Burner, Pilot, and Superheater Restoration

Pilot Lit – July 25, 1999

The burner had been prepared and ready a year before it was actually first ignited.  The burner, pilot, and superheater was restored and ready for mounting under the boiler when the boiler hydrostatic test was performed.  Unfortunately the hydrostatic test revealed the boiler needed to be replaced so the burner, pilot, and superheater were never mounted to the underside of the boiler.  Thus they sat for the year it took to make a new boiler.  In late June 1999 the new boiler had been installed and had passed its hydrostatic test in the car.  The superheater could now be installed under the boiler and then the burner mounted.

Shown in the photo is the pilot lit for the first time since June 1992 when the car was operated last.  The rich blue flame shows that the air-fuel ratio is excellent.  Careful observers will notice the blue flame along the top side of the pilot where the word “EMPIRE” is drilled into the casting.  At the bottom of the pilot casting a small yellow flame will be observed.  This is due to a slight leak in the vaporizer fittings and is common on initial firings after disassembly.  When cool the fittings will be tightened and on the next firing the leak will not be present.

The pilot vaporizer tube is glowing red from the flame an indication that the fuel is being properly vaporized.  The fuel enters the vaporizer tube at the right three o’clock position and travels around the tube in a counter-clockwise direction.  At the six o’clock position is the pilot nozzle casting and nozzle.  The careful observer will notice how the vaporizer tube is a dull red at the right, a brighter red along the top twelve o’clock position, and a bright red down along the nine o’clock position.  As the fuel travels the vaporizer tube it is heated and thus at the inlet to the tube the fuel is cooler than when it gets to the pilot nozzle area.  The color changes of the vaporizer tube show the effects of the fuel being heated.

Also shown in this photo is the new stainless steel blocks above the pilot casting that provide mounting of the burner nozzle.  The original cast parts had broken and been repaired on several occasions.  New more durable parts were machined as replacements as this is a critical connection that can not leak fuel vapors during operation for obvious reasons.

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