The general management of motor vehicles of all kinds
Never put on the brake before turning off the power, except in pressing emergency. This is a source of economy in power and wear and tear of machinery. Never cross a railroad track, or defective place in a street or road, with the full power on, and, if possible, at very moderate speed, under the momentum of the vehicle. If a vehicle has two brakes, a band and a tire brake, always use the band brake first and every time, except in emergencies of danger. A tire brake wears and injures the tires. Do not think that a motor vehicle with any kind of motive power is as intelligent as a horse. Horses can be sometimes trusted and know the road.
Never forget yourself and start a vehicle with the brake on. It is a loss of power and may cause breakage in the driving gear.
Never try to jerk a vehicle out of a rut or mud-hole by throwing on the high speed power. If it does not move by the slowest motion gear, which should always be the strongest for up grades, an investigation should be made and help given. Horse-drawn vehicles are sometimes in the same predicament.
In steering, a driver is not expected to grip the steering lever or wheel with nervous anxiety. A hard steering gear is out of the question in good models of automobiles. Too many operations attached to the steering handle are not desirable; they lead to confusion, and ma}- be the cause of mistakes. Let one hand do the steering alone, with as fewunimportant attachments as possible, is the experience derived from a mechanical view of the conditions of automobile driving.
As much care should be exercised in running over road obstructions with the horseless vehicles as with those drawn by spirited horses; there is no dash business over obstructions or a bad condition of the road.
When coming to a stop at a curb or on the road, it is desirable to shut off the power some time before reaching the stopping place, and move up to the stopping place by the momentum of the vehicle,—applying the brake only at the last moment. This is one of the first things that an automobile driver should learn by practice It saves power and mileage, and makes a graceful manceuver in coming to a stop.
Reversal of the power and motion of a vehicle while speeding is dangerous, and even at moderate speed is undesirable, and should never be done unless sudden danger makes it necessary. It strains the motive power and may cause a breakdown. In all ordinary driving the vehicle should come to a gradual stop by timely shutting off the power, and then, if need be, applying the brake for a stop, and reverse from a standstill.
Finally, it should be the first work of a purchaser or driver of an automobile vehicle, whether its driving power be steam, an explosive motor, electricity or compressed air, to become familiar with every part of its mechanism and of its working details—the whys and wherefores of every movement—before an attempt is made to run the vehicle on a street or road. It is recommended that the driving wheels be blocked up by the shaft and the whole manipulation of the driving power be gone through with in all its details before venturing upon the road.
This will give confidence and pleasure on the first trip out.
Special management of vehicle motor power. steam motor vehicles.
The action of steam is so direct and its control so simple that but little can be said that will cover the machinery details of all of the builders of steam driven automobiles. The point principally to be watched and cared for, apart from the general management already described, is the water feed of the boiler. The boiler feed pump, as operated by the engine direct or from the vehicle shaft, does not feed the boiler with water in proportion to the steam used under the varying conditions of the road or the grade. On an up grade or bad road the speed of the vehicle is labored and slow, and more steam is used than on down grades and smooth roads.
In the one case the pump does not meet the requirements of the boiler, and the boiler loses water. In the other case the shorter throw of the link lessens the quantity of steam used and the pump gains on the boiler water level. In some vehicles an equalizing regulation is provided by means of a three-way cock with a lever connection by which the driver can control the work of the pump by diverting part of the water back to the tank. A frequent watch on the water gauge is necessary; although, when once a person gains experience , the condition of the road largely helps to remind him of the time to increase or decrease the boiler feed. In some vehicles a supplementary pump is provided that requires but the pressure of a button or the movement of a lever to regulate the water level. Again, this auxiliary pump is made automatic by a differential expansion apparatus, so constructed that when the water in the boiler falls to a fixed point, steam displaces the water in the regulator and its expansion through a lever opens the throttle of the auxiliary pump and thus keeps the water in the boiler within proper limit.
The earlier burners were lighted by a match applied to the vapor of alcohol or gasoline in a cup under the burner. Others use an alcohol torch for heating a small vaporizing pipe which gives a blow-pipe jet for heating the principal vaporizing coil, or for heating the boiler, until it is hot enough to vaporize the gasoline in the vapor pipe passing through the boiler tubes. A later device is to light the gasoline vaporizing from the jet burners by a spark from a dry battery. This is done by a push button at the seat. This provides for entirely shutting off the burner when the vehicle stops for a short time.
In other steam vehicles a pilot burner of small size is kept ignited when the vehicle is at rest, which keeps up steam ready for a quick start. The general regulation of the burner is by control of the amount of flow of the gasoline from the pressure tank.
The air pressure in the gasoline tank should be kept as uniform as possible, in order that the flow of gasoline to the burner should not vary beyond a reasonable limit.
In order to control the air tank pressure it should never be more than two-thirds full of gasoline, so that the air space may be large enough to give sufficient elasticity to the air pressure, that it will not rapidly fall as the gasoline is used.
In some vehicles a separate air tank is used and automatically pumped up by an independent steam pump. With the large size of the air tank the pressure on the gasoline will scarcely vary more than one or two pounds in an hour, which is indicated by the air gauge on the dash board. Four gauges are desirable on a steam propelled vehicle: a steam pressure gauge, an air pressure gauge, a gasoline indicator and a water gauge. The first three named are placed in a cluster on the dashboard and are easily observed .
The water gauge at the side and beneath the seat is not so readily observed; but when a little experience has been obtained in regard to the rate of change in the water level in the boiler under the action of the boiler feed pump, no apprehension may be felt that requires a look at the gauge oftener than for a 3-mile run.
With an auxiliary and automatic pump, the water gauge needs but very little attention.
Every vehicle should be provided with an electric light behind the water gauge and in front of the three gauges on the dashboard. A dry battery is sufficient for this, or a small storage battery may be used for the gauges and side lights of the vehicle. Cleanliness of the motive power,gear, and attention to the oiling of the running parts should require no attention on the road; this should be done in the stable, and should receive more attention than, we fear, is given by owners and drivers who have no mechanical proclivities . The same treatment of your carriage and horses will soon disable a valuable rig.
Explosive motor vehicles.
The special attention required for running a gasoline motor vehicle is quite different from what is needed in a steam motor vehicle. More levers are required to be manipulated, or when many movements are concentrated in the steering lever, more attention must be directed to the various devices to be operated by the steering hand in order to avoid mistakes and not do the wrong thing. The ways and means for operating the explosive motor, and the necessary change gears vary so much in the various vehicles in use, that a detailed study of the construction and operation of any one needs to be made by a purchaser under instructions from the manufacturer.
The same general management is required as noted on the first pages of this chapter. The only gauges to be observed are the ones showing the quantity of gasoline in the tank, or an air-pressure gauge where the position of the tank requires pressure for raising the gasoline to the vaporizer, for which a hand pump is usually provided for occasional use. As the pressure in the gasoline tank is constantly changing by the increasing area of the air space, the air pump needs a few strokes occasionally to keep up a moderate pressure to raise the gasoline td the vaporizer. The methods of ignition are not alike in the vehicles of different manufacturers, and should be made a special study under their instructions. A part of the running regulation in some vehicles is derived from delaying the ignition, and in others by varying the explosive charge, and yet others by both methods. Each is controlled by a special handle or lever manipulation, which requires special instructions suited to each design. The change gear also varies so much with different manufacturers that no definite details of their operation can be given other than by reference to their construction and operation as given in the body of this work.