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Old May 17, 2011, 10:09 PM
Central Florida
r/cjunkie's Avatar
United States, FL, Lakeland
Joined Aug 2008
272 Posts
Question
heritage steam

I am new to steam and installed a midwest steam engine in a tugboat. The engine does not seem to have enough power to push the boat. It is a liberty tug. Any suggestions? I have also tried to run the steam exhaust up the smokestack but only seems to spit water. Is there a way to increase power/speed in this engine?

Thanks
Craig
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Old May 18, 2011, 09:06 AM
Semi-Official Tinkerer
Subdave's Avatar
Rochester NY
Joined Mar 2005
832 Posts
This question comes up a lot.
There are many good threads on simple things you can do to boost performance of this engine. Search the threads on Midwest steam engine.
I know usually more air is required and a number of small holes drilled around the base of the boiler firebox is a big help.
You will find a lot of info on these threads. Dave.
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Old May 18, 2011, 06:06 PM
Just call me "Mo"
mogogear's Avatar
NE PDX OR
Joined Aug 2008
818 Posts
Can you post few pictures of the engine installed in the boat? That wil lreally help us help you!!!

The straightness of the line from the crankshaft as it exits the flywheel and then connects to the shaft and then propeller is a critical detail.

Also making sure the flywheel is no "free-wheeling" or loose on the cranks shaft is a good thing to check

Lastly- fill boiler with pre-boiled water first will help you get more run time from the fuel supply

Also what fuel are you using?

As you are finding out --there are many variables!!

The little engine can do a lot but making sure it is not burdened with too much friction, has the full advantage of the flywheel to store energy, and that a few other things are AOK-- is key!
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Old May 18, 2011, 11:15 PM
Central Florida
r/cjunkie's Avatar
United States, FL, Lakeland
Joined Aug 2008
272 Posts
sterno is the fuel, recomended drive connection was rubber tubing. It seems to move smooth and I oil the shaft and pump face before using. I will try to get some pic's posted and browse the threads as suggested. Thanks for the help guys. Pre-boiled water?? I'll try it, I would never have thought of that.
On a seperate note... Has anyone tried using air such as co,2 cannisters like what is used for pellet guns with a control valve.


Craig
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Old May 21, 2011, 11:41 AM
Registered User
Weare NH
Joined Nov 2007
503 Posts
I have the same setup that I bought year and half ago that I still have to build and I found the flywheel is rubing on the bottom of the cylinder where the conacting rod is
Bob Big
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Old May 21, 2011, 06:22 PM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
Richmond Virginia
Joined Oct 2009
1,711 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by r/cjunkie View Post
sterno is the fuel, recomended drive connection was rubber tubing. It seems to move smooth and I oil the shaft and pump face before using. I will try to get some pic's posted and browse the threads as suggested. Thanks for the help guys. Pre-boiled water?? I'll try it, I would never have thought of that.
On a seperate note... Has anyone tried using air such as co,2 cannisters like what is used for pellet guns with a control valve.


Craig
That is the usual set up as recommended by the manufacturer.
As for "pre-boiled" water, I'm not sure if Mogo means for you to use Distilled water, (and you should) or, to pre-heat the water or boiler before putting it in the model to run.
I personaly use a wicked can of chafing fuel to preheat the boiler prior to running, then, once a head of steam builds up, remove to the model, and light the sterno through the smoke stack with a long BBQ lighter. That gives me full use of the gel fuel for the run, and usually end up with about a1/4 to 1/2 of water left in the boiler for a 15 odd minute run.

also mentioned, make sure the fly wheel is good and locked to the drive shaft. I've had the set screw on mine work itself loose a couple of times and the flywheel was just there on the shaft not doing anything, and the engine stalling out when you put it in the water. the most embarrassing time this happened to me was when I was out on the water with a bunch of sailboat guys who had to take turns bumping me to shore!
If you don't have the momentum force of that flywheel, you got no go. The thing will fly all day long running dry, rough, but it'll work. as soon as you try to put some force on it, it'll stall though.

Spitting is normal when first starting out. and it's common for the engine to leak condensation during operation. Spitting will abate as the boiler gets hotter and you are running more steam rather than ejecting condensation. too much condensation? its not hot enough.
did you run the steam exhaust inside the stack or out side the stack?

I have extra air holes drilled in my boiler sheathe. the new holes are drilled 45 degrees above the stock holes, my exhaust steam runs to a piece of 90 degree bent brass tubing that goes into the smoke stack and then points up. I find this increases the draft to the flame and makes it a little hotter for the run. More heat > more steam > more RPM. some might debate the true effectivness of this set up, it might be purely placebo on my part, but it does seem to me to improve performance a bit.

Run it off a CO2 cannister? sure! why not? it'll work purely pnuematicly. But..

and there's my big ole' but... it'll work better, and last longer if it heats up and has the old salad dressing on its face, if you install a displacement lubricator on it ( as you should) it (the lubricator) wont work. And this engine itself is just a basic, single action oscillator. you will not be able to throttle it or turn it on or off as it is not a self starter. you gotta flick the fly wheel to get it going, and it'll keep going till it exhausts its fuel source. that's about all you can really expect out of the thing.

I'm sure some more details of the boat itself are in order, but I belive the engine and the boat are matched by the manufacturer, so there should be no issues of the engine being underpowered for the craft. But the engines are a little finicky to tune, but thats part of the fun of it

As far as I can tell, midwest still has them offered on thier website, but they are listed as out of stock, tower hobbies still has the set listed, but on indefinate preorder. I looked at amazon the other day looking for something midwest other than the plant and they showed six available at that time ranging from $87 to $150 avaialble from several sources.

I had to buy tires the other day so I didn't order one... yet

good luck good sir! there is lots of good help and advice to be had here.
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Old May 21, 2011, 08:37 PM
Just call me "Mo"
mogogear's Avatar
NE PDX OR
Joined Aug 2008
818 Posts
Good point on my vagueness--:Pre-boiled water-

I meant using almost boiling water to fill the boiler for running--I am stingy about fuel- I always take a thermos bottle to the pond to draw my boiler syringe from.
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Last edited by mogogear; May 21, 2011 at 09:34 PM.
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Old May 21, 2011, 11:16 PM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
Richmond Virginia
Joined Oct 2009
1,711 Posts
I figured that's what you meant good sir

i just bring a gallon jug of distilled water and one of these things with me to the pond for doing my pre heat
Sterno brand wick chafing fuel


The Heritage Boiler sits perfectly on top of the can and it heats it up to steam in around five minutes.

In fact.. in this pic you can see me preheating the boiler with it. middle right hand side of the pic.
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Old May 22, 2011, 03:31 AM
Registered User
Rainhill UK
Joined Sep 2007
126 Posts
Sterno , I thought that was a drink ? well acording to a lot of american TV programs it is.

Peter
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Old May 22, 2011, 10:13 AM
made of fire and pop rocks
bgnome's Avatar
Richmond Virginia
Joined Oct 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HS93 View Post
Sterno , I thought that was a drink ? well acording to a lot of american TV programs it is.

Peter
Jelled alcohol chafing dish fuel... or jello shooters for that really hard core wino in your life
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Old May 22, 2011, 01:00 PM
I SEE NO SHIPS
dunc2504's Avatar
Somerset England
Joined Feb 2007
1,234 Posts
Nah ! thats Stella !
Dunc2504
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