The burners on my headlights don't line up straight when tightened. If I back them off they leak and I get a small flame at the bottom of the burner. I don't want to over tighten them and mess up the threads. Also on the inlet to the burner base, outside bottom of the lamps, they don't want to line up straight.
Is there some sort of sealer that can be used on these threads? I need to know it's safe with acetylene gas, and for the burners inside safe at higher temps.
(Message edited by Modeltbarn on April 13, 2015)
I would consult your local gas supply house. They would be the most knowledgeable and ours have been very helpful. Acetylene needs careful attention.
Yes, I use a Teflon pipe sealant, Rectorseal T Plus 2, so you do not have to get the joints so tight. It comes in a small container at the hardware store. Put a little on the joint and you don't have to get them so tight and they will not leak.
Neither the burner or the stand gets hot when they are lit and you can twist the burner while it is lit. That way if the flame is not square to the mirror, you can adjust the burner a smidge. Same goes for the elbow gas line connection under the burner stand. You don't want them real lose but not so tight either.
If the burner pops, you have a small leak that is introducing oxygen into the line before it gets to the lava burner. The pipe dope cures that.
I have had some new burners in the last four months that leak around the lava connection to the stem that screws into the burner stand.
That will also cause them to "pop" at the flame and they get black from the soot on the lava.
I use glue at the joint with the lava such as these two.
That gets rid of the flame between the burner and the lava tip.
As a side note, I find the stands a little high in lining the flame up with the Mangin mirrors. I have John Brown 16's.
Ken in Houston
Thank you Ken, that's exactly what I needed to know. I didn't know how hot or cool the burner got when properly installed, but I knew with a slight gas leak at the bottom that was burning it would be hot! I'll pick up some of that sealant.
Another couple of questions for you. Do you know the approximate operating pressure of the acetylene at the burners? Do you know the proper burner size? I know they are rated in cubic feet per inch and am thinking either 1/2 or 3/4 is correct, but I'm not sure.
I have Victor#2's and the burners are in wrong.Are the threads right or left?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
They don't get that hot really. Harvey's will work just as good:
The proper burner size was 3/4 cubic foot of gas per hour on the T gas lamps. The old burners will be marked 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 etc. That means 1/2 cubic foot of gas and so on. What the vendors have are supposedly 3/4 cubic feet per hour burners but they compare with a few old time 5/8's that I have. The old ones usually have a brass screen up inside the top next to the lava.
I assume you are running an acetylene tank. If so, I think you will find 2 psi will work for you. Barely move the needle on the Victor regulator. The only tricky part about it is to regulate the flame on each headlight. You do not want the flame too big.
I have found it is easier with a flow valve like this under each headlight:
I got mine from AirGas.
When you use the valves, you can set each flame at the lamp a lot better and the flame will stay put while you drive. The ones I use are the oxygen valves so the threads are not left handed.
I use a Prest-O-Lite B tank with a small Victor regulator.
I run two 3/4's in the John Browns. I drove for a while with just the two John Browns but added the Victor on the running board because I had it and I saw them like that in the old photos. This photo is in the daylight but you get the idea.
Ken in Texas
I have several pipe type stands that have a rim or jam nut at the bottom. They snug up with the elbow from below the headlight bucket. They are right hand thread though.
How do you have them wrong?
This is my Victor and it has that type if you can see it.
The elbow has it from the bottom. You can see the pipe dope on the threads.
You have to be able to move the burner back and forth to focus the light and also up and down to raise or lower the beam. The John Browns and Victor have the 6-inch Mangins in them.
Ken in Texas
Ken,That is the same way mine are and i was told they were wrong?? Seem to work very well though but do other makes position the jets sideways?? Thank you!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
Oh, I see what you are talking about. The "Y" is faced correctly in the Victor. You are looking at it from straight ahead and that is the way it is supposed to be.
The "Y" flame makes a flat "fish tail" shape when the two jets hit each other a little bigger than a nickel. Gary has a good picture of the flame on his profile. You want the wide part in front of the mirror, not the thin.
The flame is a little hard to photograph because it is so bright. The flame would be real thin if you turned the Y the other way. It will put the flame edge closer to the mirror too. That is not what you want because you may crack the mirror.
The pipe stand is only about 1-1/8 inch in front of the lead edge of the Mangin when it is focused. Pretty close so watch your flame and be sure that the burner is jetting equally.
I check the burners before using them. I do this outside the bucket or well out in front of the mirror before I put it in close to the Mangin. The tiny holes can be clogged from dust or carbide generator residue in the line. Carbide is also much more expensive and another reason I'm not too interested in using carbide.
Once they are set up they are rather trouble free and you just turn on the gas, light them and go. About four minutes to light the three kerosene and acetylene lamps.
Ken in Texas
Thanks! I like the idea of the flow valve. I use a regulator on my tan but it's always hard to adjust so the flame isn't too high. the flow valve should do the trick. I'll pick up the sealant and valves this week. I really do love the gas lights, much better than electrifying them!
Flame should look like this:
Thank You !!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
That is a very good picture. It shows how wide the flame can go to the side. That is about max on the gas for me. I tend to run a little smaller flame because of the heat. Next time out I will give that size a spin and see how they work. It really looks good!
I like to be able to palm the bonnets with my hand when I turn them off and stop the car. I need to get one of those IR temp gauges to see what the temp is on them. I do know they are much cooler than the radiator and even the kerosene side and tail lamps.
In the beginning I insulated the inside of the bonnets but since I don't light the gas now until I am ready to drive, probably didn't need to.
Ken in Texas
I have been looking for documentation about what number of burner was used. I'm glad to know that is was 3/4. Where did you find that information?
I am interested in the flow valve for a better fine tuning of gas flow. I am considering putting one in my line, but was planning on only one. ? Do I really need two? I guess it would be easier to adjust each headlamp individually, but I was hoping to just "set it and go." I have an MC tank mounted under my rear floorboards.
: ^ )
Interesting setup. How many hours' burning will your MC tank provide?
I have a similar set up on one of my cars with the angle mount to compensate for the lack of an offset valve. I have several hours on my gas bottle so far but no regulator or gauge so I don't know how much gas is left. I don't have a flow valve and just crack the valve, light the lamps and then adjust the flow for the best light. It is unfortunately a two person job because someone has to watch the lamps while I adjust the valve but that 's what wives are for!
Prest-O-Lite catalog says the small tank, which they call an "auxiliary (M.C.) tank" contains 10 cubic feet of gas. Their M.C. being motorcycle. They go on to say "using two 1/2-ft. burners, 10 hours lighting".
I use two flow valves because the burners are not all the same and the gas has to go farther to get to the right front.
I apologize up front for the lengthy response but would like to comment about using acetylene cylinders because that is what you are showing.
The 3/4 cubic feet of gas burner for use in the gas headlights of the Model T is driven by two things. The withdrawal rate of acetylene cylinders and use in a 6-inch Mangin reflector lamp.
These withdrawal rates have not changed in over a hundred years. That is why the B (bus) tank was used on cars with two or more lamps and the MC (motorcycle) was used on single light motorcycles (with a small tail lamp) and single spot light cars like early N, R, S's etc.
The discharge standard is reviewed in this article:
Both the MC and B tanks take about 8 hours to fill. The current standard takes the charge/discharge rate as ten hours.
Maximum discharge rates per hour, "continuous service", 1/15th rule:
MC tank = 0.67 cubic feet of acetylene per hour.
B tank = 2.64 cubic feet of acetylene per hour.
Why the above numbers?:
For continuous discharge, any acetylene cylinder should not be discharged at a rate greater than 1/15th of the cylinder volume. This is the current recommendation of the Compressed Gas Association.
This is the reason the tanks supplied by Ford and seen on the running boards of Model T's and other such equipped cars were the B tank which is a 40 cubic foot of acetylene gas tank that would handle a 1.5 cubic foot of gas discharge rate, two 3/4 cfh burners.
Keith, that is an ALCO Deluxe burning at 3/4 cubic foot per hour that you show. Nice but two of those is 1.5 cubic feet of gas per hour which is more than twice the suggested rate of an MC tank in continuous discharge.
The only supplier of the gas burners is the same fellows that make the burner stands for the vendors. Although they don't mark them, the intended rate is 3/4 cubic foot per hour which falls within the 1/15th rule of the B tank and is not too big for a 6-inch Mangin mirror.
Why 3/4 burners?
They were used everywhere at the time. Mostly in homes and businesses for lighting.
Here is an add for burners to be used on motorcycles. You can see the maximum was 1/2 cfh. That would fit nicely in the 0.66 cfh on the MC tank.
The MC and B tanks are used today primarily by refrigeration techs and jewelers.
Acetylene tanks do not "recover". They are capable of discharging a rate of gas based on their volume. If you exceed that rate, you draw acetone out with the acetylene. It is as simple as that.
If you discharge faster than the rate suggested, you will draw acetone off with the acetylene and the acetone can ruin the rubber parts of your regulator. I haven't had any damage from acetone that I know of but that is what the articles and supply houses say.
The article above also comments about laying the tanks down. I have two Prest-O-Lite tanks with the offset valve and they are not hard to find.
It is just my opinion, but I like to be able to get to the B tank shut off valve from the driver position. I would not put either MC or B tanks in any container or where I can't turn them off easily and quick. I have had a lava tip come out of a burner (a new one by the way) and you need quick. A generator would be worse because they shut down slow.
The B tank is the least expensive and easiest approach by far if you really use your gas headlights. My 2c.
Ken in Texas
Thanks for the info on my burners. They are not marked, so I did not know what they were rated. All I know is that they matched!
So with an MC tank, should I be using 1/2 cu ft burners?
Here is some other historical information I found while doing my acetylene research:
1/2 cu ft burners put out 18 candlepower
.70 cu ft burners put out 27 candlepower
1 cu ft burners put out 45.6 candle power.
What is "continuous discharge?" More than 5 minutes? I ran my headlamps for about an hour tonight (it was Prom night and I was my son's Chauffeur) I had to tweak the regulator a couple of times to maintain a good flame. By the time I got home, the lamps were getting dim again. When I shut off the valve, I could smell an odor that was not acetylene. Was I drawing acetone?
I have doubts about using it to fast with just the burners?? I know with a cutting torch or big rosebud you really have to push to get them to pop and sputter?? Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I really didn't intend for the response to be so long and matter of fact. It probably gave charley a headache if he read it! Just trying to pass on what I have experienced so far. All new to me stuff and really fun at that!
I don't smell any odor after running up to an hour or more continuously. Also, mine don't dim. Even underway, the only odor I notice is the side light kerosene burning which comes around the windshield. Sounds like it might have been the acetone.
If I could suggest, leave everything the same and just cut the flame back some. See if the odor goes away when you drive 15 minutes or so with them lit. If the dimming and odor go away , we have both learned something. Please let us know.
I try to get an arch to the top of the flame (without the points). Makes it slightly bigger than the size of a nickel. Running them as high as I can doesn't seem to give very much more light.
The candlepower you have found is helpful. Also, you can see where a 32-cp bulb gives an advantage.
Hence these which will fit Brown 16's:
Magneto lights have their own problems though.
I believe "continuous discharge" describes what you did with your lights last night.
Fellow gave a great description on one of the welding forums of how the acetylene "fizzes" out of the acetone. He said it's like a bottle of pop that has been shaken. Soda water is acetone and fizz is acetylene. If you let that fizz out too quick, you bring out soda water with the fizz.
I believe there is some leeway on the burner withdrawal rate because Prest-O-Lite knew what they were dealing with regarding the 1/2's. I'd just use the 3/4's cut back a little and see what happens.
Having the tank where I can turn it off and on easy has been a plus. That and tweaking the flame is the only thing your under the car mount would seem to make more difficult.
Ken in Texas
What I was wondering is if my 3/4 cu ft burners were drawing acetone, would it be the reason I had to keep adjusting the flame higher? I know that if I don't dial it back the next time I light them, the flame will be way too high!
Or does this sound like I have a regulator issue?
Maybe I'll try to find a set of 1/2 cu ft burners and try them.
When you say "the next time I light them", do you mean for instance: you stop for gas and buy some chips, get ready to go and then relight them, that the flame is much higher?
Another question. Does your MC tank feel cooler after you drive for twenty minutes or so? Sort of like a propane tank when you use it.
Ken in Texas
Keith, I'm no expert but here's my take on it:
The probable reason that your lights are dimming is that your regulator is not sensitive enough for the extremely low pressure to the burners. The actual working pressure at the headlight burners is measured in "column inches of water", not pounds per square inch; I think it equates to approximately one and one-half ounces of pressure. Your regulator is pressurizing the line behind your flow valve and may not be reacting to the "constant" back pressure that such a small rate of flow represents to the regulator.
A carbide generator supplies acetylene at this low pressure (or would bubble back up through the water tank), and the old Prest-O-Lite tanks had valves with fine-pitched threads which could be throttled easily, so no regulator was required. The currently available tanks are meant to be either open or shut and so have coarse-pitched valves which require a fine hand to adjust. I run a B tank with no regulator or flow valves and make my adjustments by tapping my fingers on the tank valve to set the flame height. I have no hose clamps on my acetylene lines so if I'm clumsy then I blow a hose off rather than over-pressurize the line. I run quite a bit at night.
I'm glad to see so many people going back to gas headlights.
By the way, the California Motor Vehicle Code (section 25450) requires that headlight burners be "standard acetylene five-eighths or three-quarters foot burners, not more and not less". Not that the cops are checking, but you might look into it in your states.
That is way cool! I would never have thought to look for such a guideline. 5/8ths and 3/4's it is! I haven't been stopped yet but it is only a matter of time.
I am surprised how much attention the gas and kerosene lights get.
Thank you also for coming into this discussion because I am definitely not an expert and would really like to share some information with others that drive with their gas lamps. I too routinely drive at night now.
I only have Mangin mirrors that were used originally. Do you have any experience with the metal reflectors offered from the vendors?
The gas plant fellow said the same thing about the tank valves. When I swap this B tank on the car I'll try to get one of the fine threads.
Thank you for explaining what is happening to us on these.
I run about 1-1/2 to 2 psi on the gauge and use the flow valves to set the flame. I have gotten use to that now but I understand why we don't see regulators on the Prest-O-Lite tanks in the old photographs.
When I shut down for a stop, gas station, store, etc., I use the main B tank valve. It makes a relight quick because I only turn it on and light. No other adjustment.
Since Keith was using the smaller MC I thought maybe the tank might be cooling down from the drawdown of gas and reducing the tank pressure a little. I don't seem to experience the dimming with my regulator but that certainly sounds like a possibility.
I do like your no clamp blow-off if you don't use a regulator.
What kind of hose do you use or recommend?
I will be laying the B tank down on the running board now that I know how to run the lights.
I was intending to cut up an acetylene hose now that I have had everything situated for a while. The third light is on the same B tank, all 3/4's.
Ken in Texas
(Message edited by drkbp on April 20, 2015)
The original Mangin mirrors are far superior to the metal reflectors. The Mangin mirrors are actually lenses that are silvered on one side; the metal reflectors are nicely made, but they're just metal reflectors, created to try to fill a demand (Mangin mirrors aren't made any more). I used those reflectors behind the Halogen lamps the vendors sell, before I had my mirrors resilvered and returned the headlamps to gas. I doubt that the metal reflectors would give a satisfactory light with acetylene burners.
The old Prest-O-Lite tanks had a pressure gauge in the bottom, and are now illegal to refill on account of that gauge. It is my understanding that only the tanks meant for headlight use had the fine-pitched threads in the valve. True or not, I have not found any "plumber's" tanks with a fine-thread valve (although I did find one with a pressure gauge in the bottom, filled and functional, with a coarse-thread valve). All tanks with the offset valve, of course.
As for hose, I use what the vendors sell.
Understand that the maximum rates of discharge for bottled acetylene is to prevent drawing acetone out of the tank, as Ken mentioned earlier in this thread. Acetylene is unstable (read: dangerous) at pressures above 15 psig unless it is dissolved in acetone, so drawing acetone out of a high-pressure bottle of acetylene sounds like lousy economy to me. Guys, get the right size tank! (Stumbling off of soap box now...)
There are several threads on this subject in the forum archives, and some nice bits of information among them. A year or two ago Skinned Knuckles magazine published a three-part article all about acetylene headlights, carbide generators, compressed gas in tanks and relevant information about acetylene itself. I can't refer to mine as they're packed away in storage (I'm preparing to move), but it was an excellent series over three issues.
One regulator is all you need if you are using a Prestolite tank. The length of the line to the headlamp makes no difference, you are controlling pressure at all points in the line.
If you have a good original tank they are easy to use and give the crowd something to watch as you let pressure build up. Changing the water flow quickly regulates flame height.