Gas Headlight Plumbing - Acetylene Dangers

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Model T Ford Forum: Forum 2005: Gas Headlight Plumbing - Acetylene Dangers
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brian Harlamoff on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 06:47 pm:

Hello everyone,
I am buying the gas lines for my 1913 runabout. Langs sells a kit with copper lines. Restoration Supply sells brass for this purpose. My best friend's mostly original 11 Maxwell has steel lines for the acetylene. I recall reading years ago in the HCCA Gazette that one of these materials is dangerous as the corrosion is highly explosive. Can anyone help me out? What did Ford use?
Brian in Santa Cruz


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce Peterson on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 06:54 pm:

I am going to use all brass on my '13 and my '12 which is what Ford did originally. I think the steel would likely be safe except that it may corrode a bit more rapidly than brass. If you look at welding equipment everything is brass.

Royce


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Kim Dobbins on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 07:55 pm:

Brian, I can fix you up with the brass tube and the steel gas line clips so give me a call. Kim


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jack daron-Indy. on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 08:01 pm:

Do not use copper. It forms copper acetylides which are expolsive.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken - SAT on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 09:34 pm:

So does brass!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jack daron-Indy. on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 10:06 pm:

Ken I think you are mistaken,All the acetylene regulators I've seen are made from Brass. We used it at work and had no problems for over 20 years that I'm aware of.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas J. Miller on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 10:47 pm:

International Motor Cyclopedia from Google Books: 9 yellow highlighting is from my search string.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jkcallin on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 11:01 pm:

When I attended welding school, we were told NEVER to use copper piping for acetylene. You would be building a pipe bomb.
http://www.msha.gov/Accident_Prevention/Tips/acetylenegas.htm


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken - SAT on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 11:22 pm:

Ummmmmm. I guess I'm wrong. I wonder how it knows not to mix with the 86-90% COPPER in brass?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken - SAT on Monday, February 04, 2008 - 11:44 pm:

Here you go. I know I read it somewhere. It's not ALL brasses that are unaffected by acetylene. Only those with less than 64% copper. So we're both wrong.

The point is; you also need to watch what type of "brass" you use.

From: "Zinc Handbook: Properties, Processing, and Use in Design", By Frank Porter


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Jerry VanOoteghem on Tuesday, February 05, 2008 - 10:41 am:

Should someone be giving Lang's a tap on the shoulder about this?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By jack daron-Indy. on Tuesday, February 05, 2008 - 11:52 am:

Done.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky on Tuesday, February 05, 2008 - 09:05 pm:

I was doing a little poking around and found that you don't want to use any brass compounds containing silver either. Silver acetylide is even more explosive than copper acetylide. These are often called Nickel-Silvers as in brazing compounds. Some contain 80%+ copper as well as silver. If you're joining tubing, use solder.

Another shocker to me is the C260 brass or "Cartridge Brass" that is often used, for it's formability, in brass tubes and tanks. It is unacceptable at 68-71% copper content.

Here's a partial list of "Brass" alloys to stay away from if it's carrying or generating acetylene. The boarder-line alloys may contain up to 64% copper. The rest are above 64% copper in common alloys.

C230
C240
C260 (Cartridge Brass)
C268 (Yellow Brass)
C270 (Yellow Brass)
C330 (Leaded Brass)
C335 ""
C340 ""
C342 ""
C350 - Border Line
C356 - Border Line (Common Brass Sheet Material)
C667 (Manganese Brass)
C687 (Aluminum Brass)
C694 (Silicon Brass)
C836 (Bearing Bronze)


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky on Tuesday, February 05, 2008 - 09:40 pm:

Oh, forgot to mention. Silver and Copper Acetylides are "generally" not dangerous when wet. Self ignition with rapid burning (read explosion!) occurs when the compounds are struck, bumped, shaken or crystals abraded between themselves. (Squeezing between fingers will cause it to explode.) Attempting to scrape or clean the compounds from an apparatus can cause an explosion.

Another item to keep in the back of your head. When cleaning out acetylene generators, DO NOT use ammonia products. Ammonia causes the metal salts and any remnant acetylene gas to immediately precipitate from the solution and fall to the bottom in "pure" acetylide form.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By David Dare on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 10:03 am:

Hmmm - so would it be safer to purchase a small acetylene bottle that will fit inside the carbide generator and run it with a small hidden valve to control the flow - against actually using the original item ? if so is a small bottle available that could fit into the generator ?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas J. Miller on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 10:29 am:

A while back, I saw something in an old Motors manual that mentioned small explosions can occur when cleaning the crystals out of a generator. For this reason, I am planning to coat mine with POR clear inside. I am assuming this should stop the contact with the brass and should hold up to the heat of the reaction.

Considering how a pressurized tank has to have a filler material and acetone, I don't see how one can be made small enough to reside inside the generator with sufficient gas volume to run the lights. And I'm guessing the refill would be nuisance.

Has anyone heard from our parts suppliers on this copper tubing matter?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Brian Harlamoff on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 01:29 pm:

Hello All,
I called Lang's this morning (for something else) and we have managed to create quite a commotion there. They have recalled the copper kit I ordered and are investigating the matter with the vendor.
Best regards,
Brian


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By bill leahy on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 03:01 pm:

there is a cylinder referred to as an mc acetylene cylinder which is 4"x15" and has a 10 cu ft capacity which might fit in a modified generator. i am not able to access my own generator to measure it's height. i also am unsure about the gas consumption per hour.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Don Lang on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 07:09 pm:

The copper tubing used in these kits is the type used in refridgeration and is an alloy. We are in the process of obtaining the exact precentages of the copper content and will post it as soon as it is available.

Thank You
Don Lang
Lang's Old Car Parts
202 School St.
Winchendon, Ma 01475
1-800-872-7871


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken - SAT on Wednesday, February 06, 2008 - 08:58 pm:

I hope not. Most available refrigeration tubing would be Type K or L copper tubing. Both are oxygen-free low-phosphorous copper and listed as 99.95% copper. The balance is Phosphorous and "Other". These are listed as C10800.

C19200 is an industrial type tubing used in AC systems. It's 98-99% copper with Iron and Phosphorous. C19210 copper tubing is used in commercial building systems. It's listed as 99.87% copper.

Red brass (C23000) is often used for tubing. But I think it's mostly larger diameters and straight. It's an alloy with zinc and lists copper as 84-86%. It's commonly referred to as "85/15 Brass".

I think anything sold as "copper tubing" must contain at least 99% copper. Otherwise, it's an alloy with zinc, tin, lead, etc. and is called a brass or bronze. Even so, these contain considerable amounts of copper and few are made into tubing because it lacks flexibility.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas J. Miller on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 11:07 am:

Has anyone heard from Snyder's? I sent them an e-mail comment since they describe their headlamp kit as containing copper tubing but have not received a reply.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Thomas J. Miller on Thursday, February 07, 2008 - 06:52 pm:

I heard from Tom Jordan of Snyder's this afternoon. They are also looking into the matter.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob T on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 10:06 am:

I'm Glad my '15 Touring has electric lights.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob Cascisa in Poulsbo, WA on Friday, February 08, 2008 - 04:20 pm:

Electricity loves copper :-)

Be_Zero_Be


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London on Wednesday, February 13, 2008 - 09:54 am:

Hi Don. Any more word on this?


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Scott Kramer on Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 02:03 pm:

Just what type of tubing should we be using ?
Scott


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce on Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 03:05 pm:

Brass or steel. Red rubber tubing from the generator to the feed tube and from the feed tube to the lamps. NO COPPER!!!!

Royce



Gas lights


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ken Kopsky on Saturday, February 16, 2008 - 03:38 pm:

Watch your brass selection too. (See alloy posting above) And to throw another wench in the mess, don't use nylon tubing either!


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London on Tuesday, March 04, 2008 - 11:32 pm:

I went to a friends house today and he has a couple of unrestored 1911 cars. While poking around I found the original gas line and couplings, still assembled. The fittings are very simple brass castings ('T' on the drivers side, 'L' on the passenger side). Just as shown in the original drawings, the small pieces of metal tubing bent in a gentle radius to come up in front of the fenders are there, and the cross over tube that runs from the 'T', under the front nose of the engine pan, to the 'L' on the passenger side is there as well. All of the tubing is very flexible..... it's copper tubing. I don't like what I found, but it is absolutely, without question, the original Ford setup.

The person that identified the type of metal tubing is very knowledgable about different metals; he manufactures many of the replacement brass acetylene lamps we use on our early 'T's.

I'll take pictures in the next few days and post them.

Personally, based on what I've read on the web after this string started, I plan to use brass or steel lubing.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Bob The Rookie on Wednesday, March 05, 2008 - 12:10 am:

FYI, here's a link to a compatibility chart for acetylene and various metals, and plastics. Note on the right the 65% copper content warning.

http://www.airproducts.com/NR/rdonlyres/FDBD4D73-827C-447B-AE98-8D38709B8FF8/0/r eferencecharts.pdf


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Garry Potter on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 09:12 am:

I am waiting to order an acetylene gas line hookup kit from Langs.
Has the answer been found regarding the suitability of the kit regarding brass versus copper tubing.
An update please. Thanks
Garry


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 09:54 am:

No question copper tubing is a bozo no - no. The answer has been stated about 8 - 10 times in the text above.

I am going to use brass plated stainless steel tubing. If the setup works out as easily as I think it will I may offer kits for sale. Anyone who is interested can contact me by clicking on my name.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Dave_Sosnoski on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 09:58 am:

Gary,

Give Lang's a call. I know Don was working on getting the correct tubing.

Dave S.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Gary London on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 10:03 am:

Hi Garry.

It's a mixed bag so far. If you search on the web there are a number of places that talk about not using copper tubing with acetylene. There are also sites that talk about the % of copper acceptable in brass. Some say brass must be <65% coper. One page gave specs saying the tank valves must be brass with < 70% copper.

The original Ford gas headlight line I found is made of copper tubing with brass fittings, all soldered together, and matches the dimensions on the ford drawing dated in February 1911 (the drawing I saw didn't give material specifications).

So... I am going to use brass tubing with <70% copper and brass fittings, and solder them together as one unit. For the time being I am using brass compression fittings, cutting off the threaded ends, and I'll use a belt sander to make them rounded off at the edges. It will look close to correct (better than compression or flange fittings) and should ber OK to use.


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Royce on Thursday, March 13, 2008 - 10:19 am:

Gary London,

Check your email.

Royce


Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of page Link to this message  By Ted Mahoney on Thursday, March 20, 2008 - 01:20 pm:

Just called Lang's again and spoke with Steve. I bought a kit a few years ago and was concerned too given the above commentary. Don had indicated during an earlier phonecon that if there was a need, they would replace the tubing for all those that had ordered kits. As Don posted above, they were looking into it.

I won't steal Lang's thunder by reciting all of what I heard but suffice it to say that Lang's does not believe they need to issue replacement tubing. I suggested Steve ask Don to post a followup so we hear it first hand with the reasoning.

TM


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