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10th October 1918
Page 17
Page 18
Page 17, 10th October 1918 — FORD VAN POINTERS.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

By R. T. Nicholson (Author of "The Book of" the Ford")

WITH REGARD TO spanners and wrenches, never use an adjustable spanner when you can use a fixed wrench. An adjustable spanner ,is really a makeshift—something that will "do," though it will do it rather badly, unless you are very careful.

34.—Spanners and Wrenches.

The main objection to an adjustable spanner is that it is never really a fit for a nut, no matter how carefully you adjust it. There is, by the nature of the ease, always a certain amount of slackness in its grip. The jaws are never really rigid. Even the best adjustable spanner yields a bit in its bite. An old sloppy " adjustable spanner slips all the tittle. The jaws are not merely loose : they are not parallel. If you can manage it, do not use an adjustable spanner except for small, light nuts which readily loosen and tighten.

So far as size is concerned, there is not a great variety of nuts on the Ford. You can buy sets of fixed wrenches which will fit all the more important nuts. Such a set is well worth having. A fixed wrench fits : it does not round off the corners of the hexagons : it does not slip and send your hand flying off to hit something jagged. These evil things are done by the adjustable spanner.

There are some parts of the Ford van on which you should never-use any-lout the proper tools. Let me set them out seriatim. * The hub caps.—The proper tool is provided in the kit. Use it, and be sure that you get it well, truly and squarely on to the hexagon of the cap, or you will get the brass badly "-chewed up." The cap is very

slight (like many other Ford parts), though quite substantial enough for the purpose for which it is made, which is to cover the hub and keep the grease in.

The sparking plugs.—ln the standard tool kit there is a spanner that exactly fits the standard Ford plugs —the Champion X. As the original plugs get used up, you are quite likely to replace them with odd plugs which you happen to buy just because they happen to be on offer at shops when you want to buy. Then, the chances are, your kit wrench will not fit them, and you will have trouble in removal. (Inser


tion s generally easy enough with any old spanner it

is the removal that bothers.) And if you have trouble in removing a sparking plug; the odds are that the spanner will slip, your hand will fly off, and you will gash yourself badly, and very nasty wounds can be caused in that way.

So, as you cannot always be buying fixed spanners to fit odd-sized plugs, do the other thing : buy plugs to fit your kit spanner. You are not bound to buy Cham-pion X Plugs, though I have nothing to say against them. 'There are, however, k plenty of good Englishmade plugs that will fit the it spanner. Get them or Champion X plugs.

Again in using the kit spanner, see that it is really on the Plug, and on that part of it—the hexagon part —which it is meant to hold. Do not have it half on : get it right on. Remember that it is very easy to break a porcelain with a spanner, either the porcelain of the plug on which you are working, or that of a. neighbouring plug, should the wrench slip. You will very often crack a porcelain that way without knowing it at the time. A light tap will often start a fracture, and the crack may go unnoticed at the time. More plugs are damaged in that way than anybody knows.

The cylinder head bolts.—No adjustable spanner will budge these. You may be able to insert the bolts —loosely—with an adjustable spanner, but you must have a stout socket spanner for their removal. One in now supplied in the standard tool kit, though prior to' 1914 this was not so.

And in this case slipping of the tool may have bad results, there being so many angry corners in the neighbourhood. Get the socket well over the bolt head, therefore, and see that you pull in such a way that the socket is over the whole of the bolt—that the lower edge of the socket lies flat and flush on the cylinder head itself, not tilted. It is apt to-get tilted unless you are careful in your pull. The oil drain plug and the differential plug ought really to be tackled with fixed all-round wrenches, and, by "all-round," I mean wrenches that have no open side, but completely surround the nut or plug

head. These two plug heads are very shallow, and can only be properly turned with a wrench of the kind described. In these two cases, however, an adjustable wrench will servo at a pinch, because, the threads of the plugs being greasY, they yield readily, and, further, if the tool slips you are unlilielY to gash yourself against anything in the neighbourhood.

Never use grip-pliers for anything but the lightest work, and not even for that, if you can help it. Grippliers are sheer instruments of torture. Their pressure or grip rounds off the angles of the nuts, even without any slipping of the tool—and the tool is pretty sure to slip if it is a matter of applying real force. _There is only one part on the Ford on which grip-pliers ought to be used—the radiator stay rod. It has to be turtied back foe removal of the radiator, into which it screws. I have often thought that it would be a good thing if the Porci Co. would square part of the rod in question, so that it could be turned with a wrench. As it is' the job is awkward and botchy. I do not care greatly for box spanners for use on the Ford, though they are of great value for -work on most motors. They do not seem to come in much for Ford work. At the points where they could be used— that is to say, at points where the spanners could be got on to the nuts—box spanners are not, in my experience, hefty enough on the Ford.

35.--Sparking Plugs.

I hold no ,brief for any particular make of plug. There is no "beet." There is a certain amount of pure luck -about the service that any individual plug will give : it may stand up for thousands of miles, or it ma,y break down almost before it gets warm.

One point clews, however, seem to me to be absolutely cocksure with regard to plugs—that it pays to use mica plugs rather than porcelain plugs. After long experience, I deliberately say that I cannot un derstand why any manufacturer should go on using porcelain for the insulator—at all events, for the exposed portion of the insulator. It is true that mica is not so perfect as porcelain for insulation of the high-tension current, but it is good enough. It is true, too, that, after a certain length of life and after a certain amount of oil soaking, it loses some of its original insulating properties, but, even then, it is still good enough.

On the other hand, porcelain, though an excellent insulator, is as delicate as a baby, and wants as much care. Treat it at all roughly, give it even an unintentional smart tap, and pop goes the porcelain.

An odd drop of water on it when it is hot will crack it. Heat will crack it—engine heat, without the help of water. Pressure will crack it -when you are assembling the parts of a plug after taking it to pieces for cleaning purposes, and you are trying to make everything gastibt by screwing the retaining nut home. Ahd, of course, a cracked porcelain nearly


always causes misfiring. The high-tension current will escape wherever it gets a chance, and a crack is a good enough chance for it. One of the most perplexing kinds of misfiring is caused by a plug with a very slightly-cracked porcelain. The crack may be so minute that you cannot see it at all upon investigation. It may be so tiny, that the engine will behave perfectly till she gets well warmed up, and then the misfiring will start, ceasingagain when the engine cools down a bit. Inlet behaviour is due to the fact that a very small crack does not mean loss of insulation, though, if that small crack is opened out by heat,. .leakage of the current will result in a "short." Now mica does not behave in that way at all. A mica, body is sturdy : you can whack it all you like with your tools and it will ri\ever split on you. Heat does not worry it, and it rather likes water, when hot. True, it will go off duty if it gets flooded with oil,

but, then, it is no worse a. culprit in that respect than porcelain. I say it deliberately, for every hundred miles I can get out of porcelain I can get a thousand out of mica —and that is understating the case. Mica plugs are more expensive in first cost, but in cost per mile and in freedom from worry they are worth far more than they cost. These are my personal views-: they may be wrong, but there they are. If you use porcelain plugs, remember that a plug is not finished for good and all merely because its porcelain cracks. You can get replacement porcelains for Champion X plugs, at all events, and also certain other replacement parts. In taking to pieces and reassembling, note carefully how the parts lie. In finally tightening up the nut that bears on the porcelain, remember what I have slid above about liability. to cracking, and go gently to work. You only want, joint. But make a gastight But make a gastight But do not tighten up with the engine running, or " Auk i What a shock I "


People: R. T. Nicholson

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