As Purchased Condition Of The Car
Shortly after I purchased my Stanley I was told of a book by George Woodbury titled “The Story Of A Stanley Steamer”. The book, written in 1950, tells of George’s search for a Stanley Steamer, his purchase of a 1917 Model 725, and his trials and tribulations with getting the car operational. It is an excellently written book that I found fascinating to put down once I had started it. What I hadn’t realized was that while reading the book I kept thinking my car is in better shape and thus my efforts to get the car running again won’t be as difficult. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
On January 1, 1998 my brother brought my car to his automotive repair shop where it would spend its life while undergoing restoration. Bruce had a small garage he will willing to allow me to use if I insulated it and installed electric, lighting, and electric heat at my cost. The car immediately took a position on his moveable-post truck lift. This lift is designed for the lifting of trucks and other vehicles where it is necessary to lift the vehicle by it’s axles and not the body. The pictures in this section are all taken with the car on the lift. The car has been vacuumed of loose dirt and debris but nothing else.
The absolute first thing that I had to do was to “clear out” the car. It hadn’t been run since June 1992 and it had become a home to many animals over the years. Once sold to me by Marvin Klair, Marvin graciously filled the seats and floorboards with all the spare parts, pieces, and tools that he used to maintain the vehicle after he took ownership of it in 1964. Thus there was simply a lot of “material” to sort through. Once that was done the shop vacuum could be put in service to start removing accumulated dirt and debris from all surfaces.
On January 2, 1998 several rolls of film were used to document the car inside and out. Having it on the truck lift allowed the opportunity to raise the car up for excellent shots around the boiler compartment and to take shots of everything not only from the top looking down but from the underside looking up. Photos from that photo shoot were selected to provide this “As Purchased Review”.
It was during this photo shoot that the list of “must attend to” items first started to take shape. As you will see in the photos, the car was covered with layers of steam cylinder oil and road dirt. You couldn’t touch the car’s undercarriage or any of the piping under the hood without pulling up a hand full of sticky, grimy, oil-based dinge. As one who really detests the feel of grease and oil on his hands, I knew job one, bar none other, was this car would be steam cleaned. January 3rd and 4th were spent steam cleaning the car with the 2,500 PSI industrial steam cleaner. By luck it was during a rare mid-Atlantic warm spell with temperatures in the record setting mid-60s.
As a result of an accidental swipe of the steam cleaning wand across the plaster insulating jacket of the burner a large chunk of insulation was sliced out and what remained was a nest of chicken-wire covering copious holes in the sheet metal insulation jackets of the burner and superheater. In addition as much of the automotive header wrap on some of the steam pipes had rotted, just the back-splash of the water nozzle was enough to cut this material loose. It took several cleaning sessions with strong detergent to cut through the ages of built up steam cylinder oil and grime.
Also as a result of the steam cleaning, and especially cleaning of the engine cover and the axles, it was going to be necessary to insure the oil in the engine case were allowed to drain and the engine internally sprayed with a fresh coat of oil to prevent rusting. The wheel bearing would also need to be disassembled, the bearings cleaned and repacked with grease, and everything reassembled. Before long the list of restoration tasks included replacing a lot of non-Stanley piping with piping more accurately representing what was done when the car left the factory; rewiring the electrical system; replacing all non-Stanley valves with Stanley-type valves; relining the mechanical brakes; repairing the speedometer; rebuilding all piston pumps; installing new packing in all valves, pumps, and other devices requiring packing; rebuilding of the steam, boiler water level, and low-water cutoff automatics; along with the painting of all wooden and metal surfaces.
The series of photos that follow provide a “three circle” tour of the car. The first four photos circle the car at distance looking at all four sides. Then the car is circled again closer up looking at specific areas from above and alongside the car. Finally, with the car in the air, a final tour is made around the car to examine the condition of everything under the car.
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