Covered in this article- Testing the Steam Generator and pipework, pressure vs temperature, burner howl, fuel tank safety, Flowmotor fuel valve adjustment made easy, packing water pumps, steam valves, etc.
11. Is there an easy way to test the integrity of the steam generator coils throttle seat, water check valves, etc.?
Ans. Yes there is. Close throttle, open right side blow off valve, and use the hand water pump until water dribbles out of the blow off. Close blow off and use all your muscle to pump up 400-500 PSI on the steam gauge. First time this is done pressure may drop off a bit as there is always a little air in the coils. Open throttle and bleed off air. Do this a few times or until the pressure holds steady. You should be able to pump 400-500lbs. pressure at night and have 100-200 lbs. showing the next morning. If your White system won't do this, there are too many leaks. Until they are fixed you're wasting your time in trying to tune up and drive your car!
12. What is the most important gauge on the White Instrument Panel?
Ans. The Temperature gauge/pyrometer.
13. What is the least important gauge on the White instrument panel?
Ans. The Pressure gauge. Your car does not run on pressure. The steam gauge is nothing more than a reference to indicate to the driver the system is cycling at 550psi. Steam cars run on volume of steam, not pressure.
14. I know a man who installed a hand valve so he can bleed off air in the fuel tank. He says he uses 40 lbs. air pressure around town because "it helps temperature control at slow speed". Is he right?
Ans. All he has proven is that he does not understand the modulating fire principle. He has gone to a lot of trouble to install an item which, if his system were set to regulate properly, he would not need in the first place.
15. I know a man who is using oversize holes in the burner nozzle. He says he "gets a hotter fire". Is he right?
Ans. Yes he is. This is how the famous White racing machine, Whistling Billy, got it's name. However, the howl is so very loud as to make riding in the car most uncomfortable, all riders will be tone deaf in time, to say nothing of the fact all conversation ceases, for it is impossible. Lastly, the car owner will be hated by his neighbours, and if he attends Antique Car Tours, hated by all the other tourists. Burner howl is a painful, irritating, unpleasant sound. If courtesy means anything, there is no excuse for it. Besides, the level of performance gained is percentage wise so small as to be unrecognisable....
16. What is the most dangerous feature of a White Steam Car and what can I do about it?
Ans. The fuel tank. Keep in mind you are riding in a vehicle which has at its rear end a tank filled with a lethal, volatile, highly flammable liquid under 55 lbs pressure! If attending a parade, courteously request fellows in Antique Cars behind not to "tail-gate". If on the road some wise guy is hugging your behind, pull over and let him pass. Getting rear-ended while driving your White could mean utter disaster.
17. When adjusting the position of the Flowmotor fuel valve stem, I have trouble holding the little brass rod down against the pull of the big spring inside the Flowmotor. Is there a quick fix for this problem?
Ans. Yes. Cut off a section of wooden dowel 1/2 inch in diameter to about 7/8 inch long. Drill a 3/16 inch hole in one end. Unscrew the big brass nut on the upper end of the Flowmotor and carefully insert the water by-pass needle into the hole in the wooden dowl. Now, by turning the brass nut with one's fingers, the Flowmotor spring is compressed, and the fuel stem can be adjusted easily.
18. If the factory White engineers were so clever why did they design an engine whose water pumps leak into the crankcase?
Ans. The question infers a design flaw which, if the correct, original style White packing is used in the pumps, does not exist. Most restorers today do not seem to understand the various types of packing and their proper application. Like everything else on your White, packing is important.
While graphite/asbestos, braided, square cross section packing is correct for the piston rods, valve rods and throttle, it most certainly is not to be used in the water pumps. Asbestos shrinks in the presence of water. Thus, the pumps leak no matter how tight the packing glands. The proper packing for the water pumps is flax (or hemp) which expands in the presence of water.
19. Why is round style, rope packing not suitable for use in steam car glands?
Ans. Because when compressed, the round rope binds and will not properly compress inside the gland. Packing should always be square cross section, cut into rings of proper length, installed one at a time with plenty of oil, the open ends staggered so each will not be on top of one another, and the open ends bevel-cut.
20. Why is it so important to smear a lot of oil on to packing rings prior to installing them?
Ans. Packing rings installed bone dry usually tear quickly, then leak. Did you expect oil as if by magic, to leap inside that tight gland? As my dear Dad said: " There is a distinct difference between an optimist and a fool."
To be continued.
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