Barrett Steam Car - making progress




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Published on Nov 7, 2008

See update on Vimeo - http://www.vimeo.com/2287110

Greg Walker, and staunch winger Martin (Dai) Rees are getting closer to re-commissioning Peter Barrett's Steam Car - based on 1963 VW Beetle, with after market Fiberfab Jamaican body. Engine is modified 1500 cc Air Cooled Beetle engine, but only two of the cylinders. Space that was occupied by the other two (right bank) cylinders is now occupied by a stainless steel monotube boiler with spinning cup burner atop.

We got very close to moving under its own steam on this run, but on the next test run a needle valve controlling steam feed for tickover failed - so we couldn't stop off the steam flow to the engine.

This engine is exceptionally efficient. Designed to run on 1500 psi steam, with fixed 5% cutoff & poppet valves. So it's not self starting. Started with standard starter motor.

Fuel is Petrol. From Peter Barrett's notes it returns about 29 mpg @ 60 mph. For our American cousins, that's Gasoline, 23 mpg. At 85 this drops to 20 or 16, depending on which side of the pond you live.

Oil separation is very interesting. The problem is that the IC engine pistons are driven by steam - and steam / water leaks into the crank case.

Part of the solution is to used non detergent oil. Once you let detergent into the mix the engine becomes a very effective mayonnaise making machine ;-(

The key part is the aluminium cylinder you see spinning on top of the engine when it's running. It's a centrifuge. Liquid is drained from the bottom of the engine sump, & delivered to the centrifuge. This is a mix of oil & water. The water is forced to the perimeter, oil to the centre. Oil is drained back to the engine; water returned to the feedwater reservoir.

There's a separate high pressure (2000 psi) oil pump that delivers lubricating oil to the steam valves. It has to be higher pressure than the steam feed. But flow rate is small. Did I tell you that the car is fully condensing? - although the steam you see starting 03:36 tells you that bit isn't quite fixed yet. Anyway, oil carried through to the exhaust is condensed & returned as feedwater - that just floats to the top of the feedwater reservoir, & it's mopped up in a small sponge that floats on the surface.

Same video, better quality on http://www.vimeo.com/2112797


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