AUTO MOTOR HEATER INSTRUCTIONS

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AUTO MOTOR HEATER INSTRUCTIONS

(Bunsen-Davy Motor Heater Below)

(Bunsen Sports Heater Below)

From the 1940's through the 1960's, "Sports Heater Company" of Denver produced little kerosene heaters to heat engine blocks during cold weather.  The auto motor heaters were sold under a wide variety of names, but I suspect Bunsen in Denver actually made them all.  Used properly, these little heaters can be used to heat a greenhouse, pump house or small building. 

Over time, the instructions for how to use these heaters became lost, but the auto motor heaters themselves can often be found at garage sales and on eBay.  So, I give you the original instructions that came with the heaters.  Instead of scanning the 6 point type on the instructions, I have typed them...at least they will be readable.  Click on the images to see a larger version.

 

Below the factory instructions are my notes - they are important!

UNPACKING:  After unpacking, remove screen (#10) by turning to right.  Fasten bail or hanger (#9) in eyelets on screen retainer (#3).  Fill with best grade water white kerosene to 1/2" below filler cap (#2). 

LIGHTING:  At each lighting, remove screen (#10).  Apply one tablespoon full of denatured alcohol to Primer Wick (#6).  Replace screen (#10) and light by inserting match in lighting gate (#5).  Kerosene can be used for priming (if alcohol is unavailable). IF kerosene is used, the primer wick must be lit with Screen (#10) off and Screen MUST NOT BE REPLACED until primer wick is entirely BURNED OUT. 

ADJUSTING FLAME:  After priming alcohol has burned off, adjust flame by opening filler cap (#2) until flame rises just over the round baffle on top of inner shell (#8).  Flame adjustment is controlled by quantity of air passing thru holes in filler cap (#2). When flame is properly adjusted, mark filler cap so that future adjustments can be made instantly.

 

 

PLACING HEATER IN CAR:  Attach asbestos sheet (#11) by slipping over hook of bail (#9).  Hang heater to cross bar under hood if convenient.  If not, place in LEVEL position. 

TO EXTINGUISH:  Remove heater and place snuffer can over screen (#10).  Leave snuffer can on screen until next lighting.

TO REPLACE WICK:  If wick becomes carbonized, remove screen (#10), inner shell (#8), and outer shell (#7). Remove wick assembly by lifting out burner head (#4).  Loosen hard carbon on wick by scratching with pointed instrument.  This will lengthen life of wick temporarily.  THE TOP OF THE WICK SHOULD BE FLUSH WITH WICK CONTAINER TUBE AT ALL TIMES.  If wick cannot be brought up flush with wick container tube, we recommend purchase of a new wick.

TO USE AS EMERGENCY ROAD FLARE:  Remove screen (#10) and inner shell assembly (#8),. Light center wick.

KEEP HEATER UPRIGHT AT ALL TIMES

CAUTION: If kerosene splashes thru burner head and soaks primer wick the heater will smoke and soot up. (If primer wick should get soaked with kerosene, remove screen, light primer wick and allow it to burn completely out.)  Screen must be free of soot at all times.

If screen is punctured in any way, the burner is not fireproof until screen is replaced with new one.

DO NOT ALLOW HEATER TO BURN COMPLETELY OUT OF FUEL. THIS ACTUALLY BURNS THE WICK,  DESTROYING IT OR SHORTENING ITS LIFE.

COVER HOOD AND RADIATOR WITH BLANKET OR TARPAULIN to prevent heat from escaping.  (You can't heat a room with the windows open.)

Do not be alarmed if heater smokes on first burning.  The preserving oil must burn off the screen, lasts only two minutes and is non-recurring.

IF HEATER BURNS IMPROPERLY, DO NOT LIGHT IT AGAIN UNTIL:

1.  Carbon has been scraped from wick (#4).  It is vitally important that wick is flush with opening in metal wick container if perfect combustion is to be obtained.  If in scraping the carbon the wick is slightly below the wick container, the unit will function temporarily.  A new wick assembly should be installed as soon as possible.

2.  All soot and carbon have been removed from shells (#7) and (#8) and burner head (#4).

3.  Screen (#10) has been thoroughly cleaned.  (The proper air mixture will not feed through a dirty screen.)

4.  Shells (#7) and (#8) are properly seated.

THEN LIGHT AND THE HEATER IS AS GOOD AS NEW

TO ASSEMBLE BURNER HEAD

1.  Insert Wick assembly (#4) in Oil Reservoir (#1).

2.  Seat Outer Shell (#7).

3.  Seat Inner Shell Assembly (#8).

NOTES FROM MILES STAIR

The Primer Wick (#4) mentioned above.  The one pictured above left is an original factory replacement, two thin strips of asbestos stapled together at the ends forming a circle approximately 2 1/2" in diameter using 7 1/2" strips of asbestos. The Primer Wick on the right I made using thicker and stronger asbestos.  Nothing other than asbestos will work for this job, as asbestos is an absorbent mineral and will not burn.  Asbestos dust can be hazardous to your health, so handle carefully.

Auto Motor Primer Wick, asbestos. 
I take no responsibility for the use of asbestos wicks.  

$9.95

Auto Motor Heater Wick, cotton.  3/4" x 8". 
Cut in half it makes two wicks with trim-to length of 4"

$4.95

If you see an Auto Motor Heater for the first time, it looks just like an oversize metal lamp with a weird screened chimney.  In fact, Auto Motor Heaters DO NOT operate like a kerosene lamp!  The actual design function is for the burner head and inner shell assembly to be preheated with alcohol from the primer wick, and then the Auto Motor Heater will operate more like a pressure stove, drawing fuel from the wick, but not actually burning the wick.  The primer wick is an essential part of the operation of an Auto Motor Heater.  Without the primer wick and preheating with alcohol, they are an inefficient, smoky device that does not produce much heat.

The Asbestos Heat Deflector (#11 above) was not available from the factory after the 1950's, and is almost never found today.  Keep the heater at least one foot below any painted surfaces or anything combustible.

Bunsen-Davy Motor Heater

The Bunsen-Davy Motor Heater operates on an entirely different principle than the Auto Motor Heater above.  Rather than using a solid 3/4" diameter wick, the Bunsen-Davy is actually a center draft style quite like an early P&A Royal center draft lamp - it is essentially a center draft lamp with a metal chimney - and uses a 1 1/2" diameter center draft lamp wick!  The "chimney" is a strong series of baffles over a sturdy screen.  That screen is what makes the Bunsen-Davy safe to use in a relatively confined space without worrying about a plume of heat starting a fire in the engine compartment of a tractor or truck.  There is no room in modern car engine compartments for this motor heater, but placed in front of the vehicle in a closed garage it would keep the radiator from freezing at reasonable temperatures.

Inserting a new wick in a Bunsen-Davy heater requires patience.  Three long "fingers" extend up from a ring around the center draft tube to grab the wick. The rod shown in the center of the photo at right is pulled up to raise the wick: The rod is connected to the ring inside the tank and move up or down with the rod, the "fingers" (sharp points inward) grabbing the wick to match the rod movement. The wick must pass between the draft tube and the ring, and that gets tricky.  Long, thin forceps or tweezers can help guide the wick inside the ring so it can extend to the bottom of the tank to pick up fuel.

Bunsen-Davy Motor Heater Instructions  (pdf. format you can enlarge for printing)

Wick for Bunsen-Davy Motor Heater, $9.95

Bunsen Sports Heater

The Bunsen Sports Heater was made by the Sports Heater Co, Denver, CO, in the 1960's and 1970's. The exact date at which production ceased is unknown.

In effect, the Bunsen Sports Heater operates using the same combustion principles as a Victorian Era center draft lamp, only done all in metal with multiple safety screens which inhibit areas which would be so hot as to be unsafe. Unlike other Bunsen heaters, no asbestos wicking is used in the Sports Heater.

The custom-made wick for the Bunsen Sports Heater is shipped with complete, illustrated installation instructions.

Bunsen Sports Heater Wick, $14.95

 

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Heater Information below

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Flame Spreaders and "Smoke Consumers" from Alex Marrack

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Measurements needed if you have an unlisted heater.

Care and Maintenance of Kerosene Heater Wicks

Installing Kerosene Heater Wicks - generic for unpinned wicks

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Economic Benefits of Kerosene Heaters

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Burning Kerosene Heaters at Night

WATER IN KEROSENE causing "dwindling" and poor performance.

Flame Spreader Heaters and Lamps -
A Century of Excellence

Kerosene Heater Carts -
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Kerosene Fuel Primer 

Sweet Smelling Kerosene

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Butterfly A-822, 22 wick
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Butterfly #2487, 16 wick stove Butterfly #2412 Pressure Stove; instructions for virtually any pressure stove.

Butterfly #2418 Double Burner Stove; good with any gravity flow stove.

Butterfly #2421 Oven for Kerosene Stoves

Butterfly #2641, 10 Wick Stove -
the least expensive emergency stove.

Butterfly #2698 Cook Stove -

THE Best Heavy Duty Cook Stove.

 
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