Interesting Notes

| September/October 1975

Rt. 1, Box 147A Suisun, California 94585

Years ago I bought a one cylinder gas engine. Belonging to Western Steam Friends, I had visions of converting it to a one cylinder S.A. steam engine. I had previously converted a one cylinder refrig compressor to steam and it ran okay but vibrated badly, as crankshaft had no counterbalances. Also converted a 2 cylinder refrig compressor to steam. Ran good. Too heavy. Getting my little jewel home removed cylinder and SURPRISE!-it started life as a launch marine motor. It was removed from the boat. Valves, carb and ignition removed. It was a 4 cycle with water jacketed cylinder. Head is filled with lead, also valve cage. Presto, air compressor. Main bearings finally knocked out. Will leave it as is. It's had a busy life. To restore it as a gas engine would destroy the message. It may have been built at Mare Island Naval Shipyard. They ca build anything from a battleship to an atomic submarine.

My little engine is very similar to other one lungers. However, the crankcase is split in two halves and bolted together like early motorcycles. My old Harley-Davidson had this type of crankcase. So it has had a mysterious past. Connecting rod is bronze cast. Plain crank, no counterweights. Flywheel was outside of crankcase but got lost in shuffle.

In late winter and early spring of 1973, I built a flash steam generator. It had 80 tubes of 3/8' copper tubing. These were mashed at ends and silver soldered steam tight. Tubes were brazed to a cage of iron. It was compact and lightweight.

When silver soldering the 1/8' copper delivery feed water tubes, they plug up if just a wee bit toc much solder is used. So I cut this boiler up and salvaged the copper tubes. Next, I tried a pancake coil: 3 feet of 3/8' tube, 4 feet of 3/4', 4 feet of 1/2' and 3 feet of 5/16'. Using 5/16' on steam end creates back pressure, helping to hold water back. I am starting a flash boiler using 3/4' water pipe. Most flash boilers are made of thin metal and have cracked the tubes. Dobles and the Brobeck Steam bus are classic examples.


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