The Motor Drivers News.
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The Contents of the Tool-box.
" A.S.P." (London) writes : " I wonder why it is that,
very often, the tool-box belonging to a steam wagon hardly ever has anything in it but two or three spanners, an old file with all the cut gone, and a piece of copper wire. Although not actually a driver myself, I have many oppor7 tunities of examining wagons, and the above list just about covers the contents of the average tool-box. I remember, not
• so long ago, that one of our men had to go a distance of about zo miles into the heart of a country district in Somersetshire and, when he came back in the evening, he told us how,wlien is miles out,the hose connection on his boiler feed pipe had cracked right in half, and the rubber was so badly perished that it was useless. He then 'hunted 'through his tool-box with the same result which always happens. Now, if he had carried some short pieces of hose in his tool-box he would not have had to fill up his water tank so often. This driver told me he had absolutely nothing which was of any goad except his handkerchief, which he tied round the pipe, and this stopped the leak to some extent, but was far from perfect, so that he was in a constant state of fear that he would be hung up for want of water."
A Flexible Steam Pipe.
ES." (Plaistow) writes with reference to the fracturing of a main, steam pipe on his vehicle, as follows :—" Some time ago I was put to a great deal of trouble through the constant breaking of the main, steam pipe on my vehicle. These breakdowns were a persistent source of annoyance to me, and they often occurred at most inconvenient places nerally, where there was a lot of traffic. On one occasion, I well recollect, I had to remove the whole of my load before I could warp the wagon with pinch bars off the tramlines in the Old Kent Road. You may imagine what this meant when I tell you that I held up ' between twenty and thirty tramcars, which had collected one by one on both of the lines. This accident was annoying in more ways than one, because I believe the firm for which J work had a little trouble with the L.C.C. about the matter.
"It was necessary for me to devise some method of doing away with this breakage, but I did not quite know what to do, as I had already fitted four complete new pipes at different periods owing to previous fractures. At last I hit upon a plan which proved to be the solution of the problem. Instead of taking the pipe directly from the stop valve to the cylinders, I introduced a circular bend in the pipe. The bend allowed of the necessary ' give ' required in the pipe to allow of the relative movements of the boiler and cylinders one to another and to the road shocks. I am pleased to say that the fitting has been at work now for over four months without giving me the slightest trouble, arid it looks as if it will
stand ' as long as the rest of the vehicle. The only fault to be found with my idea was that, owing to the bend in the pipe, the condensed water could not be drained off, so I fitted bin. drain cock at the lowest part of the loop; this quite got over the trouble. I can thoroughly recommend the above plan to drivers who have had broken steam pipes."
A Word of Advice.
" J.R.B." (Bolton) sends the following description of an experience which happened to him during the late frosts :— "I should like to place before the other readers of these columns the great necessity for looking after steam wagons during frosty weather. During the last cold snap an incident happened to me which made it still clearer how necessary it is in cold weather to guard against the effects of frost. A short time ago I went down to the depot in the morning -6 light the fire in the boiler of my vehicle, but, before doing so, I just had a look round the boiler, to see that everything was in order. Having lit the fire, I looked at the transmission while the steam was getting up,' then I turned on the injector and found, to my astonishment, that both the injector and the feed-pump pipe were frozen up solid. I was astonished, because I had left all the gas burners alight during the week-end, and I thought that this would have been sufficient to have prevented any water in the pipes from freezing. The first thing that I did was to detach the pump ram from the connecting rod, because I foresaw trouble if the engine were started up with a solid column of ice in the pump barrel. After I had attended to the pump, I started to thaw the ice in the tubes, by means of hot irons and a blow lamp, and when I had finished the job, I attached the ram of the pump to the connecting rod and proceeded to try and deliver some water into the boiler. I found that something was wrong, and upon examination found that the water pipe was fractured near the water tank; this, of course, was not difficult to braze, and when it had been done the tube was practically as good as ever it had been. It was not the extent of the damage which made me write this letter, but the fact that it might be of use to others who have to drive 'steamers.' I quite thought that, by having the gas burners alight, the temperature of my shed would have been kept high enough to prevent water freezing, and it appears to me that, if from any reason you cannot draw off every drop of water from the lowest portion of the pipe systems, the best thing is to cover up all the tubes with sacking as thickly as possible. In my own case it meant delay in starting, as well as trouble and some slight expense."
Temporary Water Connections.
" G.T." (East Dulwich) writes :—" Some time ago I had rather a trying journey while running my wagon to Crays, in Kent. It happened in this way. The feed pipe which connects the water tank to the injector and the feed pump has a bend inside the tank, and, between this bend and a water cock, a strainer is placed. The accompanying sketch will show what J mean. As I was driving along the road, I found that I could get no water into the boiler either through the injector or the pump, so I knew that there was something wrong with the feed pipe. I tried the strainer first of all, but found that it was free of any obstruction, and then found that the bend itself was choked and, to make matters worse, I could not clear it. I thought I should have to draw ' my fire, but I did not want to do this unless necessary. At last an idea came to me. The feed pipe is jointed in front of the stop-cock and the tank is fitted at the back end with a gauge glass. In the bottom of the brass fitting which holds the glass I found a '2-inch cleaning plug, so I took this out and screwed a 1--inch quarter bend in its place. Lastly, I connected the feed pipe and bend together by means of a rubber hose pipe. The arrangement acted very well indeed, and I got along without further trouble, and after a delay of only fifteen minutes. There is one more point about feed pipes that I should like to mention. In my own case the feed pipe between the pump and the injector was in one piece, so, if I happened to be unable to procure water and the supply ran out in the tank, I was done for. I have altered that now as shown, by cutting the feed pipe just at the bottom of the vertical portion leading to the injector itself. If I ever run short of water I get a bucket or two of it from some house or other, and then I slip a short length of hose on to the vertical portion of the piping and turn on steam. I know that this little idea is simple both in its working and its preparation, but I can assure you that I have found it extremely useful, especially in country districts. People rather fight shy of supplying a steam wagon tank with water because it holds such a lot, but I have never been refused a request for three or four full buckets, and this amount will carry one some little distance, even if the wagon is fully loaded. I forgot to say that I simply connect the vertical and horizontal portions of the feed pipe together by means of a short piece of hose pipe, as I have found this method simpler than fitting a union."