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Stewart Warner Vacuum Tank - Application & Catalog Question.


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Looking for a catalog from the late teens showing application information. I have an unusual one off car I am working on, and there are no known photos showing correct size. This early were all the tanks the same? How much did the top covers vary before 1920? Also interested to see correct hardware. Do you have a 1916-1919 car with a factory tank? If so, do you have a photo. I just don't want to do this project twice and rather figure out what I need now. All help appreciated. I am wondering if a tank this early had a fuel bowl at the bottom.......I don't think so. 

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Posted (edited)

An early one off car you want to get parts lined up. Could this be the start of a new “guess what Ed has now?” Mystery car??? 
I’m hooked but sadly have no way of helping with the problem. Good luck and remember we need pics or it isn’t real. Walt should have the info in that vast library of his with any luck. 
 

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

The mystery car is from 1932....by then the tanks were gone.........this is a much earlier job I am working on. Can't post photos or details yet. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

1932, Yeah. That is late for a vacuum tank. The 1930 Rolls I worked on sill had a Vacuum tank but it is not like the Stewart. I had a 1929 Reo truck at one time and it just had a basic Stewart vacuum fuel pump from the era. Seems like often the biggest difference is the brackets that hold the tank from the 20's to the later period. The 1915 Buick had a very early design that had a tube on the side. I cannot find a photo of one. Bob Scott has one on his 1915 Buick roadster. I have a parts one kicking around somewhere I have been hanging on to to hopefully someday come across another and get a complete one. Dandy Dave! 

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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40 minutes ago, edinmass said:

The mystery car is from 1932....by then the tanks were gone.........this is a much earlier job I am working on. Can't post photos or details yet. 

This should be good! Looking forward to it. 

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Hey Ed,

 

I don't have a Stewart vacuum tank manual, but I've attached the pages from 1915, 1918, & 1920 Cole owners manuals regarding the Stewart fuel system.  They show the tops of the respective tanks and the outlet line from the bottom of each tank going directly to the carburetor, with no bowl at the bottom of any of them.  If these aren't clear enough, PM me your email address and I'll send the attachments to you directly.

 

Hope this helps.  

George

1915 Cole Stewart Fuel System.jpg

1918 Cole Stewart Fuel System.jpg

1920 Cole Stewart Fuel System.jpg

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2 hours ago, alsancle said:

I sense a loss of focus already on the important car in your possession.


My 1917 White seven passenger touring car is finished. Except for driving it. The 1932 project will come south soon, and I’m about to start on the car with 24 connecting rods..........but I can delay it if you see fit. The 1932 speedster is calling my name........if you listen close you can hear it whisper............😏

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Sorry to get this thread off track. Hopefully George’s post will be helpful and put the thread back on the very early car you need the tank info. 
The mystery car will be a very interesting TOTALLY different thread. 
Wish I could help with the tank but it’s way beyond my knowledge or ability. 

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Posted (edited)

The most common Stewart-Warner vac tank "head" or lid with the associated guts seems to be 4.25 inches OD, irrespective of the shape or size (volume) of the reservoir (outer tank), some of which are long and thin, others short and fat.  Those 4.25" heads are generally interchangeable.  I've scarfed up a few oddball entire tanks as spares because they have the 4.25" OD head that my two vac tank cars have.  The only easily replaceable part in the inner tank is the flapper valve, with all S-W tanks I've seen using the same one.  The head's body is POT METAL and thus the most vulnerable part of the entire apparatus--do NOT overtighten anything.  If you're not after every last judging point, put small flat washers under the filister-head screws attaching the head to the body to spread the load.

Edited by Grimy
fix typo (see edit history)
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34 minutes ago, Grimy said:

The most common Stewart-Warner vac tank "head" or lid with the associated guts seems to be 4.25 inches OD, irrespective of the shape or size (volume) of the reservoir (outer tank), some of which are long and thin, others short and fat.  Those 4.25" heads are generally interchangeable.  I've scarfed up a few oddball entire tanks as spares because they have the 4.25" OD head that my two vac tank cars have.  The only easily replaceable part in the inner tank is the flapper valve, with all S-W tanks I've seen using the same one.  The head's body is POT METAL and thus the most vulnerable part of the entire apparatus--do NOT overtighten anything.  If you're not after every last judging point, put small flat washers under the filister-head screws attaching the head to the body to spread the load.

Good stuff to remember when I work on my vac tank! Thanks!!

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As Grimy says, the top mechanical piece is pretty much interchangeable from the early 1914 tanks clear up to the 1930 tanks. There was a late 'odd duck' tank used on a few cars up until 1932. The tops did vary somewhat, with a few rare variations (somewhere I have a broken early top with a riveted on name plate made of brass?). Most 1910s era tanks are the skinny version, with smaller inner chamber as well. There were two common lengths, one shorter, one longer, that can be commonly found. There were also a few extra long (I have seen one or two of those?). Most 1920s tanks were the basic fatter version with two pair of ribs to position the mounting bracket and keep the tank from slipping down with vibration. They also came in a common shorter and a less common longer size, as well as a few odd sizes.

There was another unusual variation, sort of between the early skinny and later four ribs fatter tanks. Interesting to note that George Cole's first two posted images show this one! The skinny ones flared out a bit to fit to the top piece, while the later four rib versions bulged out slightly from the top piece. This unusual version (except for a minor step where one metal piece overlays another?), basically goes straight down from the outer edge of the top piece. The tank sides are smooth like the skinny ones.

Some 'quality' automobiles used an even larger tank, sort of a 'half round' shape, with a fair size flat back mounted to the firewall. Most of these are fairly short in height, with a larger inside for fuel volume. I have seen these on Lincolns, I think Packard, a few Pierce Arrows, and even a friends Rolls Royce. George Cole's third image shows this type.

All those of course do not apply to your mystery customer's 1910s car.

 

The top castings were a type of pot metal, although usually not the really bad type that self destructs so badly. I have seen a few Stewart tops that were turning into metal dust and warping badly, but most do not. The top pieces also had several common variations which may or may not be important. Some had priming holes, usually with a plug in them. These priming holes came in two common sizes, 1/8 inch pipe and I forget what the larger size was? Some had a small embossment for the priming hole, most did not. Some priming holes were in top center, very close to the other fittings, others were a bit off to one side away from all the rest of the plumbing. And of course, some priming holes may have been added by subsequent owners?

Some tops had a small embossment for a model or series number, usually three digits, and maybe a letter and dash? What that number means? I really do not know. Although many years ago I met  fellow that claimed to have a published list of what series numbers were used by what cars. But I never saw the list, and he is long gone now. I had bought a vacuum tank at a swap meet, he looked at the number and told me it was off a Nash!

 

A lot of mid-1920s Buicks had glass bowl filters at the bottom of the vacuum tank. Most automobile manufacturers apparently did not bother with them. But that is just an observation on my part.

Many Stewart vacuum tanks had two fittings on the bottom. One, low and center, was the drain. The other, slightly higher up the slightly tapered side, was the feed outlet to the carburetor. There were a couple different sizes of feeds to the carburetor. Some of the Buick tanks had only a larger fitting in the center for the glass bowl filter. I always figured the non-Buick tanks with two fittings at slightly different elevations passed for a water trap and sediment filter. Again, my speculation.

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Posted (edited)

Ed, sorry I don't have a picture of my 16 olds tank but it it is the same kind of tank that  Mr. Cole has posted about and seems to be a very common type on lots of cars.  I do have a couple of early twenties tanks if you would like any pictures.  Every time I stop by Olson"s Gaskets at Hershey They offer up a "free" cork gasket for the top of the tank and that type goes on most of the SW tanks.

Edited by nickelroadster (see edit history)
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Dave.......Things are progressing..........I will make my decision for a replacement soon.

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As I am now in the process of replacing my broken top cover with an aluminum casting ( thanks to Ed ), my attention turns to proper sealing of the fittings.  Any teflon required, or just a snug fit ?

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On 5/27/2021 at 12:36 PM, edinmass said:


My 1917 White seven passenger touring car is finished. Except for driving it. The 1932 project will come south soon, and I’m about to start on the car with 24 connecting rods..........but I can delay it if you see fit. The 1932 speedster is calling my name........if you listen close you can hear it whisper............😏

A V24... This simply can not wait. 😉 Hurry along now Ed. 

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Just now, Dandy Dave said:

A V24... This simply can not wait. 😉 Hurry along now Ed. 

 

 

Nope on the V-24..........but it does have 52 bearings in the engine.........this thing is as crazy as the owner..............

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

 

Nope on the V-24..........but it does have 52 bearings in the engine.........this thing is as crazy as the owner..............

OK, so the Devil in the details are that the rods are forked. The car in question is a V-16. 

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)
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4 minutes ago, 1912Staver said:

I think Ed is talking about the Stearns - Knight.

Very odd engines compared to what most of us are used to.

16 of the con rods move the sleeves up and down. The other 8 are " normal " con rods.

OK, That makes total sense. 

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46 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

 

Nope on the V-24..........but it does have 52 bearings in the engine.........this thing is as crazy as the owner..............

It’s not truly crazy until there’s an intervention. I can ship you a straight jacket for the rough days, please proceed with crazy!!!!  
😁

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5 hours ago, autoluke said:

As I am now in the process of replacing my broken top cover with an aluminum casting ( thanks to Ed ), my attention turns to proper sealing of the fittings.  Any teflon required, or just a snug fit ?


 

Never, ever use Teflon tape or silicon sealer or RTV on a pre war car. You can use the Teflon pipe dope very sparingly. 

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Posted (edited)

Old car fan......thanks. I need to determine what I need for a tank........which I think I have done. Normally I would order everything ASAP, but having been burned before, I shall wait till it arrives. Like many early custom cars.....they very from one to the other. The new car is a dual plug head, my other is single......thus a different magneto, ignition switch, under hood wiring harness, as well as a different fuel supply system. I need a correct amp guage, air compressor, carburetor, exhaust cut out, and a few other odds and ends. Fortunately my other car is complete. I can’t remember if the new car has splash pans.....I have to go back and check the video.

 

 

Just checked the video, missing driver side splash pan......not too hard to make. Another thing for the list. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Update:

 

After spending several hours looking over the car from photos and video, and sharing it with a few trusted forum members, It appears the car may be a bit different than we think. It’s been suggested that the body builder may be different from the first one that I determined. That said, until we have it in hand, we won’t publicly speculate on the builder. We are also trying to determine if the fixed top is factory......or aftermarket. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

A very  good longtime friend of mine rebuilt an engine for a Falcon Knight sedan. The Stearns' baby cousin. The Falcon Knight was a very original car with original paint and upholstery in nice condition, and his at the time. It had been a fixture in a couple local clubs for many years. I don't remember what had gone bad, but I think it may have been a piston connecting rod. He found a parts car (a coupe with very little left of the body), which provided options for better engine parts. He is really sharp, and a trained mechanic that has had and worked on antique automobiles his whole life.

After all the horror stories of how bad Knights were to be worked on, he adjusted his 'training' and reasoned out what needed to be treated differently. The whole process worked out so well, he wound up working on a couple other Knight engines for friends with Knight automobiles. One of the cars he rebuilt the engine for was a 1925 Stearns Knight. It was a beautiful oval window sedan, with a nice repaint and beautiful original upholstery. Its engine had been worked on by earlier owners, and not done well. It threw one piston connecting rod, which was simply repaired (shut down quick and no harm done beyond the thrown Babbitt). A few months later, another piston rod threw its Babbitt. At that point, The decision was made, to pull the engine and fix everything. Good thing too. Turned out most of the Babbitt was bad and ready to go.

Once done, the car ran great, and was toured quite a bit with no problems, except for one. It was a 'city' car. Knights, except for a few of the later ones, were wonderful and powerful engines, but they were not fast. In addition to that, that Stearns had very low rear end gears! I rode in that car several times, and even on the freeway for short distances. 35mph was all the fast it wanted to do! Installing an overdrive was discussed, but the owner finally said he had had enough. He loved the look of the car! It was a tough one to beat in that department. But after two piston connecting rods and a major overhaul, followed by just way too slow, he didn't really want to risk further disappointment if an overdrive didn't give satisfactory results.

The Stearns was sold, I don't know what happened to it after that. I have googled Stearns a number of times, searched images online. There are a couple other Stearns Knight sedans that look really similar, but I have not yet seen a picture of that one online.

 

 

Edited by wayne sheldon (see edit history)
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Sleeve valve engines have always interested me. I have of course heard many negative claims and comments but I am convinced like so much else (6 volt systems for instance) most of the bad reputation or problems are closer to folklore that has become fact simply be repeat telling than actual reality or born out of experiences associated with poorly re-built or maintained examples. Granted, like everything else they require specific knowledge to re-build correctly. But I suspect a lot of the problems (and alleged faults) are founded in lack of that knowledge as opposed to the inherent design. When you look at the quality of the automobiles they were used in, the length of time they were produced its impressive.

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The Stearns Engine is a masterpiece.   My understanding from the club technician,  is that the eight has 2 cranks for the sleeves as opposed to the one for the six in the Willys Knight making the complexity of putting the engine back together correctly timed astronomical.

dsc08184.jpg

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Here is a factory standard Stewart vacume tank from a 1917 - 1918 Kissel. These were big 6 cylinder cars. Kissel used this style tank on its cars until 1921 when they installed the more cylindrical Stewart vacume tanks. If no air leaks, these run great!

ron Hausmann P.E.

E42BD055-77D3-4F04-93DA-050C1CE1D36C.jpeg

32E2E948-535A-41E2-B3E0-59DA2ECFC7A9.jpeg

C1CAEB2C-DBA0-4417-9C6D-2BB42051EA4F.jpeg

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44 minutes ago, nickelroadster said:

 

Is there any particular reason you are using two cork gaskets?  Is the pot metal top a little warped?

I'm sure Ron will answer when he sees your question, but for now I'll throw in that two gaskets are required, one above and one below the flange or lip of the inner tank, the flange being sandwiched between the lid/cover/head and the reservoir (outer tank) body.  I use thinner cork myself, but any warpage on the pot metal lid will require thicker gaskets.

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Having worked on a couple of that style, I think I can answer the question. SOME Stewart vacuum tanks had inner chambers that fit tight with a flair, and used only  a single gasket. This one has a flange that requires a gasket above and below the flange to seal properly.

 

I see Grimy beat me to it! I type slow.

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Thanks. I use two cork gaskets for the reasons that both Wayne and Hrimey state. My original units seemed to have had one cork and one paper thin gaskets sandwiching the inner basin flange. Since I had several cork ones I just used them. These tanks are now in service and don’t leak at all.

     BTW, I had some pinhole spots on the bottom of one of the external tanks, and used JB Weld successfully to patch these holes. After painting you can’t see my fixes.

  Thanks,    Ron 

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