The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-21-2005, 04:52 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Conversion of gasoline Powered car to steam?

Years ago, i read about an inventor who converted a large sedan from gas to steam. basically, he removed the gasoline engine and transmission, and put in a 30 horsepower steam engine. he fired the boiler (which he was able to fit in the engine compartment, with kerosene. From waht i remember, the car didn't have much acceleration, but could reach 60 MPH quite easily..the main problem he had was carrying enough water to keep the boiler fed.
Would this be a solution for some people? Kerosene is pretty cheap-I wonder how many MPG you could get?
And, how much does such a steam engine cost? Could you convert a gosoline negine to run on steam?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 04-21-2005, 05:36 PM
kanicbird kanicbird is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 1999
IIRC the problem is not acceleration but the lag in throttle responce. Now anyway you slice it 30 HP is going to suck in the 1/4 mile, but a'modern' steam engine needs time to get up to 'power'. It may be useful to run a generator for a hybrid design however.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-21-2005, 05:52 PM
FatBaldGuy FatBaldGuy is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: SLC, USA
Posts: 4,055
I don't think it would be possible to convert a gasoline (internal combustion) engine to run on steam (external combustion), since the way power is produced is completely different. You would need to tear out the original engine and put in a new steam engine.

Issues of performance and acceleration aside, I would be concerned about driving around with an open flame and a tank of kerosene under my hood.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-21-2005, 06:01 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c
Years ago, i read about an inventor who converted a large sedan from gas to steam. basically, he removed the gasoline engine and transmission, and put in a 30 horsepower steam engine. he fired the boiler (which he was able to fit in the engine compartment, with kerosene. From waht i remember, the car didn't have much acceleration, but could reach 60 MPH quite easily..the main problem he had was carrying enough water to keep the boiler fed.
The solution to this is a heat exchanger/condenser arrangement to recycle the water. The accelleration throttle lag issue could just as easily be solved by maintaining a minimum pressure on the system and a valve "clutch" of sorts that only sends steam to the turbines or cylinders when the throttle is depressed.

Quote:
Would this be a solution for some people? Kerosene is pretty cheap-I wonder how many MPG you could get?
IIRC UnaPersson is the big steam power guru in these parts.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-21-2005, 06:05 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBaldGuy
Issues of performance and acceleration aside, I would be concerned about driving around with an open flame and a tank of kerosene under my hood.
Does your hot water heater give you nightmares?

Kerosene is actually very stable stuff compared to gasoline and far less prone to being easily or accidentally ignited. One would think that a fuel tank of any kind would, much like today, be located separately from the "hot spot".
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-21-2005, 06:07 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,269
We also had this very long thread on steam cars:

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/...d.php?t=127604

Una weighed in there, along with a buncha other people.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-21-2005, 06:09 PM
yabob yabob is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 7,269
Oh, excuse me - you started that other thread, too.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-21-2005, 06:14 PM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
I just spent 20 minutes fiddling with vehicle performance models.
If this thing weighs in at 3600 lbs, which I'm guessing would be typical for a sedan 20 years ago, you're looking at a top end between 55 and 65 and quarter mile times in the 28 to 30 second range.
The good news is, you'll be able to beat fully loaded tractor trailer to the end of a quarter mile... barely. But it'll probably pass you before five miles go by.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-21-2005, 10:49 PM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c
Kerosene is pretty cheap
Where I live, it's about 30 cents per gallon less than regular gasoline. And that price doesn't include road tax, which would be owed if you used it to fuel a licensed motor vehicle traveling on normal roads. So I question the potential savings in fuel costs.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-21-2005, 11:07 PM
spingears spingears is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Woodall
The good news is, you'll be able to beat fully loaded tractor trailer to the end of a quarter mile... barely. But it'll probably pass you before five miles go by.
FWIW I've heard several comments regarding the Stanley Streamer as having been able to run rings around anything on the road.

Reputedly no one had ever driven it wide open for any length of time. (It may have been the poor roads of the day and time).

It's big drawback was warmup or startup time for those who wanted to hop in and go!
__________________
Do nothing simply if a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful
spingears
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-21-2005, 11:17 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: 847 mi. from Cecil
Posts: 29,156
Quote:
Originally Posted by kanicbird
It may be useful to run a generator for a hybrid design however.
I think this is the way to go. The steam engine runs at optimal efficiency all the time, driving a generator, which charges a bank of batteries, and drives four independent electric motors, one on each wheel. Braking energy is conserved by using the motors to generate electricity that is returned to the batteries. It would have acceleration comparable to current hybrids, though I'm not sure how the fuel consumption would compare. But on the surface it seems like the best way to utilize steam power in a vehicle.

Workable? Problems?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-21-2005, 11:33 PM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear Itself
I think this is the way to go. The steam engine runs at optimal efficiency all the time, driving a generator, which charges a bank of batteries, and drives four independent electric motors, one on each wheel...
Workable? Problems?
The basic problem is that steam engines are an example of the Carnot cycle, where efficiency depends on temperature difference (between the hot and the cold part of the cycle). An "open" cycle where steam is lost would be hopelessly inefficient; any pretense of efficiency implies a large heat exchanger with large amounts of air flow through it - a fruitful source of drag and thus inefficiency.

Given that the internal combustion piston engine has a head start of many decades in the race toward efficiency, I'd say the chance of steam power catching up is close to nil, even assuming you could find someone foolish enough to pony up the money (surely running into billions) for the necessary R&D.

Much less radical pathways (e.g. the Sterling cycle, which uses external combustion) have been investigated and then abandoned.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-22-2005, 09:14 AM
matt matt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: A Brit in 'Stralia
Posts: 1,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema
The basic problem is that steam engines are an example of the Carnot cycle, where efficiency depends on temperature difference (between the hot and the cold part of the cycle).

All heat engines, whether they be steam engines, Otto cycle gasoline engines, Diesel cycle engines or whatever, are limited by the implications of the Carnot cycle. There is no real Carnot cycle engine (although a perfect Stirling or Ericsson engine would achieve Carnot efficiency) - such an engine has to run infinitely slowly to keep all processes in thermodynamic equilibrium. It's a theoretical construct to illustrate what the limiting factors are. The Carnot cycle proves that the maximum efficiency you can get out a heat engine is:
(TMAX-TMIN) /TMAX.
This shows that the higher TMAX, the higher the maximum possible efficiency.


Internal combustion engines such as gasoline and diesel engines can have high TMAX because their high temperatures are generated momentarily and intermittently. Steam engines don't have that luxury - the boiler has to be at TMAX continuously. So either you make the boiler and expander out of gas-turbine superalloys to generate really hot steam, or you accept a lower TMAX in steam engines than in IC engines.


On the other hand, steam engines have some efficiency advantages over Otto cycle (gasoline) engines - they have the same TMAX whatever their power output. The vast majority of the time, the gasoline engine in a car is throttled back, which drastically reduces its TMAX. With urban, stop-start driving, a steam car might give a gasoline car a run for its money for best mpg. But diesel should still beat the both of them.


The other advantage of the steam engine is fuel versatility - in theory you can burn gasoline, diesel, kerosene, vegetable oil, waste oil, wood, coal, whatever.


A long and moderately technical article by a steam car advocate can be read here:
http://www.stanleysteamers.com/modern_steam.htm


Not really related, but you can modify a gasoline engine to run on charcoal or even wood, if you don't mind hooking a big metal drum full of burning fuel onto it.

http://www.woodgas.com/History.htm

http://www.gengas.nu/byggbes/index.shtml

http://www.hotel.ymex.net/~s-20222/gengas/kg_eng.html
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-22-2005, 11:26 AM
Princhester Princhester is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 11,577
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Woodall
I just spent 20 minutes fiddling with vehicle performance models.
If this thing weighs in at 3600 lbs, which I'm guessing would be typical for a sedan 20 years ago, you're looking at a top end between 55 and 65 and quarter mile times in the 28 to 30 second range.
The good news is, you'll be able to beat fully loaded tractor trailer to the end of a quarter mile... barely. But it'll probably pass you before five miles go by.
If you want details, do a search and check out other threads.

A couple of points however. Firstly, very powerful and light steam engines are possible and 30 hp should not be taken as being in any sense indicative of what a light steam engine is capable. Secondly, throttle lag times and boiler warm up times were overcome in later development and very quick off the line steam cars would be possible, even from a cold start.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-22-2005, 11:39 AM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt
the maximum efficiency you can get out a heat engine is:
(TMAX-TMIN) /TMAX.
This shows that the higher TMAX, the higher the maximum possible efficiency.
A point you don't address in your informative post is that this formula also shows the importance of a low TMIN to efficiency (provided we accept that there are practical limits to TMAX). My point is that this is a serious issue when efficiency is an important goal and heat must be rejected to air.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-22-2005, 12:34 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
If you'll recall from the earlier steam car thread, I posted info about the Carter steam car, and it got better gas mileage than the smaller AMC Gremlin which was scheduled to go into production the following year that the article on the Carter car was written. (And I contacted the EPA to see if they had any info on the car, since it was developed with a gov't grant. Unfortuantely, while they were familiar with the car, they were unable to find the report.)

Now, the Carter car used a transmission, which isn't really necessary in a steamer, and I'd wager as a detriment to the overall performance of the car. If you took a modern rear wheel drive car, yanked the engine, transmission, and drive shaft out, and replaced it with a steam engine which drove the front wheels, you could probably drop 800 lbs of weight out of the car, provided you kept the weight of the replacement engine, boiler, and water tank down to what the weight of the original engine was. That actually wouldn't be all that difficult, because an aluminum steam engine would be much lighter than the original gas engine found in the car.

The biggest problem you'd have, is if you tried to convert a late model car over to steam. Because of all the computerized controls in the car, it'd be difficult to get the important things like the speedometer, and other such things to work. You'd probably be forced to yank all the gauges out, replace them with analog gauges, and if the car had ABS, you might run into problems with getting the computer control to work (it depends upon if it likes talking to the engine or the diagnostic computer or not), and you'd definately have problems with it engaging correctly, since they're programmed based on the weight and weight balance of the car at factory specs. So, you'd be better off buying a pre-computerized car, and working with that.

Now, let's look at the costs of the conversion. To do this, I'll use a few assumptions, but one's that aren't unreasonable, I don't think. I paid just over $900 for my 1969 Chrysler Newport, which is about a third of what the average price for one in that condition sells for. The engine, transmission, and driveshaft are probably worth about $1K combined, so were I do something like this, you could basically say I got the car for free. Now, a boiler of the type you'd need for the car sells for $2K. I don't know what an automobile steam engine goes for, but I imagine that it's probably about the same price. That's $4K, and we haven't even figured in the cost of the extra tank to hold the water, and the necessary work that's going to have to be done to get the thing in the car and running. We'll say the total cost for that is another $2K (though I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't closer to $4K). So, we're at $6K for the cost of this job.

The Chrysler gets an average of 16 MPG on the highway, if I drive 15K miles a year (all highway, just to keep the math simple), that's 937.5 gallons of gas, which at $2.15/gal works out to $2016 (roughly) a year, in fuel costs. Assuming that by converting to steam I can double the current mileage of the car to 32 MPG, and that kerosene costs as much as gas (in my area it's about $0.50 more a gallon, than gas is), it's going to take 6 years for the conversion to pay for itself.

That's not too bad, but it's something that's going to take a lot of time to do, and you won't start seeing any cost savings until it's all completed. For about $1k, I could give the car a tune up, slap on an aftermarket fuel injection system, and see a 4 MPG improvement. Or, for $2K, I could buy a Chevy/Geo Metro and get the same, if not better mileage than my steam powered Chrysler. Admittedly, a Metro's nowhere near as cool as my Chrysler, nor as roomy, but most people would prefer to do that, than to convert something over to steam.

You could, in theory, convert the Metro over to steam, but your improvements in fuel economy aren't going to be as great (since you'll be tossing out a smaller percentage of the car's weight when you ditch the engine and transaxle), and you won't have any trunk space, since you'll have to use it as your water tank.
__________________
***Don't ask me, I don't post here any more, and I'm probably not even reading this now.***
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-22-2005, 02:04 PM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckerfan
I don't know what an automobile steam engine goes for, but I imagine that it's probably about the same price.
Do you have any examples of automotive steam engines in mind (that produce 80+hp and cost < $4k)?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 04-22-2005, 03:30 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema
Do you have any examples of automotive steam engines in mind (that produce 80+hp and cost < $4k)?
Off the top of my head? No, but I'll do some digging here in a bit and see if I can't find something. The HP of a steamer isn't quite as critical as that of an ICE's, since steamers don't have torque curves like ICEs do. You get full torque out of a steamer at almost all RPMs (which means that it can be real easy to tear something up if you floor it when the car's sitting at a traffic light).
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 04-22-2005, 04:16 PM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Yes, the torque characteristics of steam engines are quite unique-which is why (for years) the Stanley steamers were the only automobiles capable of climbing the Mt. Washington carriage road. I also believe that the later Stanleys were pretty sophisticated-they had a lever for FWD-Neutral-Reverse, and a foot-operated throttle. As far as maintaining them , it was pretty simple-add water and clean the burners every week-of course you had a chauffer for that.
The later steam cars (White, Doble) were pretty close to gas powered cars of their day-the Doible had a rnage comparable to a gas powered car, and was quite reliable.
Heck-you could even fire a steam car with coal-should we run out of kerosene.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 04-22-2005, 06:38 PM
Hoodoo Ulove Hoodoo Ulove is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt
[i] The vast majority of the time, the gasoline engine in a car is throttled back, which drastically reduces its TMAX.
This is why the idea of V8s which disable half their cylinders while cruising is coming back. Let's hope they have the bugs out this time. The "cars" in the Shell Mileage Marathon that get a few thousand MPG alternate full throttle and coasting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spingears
FWIW I've heard several comments regarding the Stanley Streamer as having been able to run rings around anything on the road.
For sure one of 'em could!

But Tuckerfan, wouldn't you rather run a Lycoming?
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 04-22-2005, 08:34 PM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema
Do you have any examples of automotive steam engines in mind (that produce 80+hp and cost < $4k)?
I've done some digging, and it looks like costs can vary a great deal depending upon the engine type. A kit for a Stanely engine will cost you $4K. If you wanted to build your own Doble engine (the best known steam car engine), it looks like it'd cost you $38K or better.

Here's a discussion on converting your V-8 to steam.

A discussion on steam-electric hybrids.

And Hoodoo Ulove, why would I want a Lycoming? Tucker's used a Franklin.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 04-22-2005, 11:40 PM
Xema Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuckerfan
I've done some digging, and it looks like costs can vary a great deal depending upon the engine type. A kit for a Stanely engine will cost you $4K. If you wanted to build your own Doble engine (the best known steam car engine), it looks like it'd cost you $38K or better.
Thanks for the links - quite interesting. The first is a rather basic "kit" consisting of little more than the castings and some materials that a machinist would need to build an engine - a lot of time, effort (and probably money) need to be added. And you'd still need a boiler, plumbing, valves, etc.

I learned some other things about Stanley Steamers:

Ten, 20 and 30-hp models were sold. These ratings were the continuous power that the boiler could put out - because the steam stored a lot of energy, bursts of up to (and over) 100 hp were possible. But over a stretch of, say, 15 minutes or more, you were limited to about 35 mph (assuming level ground).

Early models were non-condensing: they got 1 to 2 miles from a gallon of water. Later models were "semi-condensing": they got up to 10 miles per gallon of water.

Fuel economy was around 10-12 mpg (presumably at the top continuous speed of 35mph).


It was obviously a very interesting car. It's a bit less obvious that it serves as any sort of model for developing an economical alternative to modern internal-combustion engines.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 04-23-2005, 12:50 AM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Stanley steamers, however, aren't good models if you're trying to figure out things like fuel economy and performance. The engineering that went into Stanelys was cutting edge when they first debuted, but became obsolete fairly quickly, and the company was slow to adopt (if they ever did) innovations which were standard with other steam car makers. The Doble steam car was the most advanced steamer ever produced (or nearly produced, since Doble's never went into mass-production) and got much better fuel economy and developed more horsepower than Stanley's ever did.

Jay Leno took his Doble and ran it through emissions tests in California a couple of years ago. Running kerosene, the Doble had lower emissions than a modern gasolene powered car. Not bad for a car that was over 60 years old.

Don't forget that when Dobles and Stanleys were being built, the automotive industry was in it's infantcy and concepts like aerodymics were relatively unknown at the time. Not to mention that cars, while looking lightweight and fragile, were in reality quite heavy, with models outweighing modern cars by as much as a thousand pounds or more. Packards, for example, had engines which weighed almost a ton (and this before power steering had been invented).

If you dig through the massive thread linked to earlier on steam cars, inbetween the shouting, you'll find numbers being tossed about by Una and another poster, which indicate that there's a possibility a steamer could produce the same levels of fuel economyas a modern car.

I don't think that one could take the engine out of a Stanley or a Doble and just drop it into a modern car and get decent fuel economy out of it. But the Carter steam car showed that it was possible to get better than standard fuel economy with a modern designed steam power plant. The investment costs, however, would be quite steep, so that it would be difficult to get a decent return on your investment in a short period of time. Trying to put that into mass-production would be even more costly (car makers routinely spend as much as a billion or more on designing new models which have little more than cosmetic differences than previous models, developing a "new" technology like a steamer and putting it into mass production would cost at least twice as much, I'm sure).
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 04-23-2005, 07:11 AM
matt matt is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: A Brit in 'Stralia
Posts: 1,964
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xema
A point you don't address in your informative post is that this formula also shows the importance of a low TMIN to efficiency (provided we accept that there are practical limits to TMAX). My point is that this is a serious issue when efficiency is an important goal and heat must be rejected to air.
Good point. I kind of ignored TMIN because even if your heat engine is perfect, the lowest you can get is the temperature of the world outside. Plus IC engines get around the whole issue by exhausting their hot gases - TMIN is the gas temperature at the bottom of their power stroke.


TMAX as you say is limited by practical considerations - how high a temperature can you contain in your engine? It's easiest to have a high TMAX with a diesel - only the cylinder head space sees the peak temperatures, and only intermittently. Gasoline Otto engines are more limited because they have to avoid compression-ignition, which limits their compression ratio and so indirectly their TMAX. And a steam engine has to have the boiler at TMAX for sustained periods, which makes life more difficult in terms of materials technology.

However, steam cars have other efficiency advantages. I've already pointed out that they have a fixed TMAX whether they're running flat out or pootling along in the car park, whereas gasoline (and to a lesser extent diesel) engines have lower TMAX and efficiency at lower power. Arguably you can easily get a low TMIN of 100 deg. C with a steam engine, and possibly even lower in a condensing steam engine with a big radiator. They can run at very low revs, which reduces frictional losses within an engine considerably. Finally, they don't have to idle at all - they can sit with the boiler at pressure and the burners off.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 04-23-2005, 08:17 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Good discussion. My only other question is: if you have a condensing-type steam engine, you can use a fluid other than water as a working fluid. The Israelis (ORMAT LTD.) have used ammonia and freon in lowTmax. steam turbines for years (with great success). Could you use freon as the working fluid? That would reduce the weight further, and allow for higher efficiencies at lower pressures.
Supposedly, the late Bill Lear's foray into steam cars involved the use of a specail working fluid-anyone know what he used?
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 04-24-2005, 03:56 AM
Tuckerfan Tuckerfan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
From what I can recall, working fluids like freon and ammonia are usable only in specalized situations, and wouldn't work well for an auto. I've seen the breakdown on the numbers and water's far and a way the best fluid for most applications.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 04-18-2011, 05:32 AM
dtpater dtpater is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
This one is brilliant!

http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/...am-car/213453/
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 04-18-2011, 07:35 AM
mac_bolan00 mac_bolan00 is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,767
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
Years ago, i read about an inventor who converted a large sedan from gas to steam. basically, he removed the gasoline engine and transmission, and put in a 30 horsepower steam engine. he fired the boiler (which he was able to fit in the engine compartment, with kerosene. From waht i remember, the car didn't have much acceleration, but could reach 60 MPH quite easily..the main problem he had was carrying enough water to keep the boiler fed.
Would this be a solution for some people? Kerosene is pretty cheap-I wonder how many MPG you could get?
And, how much does such a steam engine cost? Could you convert a gosoline negine to run on steam?
hey old timer, i read this in back issues of life magazine. it was a two-toned car driven by two brothers, right? and i think the top speed was 70mph. never read a follow-up on that one though i never tried googling it (you just reminded me after 30 years.)

nah, those were american. wiki tells about the SAAB model (1973) and pelland steamer (1974.)

one thing though: the steam car was superor to the internal combustion-driven car up to the time electric motor-assisted starters were invented in the 1920s.

remember the stanley steamer?
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 04-18-2011, 07:44 AM
naita naita is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Do zombies run on steam?
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 04-18-2011, 11:03 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
No, but they do get amused when someone bumps one of their threads from 6 years ago.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 04-18-2011, 11:21 AM
jz78817 jz78817 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mac_bolan00 View Post
hey old timer, i read this in back issues of life magazine. it was a two-toned car driven by two brothers, right? and i think the top speed was 70mph. never read a follow-up on that one though i never tried googling it (you just reminded me after 30 years.)

nah, those were american. wiki tells about the SAAB model (1973) and pelland steamer (1974.)

one thing though: the steam car was superor to the internal combustion-driven car up to the time electric motor-assisted starters were invented in the 1920s.

remember the stanley steamer?
I worked at a garage/gas station from high school through college. One day this dude pulls up in a Stanley. our owner jokes with the guy "I guess you're not looking for Regular, eh?" Guy did ask if we could spare some water, though.

one thing that caught my eye was how bloody huge the thing was, relative to other cars of the time.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 04-19-2011, 04:13 AM
Declan Declan is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Just out of curiosity, how hard would it be to convert a semi truck to steam ?

Declan
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 04-19-2011, 01:08 PM
Full Metal Lotus Full Metal Lotus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
I have read this thread and have not seen this safety issue mentioned. I definitely would not be too comfortable with a boiler of high temp/pressure steam in the engine compartment of a car I was in. It seems to me that a head on collision could cause it to rupture. Now, no one wants a head on collision, but I can not see how havng a boiler explosion thrown in could do anything to improve the experience.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 04-19-2011, 01:18 PM
Kevbo Kevbo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2005
Most steam cars used flash boilers, or water tube boilers, so there was no large tank of above boiling temperature water waiting to explode. This also greatly shortened the required preheat time.
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.