turn it upside
down, put compressed air into it to blow out the chips, drill the holes, turn the boiler right side up, and
then put the boiler back into the car for the last time – I hope. Don Bourdon is also making the super heater
ring for the Cruban burner. That and the burner should be here by mid-February, I hope.
I also have the worm gear box back together – that is the box that changes rotary motion into linear motion
in the pump pit. Red Hall made the gears and put in new bearings, but one was too thick. The old thinner
bearing is not available any longer, so I added a stock exhaust gasket from O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and it
worked just fine. So the gear box, air compressor, generator, and speedometer take off are now back
together and installed. YAHOO!!! This followed the work on the jackshaft that comes out of the top of
the rear end and runs parallel to the right side of the rear end before taking a 90o turn up to the pump
pit. The bearing into the top of the rear end was too tight to push in. Someone told me to put the
bearing in the freezer and heat the aluminum casting with a propane torch. The heat and cold expansion
and contraction would enable the bearing to go it. It did, sliding in with absolutely no resistance. It
was located in a particular spot – yes, I measured that – and it was perfectly positioned. Now it is in
I also finally figured out the fuel piping. Your drawings were particularly helpful. I probably could have
done it without your drawings, but you saved me three years of work trying to figure it out on my own. There
are some after-delivery valves on the car that I don’t fully understand, but I think it is back as nearly
as possible to the original. In my junk, I found an SV fuel pump. I did not know what it was when it came
out of the junk box, but I do now.
John Packard gave me advice on installing the hand pump. The challenge was getting the shims correctly sized
so that the two halves of the pump were parallel. I locked down one side, then added shims to the other side
while trying to keep the two halves parallel. The problem is that the pump is attached to the sheet metal
side of the pump pit, which is not very stable.
John also has a fuel pump that he is rebuilding. I’ll use it to pressure test the boiler per David Nergaard’s
This morning I was at the body shop. They have one fender, two hood shelves, and one splash apron. All are
ready for final priming. I also took up the light switch sheet metal and the sheet metal for the instrument
I disassembled the instrument cluster over the weekend. I am still trying to get the screws out of the air
pressure gauge, but otherwise it is fully apart. The ring is off for plating and the screws and clamps are
all bead blasted and ready for installation. I tried to gently wash the black sheet metal insert with the
intent of polishing the original paint as I had done on the dashboard, but with the first touch of water, a
huge piece of paint came off. So I bead blasted it and took it to the body shop. It will be back on Monday.
David Nergaard helped with advice on the gauges. I took two parts-gauges to a local clock repairman and he
ran them through his ultrasonic. I should have run them through the carburetor cleaner first! They came
through just fine, so I ran the duplex gauge and the steam pressure gauge through my carburetor cleaner and
will take them back for the final ultrasonic cleaning tomorrow. Then it will be off to the calibration folks
here in Dallas. For $35.00 each, they will give me an official certificate. The bezels are back from the
plater, so as soon as the gauges are calibrated, the can go back into the dash. Eventually, I will follow
David’s advice and get myself some calibration gauges, but not this week.
Speaking of the plater, the last bill nearly led to a divorce, but they do very nice work. Yesterday I sent
them the ring for the instrument cluster, an interior foot light, and the two window handles from the rear of
the car as well as the handle and fitting for the drip valve. The large batch of things that came back
included the rear hubcaps, screws for various dash parts, the steering wheel support bracket, tail light
parts, the light switch, and sundry other things.
I went to Western sheet metal this afternoon. They have made the small pieces for the hood latches. I
only needed one, but I had them make a bunch on the theory that someone someday may need some. They are
a little rougher than I had hoped, but that is what files are for.
The Johnson Bar is now installed, but it will have to be uninstalled so I can put in the return spring. I
learned about this spring from Don Eckel while looking at his 1926 SV in December. Don’s (Eckel) car has
a Johnson Bar and a spring that holds it in place. My spring was rusted off years ago, and I was trying to
figure out what kept it in place. Thanks to Don (Eckel) now I know what to do.
I also built a temporary wooden seat for the car. This will allow someone to sit on it and turn the steering
wheel and push the brakes.
That is most of the news from Dallas – old history follows if you have not already fallen asleep! Stay warm
Very best wishes!
Late October 2008
Well, I’m a bit behind in keeping you up to date on The BettyAnne. As you know from the previous email, CJ and I
scored some good parts for her at Hershey.
Two weeks ago, I took the dashboard into the house and spent two hours cleaning the original paint with a very
fine rubbing compound. It cut the dirt and left a nice shiny surface, not perfect, but very nice. Sadly, while
I was doing this, the Green Bay Packers lost their football game, but the dash looks very nice.
As you know, I put the tires on the car and now I can move it with a very easy push. This was a major
psychological accomplishment. Somehow having the wheels on the thing made it seem as if it were becoming
a real car.
I started to work on the headlights, primarily to get parts plated, and discovered that I had lost a nut, not
a normal nut, you understand, but a nut that has two flat sides and a rounded back that holds it into the body
of the headlight. I tore the bench apart – not there. I took everything out from under the bench
(the wood pile is now nicely organized!) – not there! I was angry with myself for having lost a part,
but my friend Don Axelrod at Hershey sent me a new one. I expect the one I lost to show up any time now.
Speaking of lost parts, when I emptied the carburetor cleaner bucket to recycle the old cleaner (NO, it does
not go down the drain, it goes to the local Firestone store where it is recycled properly) I found a little
brass spring, about the size of a spring you would find in a ball point pen. I had no idea where it came
from, so I set it aside and figured it would come back to me. It did! When I was putting the air compressor
together, I found that it is the spring that holds a little ball valve in place. Now the air compressor is
done (except for the valve on the top) and the lost spring is back where it belongs.
The other major reassembly accomplishment is the Detroit Lubricator that feeds oil into the engine. It had
been apart on the bench for some time and I finally got around to dunking the tank, cleaning it, and painting
it. The paint job turned out very nicely. It took three nights to get it back together properly. I had to
figure out the whole system, as I had forgotten exactly how it went back together. It is done now, with
the exception of the little lever on the outside which is plated. It is at the platers now.
I finally got around to working on the flexible hose that runs from the lever under the driver’s seat
to the drip valve in the engine. The original was very badly rusted and the outer layer was rusted through
in several places. I had found a hose off a 740 or 750, and it precisely the same. The nickel-plated end
that sticks through the front seat frame comes off with a little heat to melt the solder and it is at the
platers, along with the handle and nut. I cleaned out the new one, bead blasted it, and put a coat of
lacquer on it. I also flushed it with KROIL before greasing the inner part very liberally. It then
occurred to me that when I heat it to re-solder the bracket to it that I will likely cook some of the
grease. I’ll deal with that later.
I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to straighten the windshield that I removed from the body a
few weeks ago. I have the inside frame nicely back to square – or at least as close as it can be. When
the new glass is put in, it will be fine. The problem is the outer frame into which the inner frame fits. The
inner frame is hinged at the top and swings out from the bottom to provide air flow inside the car. This is
giving me headaches, but I’ll get it done eventually. I have not yet started to work on the damaged
woodwork on the body.
I finally got the parts back from the plater a few weeks ago. I also sent him a new package of things to
plate. Having taken the door handles and the curtain rods off the interior, I now have more things to
send. The mirror also needs re-silvering but I think I can get that done locally.
As soon as I get the manual brake handle installed, the car will be ready for the brake guy. I’ll send
the chassis to him and have him adjust the brakes and put in the new springs I had made for the rear end. I
am sure I could eventually get the brakes done myself, but it is now a matter of time before May 23rd, 2009.
I polished the name plate carefully, but did not take it down to new metal. It shows its age. I also
polished the aluminum cylinder oil cover I loaned you several years ago. I took the steel bracket off
the back and bead blasted it, then sprayed it with lacquer. Looks very nice.
Somewhere in the garage is a plastic bag with the ferrules that came off the bottom of the headlights. I
cannot find them to save my life! I have looked just about everywhere. CJ and I found one at Hershey and
I had another one off a spare SOLAR 1130 headlight that came with the car from Charlie Vander Bush. I
told CJ that now that we had bought new ones, the old ones would show up.
No, I have not started rewiring the car yet, although we do have the wire to do the job. I bought wire
at Hershey to do the interior of the body.
I took one door apart to get at the hardware and see what the situation was. The door hardware is in good
shape and will be relatively easy to rework. The handles will go to the plater. Somewhere I have a key
to the door lock on the driver’s side.
The front bumper is now chromed. I need to have a couple of small parts made for it. They were so badly
rusted that they fell apart when I disassembled the bumper. I’ll drop them at the machine shop
soon. They are pretty simple.
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