Head Internal Pressure Reaches Critical: Steam-Powered 1949 Ford Truck

All ahead full!
All ahead full!

You know what’s wrong with all of your vehicle choices for post-apocalyptic future? They all need specific fuel. Sure, there will be military reserve depots to raid or maybe you could set up a biodiesel or ethanol setup, but these all leave you tied to a specific location. It’s only a matter of time before the democrats Mongols bondage-clad bikers Russians they amass a large enough force to take your fuel fortress.
Where am I going with this? The point is, you need a vehicle that can run on anything, man
Such is the case with this 1949 Ford F6 pickup. It’s steam-powered, meaning all you need is something flammable and water to keep it running. The setup definitely has a post-apocalyptic industrial scraps feel to it. According to the seller:

They also removed the V8 engine cylinder heads, pistons, connecting rods, camshaft, valve lifters and valves and left the original Ford crankshaft in place. They then bolted an adapter plate to the top of each cylinder bank. To each adapter plate is bolted a medium sized vertical single cylinder double acting steam engine. These engines appear to be identical and were made by the E. H. Wachs Company of Chicago, Illinois most likely about eighty to a hundred years ago. Each steam engine has a large roller chain sprocket on the crankshaft with a chain running down to a corresponding sprocket on the front of the Ford V8 engine.
The original Ford V8 engine basically acts as a mount for the 2 steam engines and a means of adapting the power from the 2 steam engines to the stock Ford clutch, 4 speed transmission and the rest of the drive train of the truck. The man who did this conversion evidently realized that a fire tube boiler anywhere large enough to supply both engines would be quite heavy and bulky and I suspect that is likely why he started with a truck that was large enough to haul the pair of engines, the boiler, the boiler feed water pump, the water tanks, the fuel tank and all of the rest of the plumbing, hardware and controls necessary to make this beast run and move. I saw a Model T Ford that someone made a very feeble attempt to convert to steam power several years ago and this truck is light years ahead of that Model T in terms of engineering and design.
The vertical fire tube boiler mounted near the center of the truck bed was built by the Eclipse Fuel Engineering Company wherever they were located about 80 to 100 years ago. I am not an expert when it comes to steam power so I don’t have much more to say about this boiler. I have no idea as to what condition it is in and when it was last inspected by any state boiler inspector. It appears that the original grates have been removed and replaced with a steel plate with a pair of burners installed in the plate. There is a removable smoke stack about 10″ in diameter by about 4′ long laying on the back of the truck to the right of the boiler.

It goes on from there. Anyway, hit up the listing on eBay Motors, if you want to be among the living in they come…

0 Comments

  1. The engineer in me looks at the extremely rusty pressure vessel and just shudders. I think I'll stick with gasification if things get really bad. I even downloaded the handy FEMA pamphlet on how to build your own back when gas was getting hard to find and close to $5/gal.: <a href="http://www.woodgas.net/files/FEMA%20emergency%20g…” target=”_blank”>http://www.woodgas.net/files/FEMA%20emergency%20g… I'm pretty sure I could adapt my 1988 F-150 with the FI 4.9L, not so sure about the rest of the fleet.

    1. You hit on something about most modern wood/coal boilers…..most use gasification in the firebox.
      Even used that very gasifer for my monotube boiler for the emergency generator at the house.
      The engine will last about 50 years and gasifier/boiler shell in that design will last about 2years.

      1. Actually got better gasifier life by running a large belly stove for a shell.And major sealing on the original doors etc. to make the shell workright. That cast iron is really tough stuff around ashes…..still need the cyclone filter for ashes when the thing is running.

  2. That's a donkey engine boiler, not very efficient, but had the reputation of being foolproof and extremely versatile, as well as being able to stand up to tons of abuse. The horizontal hot tube boilers were much more efficient, and the water tube boilers were the best, but way bigger and bulkier than this.
    Yeah, that feed pump seems to be way bigger than it has to be. At work we have several of those, and one of them is a cute little thing about 18 inches long that I can almost lift. I know of one that is the same design in a mine which shall remain nameless that is about twenty feet long, 100 years old, and is in good shape. Still underground. Must weigh tons.
    This truck is really something else. I'm damn near speechless. One of the best examples of Meatball Technology I've seen. I could stare at that damn thing for hours.

  3. Actually, you could run this thing off of a good sized compressor. You'd have to tow it behind the truck and it would be inefficient as hell, but who cares. Now you get to fool around with a diesel compressor, too. What's wrong with that?

    1. Actually,you hit on the very way all piston steam engines are tested with air compressor.In order to run totally right there is a 10degree difference on the valve timing….steam expands faster than air (mach6).I have seem guys use low pressure to work like a pressure differential test while doing the initial valve timing setup. Instead of a timing light you hear a valve open as you rock the crank around.
      Most old steam engine because of how slow they turn …..you can pretty ballpark the torque at 10xtime the max. horsepower at stall.IE a 20hp piston steam engine will deliver 200ft lbs. of torque running 150psi and 50% of the power stroke for valve opening time.(collective or valve timing lever like on Stephenson link)While driving a variable time engine you would start
      75% of powerstroke at peak mean cylinder pressure(it is almost like a hydraulic cylinder more so than a gasoline engine
      for a power stroke) then you do like railroad engineers call ride the throttle ….you pretty much use valve timing to adjust your speed instead of the throttle by the time you are up to highway speed that timing is back down to 15% on powerstroke)

    2. Another comparison with would be a actual production fire-tube boiler car like the oil fired Stanley Vanderbilt built in 1906.
      And featured in Jay Leno's garage on Utube.The boiler is rated at 30hp and the engine from a standstill would develop 7000 ft lbs of torque drop back to 2000 ft lbs once it started to roll in direct drive 50% valve timing ,at 30mph you would have a flowbench
      breath problem, back valve timing off to 15% by pressing the hook up pedal, and accelerate out to 60-70 mph with different rear
      end teeth in the differential…..it set the 1906 world speed record of 126mph on a beach near Daytona.
      A good steamcar will get 50years between overhauls…..boiler itself is more freg. you get more acid with wood and coal than oil around the grates and tubes.

  4. Whenever I see something like this, my thought process goes something like this:

    Wow, this is cool! It's only $2500? That's a great price considering all the engineerd Cool Points (eCP™) it gets!
    I wonder what Mrs. engineerd would think if I bought it and brought it home?
    She won't like it. She doesn't understand it, and it's old and she just won't like it.
    Maybe she'll like it.
    No, she won't like it. Why won't she like it! She doesn't like anything I want!
    Maybe if I promise her she can have whatever car she wants then she'll let me keep it.
    She won't go for that. Why even bother liking cars at all. She will only suck the life out of anything I want.
    OK. Maybe I don't need this. It'll be OK. I can find something else that she will like.

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