How does the prestolite tank work ? There is no guage on the one that came on my car so how do you know how much pressure is being released or is that necessary ? Does any body make a new tank as I doubt I could get my old one refilled due to modern safety regulations.
The original type tank mounted guage only reads tank pressure. The tank must be pressure tested with the gauge in place each time before they will fill it, or at least it is so in California. The gauges were mounted on the large end or back or bottom of the tank.
If there is no gauge they will fill it if you have a recent test result. I think it is a five year receipt, but I am not sure. I think that the pressure of Prestolite is about 200 pounds, but I am not sure of that.
In olden days they simply cracked open the valve with the little key and lit the lamps. Then they turned it down until the lamps no longer hissed.
You should have an off-set "D" sized tank so that it may be run on its side. Locate the off-set side up.
Acetylene gas is put into the tank which has a fabric mass and liquid acetone in it. The acetone causes the acetylene gas to turn into a liquid when the tank is filled.
You can purchase a pressure reducing valve with a gauge on the valve, but not the tank, from any place that will fill your tank. If they will not fill your tank, they will rent you an approved good one for a nominal fee on an exchange basis. They will also sell you the correct red rubber tubing.
If you have a restored original tank you can get it pressure tested and they will re-fill it. Some folks re-fill their own tanks from a slave tank, but that is illegal and so don't do it.
I hope this clears the air. I have been using Prestolite on old cars since 1958 and never had a problem with it, with or without a pressure reducing valve.
The picture below is of our 13 Touring car Prestolite set-up including a pressure reducer valve and gauge mounted on the front of the tank.
Thanks Frank-that's just what I needed to know
I hide one of the smallest acetylene bottles made under the seat of my Mother-In-Law roadster. I built a slightly angled bracket for it since it is supposed to be mounted mostly upright. Regulator is mounted on top with gauges for tank pressure and line pressure to lamps. I kept the carbide tank on the running board for appearance. This setup works quite well, but it probably would not get past judging if one wanted to do that. Car looks sharp at night with headlights, kerosine side and tail lights all light up. Tank is not visible with out raising the seat or looking under the car.
This gives you a possible option to the tank problem and maybe a little better control than with the Carbide setup and also if you cannot get that running board tank filled?
Willie--- That's a good idea-----what size is your tank ?---how long will the lights burn on a full tank ?---is it refillable ?-- where did you find it ?
The tank is filled at 200 psi. Your burners tell how long it will last. If you have number one burners and have two of them, you have 100 hours of light if you have a B tank at 200 pounds of pressure. Chears !
The tanks are available from welding supply stores, filled and ready to go. Regulators are available from these stores also. I don't remember what size they call it, but it is not over 16" tall and less than 6" diameter.(I am estimating the size) These tanks are considered Customer tanks, not rental tanks and can be purchased.
I don't make a habit of driving at night, but I have had this tank under the seat close to 10 years. Have not replaced it yet. I probably have less than 15 hours of actual Lite time on the tank. If Frank is right, I have a bunch of night driving left in it.
These are great ideas to keep the old gas headlamps in operation. However, I am curious to know if there is anyone one out there that would refill the old Prestolite tanks ? A friend of mine is having trouble getting a couple of tanks filled here in Wichita, for his near perfect 1911 Stanley. There is nothing wrong with the tanks other than their age, but the usual places that did it in the past won't do it anymore.
I found that the welding supply shops wouldn’t fill the old tanks if the gauge was still in place.
There must have been some kind of regulator that goes on the tank or means of restricting the flow because the tank pressure can’t be controlled with just the needle valve on the tank.
I have had several cars which I often ran with the gas lights.
They have a stark bright greenish light that causes other drivers to try and dim
The jets face with the narrow profile toward the front and not the wide profile which looks better.
The top of the lamps get hot enough to fry a steak and the brass will tarnish quickly.
I do not have the answer on the old tanks, but there had to be some means of controlling flow. With the aftermarket regulator you set it for proper flame size. The V burner is turned with one end of the V looking at you. This results in a bright circle about the size of a quarter.(The flames from the two sides of the V blow against each other resulting in this circle) This is reflected off the back mirrow and is quite bright. If the pressure(flow) is to high, you get the "fry steaks on the top of the lamp effect" and the lamp will quickly tarnish. Another option is those "hallogen" lamps that screw into the lamp burner fitting. They work good, but they do not look that real and require some wiring and a good 12V battery.(Hi current drain on battery)
I run acetylene lamps on my 1912 KisselKar from a Prestolite B tank on the running board. The gas is regulated at the outlet with a modern regulator, and at each headlite with individual valves.
The original Prestolite cylinders used asbestos fibre as the matting that was saturated with acetone.
In our area (Alberta, Canada), the suppliers are only allowed to refill tanks that have been certified within the past 10 years. Testing involves removal of the packing at each end (I think) and checking the asbestos matting for condition with a probe. If acceptable, the tanks are date-stamped and good for another 10 years.
As of 1995, any asbestos-filled cylinders presented for inspection are to be "condemned", and neither recertified nor refilled.