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Steam Stationary Engines, Traction Engines

How is this displacement lubricator operated?


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Old 12-31-2007, 01:52:24 PM
Orrin Orrin is offline
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Default How is this displacement lubricator operated?

I have a number of these displacement lubricators and I thought I understood them; but, after I studied them I realize I don't.



I'm more familiar with displacement lubricators for scale model equipment. All of them that I have seen have drains on them. When they need to be re-filled with oil, the water can be easily drained out, first.

But, how about the Powell unit pictured here? The more I study it the more I realize I'm totally in the dark, completely ignorant.

How is it supposed to be drained? There is a plug on the bottom of the sight glass. Is it intended as the drain? If that is the case, it would appear that the plug would show obvious "wrench tracks," but it doesn't.

What is the function of the sight glass? I have one of these open and I see a tube going to the top of the oil chamber. Because oil floats on top of the water, obviously the tube is to carry the oil out of the chamber and out the bottom. The sight glass taps into the bottom of the oil chamber, so it would seem to me that steam will flow up through the needle-valve at the bottom and condense into water in the sight glass.

If that surmise is correct, (but I'm guessing it isn't) wouldn't the sight glass always be filled with water? I don't understand what information that sight glass is supposed to provide.

O.k., folks, now you all know I'm a complete idiot. Now that we all know the truth, please don't give me a really bad time.

Thank you for your assistance which is likely to come this way.

Best regards,

Orrin
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Old 12-31-2007, 02:20:09 PM
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

Check out the POWELL LUBRICATOR QUESTION thread, as it might have the information your looking for?

http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40804

Gary K
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Old 12-31-2007, 03:44:13 PM
Sam Shublom Sam Shublom is offline
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

This isn't a displacement lubricator. It is drip oiler for a big gas engine. Check out pictures of old Bessemer or Reed oil field engines and you generally will see one of these mounted on top of the cylinder. They work just like a glass bodied oiler does. The oil drips down by gravity and that is the reason the regulating screw is on top. I had one of these and, like you, couldn't figure out how to make it work in a stem application. It wasn't until an oil field engine collector offered me what I thought was way more than it was worth, and I had taken his money, did I find out what it actually was. It has a little check valve built into it, like the Lunkenheimer "Paragon" lubricators had, to prevent the ring blow by from bubbling up through the reservoir. If you are ever at a gas engine show and see a lubricator that bubbles every time the engine hits, it is a case of a plain oiler, made for a pillow block bearing without the internal check vavle, being used instead of one with a check.

Lubicators like yours bring pretty good money. They show up on ebay from time to time...usually list as steam lubricators. But look at the final prices and you can tell the oild field engine collectors know what they are.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:26:14 PM
Orrin Orrin is offline
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

Quote:
This isn't a displacement lubricator. It is drip oiler for a big gas engine.
Well, a friend of mine who spent his entire career working as a mechanic for IHC surely was fooled. He is probably the most respected antique engine expert in a 200-mile radius.

He installed this item on a stationary boiler and steam engine display, intending that it be the lubricator for the engine.

The knob on top is the handle for opening the pressure-tight filling plug. I don't understand why a drip oiler would have to be pressure tight. Does anyone know why?

Now, I'm really confused.

Orrin

Last edited by Orrin; 12-31-2007 at 05:47:31 PM.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:44:17 PM
Orrin Orrin is offline
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

Quote:
Check out the POWELL LUBRICATOR QUESTION thread, as it might have the information your looking for?

http://www.smokstak.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40804

Gary K
As a matter-of-fact, I had read that thread and had studied the linked Australian Steam and Engine Web site. I didn't see anything that looked like the Powell pictured, above.

Now that I've thought about it, I recall seeing these, or something very similar, being used as lubricators on large IC engines.

I'm beginning to suspect that even an expert can be wrong, at times. It is no wonder that I couldn't understand why it wouldn't work!

Best regards,

Orrin
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:45:54 PM
gbritnell gbritnell is offline
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

I don't know what this apparatus is used for but I can tell you that it is probably not a displacement lubricator. The reason I say that is because a displacement lubricator is what it is called, meaning the condensing steam displaces the oil. With the attaching point at the bottom the condensed steam/water is heavier than the oil therefore it would move the oil out of some type of connection near the top. With what is pictured if steam were to enter at the bottom and condense, the oil couldn't flow through the water. I would have to say that it is some type of drip oiler also.
gbritnell
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:54:12 PM
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

"The knob on top is the handle for opening the pressure-tight filling plug"

Orrin, if you remove that filling plug, can you see a small tube going down and then right angle to the needle valve?

The bottom glass plug IMO is probably for cleaning and/or glass replacement.

Happy New Year neighbor,
RickinMt.
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Old 12-31-2007, 06:01:37 PM
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Thumbs up Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

These oilers have a vent tube which pressurizes the air space above the oil to the pressure in the cylinder and allow the oil to drip. It does require the oil container to be sealed on top. I do not believe there is a check ball in it, but I have seen some with a check valve to maintain the air pressure above the oil. If you unscrew the top cover and shine a light in there, you will see the vent tube. The wood handle below regulates the flow of air to the vent tube while the "T" handle controls the drip rate. Most of the 2-cycle oilfield engines have a pressure in the cylinder due to the piston compressing gas on the back stroke/piston backside and the combustion pressure before the ports are uncovered allowing scavenging to occur. The cylinder is pressurized most of the time... In contrast, a hit'n'miss 4-cycle operates with pressure only during the power stroke so a check ball drip oiler will work. This pictured style allows the oil to overcome the cylinder pressure by directing it to the top of the oil container. I have a 2-cycle engine with a 5 station drip manifold which has a sealed oil pot with a tube leading to the crankcase to equalize the pressure- I put a check valve in this line, but I probably could get away with out it. Hope this helps...
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Old 12-31-2007, 08:26:35 PM
Orrin Orrin is offline
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Default Re: How is this displacement lubricator operated?

I browsed through my oilfield engine pictures and found all sorts of them that had cylinder lubricators exactly like the one pictured, above. Indeed, I agree, it is not a displacement lubricator.

Now I don't feel like such an idiot. Like I said, before, I knew how they work; but, when I saw this device installed where there should have been a displacement lubricator, I absolutely could not see how it could do the job.

Thank you for your help, everyone. I'm truly grateful.

Here's wishing you all a grand and glorious 2008.

Best regards,

Orrin
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