After a very busy summer and a somewhat chaotic fall, I shall now try to get started on writing as promised here.
It is probably advisable to start with how my interest in steam cars started.
As I mentioned earlier, I saw my friend's Locomobile projects remained untouched for years. Once when I visited my friend Helge Karinen he asked me if I knew someone who could take on the job to complete the car, he wanted to move the Locomobile into his museum but it was not in the condition for that.
I immediately thought of a relative of mine who is good on vehicles, he are not usually afraid to take on odd projects. So when I got home, I called him up and asked if he was interested in the project. As I suspected, he accepted the challenge and I went down to Sparreholm and brought home the Locomobile, a pretty journey of 550 km single path.
I delivered the steam wagon to my relative's workshop and he immediately started trying to figure out how everything would work ...
But now is not always everything is as simple as you might first think and the Locomobile was standing in the workshop among buses and trucks without anything happening. I felt the responsibility as it was I who took the wagon there, so I visited the workshop from time to time to see how the work progressed, but every time I came to the workshop grew the pile of rubble that had been thrown over the car.
In the end, I felt like this can not continue, I simply had to act.
I spoke with my good friend Sven Åkesson, he and I have often done small projects together and we both have in addition many years' experience of steam since we both have worked in the paper industry, and then preferably with gigantic industrial steam boilers.
We decided to take on the task of finalizing the Locomobile without having any knowledge of how it should look and how it should function ... .. We both agreed that such a unique project you can’t refuse.
The Locomobile was standing in my relative's workshop for two years without anything happening. To his defense it must be said that he belongs to the PC-free generation, so he had no access to the Internet, a tool that we had not managed without.
Then followed a period of intense investigative activity, various steam car sites were studied carefully, not least the website for "The Steam Car Club of Great Britain."
The questions were many, what fuel should be used ?, How to keep the right level in the boiler ?, what kind of pipes should be used for the steam and water? How works the fuel supply? .....
We concluded that it was appropriate if we first tried to get the pilot burner to burn, then we would both learn how the fuel system worked, and even get an insight into the combustion technology.
The Pilot burner looked to be made of some old blowtorch, so how could we get it to burn clear and clean? We had seen pictures of pilot burners that burned with beautiful blue flame, so we knew how it would look.
In order to test fire both the pilot burner and later the main burner, we built a small pressure tank that we could fill halfway with gasoline, thereby we could experiment out what pressure we would use, and also be able to make experimental firings in a controlled manner.
I can say that it took many evenings' work before we could get a pilot burner that burned clean and tidy, how we tried, so flowed or dripped the gasoline and the flames were not beautiful blue but rather yellow-black and heavily sooty.
In the end we had to build an entirely new pilot burner, this new pilot burner worked acceptably and had to do so far.
Then it was time to try to get the main burner to work, at this time I had taken courage and written to Basil Crask who was then president of The Steam Car Club of Great Britain. Basil helped us then to get in touch with the enthusiast and legend Jeff Teobald, this was a very pleasant touch and Jeff helped us through several small insurmountable problems that arose along the way. We had seen pictures of how the device would look like, and using the parts were available, we tried to create a working burner .... It worked not so good I can say.
The burner was basically fairly well built, a cast burner plate with sawn slits and a solidly built frame. The burner was equipped with twin venturi tubes and dual vaporizers. But no matter how many attempts we did, and there were many ... we never got the burner to burn in the way it would do.
I described then the problems to Jeff and attached some photographs, the answer came back quickly, they sawed tracks in the cast burner plate is too small and passes too little fuel mixture. Ok, that sounded reasonable, it was just to get started on cutting up the tracks.
When the work to enlarge the sawn slits was finished it was so once again time for test firing, and this time it was really boost in the burner, but maybe not quite as we thought.
We now had to learn the meaning of a phenomenon that most of the steam car enthusiasts are familiar with ...... "Burn back".
The burner was burning nicely, but suddenly moves the flames down below the burner plate and everything becomes uncontrollable, before we could stop the fuel supply the heat had become so great that the bottom plate on the burner melted.
New contacts with our mentor, ok said Jeff, you are on the right track but you must produce scattering plates. We then got some pictures of how these plates would look like. After studying the pictures we made, as best we could, two scattering plates and a new (much more stable) bottom plate.
Then it was time for test firing again, and finally burned our burner in the way we wanted. It was beautiful blue flames here and there small orange tops.
I sent pictures to Jeff and got back a very happily email in which he described this as a great success. Unfortunately, this was the last contact I had with Jeff, a few weeks later reached me the sad news that he had passed away.
I am a self-taught steam car engineer whose interest is in the renovation, repairs and manufacturing of steam car parts....