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Touring with Steam Cars


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I posted this similar post in the general forum. I've always wondered about the utilities of using a steamer on a tour.

Tell me your experience with a Steamer. I'm curious how they would do on a tour. Could you keep the steam up while having a lunch break, jump back in it and go??

Thanks,

Wayne

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I haven't been on a tour yet, still working out the bugs and learning to operate my Stanley. There would be no problem as to going to lunch. The pilot burner system would keep things warm while you were at lunch. After about an hour, my car will lose 150-200# pressure. It would take about 5-6 minutes to get back to 550# operating pressure. You could start out with 300#, but the car would be a little sluggish until pressure was built up. Water would be the main thing on a tour with the non-condensing cars getting about 1mpg and the condensing cars about 8mpg on water. My car has been operating about 4 years, and as I mentioned before it is an ongoing learning experience. I hope this helps.

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That's great, Steamcar. I can see you carrying a little (lots) of extra water in that case (1mpg). On the other hand you could always tow a small trailer around. You're on a tour anyway, right? smile.gif

I've only seen two steamers in operation in my lifetime and stupidly didn't pay enough attention to what was going on at the time. They are fascinating vehicles, though.

Thanks again.

Wayne

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I've been on a tour and a run where steam cars were participanting.

Here's a like to some pictures of last year's HCCA Brass in Bucks tour. There's a picture of one of the Stanley's refilling at a creek:

http://www.hcca.org/tours/BucksCounty/pictures.html

The things I've noticed about them on tour:

-Quite a bit of prep work in the morning before starting.

-Usually on the lookout for water.

-Usually the fastest cars on the tour.

They appear to be a lot of work to maintain. But they also seem to be incredibly powerfull. I was behind one once as we were going up a long hill. By the time I got to the top, the Stanely was loooong gone.

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Water is a real issue with the tanks holding from 20-40 gallons depending on the model of the car. Original Stanley literature says my condensing car will travel from 175-200 miles on a tank of water. Of course that is with a new engine, all packing is 100% and I am sure on level terrain and minimal passenger load.

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1940 Buick, I should have added in my last post, that there is a lot of preparation to a steam car, and I will admit that more than one time, that car has had me wondering why I ever bought it. They are a lot of fun and certainly draw a lot attention wherever they are. The majority of the Stanleys are 20hp with 700 ftlbs of torque, hence the hill climbing ability.

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Wayne,

I have about 20,000 miles of touring behind steam primarily in my 1917 Stanley. It is a unique experience and as a fellow steam car owner tells the gas car guys you only had half a ride. Each steam car seems to have it own personality and they can test your patience at times. Firing up can take some extra time in the morning but after that a stop for lunch or whatever doesn't take long to get going again. One of the big challenges is finding water. Even condensing my car only gets about 2mpg with a 25 gallon water tank. What is interesting is all of the stories about finding water like the time while riding with a friend in Vermont and stopping at house to ask for water. We found out the owner of the house made and sold maple syrup. We wound up getting a tour of his syrup making plant. You meet a lot of nice folks while looking for water.

Stanley's are fun and when they are running well there isn't anything better to drive.

Alan

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  • 2 years later...

Hi Wayne,,A Stanley pilot is easier to deal with than this buttonbox computer,,,,I wrote a post,,part/ and hit enter an tab to do paragraph,,,and it ATE it all,,so I'm here again,,#paragph,grr### Dave Nergaard has driven his old[not restored] 1922 mod/735 runabout all over,,from mid Mass,to Rhode Island,,Virginia,,Toronto,,Maryland,,He pops a pipe now an'again,,,but welds it up and away it goes,,,Climed MtWashington too,, Now remember these cars were used daily when they were new,,,BUT the owners were familiar with them on a daily basis,,and many of our hobbyists run em a couple of times a year,,,hardly enough to remember which way the shift lever goes,,My solution is to use the car every day for 3-4 weeks,,and you pretty well get used to all the levers,,this applies equally to gas cars,,All the big cars I have driven are 4 speed,,,so when I get in a 3 speed 45hp car,,,,,GOTTA be careful to remember where reverse,,,Almost lost 2 tail lights,,,## Wayne ,Lets see if we can get you up to New England to ride in some of our steamers,,They really do run,,,Carl Amsley and Tom Marshall both have toured to the west coast,,,and then turned around and drove home,,to Delaware and e,Pennsylvania,,And meanwhile if you care to come this way,,call me ,,,stop by,, Did ya ever think how fast you could make a cuppa tea with this rig???haha,,Cheers,,Ben

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I just picked up a copy of "Smogless Days," a book written a number of years ago by a fellow with the first name of Stanley (last name Ellis I think, I'm away from the book), who over a period of years owned 10 or 12 steamers. Great reading, and he had a lot of fun and adventures with steam!

The incredible thing about steam is the torque, unlike an internal combustion engine which has to have a certain rpm to generate maximum torque, a steam engine has 100% torque from 0 on up!!

That means, when you ride in one, the acceleration is fantastic. Jay Leno calls it "the hand of God" pushing you, and it really does feel like something is pushing you hard from behind (which, of course, the steam is doing....), I rode in a 30HP early Stanley, and even with 4 people aboard it would push you back in the seat, and inclines meant nothing to it......

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Hi Wayne

Now remember these cars were used daily when they were new,,,BUT the owners were familiar with them on a daily basis,,and many of our hobbyists run em a couple of times a year,,,hardly enough to remember which way the shift lever goes,,My solution is to use the car every day for 3-4 weeks

Hi Ben, Sorry I didn't see this earlier. I learned your suggestion this year myself with a newer car , an '84 Olds with 29,000 miles. Had a heck of a time getting it running correctly, but now, after multible days to the PO and every weekend to eat dinner out, it's beginning to run like a top again.

Lets see if we can get you up to New England to ride in some of our steamers,,They really do run,,,Carl Amsley and Tom Marshall both have toured to the west coast,,,and then turned around and drove home,,to Delaware and e,Pennsylvania,,And meanwhile if you care to come this way,,call me ,,,stop by,, Did ya ever think how fast you could make a cuppa tea with this rig???haha,,Cheers,,Ben

Now, you're talking Ben. I've been invited to more places the last couple years: California twice, (going back again in August), Caniandaiquia (not going to try to spell it correctly) this year, and Wilmington next year, so I will put you on the list (my little scraps of paper in my shirt pocket-the reason you have to keep reminding me!:eek:;)....darn washing machine)

We shall see what the New Year brings to the Burgess household.

Wayne

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