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Doble-Detroit Series C Replica

Posted by SeaMarine1917 
Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 03, 2018 01:13PM
Hi Rick,

I don't know that it's even possible to give the Doble Detroit design a fair test without building the engine. Abner designed a two cylinder, double acting, slide valve, uniflow machine .... and that's a pretty unique piece of hardware. I'd suspect anything you could obtain "off-the-shelf" would be so fundamentally different that the results would be meaningless in evaluating the original car. The closest I know of is Gary Hadden's uniflow kits and, even then, their poppet valve operation significantly changes how the engine responds in various situations. The Doble Detroit is certainly different than a similar counterflow engine, those could reasonably be interchanged between any variety of makes although even then there would be large gaps in the data concerning the power, economy, durability, balance and ease of use found in the original car. Without that engine, I don't think you could really call it a Doble Detroit.


Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 04, 2018 09:53AM
Thomas Stoeker
Was duplicating the F engine I believe. I lost track of what happened to the project.

Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 04, 2018 11:58AM
Hi Ken,
Just a little house keeping, please refer to me in this string as Rick H. The original author and DD builder is just plain "Rick". My apologies to Rick for the confusion. However, we share a good name!

What you say about the engine defines the car is correct. To call it a Doble, I would say it needs a Doble engine, i.e. Ron's engine is a Locomobile, Tony's engine is a Mason (like a Stanley) & my engine is a Stanley. Suffice it to say, the Engine does define the car when performing a replica.

With that said, Rolly provides an interesting option with Tom Stoecker. I'll call him tonight on my way home from work, see what's he up to and the status on the Doble engine. I owe him a call anyway.

To Rick,
I do recommend starting the project with the engine. Not sure what direction you had in mind? I can put you in touch with Tom S. on his Doble engine. Note I'm kind of interested in the engine design and would like to see the development or replication with all the details ironed out. I have a couple of engine designs in the books for a piston valve, compound (HP and LP power system), separate engine systems. I talked about them at the last SACA meet.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,
Rick H.
Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 04, 2018 12:30PM
Hi Rick H.

Good call on distinguishing between the two Ricks, thanks!

I think my original point still stands regarding Tom Stoecker's engine, however. Rick stated "...just like Peter Brow as said and is correct it would be to primarily test out the design based on what Abner Doble may have claimed to have said and secondly for daily use as a driver along with use at WWI era events..."

The Doble F series engine has very little in common with the Doble Detroit engine. One is single expansion, the other is compound. One is uniflow, the other is counterflow. One was meant to run on saturated steam, the other on highly superheated steam. The valve gears are totally dissimilar and so are the valves themselves. Placing Stoecker's engine in the car would, indeed, make it a Doble but it would tell you nothing about the abilities of the Doble Detroit, which is the stated primary goal. It's somewhat analogous to sticking a modern 302 into a '32 Ford and then reporting that the '32 was one really mean machine relative to other 1930s cars. Slightly modifying the Joy valve to prevent accidental reverse wouldn't have much effect on determining performance but might save damaging the car, or people.

To be clear, I have no problem with the Model F engine. In fact, that's why I chose the 302 comparison, I think it's so dramatically much better than the Detroit engine that you would learn very little about the original car. Once you stick the F in, you might as well go with an F boiler, too. The only real issue concerning the F, that I know of, was dynamic balance. Jim Crank told me that the engine shook the car so badly that the front window (in a convertible) wobbled forward and back an inch or two at top speed. Apparently they repaired this by adding weights in a trial and error fashion but I think it would behoove a new builder to design counterweights for rotating plus 1/2 reciprocating mass (plus an allowance for removal) and have the crank balanced by a shop having the right equipment. Being in the business, I would probably go overboard and fabricate custom bobweights accurate to .02 grams and .02 ounce-inch static unbalance, just to get things really right. The universal weights those shops use are OK but certainly not up to modern manufacturing of prototyping standards.

<Begin Edit. I guess I should have elaborated on the fact that, as a compound engine, the F Series engine would likely be a poor match for a Doble Detroit boiler. The Doble Detroit boiler is designed to manufacture saturated steam, this because uniflow engines tend to operate better on saturated than do counterflow...at least part of this was to facilitate adding oil to the water in conformance with Abner's idea to simplify lubrication and reduce corrosion. Saturated steam in the F series High Pressure Cylinder will be pretty wet upon entering the Low Pressure Cylinder; which is undesirable to say the least. I suspect a total boiler redesign would be needed to run that engine. End Edit>



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2018 01:12PM by frustrated.
Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 05, 2018 03:34AM
Hi SeaMarine Rick,

I second Ken's comments here. Build the Doble-Detroit replica's engine [and boiler, etc] as original as you possibly can, and to quote the first Star Wars movie, "stay on target... stay on target". Yes, it's one hellacious chicken-coop flustercluck of a difficult project to do it that way, but I think that the results will be very pleasantly drivable. Abner Doble was an over-the-top ultra-perfectionist, so his criticisms of his own projects are far from necessarily the final word. He could beat the pants off of everything on the road in his day [umm, 1916-1918 gas cars? Really? Research 'em. Yugos & Trabants are astonishing paragons of automotive perfection in comparison to the Rolls-Royces, Pierce-Arrows, etc of that era.], but still beat himself up over how it did not reach some theoretical ideal which he had set his mind on.

Remember, we're talking about a guy who would chuck a gigantic iron ingot in a lathe and machine 90% of it onto the factory floor, to make a [Doble Series E] brake drum.

Even the "would it go forward or reverse?" issue was probably not a problem on the road. I suspect that Doble gave the throttle a hair of opening when moving out from a stop, and shut it if it unexpectedly reversed a few inches. Then a re-start to get going. Even the best gas cars of the 1916/18 era had far weirder operating characteristics, including double-clutching the gearbox in those pre-synchromesh days. But Doble probably flipped out over not quite reaching Stanley standards in that regard. I gather that he not only hoped for "the best, or nothing", a la Mercedes, but went on to "absolutely perfect in every way, or nothing". Which no successful automobile manufacturer has ever really aimed for, advertising mottos/hype notwithstanding.

The Doble-Detroit has the historical distinction of applying the Stumpf Unaflow principle, in its purest no/low-superheat form, to a road vehicle. Today it is often forgotten that Prof. Stumpf's Unaflow engine was originally developed as an improved-efficiency alternative to "difficult to lubricate" high steam superheat, rather than as a high-compression/high-expansion feature to be added to a superheated steam cycle.

I believe that an original, highly-authentic Doble-Detroit replica would be a great car, and an historically significant project. SeaMarine/Rick, I wish you every success in building it. Stay on target.


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/2018 03:43AM by Peter Brow.
Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 05, 2018 04:03AM
Lest we forget, Abner Doble's Model E, suitably equipped, blew the doors off of contemporary Duesenbergs. Howard Hughes owned one.

Ford, Chrysler, GM, and others, were content to bask in the clouds of dust behind Doble.

"Deeds, not words", as the suffragettes used to say.

Umm, I think enough said about Abner Doble.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/29/2018 03:42AM by Peter Brow.
Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 05, 2018 04:09AM
Thanks for all the advice folks! It's been incredibly helpful. I have sent an email out to Darrell Merrick inquiring about making our engine since he deals with making pretty large gauge miniature railroad locomotives and also curving the reverse link slip as previously suggested and to avoid the sudden lurch upon starting from stop. I'm about to send an email to Jeff Lund about making our steam generator. I will agree on starting with the engine and steam generator first prior to the big project of fabricating the chassis and body since it might help determine how to place everything around the steam generator and engine below the floor. Folks if this pans out well, would anyone be interested in seeing others made like the 4 passenger sporting type, 4 passenger collapsible coupe, 3 passenger roadster, or even the town coupe? I know I sound like I'm getting ahead of myself, but this has been planned actually for the past couple years now.

Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 05, 2018 05:20AM
Hi Rick,
I'm currently rebuilding this 10Hp Stanley. As Pat mentioned before about the Stanley pistons are hollow, the pictures show design and real thing. I'm currently machining a new piston half to replace my damaged one and another one to replace half that just didn't come with the engine when I bought it. I think the hollow piston is an excellent idea. This does reduce weight and will help with counterbalancing.

Hope this helps and you have my permission to share this with your Engine builder.

Kind regards,
Rick H.

Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 11, 2018 12:20AM
Sorry for the delay in reply. Thanks Rick H for the permission to pass on the info to the engine manufacturer. I've sent it to Darrell Merrick of Merrick Light Railway Equipment Works. Also since he was located in Wisconsin like myself I've also asked if he'd also be interested in making our steam generator. I have to hear back from him still and we'll be starting the engine and steam generator first whilst building the chassis at the auto body shop here.

Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 28, 2018 01:43PM
Hello All,

Is anybody familiar with the attached prints of the starter assembly and solenoid valve and blower motor plates? Looks like this might have been pumped with compressed air maybe and that's what the handle that sticks out of the dash is and the cylinder appears to be an air flash. Anybody have any ideas? Look forward to your input here!



Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
January 28, 2018 07:30PM
It's probably an air pump. Always hard to tell what was going on because Abner recorded so many different variations and it is often nearly impossible to separate his ideas from what was actually done --- for instance, his notebooks give water rates for both real and planned engine designs and don't distinguish between the two.

Anyhow, the two attached drawings show burner control system patents for the Doble-Detroit. The item in your drawing would seem to be labelled C1 in both drawings.

You can go to pat2pdf.org, enter the two patent numbers, and readily download the patents to get all the details on both patents. It's worth noting that your image shows similar connections to the tank as the patent drawings and also includes a similar solenoid valve.

If nothing else, these patents should give you a good clue as to how the system was meant to work .... I suspect the actual mechanism was more involved than you might get from some other sources.



Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
February 25, 2018 01:53PM
Hello All,

So here's an update on the Doble-Detroit Series C, we have lost a couple body builders who expressed interest, but were intimidated to take on such a project. Seems this project might have to be put on the back burner (no pun intended) until further notice. I'm personally still very much determined to get it done, but with a very limited budget it's proving rather difficult to find people willing to take it on in building parts. We have a steam generator and engine builder all lined up at a reasonable price, but just looking for someone to help make the chassis and body. Anyone know of any coach builders that might be interested in taking on such a project that I might have missed? Any advice is always greatly appreciated!


Re: Doble-Detroit Series C Replica
September 21, 2023 09:34AM
Are you guys still moving forward with the project?
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All files from this thread

File Name File Size   Posted by Date  
Doble Detroit Advertisement Electronically Fired.jpg 79.7 KB open | download SeaMarine1917 12/21/2017 Read message
Winslow001.jpg 652.5 KB open | download frustrated 12/21/2017 Read message
1901 Locomobile photo by Steve Brown (Medium).jpg 245.5 KB open | download IronChief 12/25/2017 Read message
Doble Engine 3.jpg 199.5 KB open | download SeaMarine1917 12/26/2017 Read message
Doble Engine 2.jpg 167.7 KB open | download SeaMarine1917 12/26/2017 Read message
Doble-Detroit Shock Absorbers.jpg 170.2 KB open | download SeaMarine1917 12/29/2017 Read message
Casting.jpg 40.2 KB open | download Rolly 01/04/2018 Read message
P1010140.JPG 413.1 KB open | download Rolly 01/04/2018 Read message
Parts.JPG 85.4 KB open | download Rolly 01/04/2018 Read message
pattern-1.jpg 8 KB open | download Rolly 01/04/2018 Read message
pattern-3.jpg 6.4 KB open | download Rolly 01/04/2018 Read message
54 - Image (21).jpg 688.6 KB open | download Rick.H 01/05/2018 Read message
54 - Image (22).jpg 573.6 KB open | download Rick.H 01/05/2018 Read message
54 - IMG_1172.JPG 135.7 KB open | download Rick.H 01/05/2018 Read message
Doble Starter Assembly.jpg 173.2 KB open | download SeaMarine1917 01/28/2018 Read message
Doble Solenoid Valve & Blower Motor.jpg 193.8 KB open | download SeaMarine1917 01/28/2018 Read message
1283109.png 725 KB open | download frustrated 01/28/2018 Read message
1287915.png 644.7 KB open | download frustrated 01/28/2018 Read message