Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Messages


LSR Steam Car

Posted by Mark Stacey 
LSR Steam Car
April 08, 2007 03:10AM
The Steam Car Club of Gt Britain site [www.steamcar.net] has pictures of the new boiler for the car. Massively parallel by the look of it.
Mark Stacey
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 16, 2007 02:42PM

Latest details as of June this year. Looks like the problems are as predicted too many parallel tubes resulting in burn out.
Mark Stacey

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/18/2007 03:09PM by Mark Stacey.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 09:17AM
Hi Mark,
That steam generator is impossible to control they way they have it now.
Also, an impulse turbine uses only one nozzle design, the deLavel. Barbor-Nichols achieved 85% turbine efficiency with the Lear turbine, WHEN it was run at the critical speed for that pressure.
One has to ask just who keeps putting money into this thing?
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 10:30AM

There is nothing wrong with parallel tubes when the boiler is designed correctly.
Short tube length with natural circulation.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 02:14PM
That is true IF there are not so many and so long, all in parallel. Otherwise the tendency is for some tubes to not get the flow they want and then burn out. Two or three in parallel is about all one wants to consider in a forced circulation boiler.
This one has far too many and far too long and not designed for natural circulation.
A Yarrow marine type water tube gets away with many in parallel because of good headers and separators, and short straight tubes, giving good circulation. But; for a single pass type, and so many in parallel, this is just asking for disaster, and that seems to be what happened. At least from what the e-mails from England say.

If this one had a circulation pump and all those small tubes held only water, and then a Lamont type separator drum, things would be different; but apparently from what we know, it is essentially in function a single pass "monotube"; but with far too many small tubes in parallel.
SAAB also found this out the hard way long ago with that hypodermic tube steam generator they built for their car.

Going to supercritical changes the situation dramatically for the better.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 03:38PM
Yes Jim I agree wholeheartedly, they have built two boilers now with out success They should just hire George to design a Lamont and be done with it. He might just do it for fifty grand. Three month of engineering with a few trips across the pond.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 05:33PM
hey don't take George away we need him here
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 07:03PM
Hi Rolly,
You know, I just have to ask who these people are who are designing this car!!
Looks just like the pure academic types that messed up the stuff here some years ago in those Clean Air Car projects the government sponsored. All theory and not one spec of real practical knowledge about steam cars and their systems needs.

That first one, how do you think you are going to control and synchronize four monotubes in parallel? The surging would be enormous, and none will have the same flow rates, and how they are connected for feed would also be a real problem.

This one, if indeed it is used as a "monotube" forced circulation is simply bizarre in the extreme. Does no one know steam car technology history?
That turbine as they spell it out is nothing save a good comic opera. They give no steam conditions or water rates, that is if they even measured them.
Using some huge powerhouse boiler masks the real problem of then using one in a car with a finite steam supply. We learned that one the hard way.
I really wonder if anyone honestly knows steam cars and how they work over there on this project.

Fear not. I doubt George would be interested and for that matter neither am I.
But; you are right, a fierce Lamont with a draft booster would do the job very well.
When they started, I offered what I could from my car and what we learned with using a turbine, and all I got back was the usual snippy reply.
Let them learn the hard way.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/2007 07:07PM by James D. Crank.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 17, 2007 08:02PM
Hmmm...4 monotubes in parallel. Short of a real messy set of sensors, controls and actuators plus loads of debugging time the only way I can see that working would be to use a turbine with multiple nozzles, one for each boiler. Multiple nozzle turbines aren't that uncommon. Run each nozzle with a separate feed pump, burner and control package. Not saying I actually like this idea, but it provides enough separation between monotubes to work. Not sure what the attraction of four boilers is, not like this is a naval destroyer or cruiser where battle damage from shells, torpedos or missiles makes heavy system redundancy a virtue beyond compare.

Of course, I'm not sure why the turbine is such a great idea, either. I loved the things in the navy but when you have more than 30 stages the beasts become pretty tractable at all kinds of speeds especially when pulling 28 plus inches at the condenser. This doesn't really translate well to automotive use. I haven't figured out the streamliner body for that matter. Go figure, with my employee discount I could buy a new Corvette for about $37K that is about 50 mph faster than the current steam LSR, so a reasonably priced sporty chassis and body is more than adequate to move the mark up by a factor of 30% or better. This is a huge improvement to any speed record and keeps the prices and technical challenges to a minimum.

The said 'Vette has about 400 HP in a V-8 pushrod engine. Seems to me you could take this car, use the factory engine, put on steam cylinder heads,cut new cams and retime them for 2 stroke counterflow operation, pull out the emissions and fuel injection systems, strip out the A/C and other luxury items to reduce weight and increase simplicity. With a lot of finned tubing reminiscent of SES or Jay Carter you could probably fit the boiler in the passenger seat area to keep fore/aft balance close to original spec. The V-8 has tons of displacement so even moderate MEP should give decent power with fair economy, keeping the boiler size in reason. Depending on terminal engine rpm and whatever torque curve you end up with it might be necessary to fiddle with the gear train to get the proper final drive ratio between the engine and the rear end for optimum speed, but since there is a long torque tube between teh engine and rear end there are tons of opportunities for modification.

Maybe this isn't the ideal solution for a steam car, but an LSR machine doesn't have to run 200,000 miles or go 450 miles between fill ups. Seems to me they are way overthinking the mission, a quick and dirty approach should easily get up around 200 mph or better. This would be about the cheapest LSR anyone could buy. If that record got squashed THEN go for spending big bucks on an exotic machine to take the record back.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 09:39AM
HI Guys
As with any project it is worth doing right. Chuk is aproaching it that way. He has experance building steam cars and is a hands on guy. We will be suporting him with a Cyclone engine. He went to Bonnivile to learn the ropes.And I am sure he has support from the club and others. Of course Jim's experance is necessary. there will be a web site for his project soon. Of course donations will be appreciated. Folks who like steam but can't build one of there own can be a part of something and have some fun. It is termed USLSR UNITED STATES LAND STEAM RECORD Lets all get behind Chuk as he is actualy doing something.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 11:35AM
Wait. monotube, multi path. How do you make one of them. Monotube is one (singuler) tube. It is usually a once through. But one could make a LaMont monotube. I think there is a lot of miss-using monotube for "once through" here. Their boiler is a multi path once through.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 11:56AM
Let's step back an see just what is needed for a Bonneville record car.
Remember that I only did this nutty project because I was able to buy the remaining Lear hardware for almost nothing. But; it included eight turbine-gearbox units and a huge experimental multipass steam generator with finned tubing.
5,000+ lbs/hr at 1200 psi and 1100°F. The burner I designed was four nozzles, 76 gph of JP-A and some 8,500,000 BTU. Very high draft and the blower motor needed about 400 amps at 24 volts. Brute force.

1) The steam generator is nothing more than a wildly overfired one. It only has to last for about 100 hours, so much liberty can be taken.
Standard Doble control system with a normalizer and thermocouples in place of the old quartz thermostat. Two, one in the BN section and one in the superheater outlet.
Commercial Action-Pak control modules and they worked perfectly all the time.

2) It only has to run for about 20 minutes max, then IF you have made it to the finish line, your crew can refuel and water the car, you have an hour to do this. Then turn the car around for the return run.

3) The car should have about 350-400 hp and over 1,000 lb/ft torque to go over 200 mph. The gearing and/or transmission can do a lot of covering up to match the wheel speed to the engine speed and keep a turbine happy.
We first tried a beefed up Chrysler TorqueFlite transmission and the first test run tore it to pieces. Then had to go to a direct drive.
Then Bob Barbor mentioned that such a turbine develops three times the torque at startup than at full speed. That explained why we broke the transmission. It was after the gear reduction box and just before the differential, so it saw high torque at startup.

4) A turbine is not ideal, if for no other reason than a small one that is light weight is not available now. There was no possible reciprocating engine available. It does produce the horsepower, if you can get it up to the right RPM before the timing traps and thus full speed. Running an open exhaust is certainly not as good as having a high vacuum; but you have to stay with a brute force car system.
We used the Lear bus turbine, Monte Carlo primary gear reduction box; but the bus 13 nozzle box. Bob Barbor said we had about 350 hp; but it had to go 85,000 rpm to get the efficiency. The boiler could easily keep up with it.
And no, I made no drawings, the car was simply built from past expenience.

5) While not ideal, it worked. The huge problem with such a turbine was that while it could give a 15 lb water rate at top speed, the starting water rate is well over 100 lbs/hr, typical impulse turbine.
This meant a special speed controlled overdrive system for the feed pump, which was already well oversized, that ran it at high speed when starting, then backed down as car speed built up. It worked.
Otherwise with any monotube steam generator, when you open the throttle, it just goes whoosh, and then no water in the boiler and off by overheat.

At any rate, it did the job. Today I would take a different approach.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/18/2007 12:00PM by James D. Crank.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 12:51PM
Hi Jim:

Looks like we are in about the same ballpark. I'm approaching the problem from the viewpoint of trying to convincingly beat your record with minimum development problems and expense using existing hardware to the maximum extent.

I see no problem getting 400 HP out of a converted V-8, the base Corvette engine already generates that from the factory and goes over 190 mph even without optimizing the overall gear ratios for maximum top end speed. Since the IC is a 4 stroke and the steam a 2 stroke the engine can make half the revs and still reach the same horsepower with no greater strain on the components. And, honestly, those engines can hold up under greater strain for a reasonable period of time. A belt driven 'smog' pump could hold a vacuum on the crankcase to pull the moisture out of the lube oil.

Tom Kimmel suggested trying to buy up an old NASCAR racer or something similar for a speed project, and this would simplify the project even more as the components are probably more in keeping with the technical rules and there would be much less stuff to strip out.

With better than 350 CID, you could run a reasonably economical cutoff and likely consume less water and fuel than the turbine when averaged across the entire mission profile, and the gearbox should let you match engine rpm to speed nicely during acceleration. If you put IC engine cam phasers on the cylinder heads it would be possible to use a standard cam configuration and still advance or retard the intake valve opening event as rpm changed. Since the converted recip engine is closer in performance to an IC than the turbine I would expect fewer teething problems with the transmission setup. As in my theoretical Corvette exercise above the boiler goes on the right hand side of the car and a duct pulls enough air by it to keep the heat buildup down.

Like I said, there is nothing here I would do if building a steam car for my own daily use, but to set the LSR somewhere around 200 MPH it looks like an easy way to go.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 01:29PM
A Bryan tractor engine at 900 RPM at 1035 PSI will put out 324 HP Chuk has one. You can probably get one for eight to ten K . They have been known to run at 1500 PSI. For how long I don’t know.
You can get a nice high-speed car frame off the shelf from Factory five, kit cars. [www.factoryfive.com] 15 to 20 K. Now you need a boiler. You could just use a large enough tank of water enough for the run (pressure vessel) and heat it remotely from a stand by truck. Draw off the steam and run it through a superheater burner. Something like a ram jet burner with a coil in side. ???? Might just do it.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 04:15PM
Hey Guys
Are you realy talking about building a LSR car or are you just amusing your selves. All the engines you are talking about would have a water rate 3 time a cyclone. That would mean a boiler 3 times the size. It is necessary to have a streamliner to get the frontal area as small as possible and design a safe car. A vette although a sweet machine would have over twice the frontal area of a streamliner and the aerodynamics are not as clean. Chuk is doing it right why not join what he is doing and be part of the team instead of musing over cartoon designs.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 05:13PM
Competition is what makes things interesting, and your only talking about two minute of run time or less + some warm up time.
The Bryan would use only 9-1/2 gal per min at 900 RPM. And that’s at no cutoff or superheat just swept cylinder vol.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 05:25PM
Our competition is the Britts not our self, running around in circles. Are you planing to build a car? are you going to evaporite 19gal in 2 minunits or are you going to have a pressure vessel? They won't let you run that. What is the point. Running an antique engine serves no porpoise.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 05:43PM
Harry I don’t know what they will let you do.
No I have no intension of building a car. The one I’m working on is taking all the money I can afford on my retirement income. I thought we were discussing options. Others may like to have a try at it also.
There are more ways to do it then with your engine. You have never published data on full load testing running for any length of time. That’s just as big of a gamble as the Brits are having with their boiler. All racing is a gamble in one way or another but its nice to know ahead of time what the equipment will do.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 05:46PM
Harry did I read it correctly that there will be a cyclone engine in a racer?
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 07:55PM
Harry and all of you,
You CANNOT run any fired or any unfired pressure vessel boiler at Bonneville. This they sure made clear when a couple of the committee visited when we were building our car.
Had to clearly explain what a forced circulation multi pass steam generator was, then they were satisfied from the safety angle.They did want a safety valve.
They also liked my practice of using a remote sensor pressure gauge, no steam line at all in the cockpit and a very secure firewall between the engine compartment and the driver.
Other than speed rated tires, a good approved roll cage, fire suppression system, and a parchute for any car than can exceed, I think, 150 mph, then that was all they required.
At Bonneville they simply swarmed all over the car and no problems at all, and a tremendous amount of interest.
Except for one problem, Fiberfab managed to forget any loading ramps, so we had no way of getting the car out of their big trailer and down on the ground.

What the competition is, is my old car's record, and not the Brits. If they keep going the way they are now, that car will never make any speed run.
The real goal is to beat the electric car record, and that will take a lot of doing.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 08:28PM
Jim how do they define fire extinguishers. One exploded in the parking lot at Pilgrim power plant and hit my friend Tom 150 feet away. He was paralyzed from the waist down for six years.
A lot of these cars carry them as built in systems.
That would also eliminate the Lamont boiler as well as the boiler showed in the British car.
A mono tube boiler with a throttle valve that can stop the flow through the tube is a pressure vassal.

For those not familiar with a Bryan engine. see attachment.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 18, 2007 10:40PM
The fire suppression system are, or were then, Halon. I don't know what they use now, probably that dry powder, that causes more damage from corrosion than the fire.
Legal or not in California, I carry Halon in all my cars. It really works and FAST.

Legally and according to the SAE standards the last time I read them, and the Coast Guard, a monotube is not a pressure vessel. I went through this with the Coast Guard with my boat that had a Clayton steam generator. The Lt. Commander said it was a boiler, and I would not take his word for it. So he looked it up and then a boiler was any fired pressure vessel of 1.6 cu/ft internal volume or more, so as far as he was concerned mine was a pressurized tube. End of argument.
Same goes for the separator on a Lamont, as long as it did not hold more than 1.6 cu/ft and it is an unfired pressure vessel, and that is different.
The rules may have changed since then; but I don't think so
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 19, 2007 09:47AM
Jim, "You CANNOT run any fired or any unfired pressure vessel boiler at Bonneville"

Jim, "Same goes for the separator on a Lamont, as long as it did not hold more than 1.6 cu/ft and it is an unfired pressure vessel, and that is different.

Jim clear this up for me. Would you be able to use a LaMont or not at Bonneville?

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 19, 2007 10:21AM
Hi Andy,

Yes you can use a Lamont at Bonneville.
When I said "Unfired pressure vessel", I meant a storage tank of high pressure hot water, the fireless boiler idea. I should have said that, sorry.

They seemed much more interested in seeing that I had a commercial safety valve for that pressure than anything else. They wanted to see and read the tag on it.
One member of the committee that visited had some knowledge that a "flash" boiler contained almost no water when it was running. I didn't argue the point.
What they really inspected was that the powerplant was neat and sanitary and not looking like an explosion in a spaghetti factory.

A drum-separator outside the coil stack is an unfired pressure vessel.
Even so, I would certainly make it from an approved high temperature steel and for this, use a certified welder. And do a pressure test at least three times the operating pressure.
A Lamont drum is tubing, not a welded up "boiler". A fine point that I would want to clarify. Actually I would just keep quiet about the difference between a "flash" boiler and a Lamont.

One thing to ponder: If you made the Lamont drum as a larger diameter coil around the outside, somewhat like a Baker boiler, then it is tubing and not a welded up
pressure vessel.

Frankly, if I ever did this again, I would use the Lamont.


Re: LSR Steam Car
October 22, 2007 10:45AM
Thanks Mark,
HI Andy I have asked you to analize other things in the past such as what is the cylinder temp as the piston travels down and no answer. Why is it you have become such an expert with out running an engine. We have learned a lot and as said before will present a paper when all testing is done. You and other SACA members are welcome to visit and see some of the things we are doing. as I wright this our WHE engne has been running all morning. It is a lot of testing and re testing and a cartoon engine does not light a fire or tell you how to stop rings from leaking. I hope that your point was not to discredit our hard work. You are wrong of course. A liquid and behaving as a fluid are different. We are running tests,you are not. Your opinion is noted and thanks for your support.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 22, 2007 12:40PM

I have hidden two messages. The first was inapropriate, the second went along for the ride because it was a direct reply.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 22, 2007 12:55PM
In the last few months it has become obvious to me that a lot more people read this Porum then participate in expressing an opinion.
When visiting open steam meets and gatherings, people speak to me, as they are aware that I express my views.
I séance from conversation there would be great interest in a recreation of the Stanley LSR built on a modern frame. The speculation on what the Stanleys could have achieved. I have had to reaffirm that I have no interest in participating in this adventure. But if some one wishes to try, my feeling is they would get a lot of support from the Stanley car owners and a lot of others.

On another note Coburn Benson (Ben) is offering this beautiful Stanley sedan for sale.
See attachment.

Re: LSR Steam Car
October 22, 2007 01:17PM
If someone used that new Doble F engine that was being built some time ago, and if geared right, it probably could beat my own car's record.
That Stanley racer was something of awe, then and now. It had the goods to go over 150 mph if the conditions were better, and IF it DID NOT have that flat bottom.
But; in 1906-7, who knew any better?

Like you Rolly, I am not doing this again; but I sure would give any information that I possess to anyone who wants to try. I'll go watch it run too.

Let's not have hissy fits in the sandbox, shall we.
Harry is the only one who has brought the automotive steam engine into the 21st Century with running hardware, and not keep wallowing around in the 19th Century.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 22, 2007 03:19PM
Jim the information I have on the Doble F project is that it has been on hold all this year. Two of the four engines are well along in completion but are delayed do to other projects as well as the machine shop in New England where free use and some of the work was being done was sold and auctioned off. Some of the machines were acquired by some of the SACA members but are not in a shop and set up for use.
Re: LSR Steam Car
October 22, 2007 08:50PM
Hi Guys,

Ken was talking about using a Corvette. Two questions come up. Jim would the boiler you used, or a similar capacity Lamont one, for the LSR fit into the front of a Corvette, if the engine was tucked into the transmission tunnel? And Ken, how fast would 700 Hp push a Corvette?

Thanks, --------- Bill G.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

All files from this thread

File Name File Size   Posted by Date  
Bryan Engine photos.jpg 84.6 KB open | download Rolly 10/18/2007 Read message
1924 Stanley.JPG 59 KB open | download Rolly 10/22/2007 Read message
P1010001.JPG 59.9 KB open | download Rolly 10/24/2007 Read message
harryspts.pdf 18.8 KB open | download Andy 10/24/2007 Read message
Thorney runway.JPG 87.3 KB open | download Greg Walker 12/05/2008 Read message