Interesting Notes

By Staff

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

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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