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Testers' twelvemonth

20th December 1980
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Page 18, 20th December 1980 — Testers' twelvemonth
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We look back over the 48 comprehensive tests we carried out this year. Your guides are our team of testers Steve Gray, Bill Brock and Tim Blakemore. Pictures by Dick Ross and Brian Weatherley

COMMERCIAL MOTOR carries out more meaningful tests during the course of a year than any other journal, despite exaggerated claims by some, and this year was no exception.

We don't consider five minutes drive in each of, perhaps, thirty different tippers to be a true or representative appraisal of those vehicles.

Nor do we believe that operators will gain anything from a "test" report based on a couple of hours spent behind the wheel of a new lorry — often loaded to less than its maximum — over an unrepresentative route in its country of origin.

Certainly, we are not averse to giving our readers impressions of a new vehicle, but we make clear that's exactly what they are — impressions.

When do we carry out a full test, it is over one or other of our well-known test routes which have been specially formulated to put the lorry through its paces on the kind of work it will be doing.

Thus CM's road tests are held in high regard by drivers, operators, even manufacturers

— the number of requests we receive for reprints proves our point.

Often, aspects we have criticised on our test of a vehicle are quietly put right by the maker. We don't write our reports for "quotable quotes" which can be used in advertising, nor do we write to please the manufacturer.

If something's wrong we'll be quick to say so — if something's good the same applies. In short, we believe CM's tests are fair, factual and seek no favour.

That, broadly, is our attitude to testing, and what follows gives readers a summary of the tests we carried out during the last year. We would have liked to have tested more, but even in these times of recession some manufacturers display a marked reticence to allow us to try their wares.

Maybe they are still selling all they can make — even if most

are working a oneor two-day week?

Nevertheless, we did get the chance to test a Scania for the first time in five years. It might have been a feat deserving of more elation had the new range of Scanias not been poised to enter the market!

Alas, a Gardner-engined anything wasn't available for test but, apart from the light end of the product range, we were able to cover most sectors pretty thoroughly. We also managed an oddball in the shape of the Chubb/Scammell Protector. We began our year testing group of vehicles which can L driven without any hgv licence.

Bedford, Dodge, Ford, Le, land, Fiat, Magirus Deutz, MAP VW, Mercedes-Benz and Renau all make models plated at 7 tonnes (7.38 tons). We testE seven of them around Wale omitting the LP809 which Me cedes-Benz weren't able t supply, and the MAN-VW NI model, which had not then beE introduced.

Fiat's 75 F10, powered by 70kW (94bhp) engine, was tf most powerful four-cylindi vehicle in the group. Fitted wii a ZF five-speed gearbox and 4.' to 1 rear axle ratio, it perform( well on the motorway averagir a fuel consumption ( 15.661it/100km (18.04mpg), at high average speed.

Hill-climbing showed up II shortcomings of lower ratio particularly the gap betwe( third and fourth where changir up at maximum revs in third k the engine struggling in fourth.

A comparatively small diam ter steering wheel allowed clear view of the instrume panel, while the ZF steering ge gave a precise response.

Vacuum-assisted brakes r quired a great deal of pec effort to slow the vehicle dow and this was most noticeable i downhill sections. But the was bright, quiet and WE equipped for this size of vehic Overall fuel returns averagi out at 14.441it/100km (19.56mp while averaging 6 5km,

10.43m ph).

Renault's JK75 is a purposeluilt 71/2 tonner, replacing the N75 a derated nine-tonner, deigned principally for urban


The lower power and torque utputs of 64kW (86bhp) and 33Nm (172 lbft) did not prove to e a handicap. Over the timed ill climbs its performance was, 1 fact, quite respectable and has een attributed to the matching f the ZF five-speed gearbox and he engine's performance, hough showing similar ymptoms to that of the Fiat, rith the gap between third and )urth gears seeming just a little )o big.

Both gearstick and handbrake ivers were well-placed, while le cab is well-appointed generIly with a comprehensive in!rument panel, good visibility II round, and must be one of the lost comfortable at this weight. In the wet, however, the two -nall wiper blades were less Ian adequate for the large front :Teen.

Over Aand B-roads, the andling of the JK75 felt more (e that of a big car. Body roll as minimal and noise levels iw, but at motorway speeds it as obvious that the small enne was working hard.

Just one lever lock controls lb tilting, but is protected by a arning lamp on the dashboard ving warning if it is not -operly located. There is plenty

room to get around the enne, but for a cross-member obructing access to number four jector.

We encountered one of last lmmer's few hot days when we ok the only aircooled 7.5 ton)1— the Magirus Deutz 90 7.5 — around CM's Welsh route. part from the engine, it is alrost identical to the Fiat of its ster company in the IVECO The four-cylinder four-stroke -igine produces 62.5kW

(83.8bhp) relying on a belt-driven axial blower to provide cooling. Warning of a malfunction, causing overheating, is given by a cylinder-head temperature gauge while an audible warning operates should the fan drive fail.

Engine oil is used, in the absence of water, providing the medium for in-cab heating. It is unconventional, but is said to work wel! enough, but the proof would be on a cold frosty morning.

No options are offered for either gearbox or back axle, but the gearing is different to the Fiat's giving a maximum road speed just short of 97km/h (60mph).

The relatively low power to weight ratio of 8.3kW/tonne (11.3bhp/ton) was quite adequate for the Welsh hills. A flat torque curve between 1,900rpm and 1,400 enabled full use of the engine's performance to be made by hanging on to each of the gears.

It is still unusual for this size of vehicle to be fitted with a suspension seat as this one was. For urban delivery vehicles such as this, often used on rough roads, it is a worthwhile standard fitment.

Neither of the IVECO vehicles had a tilt cab making access to the engine difficult, accentuated on the Magirus by the presence of shrouding used to direct the cooling air.

The Dodge G08, baby of the Commando range, is more popular with the six-cylinder 75.8kW (101.7bhp) option engine than the standard four-cylinder Perkins 4.236 unit and is available with both five-speed gearbox and two-speed axle. Use of the larger tyres fitted with the six-cylinder engine gives a front-axle plated weight of 3.26 tonnes, greater than most of the competition.

The Hi-line cab specification needs more attention to detail. The poorly fitted gearlever gaiter which used to be the main source of engine noise penetration in the cab, has been improved . but the sticky gearchange would be a source of annoyance to any urban delivery driver. But it gave the impression of being a reasonably quick vehicle and returned a creditable 15.931it/100km (17.73mpg).

The Ford D0710 was relatively slow and thirsty over the motorway section but made up ground over the Aand B-roads. Ford doesn't make changes for the sake of change as can be shown by the 4-310 four-speed gearbox which can be traced back to the Thames range in the early Sixties.

With 1 0.3 kW/tonne (14bhp/ton) from the Dorset diesel, there was plenty of power and torque allowing the vehicle to lug down in the mid-twenties in top gear.

Service brakes tended towards the heavy but responded well enough to extra pedal effort.

The cab of our test vehicle was not a good example. Badly fitting doors meant that wind and not the engine was the main source of noise at speed. A low step height aids cab entry, though some may use the steer irig wheel for added purchase The cloth covered seats alloy+ ample adjustment for a comfort able driving position.

The specification of the Leyland Terrier, an operator's vehicle borrowed from Molins Engineers, did not suit motorway running at all. Though equipped with a fivespeed overdrive gearbox, 7.50x16 tyres and a 5.125 to 1 rear axle ratio gave a maximum geared speed of only 88km/h (55mph). Fuel consumption suffered as a result. Specification of 7.00 x 20 tyres and the 4.71 to 1 ratio should improve this aspect.

Introduction of the super Gtrim early in 1979 has improved the Terrier's interior. The brushed nylon seats are comfortable and the controls wellplaced. The air-hydraulic braking system is also a great improvement, but the steering was oversensitive in the centre straightahead position and needed constant correction.

Fourth gear proved very flex:ible, giving a usable speed range of 25 to 50mph but was not a common feature of other 7.5tonners. The tilting process is the cab's main downfall, but can )e overcome now by a converion using Quick Tilt units from 3all Components of Leek for ibout £150 a vehicle.

There are many permutations yf gearbox and engine options rvith Bedford's 7.5 tonner includng fourand six-cylinder diesels ;s well as a six-cylinder petrol 3ngine.

Careful specification is rewired to match performance to .equirement. Our test vehicle, ;quipped with a 5,4 2 0 cc 330cuin) diesel engine driving hrough a four-speed close-ratio 3earbox matched to a 4.63 to 1 'ear axle ratio, gave a maximum ;peed of just under 60mph.

Maximum torque of 309Nm :227 Ibft) is developed at a low engine speed of 1000rpm and maximum power at 2600rpm gives a wide usable speed band.

The inclusion of only four ratios did not adversely affect the vehicle's performance as third was particularly versatile. But it did need first to tackle the steepest gradient on route.

The TK cab has been around for a long time, but still gives one of the lowest step and floor heights at 7.5 tonnes. It does not tilt, but if the rear flaps give insufficient access to the engine, Bedford claims it takes only 30 minutes to remove.

Volvo's F7 8x4 was the last of a number of model variants to be tested by CM. Power was provided in the form of the TD7OF four-stroke direct-injection turbocharged diesel with charged air cooling, rated at 162kW (217bhp) installed.

This is somewhat misleading as 11 kW (15bhp) more is available for most of the time when the thermostatic fan is not engaged.

Matched to the SR62 eightspeed range-change gearbox, with splitter giving 16 forward speeds, accurate selection can be made of the appropriate gear to suit the prevailing road condition, while keeping engine revs within the narrow economical green band of the rev counter.

Most benefit was derived using the intermediate gearing in the top half of the box, but in steep off-road situations a drop of more than one whole gear was often needed to maintain momentum despite the slick gearchange aided by a preselector.

Maintaining an average journey time for the conditions, the F7 returned 44.7Iit/1 00km (6.32mpg) now known to be good over CM's tipper course. With a chassis cab weight of 8.095 tonnes, potential payload capacity is high but still depends on the type of body and tipping gear chosen.

The Volvo 8x4 cab shares the same high standard of trim as the rest of the range, including its own suspension and a sus

pension seat in addition to the chassis suspension which consists of multileaf semi-elliptic springs on the steered axles and two-leaf parabolic springs allowing full articulation of the T-ride bogie.

Power steering is effortless but low gearing made prodigious hand shuffling necessary to complete tight manoeuvres.

Dennison, formerly manufacturers of trailers, began production at the other end of the outfit about five years ago.

The range includes 8x4s, 6x4s and long wheelbase 38-ton gtw 4x2s which use common major components.

A Rolls-Royce 265L diesel engine specified in the 4x2 tractive unit tested towards the end of 1979, is just one of several options available.

The Sisu cab, imported by the Irish company from Scandinavia, is a very square design including a split front screen.

Individual axle weights indicated that the fifth-wheel was positioned wrongly to allow the full ten-ton capacity of the rear axle to be used to the full, while relocation would increase the difficulty in coupling to a fulllength 12m (40ft) trailer.

Under such operating conditions, traction can become a problem and did so twice on our test, once under braking, and again restarting from rest on a hill climb — restricting the vehicle to a 1 in 5 gradient.

Top gear gave a maximum speed in excess of 60mph, but also enough pulling power for Aroad running at about 1,200rpm.

The driving position was a compromise between vision and comfort, but items such as the foot pedals were a good size and sensibly placed, as was the gearlever operating the simple to use four on four gate.

A conservative fuel consumption was achieved recording 37.4 lit/100km (7,55mpg) over CM's Scottish route at an average speed of 65.9km/h (40.95mph).

The substantial construction of the chassis is probably stronger than it need be foi operations at 32 tonnes, but re mains lighter than many of th( weight class at 6.474 tonnes.

When we tested it on De cember 8, 1979, the Ford D2411 6x4 tipper set a new speec record for the tipper route. Bu its fuel consumption of 50.31 lit/100km (5.61mpg) was rathe disappointing. It may have beer that the fairly low output o 127kW (170bhp) was to blame The Cummins V504 power uni adds to the cost of the D2411 over the Perkins Vee.

As we were to find later on thl Foden Haulmaster, it prove( best to keep the Ford's engin( revving above 1.900rpm t( achieve fast journey times.

Again, like the Fatten, thl Ford's power unit has beet :langed with a view to reduce i se and improve reliability by :ting a McCord laminated head isket, new crankshaft oil seal id other modifications.

Ford's own gearbox — an ght-speed range change — as fitted, which in service has .oved itself capable of handling e high torque and power of the immins. But first and fifth ere difficult to engage and ere were problems in changg from high to low range on casion. Otherwise the all fnchromesh gearbox perrmed well.

Steering, however, was impre:ie and, in the straight-ahead )sition, required constant corction. Because the grab handle no longer fitted to help drivers tering the vehicle, the steering ,eel is used — a definite inus.

aking at MIRA was less than inspiring, but the spring parking brake units were operated by a neat switch.

Overall the Ford seemed somewhat dated in design, with steering and brakes not as good as its opposition. But it was competitively priced, had a low unladen weight, and proved to be nippy.

A Study in Blue sums up the interior trim of the ERF B-Series tractive unit which we tested towards the end of 1979. The initial impression was that there was too much of one colour, but over our three-day test it proved that it does in fact provide a pleasant working environment.

This was the second Cummins NT240-engined vehicle that we had tested (the first being a Seddon Atkinson) and once again we found that Cummins' claim of an improvement of around ten per cent in fuel consumption, compared to the NHC250, was not extravagant. The NT240powered B-Series achieved an overall average consumption of 37.7 lit/100km (7.49mpg) over the Scottish route at an average speed of 64.53km/h (40.14mph).

A new optional diff ratio of 4.64:1 was fitted to the Kirkstall Forge hub reduction rear axle on the test vehicle and this gave it a geared maximum speed of 106km/h (66mph) — fine for economical motorway running, but a little overgeared for top gear 40mph running, demonstrating once again how difficult it is for manufacturers to engineer their vehicles for the various operating conditions encountered in the UK.

Dodge's Spanish-built C38 tractive unit is better-suited to European operation than to the UK.

With a kingpin offset at 1.524m (5ft) many trailers will not couple within 15m (49ft 21/2i n).

The high fuel consumption was all too apparent at 41.42 lit/100km (6.82mpg), even though the profile of its semisleeper cab gives a lower overall height than is available from much of its competition.

A maximum output of 198kW (266bhp) at 2,200 rpm and a net torque of 1,010Nm (745 lbft) at 1,400 rpm contributed to fast journey times over the more difficult A68 sections of the test route.

Noise was a persistent problem. The poor seating of the gearbox gaiter was found to have made the major contribution.

Two-line braking is not yet readily accepted though compatible to a three-line trailer system. In keeping with the European specifications, the tractive unit was fitted with DIN standard wheels which are not compatible to the more usual coned wheel nuts.

Dodge's other tractive unit, the C36, with a shorter wheelbase but the same power output, looks the better bet.

Group tests featured prominently this year and we were able to try no less than eight two-axled sixteen ton rigids. Though these tests are difficult to arrange — mostly due to the apathy of some makers — they do provide a concise comparison. The 16-ton test appeared in our March 8, 1980, issue, and featured vehicles from Magirus Deutz, Seddon Atkinson, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, DAF, Dodge, Bedford and Leyland.

The 168M 16FL Magirus continued overleaf

Deutz, which was the only airxroled vehicle in the tests, proArced the best fuel consumption over our Welsh route, when it returned 2 2.6 5 lit/1 0 Okm (12.47mpg).

This was nearly one mile per gallon better than its nearest rivals the Dodge 100-Series, Ford D-Series and Mercedes-Benz 1617, though it must be emphasised the latter had a box body rather than the flat ones fitted to all the others.

In spite of having no water pump to drain power, the Maggie does have a belt-driven axial blower to cool its six in-line cylinders.

It had an output of 120kW (161bhp) at 2,650rpm which gave it a good motorway performance, and its top speed of 120kmh (64mph) ensured a high cruising speed. Overall, the average speed was 5 8.2 kmh (36.2mph) which despite not

making it the fastest vehicle certainly was as good as the average.

A quiet interior noise level was spoiled by exterior wind noise and an engine tunnel divided the cab in half — a negative point for a distribution vehicle where cross-cab access is a necessity.

Also, we found the driver's suspension seat lacked support and the adjustable steering column only seemed to have novelty value. Although light, the steering gave the vehicle a relatively poor lock.

Instrumentation and cab comfort were good but the cranked gearlever — selecting five forward gears — felt rubbery and too many gearchanges were needed to maintain a constant 40mph.

However, an Eaton two-speed axle meant a half gear often sufficed. Access to the cab via the two steps was reasonable, but the second step was a little too high. The IVECO group cab looks modern enough and tilts to 52° for access to components.

Seddon Atkinson's 200-Series was that company's contender in the group test. Its poor overall consumption of 26.2 lit/100km (10.8mpg) was slightly better than the DAF and Bedford at 26.9 lit/100km (10.5mpg). But at an average of 55.7kmh (34.7mph) it was by far the slowest.

Since our first test of the 200 in 1976, the Eaton two-speed axle has become an option and our test vehicle was fitted with this at an extra £415.

Though at 60mph on the M4 the IH engine was revving at 2,800 rpm, interior noise was relatively low.

On steeper motorway gradients the speed dropped to the fifties but never necessitated a change to the lower axle ratio.

An Eaton five-speed constantmesh gearbox is fitted to the 200 which has a reversed H-pattern for the top four gears. It's possible to get used to this, but the Smartie-shaped gearknob was uncomfortable.

Positive "feel" Burman power steering, though by means of an external ram, was praised.

The standard of driver comfort was high, but the instrumenta tion lacked a rev counter whicl probably meant the "difficult ti drive by ear" D-358 engin, wasn't being used to its opti mum.

To give Mercedes-Benz thei due, rather than be left out of ou test they bravely supplied a box bodied vehicle. In spite of thii handicap, partly ameliorated ly a wind deflector, it came third tr the Magirus and Dodge (aloni with the Ford D) on fuel con sumption, but returned the bes overall speed at 61.3km1 (38.1mph).

On the motorway, the vehicli maintained maximum speei easily and the 168bhp turbo charged engine gave power t1 spare. It also allowed the Mer cedes to maintain high averag speeds over the hilly A and E road sections without too man gearchanges.

Though no rear-axle ratio or tion is available, haulage 1617' have a single-reduction hypoi, axle rather than the hub reduc tion used on tipper chassis.

Another change since th model's introduction was th double-H system for rang changing of the synchromes eight-speed box. We doubte the positiveness of this after few years' service, as it was easy to slip inadvertently into low range when changing from fourth to fifth on our test vehicle.

Yet again we criticised the location of the heater controls — too far from the drivers' reach on the near side.

In other respects, though, the cab was comfortable and the lorry rode and handled well. ZF power steering allowed precise positioning under all conditions.

Unlike many, we found the exhaust brake good on the Mercedes both as a retarder and an economy device.

Headlamps mounted in the bumper may look nice, but are vulnerable to damage.

The Teutonic attention to detail was emphasised by the automatic dimming of warning lights when the side lamps are lit.

Ford's D-Series set new standards for distribution vehicles Athen it emerged in 1965, and Du r test vehicle gave a good account of itself even in 1980. Keen :o join our group test, Ford could 3nly muster a left-hooker fitted Nith the Cummins V5 0 4 laturally aspirated V8.

But this still gave a healthy I 26.8kW (170bhp) at 3,000rpm ]nd made it one of the most )owerful 16-tonners around. The Ford equalled the Mere on mpg, but was somewhat slower at 58.99kmh (36.66mph). This may be because the Cummins seemed at its best when working hard with the revs kept up.

A six speed gearbox and single speed axle made matters worse by not allowing a split gear to be used. Though synchromesh, gear selection, because of close spacing, was unsure and difficult to engage. Another criticism was the steering — still with little self-centring action was how we described it.

In spite of its age, the Ford's cab is good for access, though a little noisy inside. But it tilts to 500 for access and daily check items are located without need to tilt.

From DAF we tried the FA2105 — a favourite with many ownaccount operators. But its fuel consumption of 26.9 lit/100km (10.5mpg) put it joint bottom with the Bedford TK. And it didn't exactly fly round at 59.3km/h (36.9mph), though this put it fourth fastest.

With a power to weight ratio of 7.2kW/tonne (9.75bhp/ton) thE DAF is around the middle power range for a 16-tonner.

Naturally aspirated, the DAF's 8.25-litre engine is under no great strain and during our test it never had to work that hard. An optional splitter gearbox was fitted to our test vehicle, and its synchromesh operation made life easy enough, though care was needed to effect a positive change by depressing the clutch pedal fully when using the preselect of the splitter.

We felt that the DAF's angular and square design didn't help aerodynamics, but it was comfortable enough.

The high driving position was applauded, as was the Bostrom suspension seat. The workmanlike dash and instrumentation, with its non self-cancelling indicators also found favour. But drivers with large beer guts may find difficulty in squeezing behind the huge steering wheel.

With a choice of three Perkins and one Mercedes-Benz engine for the Dodge 100-Series, our test vehicle came with the 5.3litre Perkins T6.354 which turbocharged to give 1 08.4 kW 45.3bhp) at 2,600rpm. This gave a maximum speed of 100km/h (64mph) and allowed comfortable motorway cruising at between 55-60mph.

Ample power and torque for lower speed running on A roads kept the Dodge going along well, and the two-speed axle helpe on gradients allowing a spl gear.

Like the Seddon, the Dodg lacked a rev counter which felt it needed, to improve usabi ity, The Hi-line cab isn't full widtl but still can accommodate a dw passenger seat alongside th well-padded driver's suspensio seat.

Foot controls were we placed, although operation c the footbrake brought ou tester's knee into contact wit the column-mounted multifunc tion switch.

Narrow header rail and winc screen posts aided forwar vision but a full-width hig headboard spoiled that to th rear.

Power steering was adequat in its assistance and gay reasonable feedback, while th lock allowed sufficient ma noeuvrability. The cab itself ha, convenient steps and a sensibl placed grab handle, and i quickly tilted to 450 though thi isn't necessary for day to da checks.

Our worst complaint was thi high interior noise level uncle load.

Since we tested the TK 16-ton 3r, Bedford has introduced the lore upmarket TL. Nevertheless ie long-serving TK — introaced in 1958 — is still selling id thus stays in production. Its ge is now telling, though, and it ould only manage 26.9 t/100km (10.5mpg) on our /elsh route, putting it joint rorst.

But the 500 engine pulled it )und fairly smartly at an averge speed of 60 .4 km/h 37.5mph). Lack of a two-speed xle or multispeed gearbox, we lought, would catch it out on le hilly sections, but apart from le steep climb out of Wantage it ianaged very well.

A big ratio gap between third Ind fourth gear was a handicap )n some hills and no doubt was contributory factor in the poor uel consumption results. Not he quiestest vehicle on the notorway, the Bedford annoyed )ur tester by being also noisy Nhen the steering was turned 3iving a louder than normal hiss. rhis, said a Bedford engineer, vas untypical.

Access to the power unit is )nly from the underside or :hrough two hinged lifting side panels — the Bedford has not got a tilt cab. Many a mechanic has had a grazed head because of this. We decided the TK1630 gave good value for money, but was a very basic spec vehicle.

Last of our 16-ton group test vehicles was the Leyland Mastiff, another vehicle with a somewhat dated cab. In common with other manufacturers, Leyland wasn't going to be left out but was unable to supply a vehicle of its own. The result was an operator's vehicle fitted with a naturally aspirated Perkins V8 540 power unit giving a healthy 127kW (170bhp).

This allowed a comfortable motorway cruising speed though the V-8 beat the noise insulation on the G cab at these speeds.

Another vehicle to be equipped with a two-speed axle, the Leyland needed fewer gearchanges. This was just as well, as the gearlever was mounted high up and well back.

A restricted access is available across the cab but it does boast three seats. The driver's is a cloth-covered suspension type and was comfortable. Reasonably light but positive power steering and a heavy clutch and throttle pedal operations were our comments on the driving controls.

Though the G-cab tilts, it needs a spanner and as the vehicle ages it could become a problem due to corrosion.

We concluded that the Mastiff was easy to drive with good vision all round, but lacked items such as a rev counter. In our owner-driver number of March 29, 1980, we broke with tradition and tested a used vehicle rather than a new one over the Scottish route. At that time, all new 36-ton gcw tractive units had retail prices above £20,000, and interest rates were high (they still are, of course), so an owner-driver would be likely to shy away from the idea of buying new.

North Eastern BRS supplied us with the test vehicle from the Truck Rental fleet at Hull. It was a two-year-old Seddon Atkinson 400-Series fitted with a Rolls Royce 265L engine and had covered 95,000km (59,000 miles) at the start of the test. Glass's Guide price for a vehicle of that type in March was £12,350.

Considering that the vehicle was not specially prepared for the test in any way the results we obtained were remarkably good. Stopping distances were as short as many new vehicles can manage, and that from a unit that was still fitted with the original brake linings!

Overall average fuel consumption up to Darrington, where we ended the test, was 40.76 lit/100km (6.93mpg), a figure that the SA would have bettered we think if it had not developed a leak from the fuel lift pump during the test.

The Eagle diesel's pulling power semed to be unaffected by either the fuel leak or its two years in service.

Our conclusion was that with care, a shrewd owner driver should be able to find himself a reliable vehicle at a good price from the ranks of the two year old rented vehicles corning on to the second-hand market.

By April it had been decided to carry out a number of tipper tests in quick succession to provide a standard against which future vehicles could be compared. Fodens borrowed a 7.0m (23ft) wheelbase RR 27/30 from Alfrec Hymas Ltd. Fitted with the Rolls Royce Eagle 265L it gave a power to weight ratio of 6.4kW/ tonne (8.83bhp/ton). The dividec screen of the composite cab waf. not detrimental to forwarc visibility but the internal layoui was bitty.

Fuel consumption was thirst) at 57.6 lit/100km (4.9mpg) bu journey times were quick espe daily assisted by good off roar ride and handling performance.

Front semi-elliptical taperet leaf springs matched by th, bogie's non reactive rubbe suspension gave a smooth rid and resisted body roll.

The Foden eight-speed range change box tended to be notch, and was full of surprises witl extra gears where none were in dicated.

An 11.3-litre air-cooled V8 powered Magirus Deutz 2321 30FK gave an output of 170.5kV (228.5bhp) at 2,650rpm but rela tively low torque of 722Nm (53 lbft) at 1,400rpm.

Twelve forward gears wer available with the ZF six-spee, constant-mesh gearbox fitte with a GV80 front-mounted spli ter. Omission of a driver susper sion seat did little for driver con fort, but otherwise the cab wa functional for tipper work allov‘ ing easy cleaning except for th heater which was difficult to set

Under testing conditions th bogie articulation maintaine the wheels contact with th ground while inter-axle an cross axle diff locks added 1 traction performance. Torsic bar stabilisers made the dire tional stability impressive.

Disappointing fuel consum tion of 56.98 lit/100k (4.90mpg), for average jourm times, should be considen alongside the list price and gro carrying capacity. The MAN 30-240, fitted wi grain body and loaned for the lay by W. Porter of Stamford, lave a good account returning i2.7 lit/100km (5.35mpg) at an iverage speed of 39.4km/h 24.5mph).

Engine power rated at 5.8kW/ onne (7.9bhp/ton) was matched )y the ZF AK 6-90 six-speed con tant-mesh gearbox and GV90 plitter to give 12 forward gears. ;lean gearchanges were easier o perfect using the direct gears. An lsringhausen suspension eat made at Milton Keynes, inluded as a standard fitment, ompensates for driver weight.

Access to the cab is effortless vhile internal cab trim is 'leasing and easy to clean. The

iandbrake lever located on the 3cia leaves the floor area clear.

ower assistance made light of le steering both on and off the )ad without any adverse vices. An exhaust brake gave a deree of bite and was able to con)in the vehicle on the not too tee p down,ftilfrdecents.

Clearly With an inter-axle dif?Jential and cross-axle diff the AN had an off-road capability ut the silencer, mounted low

.ansversely between the front xles, is prone to damage in difcult conditions.

DAF's eight-legger, the FAD 2305, is specifically made for the UK. Its 8.25-litre (503 cu in) engine rated at 169kW (230bhp) gives a comfortable 5.54kW/ tonne (7.57bhp/ton). With a gradeability of 1 in 3 top speed is understandably limited to about 90km/h (56mph).

The conventional H-shift pattern of the ZF range change box was a pleasure to use although perhaps fractionally slower than with the constant mesh variety.

The DAF's combined performance of the chassis and suspension seat absorbed most of the bumps, but chassis suspension allowed substantial roll when cornering. Light power steering gave little kick back even over the roughest ground.

This vehicle was both quick and frugal returning 53 lit/100km (5.31mpg) at an average speed of 39.7km/h (24.7mph).

The old fashioned and spartan interior of LV's Routeman has not been detrimental to its popularity not least amongst owner drivers.

Unladen weight, a critical factor in profitability, is bettered only by Volvo with the F7 but at a price.

Leyland's turbocharged 680 TL 11A engine matched to a David Brown 6A/28 six-speed constant-mesh box (no longer made), drove through to a 6,933 to 1 rear axle ratio to give a maximum geared speed of only 84km/h (53mph).

The engine's flexibility compensated for any lack of choice in the gearbox but tended to struggle on steep gradients.

A rev counter would definitely have made driving easier and more efficient. Even so it consumed only one gallon every 5.36 miles.

The lightweight cab is without a tilting mechanism. Access to the engine is via the engine cowl between the seats, and a high step is little help in scaling the side in order to reach the driving seat.

When the Foden Fleetmaster was introduced with the S10 sleeper cab at the first NEC Commercial Motor Show no one foresaw the fate about to befall the company.

Despite some fine workmanship, and a prestigious product, which attracted some major contracts, Fodens were an early casualty of the present slump.

The test vehicle fitted with a

R290L engine was rated foi operation at 38 tonnes using C Fuller Road Ranger RT 9509A gearbox and an 11-tonne Rock. well single reduction rear axle. The low-revving engine gave good fuel consumption perform. ance by returning 36.9 lit/100krr (7.66mpg) and, with a final drivE ratio of 3.55 to 1, allowed high speed cruising.

The grp/steel cab saves ir weight and is cheaper tc produce but is not always aE acceptable as the alternativE steel one. Its shape is pleasinc enough but entry via the steps ir front of the wheel could be ea• sier.

A transverse exhaust mounted in front of the steerec axle, is standard and though suiting petroleum regulations makes no contribution to thE quietness of the cab.

Throttle, brake and clutch pe• dais were light and largE enough, if not that well placed but the exhaust brake's various methods of operation either or the brake pedal, release of thE throttle or switched out all to

et h er was also powerfu enough to be useful.

Instrumentation was a littlE continued overieuf lphazard with insufficient conderation given to visibility.

Journey times were very quick ith an average speed of 68km/h I2.2mph) being recorded for le three days.

Sandbach Engineering, under le direction of Hank Kiefer, in!nds to resume production of I Foden models in January )81.

Probably more than any other roup of operators, tipper men -e critical about the unladen 'eight of their vehicles. Six'heelers especially need to be ght and Fodens, appreciating lis, built an S10 Haulmaster 6x4 ,hich weighs in at 6.18 tonnes i.08 tons).

The use of rubber suspension )1the rear bogie was aimed at )clucing maintenance, and the weightsaving came from le use of the Cummins VT 504 ower unit. Our test of the S10 n July 5 more than bore out ummins' claim that the turbo

charged Vee was at least five per cent more economical than the naturally aspirated V504.

During our test, the Foden came in with 46.3 lit/100km {6.1 mpg) over the tipper route which made it 8.7 per cent more economical than a Ford D 2418 fitted with the latter engine used over the same route.

Changes to the small vee, aimed at improving reliability and noise, include hard rubber joints and noise insulation along with improved lubrication and injection. Certainly interior noise levels were low though the S10 composite cab has become wellknown for its silent cab.

For the operator, the lower weight of the engine gives a payload advantage of 300kg (6cwt) over rival engines in this chassis. If the Foden was miserly it was also quick getting round the circuit at the fastest ever speed until then, of 41.1kmh (25.57mph), It seemed at its best when pushed hard keeping the revs up.

The Fuller RT609 nine-speed box was well-matched to the engine and the Rockwell SQRHD tandem bogie, with the Foden rubber suspension made no fuss.

Drivers shouldn't complain about the cab which has, since our test been fitted with a single piece windscreen. Inside it is comfortable and well-equipped and gives tipper drivers a level of comfort previously reserved for long haul machines.

In March, 1980, amidst more publicity than probably any other commercial vehicle had ever received, Leyland's first model of the T45 range was launched. In July we published our test of the Roadtrain 16.28 and we have to admit that it was unusually difficult to remain completely impartial.

As with all tests, we assessed the vehicle from the point of view of the operator and driver and we found many features that would greatly appeal to both.

But our Roadtrain was not the perfect vehicle and two points in particular were irritating, namely a noisy splitter on the gearbox and cab nod over undulating road surfaces.

Braking performance was outstanding (though we had our doubts about the shape and position of the park brake lever) and for ease of entry to and exit from the cab Roadtrain could not be matched.

The standard 4.82:1 rear axle ratio Spicer SST10 ten speed gearbox, and TL12 Flexitorque engine were very well-matched, we found, and gave the new Leyland the versatility that UK operators need.

Our fuel consumption results over A-road and motorway sections were consistently good, but not outstanding, the overall average being 36.64 lit/100km (7.71mpg). On steep gradients, such as the notorious A68, the Roadtrain was never in any difficulty at 32 tons gross, indeed it thrived on hard work. The splitter gearbox provided a suitable ratio for each occasion and allowed us to maintain a good average speed.

When Dodge extended its 100series range with a new tractive unit, the G26D, we completed the test, as we always do, at its maximum weight. This may have been unfortunate for Doge, for they later told us that it was primarily intended for operation at 24 tons.

Our first attempt at the Scottish route was thwarted by a sticking compressor valve. The second journey, with the engine constantly under load to keep up with other traffic, was noisy, slow, and uncomfortable.

A legal maximum speed of 60mph could be attained on the motorway sections, but not maintained. Yet over the undulating Al, the engine pulled at 40mph in top gear without strain.

The cab designed for a smaller class of vehicle failed to meet the requirements of a long-haul machine but provides good entry and is uncluttered inside.

As a 26-tonner it can appeal to only a few operators but for urban deliveries at 24 tons its price alone makes it worth consideration.

When Volkswagen updated its Transporter van last year, it retained the forward control/rear engine configuration, insisting that this design was chosen on merit.

In our test of the new Transporter, we found that the design certainly gives the VW excellent handling characteristics because of the weight of the engine over the driving wheels and the vehicle's low centre of gravity. But this also leads to a so me'ht awkwardly shaped load space, with a stepped floor.

Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional two-litre engine, proving to be more popular than the 1.6-litre version in the UK, and while the journey time over our Thames Valley test route was fast, the fuel consumption of 12.73 lit/100km (22.2mpg) was not as good as either the 1,700cc petrol-engined Sherpa or the two-litre automatic Ford Transit over the same route.

An interesting innovation on the horizontally opposed fourcylinder engine was the electronically controlled idling stabilisation. This allows the engine to idle on a much weaker mixture than normal, thus saving fuel and reducing carbon monoxide exhaust emission.

Compared to the Type 2 allround visibility from the new VW was much better, particularly through the rear screen which is almost double the size of the one in the old model, and the driver's seat has been given a better range of adjustment. But access to the driver's seat was difficult we found, because of it being mounted directly above the front wheel and because the front door opens only to something less than 90° Peugeot's 504 1.6-litre petrol engined pickup achieved the best fuel consumption to date over our new light van test route when we tested it in July. Laden to close to its design gvw of 2275kg the 504 pickup returned 10.1 lit/100km (27.9mpg).

In changing the model number from 404 to 504, Peugeot has made a number of improvements to its pickup including an increase in both body length and width, taking the floor area up to 2.7sqm (29.1 sqft) but that's still less than its Japanese competitors.

But the Peugeot's price is competitive and at the time of the test it was the only European manufacturer to offer a vehicle of this kind.

Good cab access was one of the Peugeot's strong points and the bench seat was more comfortable than it looked. Having a handbrake lever on the right took a little getting used to, but our most serious complaint with the pickup's brakes was that the footbrake lacked servo assistance and a lot of pedal pressure was needed for the aildrum brakes.

Also on the subject of safety, we would have liked to have seen some kind of headboard to prevent loose loads moving forward into the cab under severe deceleration, Generally, we felt that the Peugeot's "no frills" specification was right for the job it was intended to do.

The attraction of the 4x4 Pathfinder conversion made to the Bedford KE is that only Bedford components are used. If replacements are needed, they have recognisable part numbers.

The USG conversion can be applied across the range from 5.6 to 12.35 tons gvw, but is a particularly appealing proposition at 7.38 tons which, unlike Bedford's own M-type, doesn't need an hgv license.

Fitted with a J-type front axle, the vehicle can be driven in either twoor four-wheel drive but the change over is made while stationary. In two wheel drive, the No-Slip automatic mechanical difflock gives advantages over normal vehicles.

A steering angle of 32° is a positive asset, minimising the difficulty of negotiating narrow gateways and so on. Approach and departure angles as well as clearance have been sacrificed a little in the interests of providing acceptable platform load height, but did not seriously limit the vehicle's performance.

Cummins, Rolls Royce and Gardner each supply engines for Dennison's 8x4 rigid. Our test vehicle, conceiver and built in Ireland, wa

equipped with the Sisu day cat Headlights are mounted in th, bumper, not the best of ideas a a slight knock on site can pu them out of alignment.

And minor criticisms hay, been corrected since CM'S tes of the tractive unit earlier in tyl year.

The Dennison's chassis fram, is on the heavy side, but fittei with a Neville Charrold body an tipping gear it took a payload i excess of 21 tonnes.

Rydewell rubber suspensio fitted to the rear in conjunctiol with a lightweight Eaton D4001 bogie, rated at 18.18 tons gave smooth ride enabling fast jour ney times to be made. The fuE consumption of 49.7 lit/100kn (5.69mpg) was also good an contributed to a high productiv ity factor.

In every test year we seem ti

get at least one odd-ball. It ma. be a gully emptier, refus vehicle or, as was the case thi year, a fire appliance. But thi fire appliance was a rathe special one — the Chubb Protec tor airside rescue vehicle.

Built on the Scammell Nubiar 2 chassis it is a six-wheel all wheel drive machine designer continued overleaf

reach a conflagration in the lortest possible time. To help it 3 this it has a huge Cummins TA903/V8 power unit giving ut a hefty 373kW (5001311p) 'hich drives through an Allison T 750 DRD fully automatic earbox and Kirkstall AGB-7000 vo-speed transfer box.

In low range all wheels are drian but in high range only the )ar four are powered.

Because of the specialist ature of this particular beast, .e tested the Chubb on a test ack, rough circuit, and at an rfield where we put its fire ghting capabilities through left paces.

Its performance during the 3ecific trials was spectacular. lur graph of acceleration time gainst speed looked more like tat of a car or fast van than a 28)fl commercial vehicle — it was Imost straight!

Indeed, during our August 23 :st, we found the whole vehicle ) be very car-like with its high )13 speed, fast acceleration, exallent forward vision and relavely smooth ride.

Over the rough circuit it was nstoppable, while during the refighting tests it excelled. Its foam output — 4,500 lit/min (990 gal/min) — was so effective it extinguished eight 204-litre (45 gal) drums worth of burning aviation fuel almost before our photographer Dick Ross could focus his camera.

The Chubb brought out the small boy in all of us, but at a price of anything from £150,000 to £200,000 it's unlikely CM will have one as a staff runaround!

The 19-21 Landtrain bonneted tractive unit is just one of eight export models produced by Leyland Vehicles for operation between 19 and 65 tonnes.

Intended for the world's lessdeveloped areas, we took it over a cross-country rough road route normally reserved for tippers, but just one day's work under rough running conditions was not much of a test for a vehicle which had withstood 1,500 miles of pave testing without serious failure.

LV's naturally aspirated straight six TL12 diesel engine, in a simple but strong ladder type chassis frame, develops 210kW (282bhp) for operation at 36 ton gross with the tractive unit accounting for 19 tons or more if the need arises.

A-cab pressings form the cab structure with a flat floor and has basic internal trim improved by the inclusion of a car suspension seat.

Removable panels on either side of a hinged bonnet give almost instant all-round access to the engine and its components.

Every year Volvo seems to produce a new model and 1980 was no exception. A purpose

built 16-tonner, the F616, became generally available in the spring. All Volvo engines are turbocharged including the TD6OB fitted here and rated at 128kW (172bhp) in one of the most powerful 16-tonners on the market.

The permutations are considerable with five wheelbase dimensions, three final drive ratios and two gearbox options to choose from.

Initial body roll appeared to be excessive but when taken to much higher limits than would be normal on public roads, movement of the soft longleafed springs were contained by anti-roll bars fitted front and rear. At slow speeds, 50° of steering angle gave the sort of manoeuvrability needed to cope in congested sites.

The all-steel Club of Four cab is shared by a large part of the Volvo range, setting a high standard throughout, but is restricted for cross cab access. Torsion bar assistance reduces the effort required to tilt it to a full 52°, making it a one man operation.

A fuel consumption of 22.8km/100km (12.36mpg) is one of the best recorded at 16 tons over CM's Welsh route.

The MAN-VW LT40 just creeps in under the 3.5 tonnes limit avoiding the complication of an operators licence. Its kerbweight of 1.9 tons does, however, mean that it must be plated and tested annually.

Other LT models are available with a diesel-engine option, but the LT40 will have to wait a little longer before VW's own six-cylinder version will become available.

Equipped with a two-litre petrol engine running on two-star fuel, the high-roofed panel van returned only 16.62 lit/100km (16.99mpg) despite a very flexible top gear.

All driving controls were placed close at hand, but the springy and long gearlever fouled both facia and engine cowl.

Full height rear doors gave maximum access to an 11.8cum (417cuft) internal cargo capacity with a head height of 1.87m (6ft 1n).

Daily maintenance is eased by a small inspection cover in the engine cowl which can be removed for more major inspections but which was found to be difficult.

Hestair Dennis added a 16-ton general haulage vehicle to its range of municipal and firefighting vehicles this year, and as soon as it was possible to fit a body to one CM took it for a test.

The Ogle-designed welded steel cab is practical, if lacking in style, with good access, a comfortable driving seat, and the essentials in instrumentation. However, a low engine cowl, large enough to accept the big Perkins engine used with the fire appliance, restricts free passage across the cab width.

The 5.8-litre (354cuin) Perkins T6 turbocharged diesel used here provides a power-to-weight ratio of 7 .1 kW/tonne (9.68bhp/ton) about the norm for a 16-tonner.

A high top gear ratio allowed motorway cruising around 60mph on the level, contributing to the fast journey times and average fuel consumption of 24.2 lit/100km (11.36mp9) Major component options include choices of engine, gearbox and wheelbase appealing to the widest operational demands.

Higher priced than many of its competitors, the Delta provides for a payload of over ten tons.

Just when Fodens seemed to have got the product right, it became a victim of the present economic situation. That was our verdict after a road test in the October 11 issue of a Foden Fleetmaster fitted with a Cummins NT240 power unit.

Now that everyone, including Cummins, have agreed on the nomenclature for this engine, it is available in four chassis — Seddon Atkinson, Foden, ERF and since the NEC, Leyland's T45.

The Foden we tried proved to be equal to its competitors (except the Leyland which we haven't yet had the opportunity of testing), using marginally less fuel than the others. Its overall consumption of 37.651it/100km (7.5mpg) was obtained at an average speed of 64.97km/h (40.41mph).

Flexible gearing of the Foden — it had a Fuller RT9509A ninespeed box and Rockwell R180 rear axle — made it ideal for Aroads, as the Cummins would pull readily from 1,200rpm (at 40mph).

The Seddon Atkinson and ERF's higher gearing meant these vehicles required more down changes for the same road sections. Our test vehicle was fitted with Foden's own sleeper cab — since the NEC slightly altered externally and internally— which still allowed it to couple legally to a 12m (40ft) semitrailer within length.

The cab is also lower than it looks, and the whole vehicle is is relatively light at 6.47 tonnes (6.37 tons) net kerb weight. Inside the cab is comfortable and well-equipped and has a neat feature of a three-position exhaust brake switch — one for off, centre for exhaust brake operating on the footbrake, and the last for exhaust brake operating on the throttle when it's on "no fuel".

But the brakes in general weren't too wonderful with fairly long stopping distances. All in all, we felt the Foden offered both driver and transport manager a great deal.

Our first Scania test for a long time came in October in the shape of the LB81 H58 16-tonnor. The torque and power ratings of the naturally aspirated 7.8-litre Scania engine are about average for a UK specification and it was not surprising, therefore, to find that the Sca

nia's overall fuel consumption was also about average at 26.08 lit/100km (10.83mpg).

Scania emphasised that the specification of the test vehicle, with its five-speed gearbox, was really only considered suitable for local delivery work rather than long-distance, for which the ten-speed gearbox was recommended.

But only on one section of our Welsh test route did the lack of ratios prove to be a handicap, and that was on the steep gradient out of Wantage.

On the ride and handling circuit at MIRA, the long wheelbase Scania really excelled, suggesting that the options of parabolic springs and front and rear stabilisers are only really necessary on high bodied and/or short wheelbase models.

Gearchanging on the synchromesh gearbox was an easy, but relatively slow business, and the ZF power steering was, as usual, first-class.

Summing up, we noted that the basic specification Scania chassis was among the least expensive of the imported vehicles in this weight category, yet its cab was one of the most corn

fortable — and probably the strongest.

The LB81's major disadvantage was its relatively high unladen weight.

So confident were we that Professor Armatage's inquiry would come out in favour of an increase in overall operational weight, we persuaded five manufacturers to run suitably matched vehicles at 40 tonnes around CM'S Scottish route. Even at this weight four of them were working below their design weights.

Ford's Transcontinental HA 4432 was the vehicle which proved the route, for we had not taken a vehicle of this weight around Scotland before. At MIRA, acceleration tests produced times that were quicker than for many 32-tonners and stopping distances, although not the best of the group, compared well with many 32-tonners.

Ford's philosophy with the HSeries is to combine what it considers are the best available components, and this has resulted in a cosmopolitan vehicle.

Assembled in Holland, Ford use American chassis frames, British-built engines and gearboxes, French cabs and suspension seats and a West German tachograph.

The 13-speed box is an option but a worthwhile addition at just under £700, as it should recover the purchase price in fuel saving.

The Big Cam Cummins NTE350 engine pulled well at 40mph on the A-roads, but fuel consumption was poor on ave age lit worked out at 44.E lit/100km (6.3mpg), at simik speeds attained with 32-tonnen A Foden Fleetmaster bo rowed from Warrington Con mercial vehicles had bee uprated from 36/38 tonnes t increasing the power outp! from the RR 2651_ engine with change of fuel injection pump: give it the performance of a 29( unit.

With 41,000km (25,000 mile on the clock, the Foden's over fuel performance was by far tf best at 40 tonnes; but with power to weight ratio of on 5.22kW/tonne (7bhp/ton) predi tably slower.

In hilly country, nine gears fi short of providing an adequa match to the engine at this ext weight, but coped well enouc on the flat. Downhill retardatic relied more on the servic brakes as the exhaust brake hi less effect than usual.

Operation of the Fuller gee box in this installation wi precise, possibly due to i simple linkage. The S10 cab wi quiet and never has had any u pleasant ride characteristics.

In contrast to the Foden, Bei fords TM400, built for the ltalii market, had just 1,130km (7( miles) on the clock.

The big 8V 92 Detroit Dies has a thirsty reputation and d not surprise us here with a r turn of only 50.2 lit/100k (5.63mpg), but with a power weight ratio of 7.4kW/tonr (10bhp/ton) the vehicle thrive on being driven hard especial over the hilly A68. It we however unforgiving if the et gine revs were allowed to drop.

The vehicle had a few min( teething troubles but most, li the exhaust's flexible couplin becoming loose, would be co rected at its first service.

Engine braking assisted by Ike Brake, virtually turning the igine into an air compressor, ovided good retardation even this weight—but the service akes system showed a small day.

If speed, comfort and quietss were the only measures of vehicle, the Bedford TM440 DuId be hard to beat.

The Netherlands allows the ghest gross weight in the EEC, id DAFs are regularly operated the maximum of 50 tonnes on eir home territory.

For CM's 40-tonne exercise, a kF FT28000KS was sent over )m Holland equipped with ,o-line braking and Suzies with Im coupling causing a minor oblem at the start.

A Fuller 13-speed gearbox th an overdrive top gear !eded near maximum revs to aintain 97km/h (60mph) for otorway running, and must !ye adversely affected fuel conmption.

On steep hills the rev counter id to be taken well up towards e red sector to make use of aximum power at 2,200rpm. The Second Generation cab Dked much the same as al3ys, but now include some • actical additions such as mble-glazing to the rear for at retention, an electrically lerated nearside window, and electrically heated mirror with which to keep a closer eye on the tri-axle trailer.

Gearbox noise tended to come up through the direct connection to the gearbox, though, and the cab's rubber suspension contributed to the firm ride.

Volvo is well set for an increase in the permitted weight with the F10 and F12 already capable of operating at 40 tonnes gross. An F12 Globetrotter specification adds a further £1,700 to the basic F12 list price. The cab roof 520mm (20.5in) higher, gives the driver standing room inside, includes useful storage compartments.

The passenger seat swivels through 180° to allow free passage to the bunks while the specification includes a safety net, tinted glass electric windows, air conditioning, and an air-operated self-levelling device used to maintain a constant height.

Undoubtedly, it was one of the two most comfortable vehicles in the group. As for performance, it came close to that achieved by the Ford as might be expected for the power and torque ratings of the two engines are, after all, very similar with the TD120C producing 243kW (326bhp) at 2,200rpm and 1,320Nm (985 lbft) at 1,300rpm.

A non-standard 4.3:1 singlereduction diff gave a one in five gradeability from rest and showed a benefit for 60mph cruising at an engine speed of 1,800rpm, helping to give an overall fuel return of 44.84 lit/100km (6.3mpg).

Initial braking results could hardly be believed, but extra careful attention to the test procedure produced stopping distances which were better than many lighter vehicles.

Not all vehicles we test are new to the market. Some, like Leyland Vehicles' Reiver, have been in production for many years but undergo gradual almost unnoticed change.

Earlier this year LV completed the update of the 400-Series engine with extensive modifications to cylinder head and clamping arrangement, the water pump, and fuel injection equipment. The outcome is a lower compression ratio and an increase in power.

Loaded to 24 tons gross, our Reiver was powered by a turbocharged version, the 411 engine. Despite a meagre power-toweight ratio of 4.58kW/tonne (6.25bhp/ton), journey times over CM's tipper route, consisting of off-road and A-road running, compared favourably with those of more powerful machines.

Provision of a splitter gave a complementary spread of ten gears, but constant attention was needed to correct gear selection in order to maintain satisfactory speed.

The G-cab provides a fair corn

promise between luxury and practicability for the tipper environment.

The Reiver's continued demand in the marketplace bears witness to its frugal use of fuel (6.62mpg) and an excellent body payload capacity of 18.5 tonnes.

Increased prices and shortages of fuel has spurred on engine manufacturers to produce more economical engines.

DAF showed off its economy version of the DKS chargecooled and turbocharged power unit at this year's Commercial Motor Show. Soon after we took an FT2800 4x2 tractive unit to Scotland and back. The results :obtained from the low-revving high-torque engine were better than many other vehicles of similar power rating.

A sharp torque fall off below 1,300rpm limits the usable rev band to 500rpm above and closely determines the timing of gearchanges.

With the Fuller nine-speed box, DAF's Second Generation cab, built around a box section cage for strength, has changed little, but has a smaller steering wheel and will include Isringhausen automatic air suspension seats next year.

Parabolic springs gave a soft ride and the rear-mounted stabiliser bar succeeded for most of the time in keeping the cab on an even keel.

The brake ratio, front to rear, needs to be better controlled. Despite load-sensing on the drive axle, the wheels locked up at an early stage under maximum application, causing instability.

Tested at 32 tons gross, the high 4.49 to 1 final drive ratio gave a maximum speed of 107km/h (66mph), a gradeability of 1 in 5, and an overall fuel consumption of 35.94 lit/100km (7.86mpg).

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