Vacuum Fuel Systems
Here are some things to think about when restoring one of these vacuum fuel systems. First off note the cutaway drawing from the earlier page and the items that need to working inside one of these. The float must work freely, the air relief valve and suction valve must not leak when seated. Then when putting the tank back together the upper gasket can’t leak either!!! It’s very important not to have any leaks anywhere in this system!!
Now if the car has set for a while, or a fair amount of cranking to start the engine has been done, one will need to refill the tank. This system only works if you have a vacuum and if the engine isn’t running you have no vacuum. So take note where the fill plug is and remove it to fill the system. Do not fill the more than in the cut away drawing!!!
Once the engine is running the system should pull gas from the tank and keep the carburetor filled. If the engine runs for a while then dies from running out of gasoline you filled the system with then look for a leak in a fitting, gasket, or valve seat on the tank.
1922 Rickenbacker Engine Compartment
This is a great example of a 1922 engine compartment. The Stewart Warner Vacuum Tank system is very easily seen here. You can see all the lines in this picture. One coming from the tank going to the system itself, another one supplying the vacuum to the system from the intake manifold, and looking close you’ll see a line drop straight down with a shut off value and then over to feed the carburetor with gasoline. It is my belief that these systems were unpainted and silver in color as you see here.
1926 Rickenbacker Super Sport Coupe Engine Compartment
Here is a picture of the engine compartment of the famed 1926 Rickenbacker Super Sport Coupe. The Stewart Warner Vacuum System is in the upper right hand corner feeding both 2 barrel up draft carburetors. You can also see the vacuum line coming off the intake manifold heading to the top of the vacuum tank system.
1927 Rickenbacker Engine Compartment
This is an example of a 1927 engine, all original and hasn’t been touched for 75+ years. You can see the same Stewart Warner Vacuum tank system was used from 1922 through 1927. There were a couple different types of Stewart Warner systems used over the years, and hopefully in the future I can get those models recorded.