Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

A special section just for steam engines and boilers, as without these you may as well fit a sail.
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Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by piet schuurs » Wed Nov 25, 2009 7:30 pm

Hi all,
I've an 1,5 + 3 X 3 compound engine. Very old, about 120 years, still running smoot on compressed air. Is it a good idea to try to let her run without cilinder lubtication.
Or is cilinder lubrication out of the question. There is not shuth a thing mount on the engine for internal lubrication. So if its nessesary Í've to make something in the steampipe.
The boiler gives 185 - 200 pounds steam with 120 - 150 psi pressure. There is no economizer or super-heater involved.
I know single cilinder engines can run without, but can an compound do also?

Regards Piet
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Re: Cylinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by artemis » Wed Nov 25, 2009 8:29 pm

This is really a good way to "open a can of worms".

In the Pacific Northwest of the USA many of the hobby steamboaters don't use interior cylinder oil. As long as steam supplied to the engine is no greater than 50F of the saturated steam temperature you should be OK. Enough condensation will occur in the HP valve chest to provide lubrication for the valve, particularly if a piston valve is used. There has been much argument over the last 150+ years as to the amount of condensation in small (under 500HP) engines. One school of thought has it that there is a film of condensed steam "floating" on the valve surface. This condensed steam is more than adequate to lubricate the interior of the engine. I have heard it said by a couple of "old salts" that this will work particularly well if the engine has never been used with oil. The "squealing" noise heard when the engine is slowed after a long "run" is due to the heat differential between the incoming steam and the temperature of the interior surfaces. This goes away quite rapidly as the temperatures once again equalize. Many say that a high superheat is necessary to gain efficiency. C'mon folks, this isn't a rocketry program. If you get 20% more efficiency by superheating then you'll save maybe an armload of wood in your cruising that day. If you want to do it like the "big boys" be prepared to take on the extra work. Personally I'm here to have fun and cleaning oily strainers, loofah sponges, paper towels etc. at the end of cruise is not my idea of fun - but maybe it's yours.

I'm sure that I will shortly be told that what I suggest will destroy engine, but I know of several engines that are still running just fine and with no more (and probably less) maintenance than those relying on interior cylinder lubrication.
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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by mcandrew1894 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:47 am

Piet,

I will second the no internal lube position....or at least the absolute minimum!

I put some oil in the engine between runs just to keep the rust off the cylinders,,,,but that is it.

Just don't run more than about 100F superheat.....keep it saturated and you will be fine.


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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by barts » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:54 pm

I will say that providing some internal lubrication is a good idea, particularly if you run the engine hard. I've always used some (whether by design or because on my old compressor conversion the crankcase oil would get past the rings ). Yes, you do need to give some attention to oil removal in the hotwell, but it helps prevent wear on slide valves in particular, and keeps things from binding up when you throttle down after a hard run.

A small displacement lubricator is simple to fabricate from pipe fittings and if a needle valve is used can be adjusted to deliver just a tiny bit of oil.

- Bart
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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by Rainer » Thu Nov 26, 2009 11:21 pm

As I assembled my boat Emma in 2005 I had no time to make a cylinder lubricating system. So I only welded a nut into the steam pipe. Through this I driped some oil at the beginning of the cruise and sealed it with a bold before steaming.

Because I am a lazy boy I alway forgot to put in some oil and so I loved the non oiling theory.

Emma is still on her way without oiling.

Only if you start after a lock stop with high boiler pressure (14 bar) and low rpm = nearly closed throttle you will get the quiking sound sometimes. I always explained this by my self that in this moment the steam drys out by passing (and expanding) the throttle, and so it has not enough water for lubrication.

Because of this I sometimes removed the bold in the lock - put in some drops of oil and closed it before leaving the lock. If you look to some other steam launches you will find some systems where you can push in some oil with a little piston when needed. I would prefer to build this instead of a permanent oiling system. Than you can give the extra lubrication when it is needed...
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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by mcandrew1894 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 12:26 am

The other way to get rid of the noise is to reduce your vacuum as you will not evaporate the condensate from the cylinder walls......After you slow the engine and the engine cools down , you can increase the vacuum a little again.

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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by piet schuurs » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:20 am

Thank you guys,
Well I want to keep it simpel.
For me it all difficult enough.
So I start without the oil. There is no fuss than to remove the oil from the hotwell, I like that.
I will remove the cylinderhead after an few ours running, to see wats going on in the cylinders.
I'll think the nut in the main steampipe is an good idea, and easy to make.

Dave, 100F superheat, is that 100 degrees fahrenheit on the steampipe?

Thank you all for your sugestions. Piet
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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by mcandrew1894 » Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:55 am

Hi Peit,

That would be 100 degrees Fahrenheit over the saturated steam temperature

With steam at 150 PSIG you have saturated steam at about 377F. By adding 100F of superheat would bring the temperature of that steam to 477F at the same pressure.

Google isobar on a Mollier diagram. That should help.

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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by Rainer » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:24 am

Hi Peit,

even if you dont lubricate the cylinder/steam you still get oil into the hotwell!

It comes with the piston rod and valve rod lubrication into the cylinder. It is not to much and can be easy filtered in the hotwell
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Re: Cilinder lubrication on an Easton & Johnson

Post by piet schuurs » Fri Nov 27, 2009 4:59 pm

Thank you Dave, Iám going to google on that.
But I understand from Rainer that I still have to filter oil out in the hotwell.
So than I make an nut in the main steam pipe for lubrication, Iám always safe than.
Iám going to look in "the modern steamlaunches" for an good disign on an hotwell.
I've bin on both your site's, I've seen, I've an lot to learn in building sites to.
Oh dear, oh dear where do I get the time from. Life is to short.

Thank you guys, Piet
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