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Hinote Steam Car 1973-75

Posted by Bill Hinote 
Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
June 27, 2009 10:22AM
Hello All:

As promised I've started a new thread which will provide some details about my successful steam car, built and operated in the period 1973-1975.

This first post will only have the 3 black and white photos attached; I'll start to provide some details in other posts as soon as tomorrow.

I hope you-all will enjoy this, and feel free to ask questions.

Regards,

Bill Hinote


Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
June 27, 2009 09:10PM
Bill,

I have a color illustration of the system (attached) that is very close to what you built that will allow people not familiar with the hardware used to identify items. As they say in the trade "a picture is worth 1,000 words". This is an update of a drawing published in 1976 that can be used for doodling on to show additional items or changes made by others. Change the title to suit.

Graeme



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/01/2009 12:07AM by gvagg2.


Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
June 28, 2009 05:14AM
Hi Bill,

Neat stuff! How did it perform? 0-60, top/cruise speed, fuel and water MPG? How many miles did you put on it? Looks like a pre-1968 VW Bug (swing axle, Type 1) chassis/floorpan?

Peter
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
June 28, 2009 10:12PM
Quote
gvagg2
Bill,

I have a color illustration of the system (attached) that is very close to what you built that will allow people not familiar with the hardware used to identify items. As they say in the trade "a picture is worth 1,000 words".

Graeme

Graeme:

That's an amazing similarity to how my effort turned out! It looks like a Pop/Sci depiction--can you attribute its source?

I'll try to provide a list of details about the items installed, and their configuration. I'm afraid there's going to be some holes in the description,--to match the holes in my memory.

Bill H.
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
June 28, 2009 10:20PM
Quote
Peter Brow
Hi Bill,

Neat stuff! How did it perform? 0-60, top/cruise speed, fuel and water MPG? How many miles did you put on it? Looks like a pre-1968 VW Bug (swing axle, Type 1) chassis/floorpan?

Peter

At this point I can remember certain details--and there's some others that have simply dissipated with time--or were never considered in the excitement of my mid-20's period of life. Look for quantitative responses to certain aspects, and qualitative answers to some I wish I could do better with. Specific answers forthcoming in the next day or two.

35 years later my engineering inclinations have emerged in a more mature fashion; I have quoted the results of my pulsejet developments in numerical terms whenever possible. For an engineer there's no substitute for numbers!

Bill H.
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
June 29, 2009 06:54PM
Quote
Bill Hinote
I'll start to provide some details in other posts as soon as tomorrow.

Here's a list of basic specs for the car:

Chassis: early '60's VW bug floorpan

Front suspension/steering: Stock VW, with several leaves of the torsion bar spring removed to bring the ride height back to "normal" with the reduced weight.

Rear suspension and rolling stock: Ford Mustang solid rear axle, mounted on the original flexible "ears" were tabbed onto the rear torsion bar spring. One side was solidly mounted, and the other floated between 2 flanges on the axle--to allow for torsional twist in the suspension due to uneven ground.

Engine: 6-cylinder Mercury outboard powerhead, converted by RJ Smith with modified spark plugs for bash valves, brass pins mounted on the pisons, head tapped for aux steam feed for startup, etc., etc, I'll post a separate detail about the engine, as well as the boiler, controls, condensing system, etc.,

Boiler: 2 concentric drums of schedule 40 (black-iron) pipe, totalling about 300 feet.

Condensing system: Honeycomb-style radiator from an early '50's GM car (I think it was '53 Pontiac); 2 fans powered by roots-type steam motors.

Brakes: Stock drum brakes all around, with foot pedal operating conventional master cylinder.

Throttle: hand-operated throttle with a centrally mounted handle between the seats.

Electric system: 12 volt total-loss system, with a pretty big battery; I had planned for an alternator install, but never got that far.

Fueling: Pressure atomizing using a mix of 80% diesel/20% gasoline for consistent lightoff.

Look for individual descriptions of many of the above, with details about how well they did (or didn't!) work.

Bill
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 01, 2009 12:21AM
Bill,

It was in one of those old magazines like that and the copyright owner has changed. So rather than create an international incident I have replaced it with an updated sketch anyone can doodle on to show variations they may have made. It's not as pretty but didn't take a lot of time either. Barrett had a full steam conversion 6 cylinder engine connected to the VW transaxle but in 1976 we changed that for the Beetle block conversion using only 2 cylinders. He retained the concept for that car and the next one with the sports coupe body shell fitted as you would have followed in correspondence with him.

Regards,

Graeme
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 01, 2009 03:44PM
Quote
Bill Hinote

I'll try to provide a list of details about the items installed, and their configuration.

Here's some details about the engine:

Basic description for the type would be: 6-cylinder impulse ("bash"winking smiley valve uniflow type, with rotary intake for starting and slow speed operation. The actual hardware was a converted 6-cylinder Mercury outboard powerhead--I believe the displacement was 66 cubic inches.

Most of the work was done by RJ Smith on this motor. He claimed to have dyno'ed it, and there was quite a lot of power available if adequate steam was available. I forget the actual number but it seems it was something like 60 hp.

The standard conversion for this mostly-aluminum engine included: Removing the intake reed valves and holders; drilling and tapping the pistons for the brass lift pins; removing the ceramic portion of the spark plugs and brazing a swagelok fitting instead--before which the hardened steel ball was inserted and whacked with a hammer and punch to "coin" it to the plug base--creating a solid sealing surface. The rotary valve assembly consisted of brass body with packing glands and a steel (might have been SS) one-piece rotor and shaft assembly, and was mounted at the original location for the distributor. The fittings on the block to receive the rotary valve feed lines were just brass flare fittings. The feed lines from the rotary valve were intentionally small to restrict the steam flow from that source at higher speeds (I think we may have used 1/8-inch OD tubing). Fabrication of an intake plenum was recommended by Smith, and was accomplished successfully by yrs trly--ditto for the exhaust manifold. The intake plenum prevented unwanted variations in steam pressure and possible resonance issues.

Steam was exhausted through the original intake ports (3), after having been ported into the crankcase area through the original cast-in bypass ports of the 2-cycle IC configuration. Engine lubrication consisted of a pint of SC Gunk (actually a soluble oil) and a pint of superheat steam oil mixed together thoroughly and then poured slowly into 5 gallons of water; the oil mix was carried through the water supply and then the boiler, before lubricating the throttle and engine. It was then carried with the exhaust and went through the condenser to return to the feedwater tank for reuse.

The main problems encountered were with the bash valves. The brass lift pins had a lower than satisfactory life (the soft brass tended to "mushroom"out, reducing the valve lift). Pete Barrett struggled with this problem; I didn't experience it to any significant degree--probably because my average pressures were lower than his, and I didn't accumulate as much total mileage. The other problem was that the spark plugs wouldn't stay tightened in place, because of the different expansion coefficients of the steel plugs and the aluminum block assembly. I solved this by taking advantage of the clamping bolt holes at the crankcase seam--which were directly in-line with the cylinder centerlines. Using mild steel all-thread for extensions and c-shaped mild steel straps I was able to make valve retainers which totally solved the issue. The pre-tension value could be adjusted with the double nut arrangement so the correct tension was available when the engine was fully warmed up. I recall tapping the all-thread with a hammer and noting the sound to determine the actual tension being applied.

Dick Smith was a real genius--and one of his best attributes was being able to find the simplest ways to build up a steam power system using "off-the-shelf" components. He claimed a steam rate (as I recall) of 6 lb/hp-hr for this engine, which was quite good. I never confirmed this BTW--but it was certainly economical in its steam usage as far as I was concerned.

Anyone out there who has further knowledge about this engine type is welcome to chime in, to add info or to correct mine. I hope my memory of this is mostly accurate, after 35 years!

Bill
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 02, 2009 10:02AM
Bill,

Your memory seems in good shape. Richard didn't give me any definite test results for any of his engines and I didn't use outboard motor conversions. The description indicates you had an early version. Changes were needed and were added as running experience was gained. A problem with small scale development was that running experience was minimal and well below what is required for general public use. The 6 lb/hp.hr water rate would not be correct. Actual power output would depend on the best boiler output and steam conditions that suited the engine. 60hp would be a good result but the car would run well on less than that.

Looking forward to hearing more of how it went together.

Graeme



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/03/2009 09:37AM by gvagg2.
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 03, 2009 09:49AM
Bill,

Advertising literature from Smith in 1974 and 1975 shows two different six cylinder Mercury conversions were offered - a 60 cubic inch and a 99 cubic inch. Both were available as reconditioned used blocks but only the latter offered as a new block. The valve arrangement was the same. You may have had the small one.

Regards,

Graeme
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 05, 2009 07:02PM
Quote
Bill Hinote
I'll start to provide some details

I'm currently working up a description of the steam generator along with a graphic depiction. I'll probably need a couple more days before I post it (Life gets in the way!)

Bill
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 12, 2009 01:35PM
Quote
Bill Hinote
I'm currently working up a description of the steam generator along with a graphic depiction. I'll probably need a couple more days before I post it

OK--here's the drawing, with a few relevant notes:

1. It's probably not totally accurate (I'll bet Karl Petersen can provide corrections as necessary).
2. It's not to scale.
3. Created in MS Paint--it doesn't have any relationship to a CAD-type drawing.

FWIW

I believe Smith called this one the "Maxi-SASS".

The coils consisted of 300 feet of black iron pipe in 2 sizes (1/4 and 3/8 inch nominal, as I recall). These were mandrel-wound into concentric drums with the superheat section nested inside the economizer section. The outer section was welded into a solid drum while on the mandrel, using stitch welds about 1/2-inch in length between adjacent windings to create a solid piece with very little leakage between the courses. OTOH the inner drum (which was also welded on the mandrel) had pieces of welding rod forced between the courses to create gaps which would provide controlled leakage of the hot gases. The welding rod was then welded into place along with the same sort of welds to provide a solid drum.

The inner drum was suspended concentrically by driving 3 pieces of pipe (or tubing) into the gap and welding them at the ends to each drum to create a single assembly. A disc of aluminized steel sheet was welded at the outer end of the superheater/inner drum to seal that end and a ring of the same material was welded at the burner end to seal the gap between the drums there.

The water path was as follows (as I recall it): Feedwater entered through 2 check valves to the exhaust end of the outer coil and travelled up to the burner end where it was brought back to the exhaust end by a pipe running in the gap between the coils; then, entering the superheater (inner coil) it travelled up to the burner end where it exited the boiler.

The burner utilized a pressure atomizing nozzle from the oil furnace industry. I burned a mix of 80% diesel and 20% gasoline (the gasoline promoted light-off, and was chosen after some pretty hairy light-off delays that scared the hell out of me!) The air was supplied by the standard (for the time) aircraft surplus blower (squirrel-cage type). The spark plug was standard automotive type, modified with extended electrodes made out of stainless welding rod. The fuel pump was also aircraft surplus. Fuel pressure was set on a bypass loop with a restrictor valve to create the desired value.

Burner configuration is shown in the drawing as I remember it; the outer shell (of aluminized steel sheet) wrapped around the inner assembly to provide cooling, and to preheat the air. The innermost cylinder was a pretty interesting detail, and served 2 purposes:

1. It was a "recirculator" which drew superhot gases around it in the reverse direction; the resulting mix of burned/unburned fuel at the nozzle are resulted in a claimed NOx reduction.
2. The heat of the cylinder as well as the recirculated gases promoted final vaporization of any "stubborn" fuel that the atomizing nozzle was emitting as liquid. This still wasn't totally effective as the burner emitted "sparklers" consisting of small droplets of burning fuel. The inner space of the coil assembly provided enough length to allow these to burn out--there wasn't any real soot buildup noticeable after lengthy operation.

The nose of the burner was a tight fit inside the inner drum; the outer shell included tabs thru which sheet metal screws were inserted to fasten the whole assembly to the upper ring of the coil assembly. Any slight leakage of air at that point would have been cold air as a result of this design detail.

Insulation for the boiler consisted of a blanket of one-inch Cerafelt wrapped with 2 overlapping sheets of 304 stainless and held in place with large worm-type clamps. Simple but moderately effective--the outer shell ran about 200 degrees F at full tilt. A little too hot to put your hand on!

Control as follows:

1. Pressurestat primary control over the burner, completely shutting it down at target pressure (I used 600 psig as I recall).
2. Bypass flow control valve provided constant water flow from the FW pump once a minimum speed was achieved.
3. Temp sensing frame at the boiler outlet operated a whitey toggle valve on a bypassing "T" in the fuel supply line to the burner, with adjustable preset; The flow was set so the steam temp would slowly rise (assuming the FW pump was pumping fast enough to engage the FW flow control valve), then the toggle valve would "trim" the fuel feed back as the desired operating temp was approached.
4. There was an external frame attached to the superheat/inner drum at each end; this created a heat-sensitive differential movement on the frame which was used to operate a set of automotive points. The points were in the electrical circuit for the burner auxiliaries, and served as an overheat shutdown to back up the other, "normal" control functions.

The control methods used as well as the hardware used to create them, showed Smith's genius and ability to create novel and simple solutions. Control hardware is pretty much visible in the photos; I'll be glad to describe them in more detail as necessary.

This post is pretty long; I'll try to relate some recollections about actual operation in another post. I hope this one has been interesting and (reasonably) accurate.

Bill


Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 07:35AM
Hi Bill,

Interesting stuff for sure!

Sorry, to you and everyone, that I just have not had time lately to keep up with and comment on all the very interesting material and issues which have been presented on this forum. The past month's summertime design activities around the Hermitage here could be described as "throttle actuation". Sounds silly & minor, until you try to do it. Results at present are part "superb, ready to build, looks fantastic", part "gol durn it how long is this gonna take to figger out!?!?!?". I, along with I know a few others here, am a big believer in very careful design before building -- even if it takes seemingly forever -- but then again, as steam motorcycle driver Tony Grzyb says, to both consternation and agreement, and sometimes an odd combination of both, "you don't know nuthin' till you build it".

The bit I wanted to comment on was your rear axle setup. I considered something similar, built on the 1964 VW Beetle chassis now in my shop (will somebody please get over to San Diego and pick it up, free!?). I guess this suggestion is a few decades late. The trailing arms of the early/swing-axle bug suspension, I think, could be plain-pivot-mounted on a solid axle, as the suspension arms can (and do) flex side to side, as well as twist. The only thing I would add would be a Panhard rod, to keep the axle centered.

That being said, however, your slide-pin arrangement was a great "get 'er running ASAP" adaptation.

It bears mentioning that the later VW Bug suspension (1969 and on, or 1968 on for Automatic Stickshift), had double-jointed, "true independent" rear suspension. Whole different deal. The Bug went from what Jim Crank once described, with uncomfortable accuracy, as the "worst suspension ever" [ah, but don't forget the early swing-axle Corvette!], to a pretty decent independent suspension geometry.

Of course, despite being the hardest of hard-core Old VW drivers myself ('69 Auto-Stick Bug since '78, & still going strong), I still prefer the camber [& other] characteristics of a solid axle.

A bit off-topic, perhaps, for "engine guys".

Kudos to all for the recent lack of surliness here, even in the face of most contentious issues, considering that "flaming" often seems a requirement for internet fora. Extra credit to those who have maintained a positive sense of "steamthusiasm" in the face of genuine or alleged "reality checks". smiling smiley

Peter
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 08:27AM
Hi Bill,

Ah, I can't believe I posted all that, without getting to "the punch line". Which was that the darned VW torsion bar unit was right where I wanted to put the engine!

The switch from early straight-6 conversion steam engine designs to the later 2-cylinder designs, was a step in the right direction, in my opinion. Folks new to steam may find it interesting to check out & contemplate Stumpf's notes on the issue of "surface losses". For the same displaced volume, fewer cylinders gives a lower surface-area to volume ratio, thus lower surface losses. This is a "majormajor" factor in steam engines, particularly in smaller (car-sized) engines, and/or engines with maximized expansion ratios, with higher inlet-to-exhaust temperature differentials. There are, of course, many more factors to consider. Actual results can be surprising.

Peter
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 10:25AM
Bill,

I bought one of those boiler coils (used with a leak in the superheater) from Smith when I was at Long Beach, Ca (only 20 minutes from Midway City where Smith lived) and considered using it in my VW conversion project at the time (1976). The design is shown in Smiths catalog as the Maxi Sass from the Super Sass range. Two smaller sizes were Midi Sass used on motorcycle conversions and the Mini Sass on bicycles.

The new burner I developed was a spinning cup design that had a shorter and wider flame pattern that did not suit the Smith boiler shape so I stayed with the pancake coil layout. That was only about half as long overall and lighter as well. Both Barrett and myself had been using pancake type (Doble F style) boilers for the previous 10 years. Subsequent developments of it by Barrett made additional savings on weight and size.

I left the Maxi Sass boiler tube nest for sale with Barrett when I left USA in 1977 and I don't have any news on where it went after that.

I have a picture of the two sections of the boiler separated to repair the superheater leak. Beside it is a picture of the pancake coils (and assistant) I made for my VW project.

Our projects from 1976 retained the original VW floor pans and suspension and none had a rigid back axle with engine attached. Smith claimed that was more efficient but he was deeply upset when Barrett demonstrated his test chassis at the 1977 Long Beach meet with a much smaller burner fitted (only 1 or 2 US gal/hr capacity instead of 4 to 6 gph as previously used). It was a watershed day when traditionalists and modernists parted ways. The abrupt change only took about 6 months to take place.


Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 03:21PM
Quote
Peter Brow
The bit I wanted to comment on was your rear axle setup. I considered something similar, built on the 1964 VW Beetle chassis now in my shop (will somebody please get over to San Diego and pick it up, free!?). I guess this suggestion is a few decades late. The trailing arms of the early/swing-axle bug suspension, I think, could be plain-pivot-mounted on a solid axle, as the suspension arms can (and do) flex side to side, as well as twist. The only thing I would add would be a Panhard rod, to keep the axle centered.

See- the more you guys post, the more I remember (1974-75 was a long time ago)!

I made up a panhard rod using a tie rod--the ball end was attached to a lug welded to the axle tube. I can't remember what vehicle we took the tie rod from.

Bill
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 03:43PM
Quote
gvagg2
I bought one of those boiler coils (used with a leak in the superheater) from Smith when I was at Long Beach, Ca (only 20 minutes from Midway City where Smith lived) and considered using it in my VW conversion project at the time (1976). The design is shown in Smiths catalog as the Maxi Sass from the Super Sass range. Two smaller sizes were Midi Sass used on motorcycle conversions and the Mini Sass on bicycles.

The new burner I developed was a spinning cup design that had a shorter and wider flame pattern that did not suit the Smith boiler shape so I stayed with the pancake coil layout. That was only about half as long overall and lighter as well. Both Barrett and myself had been using pancake type (Doble F style) boilers for the previous 10 years. Subsequent developments of it by Barrett made additional savings on weight and size.

What a coincidence!! I'm very sure you bought the original coil from my project--which I cooked while learning the hard way about feedwater management (more about that issue in an upcoming post).

Dick took pity on me and sold the 2nd coil set at a discount, and kept the burned one. Interesting convergence in our separate experiences, IMO.

As an interesting aside, the car ran at perhaps its all-time best with that leak; it seems the leaking steam promoted heat transfer from the hot combustion gases into the tubing. The leak wasn't huge, and really minor when compared to the sheer volume of steam the boiler was generating. I didn't really notice it until after a shutdown, when the constant hissing of escaping steam made itself known. BTW a great story to relate, when boiler safety is discussed.

The spinning cup burner remains one of my favorite items, as developed in more "modern" steam times (I think). I believe the Carter project was the first to utilize it--they were able to take advantage of the 100:1 turndown ratio and create a very clean-burning project, because the burner didn't go through the dirtiest parts of the cycle in normal operation--startup and shutdown of the burner. Pete was able to glean enough of the details to build a successful version for his project. Also, electric power requirements for operating the burner were notably lower than for the pressure atomizing type.

I like the SASS type of coil arrangement for my needs--the alignment is horizontal, and works well with the induced thruflow of gases that a propane burner creates. Also, the drum coils are much easier to form.

BTW the EGT from the big SASS boiler was off the charts; the heat transfer wasn't really very efficient. I always thought the flow path for the combustion gases was wrong in this design--it should have travelled down the center of the superheater drum, and then reversed direction in the annular space to exit back near the burner. This would have necessitated a stack assembly, and creates further complexity. Anybody have an opinion about this?

Bill
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 07:21PM
Bill,

It is likely the boiler tube I bought from Smith in 1975 or 1976 was initially owned and used by you. The leak was only a pin hole and repaired by welding over it. You can see the general location on the photograph.

The rigid design was beneficial for a steam car but it would needed further development to improve its efficiency but without making it any larger overall.
The design range was for lower cost options but sacrificing some efficiency.
If the safety devices were 100% reliable and idiot proof the design could be a type used by anyone and used as a low cost throw-away item or repaired by replacement, with any defective units repaired and recycled back to users. The recycling requirement is now required for automobiles sold in Europe. The concept could apply to any new boiler system that was regarded as a bullet proof design, ie no SACA member can stuff it up. To do this you need to weld the whole lot into a sealed box so nobody can get at it.

There is a second design requirement for users - any grandma should be able to switch the thing on, go on a shopping trip and get home safely without getting her fingers burnt or knuckles skinned on anything under the hood, trunk or inside the vehicle.

Graeme
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 07:54PM
Just a quick historical note...the Dobles patented a spinning cup burner, a nice looking one at that, back in the 1920s...and not all of their patents were original concepts. I wonder how far back the design goes...

Regards,

Ken
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 16, 2009 09:49PM
Hi Ken, as a fellow FSU student, I figure this should hold some relevance. I will be attending the annual family reunion at the end of the month, driving all the way up to Kalkaska with my wife and daughter, coming from miami FL.

We do this every year, its a tradition my grandpa Durwood[BOOTS] got the whole family involved in once a year every summer, as he inherited the 160 acres of land my great grandpa ED Holmes gave to him. anyway, I taped some of the reunions in Kalkaska years ago. I promised my dad 15 copys of a DVD from my footage. You would not believe the other cornburner stuff, from years ago, that ive watched on the Hi8 cassettes, there is some totally awsome footage of my cornburner running at full tilt, everyone would be stunned at how loud the burner ROARS under some conditions. My wife even looked at me today(she was there as I played the unknown footage)like holy-shit that thing is dangerous... Trust me, when Harry casually mentions, well that cornburner that Jeremy's got, could fly an 727, he has no idea, its one thing to see the pictures that I used from still-frames of the actual video, displayed on my website, but its something else to watch the video footage. Unfortunitly no-one will see the unit (cornburner running) until there's a pat-pend or patent-issue for that device, its taken a great many years to reduce the thing to actual practice specifically for running an steam engine.

So anyway, My grandpa Durwood, was around as I was building the thing, I watched some great footage of my biggest fan admiring my work. It did bring a tear to my eyes... Anyhow, I have discovered a tonn of new footage of the engines running that I can show, since compressed argon is causing the engine to run. So, I figure, after the family reunion this year, I will post the stuff I can show on youtube. Im just astonished as to what I have forgotten about my steam engine project, there's 14 hours of footage on Hi8 cassette, ive been thru 8 hours at best.

Jeremy
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 17, 2009 07:09AM
Ken,

Those burners had been around for a long time and several of the funded developers were using them in steam car projects in the early 1970s, including Carter and SPS. Doug Garner did a presentation on a light weight cup he formed from steel can lids and gave me some to try. There were no small low cost commercial units you could buy and we needed designs that were compact and light. Within two weeks of evening fiddling I had a reliable working model using #1 heating oil fuel and this was the basis for refinements made later. Barrett's progress is documented in The Bulletin but the variations we used in Australia is not. As liquid fuel is too expensive to use in a steam project these days, no recent development has been done. At the time it was the best oil burner I had used.

Graeme
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 17, 2009 08:03PM
Bill--

The Super SASS boiler that you describe is the same type that I acquired thru Tom Kimmel-the one I used for my T-Model-Ford based steam vehicle. I used the generator for a matter of years, and developed a very intimate relationship with it..since I could never get it to work satisfactorily!! The burner that came with the generater was also as you describe...but needed quite a bit of rebuild time in order to function.
I think part of my problem was that the person who built the burner didn't get it quite right to begin with, and so I had a bit of catching up to do..in order to get it somewhat close to Smith's original design. I always had trouble with soot, and had quite a few large backfires as a result of the ignition problems.
I agree wholeheartedly with you concerning the correct flow of gases thru the boiler--I had exactly the same idea. I planned to modify the one I had to use that arrangement, but decided against modifying the Smith design-and decided to just replace it with a Doble-type instead. I increased the efficiency somewhat by installing a FW heater in the stack of the Smith Boiler, but still didn't get very good performance out of it. The Doble-type that replaced the Smith boiler is much more effiicient, and has a much more dependable ignition.
I also had a bit of experience with the spinning cup burner, which was on the Carter Boiler, when Jay Carter loaned it to us for use on the Dragster. I thought it was a very good method of atomizing the fuel without having to compress it to 100 psi, as is usually the case with pressure-atomizing burners. The spinning-cup type always lit off easily, too...but I found that over a period of time, we had a soot buildup on the finned tubing of the boiler. I think the small amount of soot was the result of Carter's control of nitrous oxide emissions for the Federal Emissions Tests that he originally built the Boiler to pass.
The blue-flame burner in the new Dragster boiler is pretty awesome--with absolutely no smoke or soot, but time will only tell how dependable it is-as far as longevity and ease of control go!!!

Cheers--Chuk


Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 19, 2009 11:37AM
Quote
gvagg2
There is a second design requirement for users - any grandma should be able to switch the thing on, go on a shopping trip and get home safely without getting her fingers burnt or knuckles skinned on anything under the hood, trunk or inside the vehicle.

Graeme:

Interesting that you would mention the above.

One of my goals with this project was to have my wife operate it without my supervision. We were able to get several interested bystanders to watch her fire up from cold, go to the local grocery store and back, and shut her down--all without my participation.

This was most impressive from the viewpoint that there were lots of deficiencies in the project as it existed. 'Twas a brave woman who learned how to operate it and go off on her own!

Bill
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
July 19, 2009 11:56AM
Here's a brief description of the condensing system:

Steam exhausted from the engine passed to the front of the vehicle through a length of automotive exhaust tubing and was distributed to a set of 2 plastic multi-blade fans, driven by tiny Roots-type air injection reactor pumps (from a '67 VW squareback) converted to steam motors. The steam then entered the honeycomb-style radiator (I think it was from a '53 Pontiac) placed at an angle on the front of the car. Condensed steam then flowed back into the FW tank, placed under the boiler at the rear of the car. A combination vacuum/pressure gauge was piped to the radiator to watch what was going on.

One of the repetitive questions by interested bystanders was, "How does the FW get back to the tank?" It turns out that this was a non-issue, as condensate buildup in the lower header of the radiator eventually provided enough water column pressure to move things in the correct direction; this effect was supplemented by occasional excursions from vacuum to pressure in the radiator itself.

I never encountered a situation where the condensing system couldn't handle the steam it was fed; most of the time the gauge showed a mild vacuum. The fan motors really contributed to the success IMO--they removed more residual energy from the exhaust steam and created a surprising amount of airflow through the radiator. Of course my system wasn't capable of more than about 15-18 horsepower, so the condensing system was handling less than its original design intent.

Another interesting detail, about the fan motors: Several people (I think Pete Barrett was among them) had trouble with the little pressed-in steel buttons that covered the rear shaft bearings; they were popping out due to the high temps and pressures being encountered (think differential expansion between the steel button and the aluminum housing). As I recall, an aluminum button was substituted and held in place with setscrews. This provided a degree of reliability that was otherwise lacking. BTW I didn't have this problem--apparently my system was just not putting out enough steam to duplicate the issue.

Also, in the photo showing the rear of the car you can see an early exhaust manifold which incorporated a copper feedwater loop; I had some hope of recovering wasted heat there--but the surface area in the available tubing length was insufficient to create any real effect. I eventually replaced it with a simpler assembly and saved myself yet another source of leaks (which is a big problem in any steam system BTW).

Thanks for viewing, and I invite any comments or questions.

Bill



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/2009 11:59AM by Bill Hinote.
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
August 25, 2009 01:22AM
I saw little of this car since I was no longer spending much time in Midway City, but was busy building the steam Citroen, then moved north at the end of 1974.

The maxiSass coil set was cheap, maybe, but it certainly had poor heat transfer. Chuk Williams "T" chassis, my Citroen, Graeme's understanding and the Hinote car set no efficiency records due to this major producer of hot exhaust. I do not think the tradeoff in low cost was worth the poor performance.

The efficiency of the bash valve Merc based engines must have been compromised by the largely unknown effects of the compression space, the amount of steam which could come through the bash valve, and the exhaust restriction using only the original transfer ports for exhaust into the crankcase. I did dyno testing on a 2 cylinder unit sold to Clayton Mfg and on test engines with rotary valves which showed excellent efficiency, but this was about 11 lb/hp-hr and not 6.

Graeme-- You say the falling out of old/new designs was at the Long Beach meet. Can you write privately or open a new topic? I was clearly away and do not understand the fork in the road. I would like to understand Richard's reactions to the facts better, and what he might have done to his development path.

Karl Petersen


Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
August 25, 2009 09:44PM
Karl,

Regarding the Maxi SASS boiler, I think this was developed in 1968 when fuel was cheap, with even less expensive options available for steam use. Richard claimed the boiler efficiency was only about 10% less than his pancake style. You would need to do a lot of driving to recover the cost premium for one of those. An improved version could be developed and costs kept low or you start from scratch and make something that suits the needs of the next 10 years or so. With few progressive improvements being made, developers keep starting from a zero point and mainly just finding new problems.

On the other hand, a developer can't afford to keep on refining a product that is not supported by an adequate customer base. Smith did have customers for all sizes in the range and may have exhausted the available market at the time. Better, cheaper, products may have attracted more interest but there would have remained a price and performance gap that consumers had to come to grips with if they wanted a steam powered machine or any sort.

Graeme
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
August 26, 2009 03:15PM
Quote
Karl Petersen
The maxiSass coil set was cheap, maybe, but it certainly had poor heat transfer. Chuk Williams "T" chassis, my Citroen, Graeme's understanding and the Hinote car set no efficiency records due to this major producer of hot exhaust. I do not think the tradeoff in low cost was worth the poor performance.

I made a brief comment regarding the possibility of improving the efficiency of this (drum-style) design--but didn't get a comment from anyone about it. Trying again:

It has always seemed to me that the flow path chosen for the combustion gases was just plain wrong. The worst offender was that the gaps in the central superheater drum coil were poorly placed--and still-burning fuel with flames showing could be seen in the annular space between the 2 drum sets. At night, an occasional lick of flame could be seen completely outside the boiler assembly!

I felt the flow path could be maximized by forcing the hot gases all the way to the far end of the superheater drum, and then the flow should be reversed at that point so the gases would flow through the interdrum gap; the exhaust would be at the "head" end of the coil stack in this concept, near the burner. An economizer (pancake) coil added at the "tail" end would add yet more surface area for heat transfer.

Comment-es-vous?

Bill H.
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
August 26, 2009 04:56PM
Bill-

As I mentioned in my earlier post-above-I completely agree with you concerning the layout and functioning of the Smith boiler. I had huge soot problems as a result of the flame impinging on the tubes before it had completely burnt. By simply changing the layout and letting the flame go to the furthest end of the combustion chamber and then reversing between the inner and outer layers of tubes-I think the generater might have really been a success. I planned to modify it-but--sometimes it's easier to just build a new boiler to a more efficient design, than it is to try to remodel an old one...which is what I did.

Are you going to come to the Meet in September?? It'd be great to discuss ideas with you!!


Chuk
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
August 30, 2009 08:18AM
Bill, Chuk and Karl,

I have not seen the performance specification for the Maxi SASS boiler so am not sure whether any of the operational problems mentioned are due to the basic design or a tuning problem with the burner. There should have been no soot forming so burner adjustment would be needed to correct that. The system design did include an economizer but I did not see a completed boiler with one and it was not included with the mini and maxi coils I got from Richard.

The rigid construction of the design made it difficult to modify apart from adding on or removing external fittings. If external changes do not achieve the benefits needed, I would suggest trying alternate layouts such as proposed and compare results. The configuration did not fit well with any of my applications apart from bike related projects and no additional work was done by me. The mini SASS was OK for my trike although I was not keen on using propane fuel for safety reasons - only running the system outdoors.

The SASS boiler range was built from about 1968 until 1977 when Richard passed away and I don't think the tube configuration changed much overall.
I wonder if owners of these boilers were not running them enough or reporting back any operating problems at the time.

Graeme
Re: Hinote Steam Car 1973-75
October 01, 2009 01:04AM
My MaxiSASS was built and run in by Smith himself, and it had no soot when I got it. I did not remember it was to be fired on gasoline and made it a bit messy trying to burn diesel oil in it, since my notes said I was going to be using diesel and it was 30 years ago...

The efficiency Chuk has demonstrated is pretty dismal though. Since I have the exhaust going right on the front tire, I will undoubtedly not run it that way. I do have the steam generator available from the America ST and will see if it can fit the space.

Karl Petersen
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