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Engine conversions

Posted by frustrated 
Re: Engine conversions
March 23, 2023 05:09PM

I don't know where this fits in.

I have been thinking about the two stage receiver-less (almost) compound design. An inline six cylinder compound of 2.5" and 5.0" bores and a stroke of 4- 4/8" will produce 400 HP @ 5000 rpm's.

The expansion ratio varies from 20 to 40 with an input of 1,000 psia @ 1,200 deg F. The first stage expansion is from 5 to 10 in a zero clearance, zero compression (almost) cylinder. It is close coupled to a uniflow cylinder with a large auxiliary exhaust valve. Engine efficiencies look to be about 30 to 34 percent.

Three cams on the first stage. The third one is for the exhaust valve, which is the inlet valve for the second stage, and two for the inlet valve. The first cam is set for advance plus minimum cutoff, the other, second cam, is a duplicate which at minimum cutoff coincides with the first. The second cam can retard to increase cutoff to double the crankshaft degrees of the first. Both cams operate on the same rocker arm.

Ken, I would like some more information on that "hydraulic lash adjuster". It looks like you've eliminated the rocker shaft. My old Nash Metropolitan didn't have hydraulic anything.

Thank You,

Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
March 24, 2023 05:02AM
Hi Bill,

I think just about any engine having overhead cams built in the last 40 years has hydraulic lash adjusters -- they come in a variety of sizes and you can find a plethora of information via google.

For example: Hydraulic Lash Adjuster

Basically, it is equivalent to a hydraulic lifter, the difference being that it takes up slack by adjusting the rocker arm pivot rather than the length of a pushrod. The last time I had to deal with adjusting the valves on an overhead cam engine was my one of my dad's two Datsuns back around 1976-78. Even then, one of the two had hydraulic lash adjustment and it was remarkable that the other needed periodic adjustments. When dad handed me a service manual and some feeler gauges, I can remember asking him if it was still the 1930s. Actually, Cadillac first offered hydraulic lifters on the V-16 in 1930! and I believe they were standard on the Chevy V-8 by '56.

Heck, I have no idea how you would figure out exactly how much lash you would use to set the valves on a steam engine, in any case. Do you measure that hot or cold?

The same idea must have occurred to Abner Doble, he mentions using a hydraulic lifter in discussions regarding the Ultimax engine.

The hydraulic lash adjuster just eliminates the issue and the valves are always correct the moment you get system oil pressure. At GM, we install tiny check valves in the oil pathway servicing the cylinder head so that the oil won't drain out on engine shutdown, ensuring that there is oil already present. My brother's circa 1980s Dodge Dakota didn't have those little $2 check valves and it clattered like crazy for a few seconds on start up.

Lash adjusters are also typically self lubricating, so they usually last the life of the engine.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/2023 08:14AM by frustrated.
Re: Engine conversions
March 25, 2023 02:09AM
Thanks Ken,

I'll look into it, now knowing that they exist and what to call them. I guess I never got into them because the lash never needed adjusting.

Anyway, today I figured out how to build a cam shaft that can vary the cutoff while maintaining the correct advance. It takes some tough and hard steel but that's what cam shafts are made of.

So with that kind of a pivot point from an Hydraulic Lash Adjuster the cam will have to be mounted above the rocker instead of under it. (pushing the valve upward) This might increase the head height a little but still livable.

I should have my drafting machine fixed in a couple of days and will do some preliminary layouts to see what variations of cutoff this cam can do.

Now, as far as the mechanisms that vary the cam shaft timing at the chain sprocket, what do you know of them?

Thanks Again,

Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
March 25, 2023 07:49AM
Bill attached is a photo of a drawing I did years ago. The upper right hand corner of the drawing shows a device for rotating a cam as it is in use.
This was invented in the 1800 by Nathanael Herreshoff

Re: Engine conversions
March 26, 2023 08:20AM
Hey Rolly,
I think you have some experience with or know someone who has a Reliable Steam Engine in a boat? Which model does he have?

Thanks Ken for all information about the Diesel conversion. The key element I was looking for is the 3-7/8 X 4-1/2 bore and stroke. This is opposed to the Doble 6 X 5. However, the Doble Detroit Engine has 4 acting strokes within the 2-cylinder engine. It would have been an interesting data point if Jim were to use this engine in a LSR trial.

I'm helping a guy out evaluating his V4 cross-piston valve engine with a 3-3/8 X 2-1/4 bore and stroke set up with 100% cut off. With this kind of dimensions, I think this engine is meant to be a compound. I fear, even at 1,000 psi, the engine would struggle to make 100 hp. Interesting to here what comments would be offered.

Kind regards,

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2023 05:09AM by Rick.H.
Re: Engine conversions
March 26, 2023 09:35AM
I built one over fifty years ago before I started making my own castings. I still have it in my shop hear in Florida.


Re: Engine conversions
March 26, 2023 12:06PM
Hi Bill,

It sounds as if you are describing a cam phaser -- nope, Jim Kirk did not use it to defeat the Klingons -- it simply moves the phase relationship between cam and crank. Most Japanese cars use electric cam phasers. GM uses hydraulic cam phasers operated by engine oil pressure, which is cheaper to build and likely more reliable but depends upon oils formulated to minimize retained air so as to keep the oil incompressible. That said, although the oil is a little more expensive, I don't grudge it because air also lessens lubricity and reduces the ability of oil to transfer heat away from the pistons and cylinder walls.

All this said, you probably don't want to use a cam phaser unless you are also employing a transmission, IC engines typically don't adjust cam phasing to the same degree as a steam engine since they are worried much more about precision of motion rather than range of motion. (No one cars if your steam engine valve gear is off a degree or two, but IC engines are really optimized where that's important).

I've attached a patent file for the "Hunter valve gear". This predates "modern" steam cars, although Rudolph Hunter was involved with those briefly a few years later. It isn't compact like a cam phaser but has a pretty wide range of motion and is far, far simpler to fabricate.


open | download - 267534.PDF (137 KB)
Re: Engine conversions
March 26, 2023 09:52PM
Hello Ken & Rolly,

Ken, the Hunter valve gear is interesting, however, I can't see it winding out to 7K.

Fifteen years ago I designed an hydraulic Phaser much like the GM type. I looked on the internet at GM's but couldn't find a big enough drawing of it. The oil pressure controller for the phaser that GM has is of interest as I didn't get that far. Do you have more on that?

My phaser uses springs to return it to short cutoff, and I didn't see that in the little drawing of the GM type.

I am interested in the oil and the air entrainment. Does this problem crop up with the Mobile gear oil that Rolly uses? I recall from a previous experiment that the oil had to reach a temperature of 260 deg F to boil out the entrained water and air.

For now I need to get some basic cam timing down in crankshaft degrees for this engine to go further with this design.

Best Regards,

Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
March 27, 2023 06:08AM
Hi Bill,

I don't really have a lot of data on GM cam phasers, that's an entirely different department. Heck, they are a Delphi development, so made out of house.

I have no idea about air entrainment in Mobile gear oil. I know that Dexos synthetic is the approved product. If the Mobile has anti-foaming agents, that would certainly help. It isn't that other oils won't work in the cam phaser, it's just that responsiveness and accuracy may be issues. Like any hydraulic system, operation is going to be a bit subpar until the oil heats up and the viscosity drops to the level the system was designed for. And that might be an issue with the Mobil, if the viscosity is higher you might need to look at more aggressive control valve mechanisms.

I have built phasing mechanisms using differentials with the motor connected to one of the output axles and the driven mechanism connected to the other output axle. The axle that is normally connected to the engine is your phaser input. If you hold the phaser input rigid, the output spins at the same rpm as the input but in the opposite directions. Rotating the phaser input advances or retards the output shaft. The nice thing is that you can obtain truly radical phase changes -- there's really no issue in advancing or retarding the output many revolutions ahead or behind the input -- so something like a 180 degree shift is trivial.


Re: Engine conversions
March 27, 2023 07:44AM
HERRESHOFF Triple Expansion revering gear
Bill watch this video
It shows the cam and how the shaft angle can be changed with very little movement as the engine is running.


Re: Engine conversions
March 27, 2023 07:18PM
Thanks Rolly,

OK, so I just spent about two hours watching videos of old steam engines. They are so darn fascinating I couldn't stop. I just loved that HERRESHOFF engine.

I need to remember that no matter how much I am focused on a modern steam engine not to dismiss the beauty of the older ones. Poetry in motion.

Thanks again,

Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
March 28, 2023 05:00AM
The object of posting the video of the engine running was to show the reversing gear and how it was made. Both an inner and outer spiral and how the shaft can be rotated while the engine is running.
Any cam can be rotated to any degree of angle while it is running with modem hydraulics, electronics or pneumatics.

Re: Engine conversions
March 28, 2023 05:12AM
Curious...what's the bore and stroke of your Reliable Engine? Could it handle a 1,000 PSI?
Re: Engine conversions
March 28, 2023 08:13AM
The Reliable engine is about 2.5 by 3.5 X 2” stroke Small engine no more then 100 PSI.
The big piston valve engine I built for my 35 foot boat only ran at 300 PSI.
I don’t know of any casting set that will run at 1000 PSI

If I were to cast an engine for 1000 PSI I would use 85-55-06 Ductile iron castings and make my calculations accordingly.


A Bryant piston valve engine that Chuck Williams has might handle a 1000 PSI.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2023 08:38AM by Rolly.

Re: Engine conversions
March 30, 2023 10:19AM
The question of running an engine at 1000PSI got me thinking.
Nergaard’s 20 HP piston valve block was cast in Ductile iron, I have cylinder heads and pistons and valve covers also cast in Ductile. Stanley cranks tend to have cracks under the rod journals, With new crank webs and journals and one of my Box frames I think the engine would hold up at 1000 PSI

Re: Engine conversions
April 03, 2023 10:33AM
What is the distance between the rods; side-to-side and top-to-bottom?

Where can one get one of the piston valve blocks?

Re: Engine conversions
April 03, 2023 11:12AM
They are a standard match to the 20 HP Stanley engine. David Nergaard
Check with Ken. I Don’t want to put numbers on the web.

The Derr boiler I built was built to run at 1000 PSI
I hydro each grid to 2500 PSI then I sent it out to be Heat treated for stress releasing
Then re hydro to 2000+ for two days.
I ran the 1920 Stanley at 1000 LB and blue the water pumps and destroyed the arm from the rear end gear box.
I had to rebuild and then cut the pressure back to under 600 PSI. The Car ran nice.
I was working on the EX and never went back to playing with high pressure.

Re: Engine conversions
April 06, 2023 07:16PM
This fits into this thread where I'm trying to convert my 10 HP to a model T axle. First picture is the concept. I have a question for you regarding the spacing of the frame rods and expanding side-to-side about 3/4" a side. The original Stanley frame rods are 5/8" threaded rods at the crank and out.

Other pictures are my ideas.

My concept is to screw on a spacer block. I need to go from 4" on center to 5-1/2" on center side-to-side. This size is needed to fit around the model T cage housing. I think it important to tie the rods in top-to-bottom with a gusset type plate. The challenge is to maintain the assembly ability of the nuts to the engine crank.

Others are welcome to comment.


Re: Engine conversions
April 06, 2023 08:51PM
Hi Guys,

Fast question; what is the difference between a dry engine and a wet engine regarding Stanley's?


Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
April 07, 2023 04:38AM
Change the word WET to Oil
The twenty HP engine runes in a bath of Oil
The ten HP engine has doors you have to open and oil the crosshead and gears.
Re: Engine conversions
April 07, 2023 10:22AM
My 10 HP is considered a Dry Engine. On the cross heads are a single ball bearing top and bottom. This allows for intermittent lubrication. On 20 HP, there is a slide, metal on metal typically brass. It needs constant lubrication to be effective.

My 10 HP when I bought it. Note the 4 rods that stick up. They are 4" on center and interface with the differential. I just need to go to 5-1/2" on center to use the existing model T cage/carrier housing with the spider gears in it.

The intention when done is for it to look like a typical Stanley rear end. Picture of Jim Anderson's EX...same engine as mine.

Re: Engine conversions
April 07, 2023 02:37PM

Is this for the LSR or for a more original looking Stanley car? What is the wheel base you are after? (width)


Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
April 11, 2023 05:40AM
Sorry for the confusion. My 10 HP Stanley Engine is for my personal steam car. My steam car is based on a model T chassis. Same tread width as the model T is my constraint. However, I reduced the frame wheel base end-to-end. It is 84" down from 100". This size matches the Stanley EX like what Rolly built. My intention is to make the car look like a Gentlemen's Speedy Roadster, H5 model and about 1908 in vintage. With the 30" model T wheels, the size of the frame relative to the wheels will be to scale with the original H5 Stanley. Original Gentleman Speedy Roadster is 33" wheels and 100" wheel base along with a 20 HP engine (3-5/8 X 5).

I have a path forward to widening the 10 HP frame rods and maintain rotational stability.

Thanks for asking and the intent of the car is to be an all around fun car to give rides and perhaps take some tours. The car will contain my Ofeldt boiler and burner of my own design. Plus, I'll implement my feed water heater and hot tank design.

From the late Pat Farrel (I replaced his Director position on SACA), he said that the key is to keep the car light to make it a snappy performer.

Re: Engine conversions
April 11, 2023 12:49PM
Thanks Rick,

I hope it turns out looking good. Of course I look forward to maybe getting a ride in it.

My Ofeldt boiler design would use pancake coils and a recirculation pump with the center "storage unit" insulated from the fire. And forced draft. (I get complex)

I'd like to see how yours ends up.


Bill G.
Re: Engine conversions
April 14, 2023 05:27AM
Thanks Bill,
Love to give you a ride when complete.

Love to see your Ofeldt Design. Don't hesitate to post on another thread.

I just retired and started Substitute Teaching at the High School Sure enough, they captured me into a long term sub position. One of the three classes is Design Development for Production (DDP). Way too much fun teaching this class. smiling smiley

Kind regards, Rick
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10hp Valve Simulation 180 Deg.png 51.5 KB open | download Rick.H 01/18/2023 Read message
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