Hot Tube Ignition Follow-Up

Cylinder water jacket

Content Tools

115 C Audino Lane, Rochester, New York 14624

I am writing this as a follow-up to my article concerning hot tube ignition that appeared in the October 1989 GEM. I would like to thank everyone who wrote or called me concerning this article.

I received a very good letter from Mr. Henry Boutillette of Sussex, New Jersey, and I would like to share some very interesting comments and observations of his. He had a similar setup, as I described, for his 5 HP Bovaird and Seyfang engine, but when the engine drew in a charge, it would starve the hot tube torch, causing it to go out (a problem which I experienced, and never really fixed!). His first setup did not have an accumulator (or 'expansion chamber', as I mistakenly called it). His final solution was to 'chuck the accumulator', install a modified tee at the propane tank, and fit two pressure regulators, one to each remaining end of the tee. This supplies both the engine mixer and the hot tube burner from separate supplies that don't interfere with each other. I haven't tried this setup, but I'm sure that it fixes many problems with my setup.

Mr. Boutillette goes on to describe some other particulars of his setup. He used a #60 drill for his burner gas orifice, a ?' x 3' hot tube, and the center of his burner is 1? from the top of the cylinder head. His burner has two slots for air holes, and the gas orifice is 1/8' beyond the engine edge of the slot.

Again, I would like to thank Mr. Boutillette for his input.

My present project involves a hot tube engine, only this engine has a gasoline carb and burner. The engine was made by J.H. Mallinson of Utica, New York. I was told by the person I got it from (Pete Guydesen, of Lyons Falls, New York) that he got it from a man whose grandfather bought it. It was used on the farm until electricity came in 1906! After that it was used on an ice saw, the remains of which are still with it. The patent date on the brass Lunkenheimer carb is December 31, 1889. Hike to say it was made in 1895. It used to have a tag, but that disappeared. The only ID is the words, 'J.H. Mallinson Utica, New York', cast into the crankcase access cover. If anyone has a similar engine, or knows anything about it, please contact me. 

Anyway, when I got the engine, it had a knocking wrist pin, a loose timing gear, a large crack in the cylinder water jacket (cast integral with the crankcase), and was converted to spark ignition. It also had the original muffler, the original hot tube and chimney, and (amazingly enough) the original cast brass hot tube burner. The burner operates on the same principle as an old plumber's blowtorch. The needle valve of the burner is the only thing on it that is not original.

I believe the original setup had a suspended tank for the hot tube burner supply, but we (my friend Grunch and I) are using a pressurized tank from a plumber's blowtorch. The first problem we encountered was a strange pulsing of the fuel. I suspect that as the gas flowed into the burner, it vaporized very fast, causing a back surge. This caused the flame to pulse in a very annoying manner. An in-line check valve near the burner seemed to help. Then we installed the burner in the chimney of the engine. Now the problem is that after the gas in the starting pan has burned off, and the flame is nice and hot, the whole burner assembly cools down to the point where the gas no longer vaporizes. We have yet to solve this problem successfully. For some reason, the heat from the chimney is not enough to keep the burner assembly hot enough to vaporize the gasoline.

I would once again welcome any comments on the solution of this dilemma, and I will write another letter describing the outcome. I would also appreciate any words of wisdom on fixing a cracked water jacket. It is actually 2 cracks, running from the top of the cylinder to the bottom, and a very large, wedge-shaped piece is almost broken out of it (it is still connected at the bottom of the cylinder). Someone repaired one crack with a large, bolted-on piece of steel. The other crack was filled with Bondo (very difficult to remove). There is a sheet metal shroud around the cylinder from the top to below the cylinder proper, where there is a ring of holes for a crankcase breather. Once again, thanks for your comments.

Sincerely, Woody Sins.