Blog

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!

Back down the Road

Well it has been a long winter off the road but we flashed the the Stanley up this morning and with a few minor adjustments had her steaming down the road. We clocked about 40 miles and it rained so hard that I was sitting in a puddle of water even though the roof was up but all things considered the Stanley ran like a top. 

 The last time the Stanley was out was my wedding in August. Life has been busy since this momentous occasion so I haven't been in the garage as often as usual. It was on display with our 1912 Oakland Model 40 and 1911 RHD Model T Touring. The venue lent itself to beautiful photography, some of which I have included below.

 

 1911 Stanley Model 62 @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C  

1911 Stanley Model 62 @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C  

 1911 Stanley Model 62 - Rear @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C  

1911 Stanley Model 62 - Rear @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C  

 1911 RHD Model T Ford Touring @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C

1911 RHD Model T Ford Touring @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C

 1912 Oakland Model 40 @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C

1912 Oakland Model 40 @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C

 1912 Oakland Model 40 - Radiator @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C

1912 Oakland Model 40 - Radiator @ Painted Rock Winery in Penticton B.C

All wrapped up

I'm happy to say that I have successfully re-insulated the boiler with modern ceramic insulation. It was a big job but well worth the effort. I also replaced the main and pilot fuel lines with small 3/16" and 1/8" stainless lines well I had the smoke bonnet off. A substantial reduction from the 5/16" and 1/4" copper lines that I had been running. I had assumed that these changes would have decreased the operating pressure that my steamer would be running at. My thought pattern is as follows. If you decrease the line diameter and length, when the steam automatic cycles off there should be less fuel in the lines to clear out and thus shut the burner down down sooner. This should lower the operating pressure of the automatic.

In practice this is not the case. The main burner cycled off at much the same pressure as always. However there was an interesting side effect to re-insulating the boiler. After the main burner cycles off the insulation actually holds the heat so well it increases my steam pressure by an additional 50psi. A welcome surprise if I do say so myself.


Re-Insulating the boiler

For as long as I can remember the Stanley has had a puffy blanket wrapped around its boiler. It is a hot water tank blanket to be accurate. The reason for it being there is to provide insulation for the boiler. You see, unlike an internal combustion car where over heating is a concern, Stanley's are much more efficient when they are kept hot. Although the blanket has been a loyal steed and survived many a blaze the time has come to part ways. 

 Beside the obvious fact that the blanket is not era correct, it also didn't actually wrap all the way around the boiler. There was a section of approximately 5" that was left completely exposed. This provides an area for heat to escape and thus made my Stanley less efficient than it could be. I will be replacing the blanket with two layers of high temp ceramic insulation then wrapped tight with FiberFrax paper. This will give the boiler a nice uniform appearance and increase the efficiency.   

 On another note, now that the blanket has been removed there is a lot more room to work around the boiler. Given this easy access I decided that it was time to replace the main and pilot burner fuel lines. My car has been running 5/16" copper tube for the main fuel and 1/4" copper tube for the pilot. These line are really overkill for a 10 HP car. I have decided to re-plumb the main fuel line with 3/16" Stainless Steel Tube and the pilot fuel line with 1/8" Stainless Steel Tube. I've also found a way to shorten the main fuel line by 18" which will provide much better control of the stray vapors released when the steam automatic cycles off.