WATER TANK
   

replacement galvanized water tank located under the floor boards.  to make cleaning easier this tank has been outfitted with three drain plugs installed.  a water valve has also been added to the side to provide a source of water for hand washing and hot parts cooling during those occasional road trip emergency repair sessions which may occur with even the best maintained stanleys.

Initially Stanley constructed 15-gallon to 25-gallon water tanks of copper and located them under the seats of their cars. By 1910 the tanks had grown in size to 45-gallons and were now located at the rear of the car being placed partially under the rear seat and partially extending from the rear of the car. Only the Stanley Mountain Wagons had larger tanks carrying 50 gallons of water.

With the introduction of condensing cars in 1915 a uniform tank capacity of 25 gallons was adopted along with a single 20-horsepower boiler/engine combination. Initially of copper but soon changed to galvanized steel the tanks were suspended with two steel straps attached to the steel frame beneath the floorboards of the car. This location allowed the top of the tank to be below the bottom of the condenser thus insuring condensate from the condenser would flow to the water tank by gravity.

A gauge assembly projecting through the floorboard just in front of the driver provides an indication of the water level in the tank. The water tank can be filled either of two ways. The simplest is to remove the condenser cap and us a hose fill the water tank through the condenser. An alternate way of filling the water tank is though the use of the siphon. At the center of the tank is a standpipe that acts as an overflow for the tank when filling. The standpipe also insures pressure will not build up in the tank from the exhaust steam of the engine being routed through the condenser and to the water tank.

 

FLOATING OFF STEAM CYLINDER OIL AFTER FILLING THE WATER TANK

The bottom of the water tank is even with the bottom of the pump box and power water pumps. When the tank is filled at least half full there is sufficient water pressure for the pumps to prime themselves. Loosening the discharge check valve cap for each pump and allowing water to flow will prime each pump.

In the bottom of the water tank is a drain plug. Removal of the plug allows for tank draining and flushing. As the drain plug is removed a strainer is accessible on the intake pipe internal to the tank supplying water to the pumps. This cap should be removed every couple hundred miles, the water tank flushed out, and the strainer cleaned.

As steam cylinder oil is injected in the steam line to the engine for lubrication that steam cylinder oil will find its way back to the water tank with the condensate after the steam is condensed. The oil will accumulate and form small drops floating on the surface of the water. When the water tank is filled the water level in the tank will rise to the top of the standpipe and begin overflowing the standpipe. As the water flows down the standpipe the surface layer of water in the tank will flow down the standpipe and onto the ground. As the oil will be floating on top of this thin surface layer of water, the waterís surface tension will draw the oil with it down the standpipe. Each time the water tank is filled it is good practice to fill the tank and then reduce the water flow such that water continues to overflow the edge of the standpipe carrying the beads of oil with it. By leaving the water run slowly for a few minutes most of the oil floating on the surface of the water will be drawn off and cleared from the tank.

While itís obvious the environmental laws of the early 1900s are not what they currently are, many Stanley drivers carry industrial oil soak blankets that they lay under their cars to collect the oil. Some have modified their water tanks to allow the insertion of these blankets in the water tank to absorb oil. The most costly solution but perhaps the best is the installation of an oil separator in the exhaust steam line between the feed water heater and the condenser.

One word of caution when operating a Stanley is not to let the water tank run dry if at all possible. As the steam oil will be floating on top of the water as the water level in the tanks drops, should the water tank be allowed to run dry the oil floating on the remaining water in the tank will be drawn into the pumps and supplied to the boiler. This is not only detrimental to the boiler but the oil can cause the check valves in the pumps to become fouled and start sticking. The oil may also block the openings in the fine wire mesh screen in the water filter located near the water automatic and thus restrict water flow.

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