Approval of the Proposed Steam Wagon Demonstration.
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TN the issue of The Commercial Motor for -I-August 2nd the suggestion was put forward that the -Steam Vehicle Committee of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders should organize a demonstration of steam wagons, which would start at Liverpool and, traversing the chief industrial centres of Lancashire, Yorkshire and the eastern Midlands, would reach London in time for the Transport Conference. The proposal has been discussed by the committee and. approved, and it is now proposed to go ahead with the organization, but it is considered better that the demonstration should coincide with the early days of the Commercial •Motor Show. This, assuming that the demonstration can be brought within the compass of a week, would mean that some such programme a8 the following would be possible:— Monday, November 14th: Vehicles travel to and assemble at Liverpool.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday : The vehicles would cover a route which would embrace, let us say, St. Helens, Wigan, Preston, Blackburn, Bradford, Halifax, Leeds, Huddersfield, Oldham, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton to London.
. Friday : Parade at Olympia and disperse.'
Such a programme, if it prove feasible, would avoid week-end work.
At the moment of writing four manufacturers have promised to take part and, when the proposal is seen to be taking shape, no doubt others will be prepared to participate. The actual cost will, after all, be extremely small and organization expenses will probably run to less than a sovereign or so per vehicle. The proprietors of The Commercial Motor have already offered the sum of five 'guineas as a contribution towards the cost of organizing the demonstration. An organizer will be appointed by the Steam Vehicle Committee.
Letters will have reached manufacturers informing them of the fact that the demonstration has received official sanction, setting out the more developed scheme and asking for their views on the matter and for their support. The main idea of the demonstration is to bring the claims of the steam wagon before local anthorities, the manufacturers, merchants and traders and other large users of transport in the chief industrial centres of the country, emphasizing the fact that the steam wagon consumes. a home-produced fuel. There will be no question of any invidious comparisons with other forms of transport, the aim being to secure a revival of interest in a mode of transport which is too valuable to be allowed to fall into disuse.
Some Pointers for Designers.
IN a little less than two months the Commercial Motor Vehicle Exhibition will once more be upon us. There are many hopes amongst users that chassis designers and builders will have benefited by the lessons of the past and paid more attention to details which, individually, may not seem of great importance, but, collectively, may do much to make or mar a vehicle.
In a commercial vehicle it may truly be stated that it is the little things that count. The average chassis is usually reliable as regards its major units, but it is quite possible for the failure of a very small part to cause expensive delays. Small and inefficient filters in engines, ineffective selector-rod locking devices, wheel-retaining nuts which do not fulfil their purpose, and dozens of other features—fortunately not all to be found in any one chassis—all should receive attention.
There is much to be done in rendering the wearing parts impervious to water and grit, this applying particularly to steering joints and brake-rod connections. In remarkably few chassis is any really satisfactory attempt made to guard these vital points.
It should hardly, be necessary to refer to the matter of accessibility and the influence it exercises upon maintenance costs, but even now glaring examples of lack of thought in-this direction are quite easy to find. It should never be essential to interfere with one important unit to give access to another, and yet to remove some clutches it is necessary to disturb the back axles I Adequate lubrication is still often far too difficult a task involving, possibly, hours of labour. We hope to see more employment of centralized or partially centralized systems which will avoid the blinding of important lubricating points by careless body-building.
We have only referred to a few of the many directions in which improvements may be effected, and we trust that these and others will be found to have received their due meed of thought—`:attention to detail" may well be taken as a slogan by all concerned.
Contributions from Our Driver Readers.
A CCOMMODATION in the appropriate place in La-The Commercial Motor has always been found for practical contributions from drivers and others on matters affecting commercial vehicle maintenance, but whilst we find that many of the letters which reach us are acceptable a certain proportion is not, and we often feel that the writers of the unaccepted letters must experience a measure of disappointment. To avoid this we wish to make clear our views upon the class of suggestion which we consider would interest our readers.
Troubles of a somewhat unusual character occurring on the road or in the garage generally call for ingenuity before they are overcome; these . B18 are always worthy of mention, as are suggestions for improvement which will lead to greater efficiency, economy and greater comfort for the driver, provided that the suggested device is not something which can be bought ready made for a trifling sum.
New kinds of tools that are useful on the road and in the garage we are always willing to describe, provided, again, that they cannot be bought, as we know well that most drivers and mechanics have usually as lunch work as they can conveniently get through in a day and will not be interested to hear how a screwdriver can be made out of an old valve stem, or how a carburetter float was made from a tin that once contained enamel I Such measures are only justified by the Impossibility of obtaining the right article at the time and to enable the person to carry on.
No purpose appears to us to be served by describing how worn-out carburetter parts have been patched and made fit for further service when, nowadays, new parts can be• bought so cheaply.
In the case of the magneto we are always interested in information which comes within the scope of the duties of a driver or mechanic, but we would not encourage tinkering with the vital parts of this very delicate instrument, and would always advocate the replacing of a part rather than the mending of a damaged one, excepting as an emergency job.
The patching-up of shafts by welding collars on to parts that have been legitimately worn out, and the tinkering with worn-out or damaged steering-gear parts (excepting in the case of emergency) we do not welcome, and we feel that many employers would not sanction such measures and that a well-meaning but mistaken man may often get into trouble. for performing operations of the kind.
We are always ready to give publicity to suggested improvements in the design of commercial vehicles, based upon the experience of those who drive them and have to maintain them. Such suggestions are of great value to those who have to design both the chassis and the body, and our Drivers' and Maintenance pages are probably the most direct means of intercommunication between the maker and the user.
Suggestions for detail improvement, such as better accessibility, ease of renewal of parts which require frequent replacement, simplified and improved systems of lubrication, etc., which the , users consider necessary, and as made public in our pages, are carefully noted by those designers whose wish it is to keep their vehicles abreast of the times.
We trust our remarks will help to guide our many correspondents along the lines which will lead to the publieation of their efforts to increase general knowledge.