A blog about my the history, acquisition and operation of my 1911 Model 62 Stanley Steamer.

Pilot Issues Revisited

If you have followed this blog for a while you would have seen numerous posts about pilot issues. The ongoing problem was that my pilot would be not stay lit when going down long hills or if the car was sitting at a stop for an extended period of time, like 2 minutes plus. I have changed the fuel from naphtha or Coleman fuel to hexane, I replaced the pilot vaporizer with a longer unit, and I even changed the fuel line size. These were all significant improvements and it would burn more consistently as well as being easier to light but it didn’t solve my core issues. Then I installed a stack blower.

 The main purpose of a stack blower is to create a positive draft in the smoke bonnet to keep the fire from being smothered out. It is also useful in putting out tube fires as well as fires in your exhaust flue although the latter is a rare situation that you hope to never have happen. The stack blower requires an addition of a live steam line being plumbed into the vertical portion of the stack facing down towards the exhaust flue. It is controlled by a dash valve and can be used when required.

 During the last 500 miles of touring I began using the stack blower when going down long hills and for extended stops to provide a draft and, like magic, my pilot would stay lit. This really changed the experience of driving my car. It made for much more relaxed driving without the fear of consistently pulling over to relight the pilot.

 Now the stack blower is fantastic and has solved my issue but it is an issue I shouldn’t be having. I have toured with many Stanley’s and none have to use the stack as often as I do. So what is the real issue? It turns out that it is an incorrectly placed hole in the front of the exhaust flue under the vehicle. The purpose of this hole is to provide air flow through the exhaust flue and thus providing a draft in the smoke bonnet and keeping the pilot from being smothered out. There is a tiny hole, but it is blocked by the burner pan, mainly used for connecting the two lines from the feed water heater.

Add to the winter list: Remove exhaust flue and add 2” ventilation hole.

Happy Steaming!