Opinions from Others.
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A Tire Failure.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,--The peculiar behaviour of a tire DO an Army Service Corps wagon in France may interest you. The top half of the tire came clean away, leaving a layer of rubber round the wheel of a depth about half that of the original new tire. This had a perfectly smooth circumference, and apparently the second layer had been laid on to the other one and cemented to it by some means, instead of the whole tire being moulded as one.—Yours DRIVER A. JONES, la EMI Sup. COL , B.E.F.
Are Self-starters Desirable for Vans?
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir —I noticed in your issue of the 12th ult. an interesting letter dealing with the advisability of employing self-starters for delivery vans, and, as the writer of the letter asks for other users' opinions, perhaps my experience with them will be of interest. Several months ago I took delivery of a one-ton American-made van, for use in connection with my
laundry business. I purchased a van which was fitted with a. self-starter, as I had been informed on good authority that for my class of work, where stopp-ages are very numerous, it would be much cheaper to operate, whilst the engine would consume less petrol.
The van has run splendidly, and I had no fault to find with the self-starter until quite recently.
My business had increased to such an extent that I ordered another delivery van of the san.',e make as previously purchased, but this time without a selfstarter, as the machine was to be used for longdistance deliveries, and I considered this fitting for such work was an unnecessary expense. I had only had this machine in service a few weeks when I found that I was getting a lima better mileage per gallon of spirit consumed. As I thought it unfair to compare the two m.p.g.s obtained, bearing in mind the different class of deliveries the vans were making, I put this new ma-chine on the doorto-door delivery work, simply as an experiment, for one week. I was rather astonished to find that at the end of the week 1 was several gallons of spirit to the good, when the van had covered the average
weekly mileage. I kept this vehicle on these deliverie-s for a further three or four weeks, and I found that the result was exactly the came ; in fact I was getting several more miles to the gallon of petrol.
In consequence of this result, I have had the selfstarter removed from my other v.chicle, and I find that I am already getting better petrol-consumption
figures. I do not know why the petrol consumption was excessive on the van fitted with the self-starter, as I always had an idea that the fitting of this device afforded several advantages, a-_-_;1 was in addition economical. In my ease, however, it certainly possessed advantages, but these we-e outweighed by its being uneconomical.
Perhaps you, or some of your rea en, can give me an explanation.---Yours faithfully
`` SOL-9..,ERN LALTYDRv."
A Roller-bearing Universal Joint.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—With reference to the roller-bearing universal joint described on page 543 of your issue of
the 26th August, you may not be aware that this joint has been tried and rejected by a prominent firm of commercial-vehicle manufacturers in the States. It is subject to rapid wear, for the take-up of which there is no provision. That this must be so is obvious from a little study of the illustration which you pro vide. Any motion in the joint is transmitted by means of the tapered rollers, as is stated in the de
scription. It is, furthermore, suggested that any wear may be taken up by projecting these rollers a little further towards the centre of the joint. It is evidently presumed that the only place where wear is likely to occur is either on the exterior of the rollers themselves or on the surfaces on which they impinge. Surely, if the contact is rolling, wear should on these surfaces be at a minimum. Actually the greatest frictional resistance will occur between the-pins on which the rollers are fitted and the bored holes in the
rollers themselves. Once this has occurred it is obvious that there is no means of adjusting the pins, and that the deterioration of the joint will continue at an increasing rate thenceforth. It is interesting to note that the component is only made in one size intended to take from 30 h.p. to 60 h.p. Apparently the varying torque on the propeller shaft resultant from the imposition on the rear axle of loads which may vary from 10 cwt. to 12 or more timesthat joint. —Yours cani be efficiently cared for by the same —Yours faithfully, H. JOHNSON.
American Load Ratings.
The dEditor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—I notice our friend " Ceteris Paribus " has been " on the rampage" again. By the way, why do these men persist in hiding behind a YL0112 dc plume?
I note his remark with regard to comparative weights of American and British chassis for heavy loads, and should like to have some actual evidence
that his figures are cc—rect., as it has undoubtedly been my experience that, eight for w,,ight, American chas sis will carry a much h. ier ioao than British chassis, and when 1 say carry, I mean c cry safely -and. without unduly straining any parts of the chassis.
" Ceteris Paribus " should not think that firms like ourselves take on propositiOns without making sure of our ground, and it may opei.is eyes to hear that the chassis which we are selling as atwo-tonner, and which is sold in the States as a 30-cwt., has been -severely tested with a three-ton load for a considerable period of time, and shows no signs whatever of the abuse which it has had in such overloading. Also the four-tonner which sells in the States as a 31-tonner. we have had specially tested with a fiveton load.
The Editor's postscript to " Ceteris Paribus's " letter explains the whole situation, and this is the attitude 'which we have taken up all along, that American chassis being made for the shocking road conditions of the-States, are by comparison with English road conditions considerably underrated, and we consider that we have had sufficient experience of our particular American chassis to prove that such is undoubtedly the case.
" Ceteris Paribus's " remarks re the Federal Motor Truck Co. prove that he is a hack number, and I would suggest that he and others, of type. do not write on subjects in which they are not absolutely up-to-date.
His idea that the Federal salesman stands corrected is somewhat amusing, as he evidently thinks that this man should have been a prophet, as well as a salesman. The explanation here is, of course, that the four-ton model has been put on the market since last autumn, although, of Pourse, the Federal Co. were experimenting with it some considerable time before that, and although the salesman might not have been aware of the existence of a four-ton model last autumn, his firm undoubtedly were preparing to make it—Yours faithfully, Per pro WHITING 0910, LTD., CHAS. R. CLARK, General Manager. , Where America Comes In.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—The articles re " The American Invasion," going back to the one by " Kriticuss " in your issue of the 1st July, have undoubtedly proved, as you forecasted, that the topic promotes controversy. Your first correspondent is undoubtedly right in many of his premises and deductions, particularly in regard to the future of American trucks in this market. It will be a case of the survival of the fittest, and the fittest, i.e., those who can compete both in quality and prices, will be few, especially since, as you point, out, when the war is over the people now handling them will find they have to fight for trade, and because the day of big contracts is gone. The point wherein several of your contributors " go off the rails" is in regard to American component parts. There are, it is true, many American assembled trucks, which, as is pointed out, are built up of touring-car engines and components ; but, on the other hand, there are a number of firms in the States specializing on the production of engines and components from first to last for truck work, and where these parts are employed, as they are, some of them, in many of America's best trucks as well as in others of lesser repute, there is no reason why the machines embodying them should not give good results, whilst the truck makers and their public get the benefit of the lower costs induced by large specialized output. To particularize, the Wisconsin engine, although in its racing form employed on the Stutz cars, which have figured so well in speed contests in the United States during the past three years, is essentially a truck engine, and, with two exceptions, the Stutz and one other touring car, the entire output is taken by 19 makers of American trucks. We have one here for you to see whenever you are this way, and you will find it is a hefty, substantial construction, with all the " beef " in it necessary for truck work, and. not at all likely to appeal to a pleasure-car maker. Then take the Cotta transmissions (Anglice gearboxes). No touring-car models are made at all. Two types are turned out, one for chain drive, the other for shaft design, and they are listed only as truck transmissions for 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5-tan outfits. Ross steering gears, again, are designed and built for truck work, and, although in their lighter forms, i.e., as designed for 1-ton and 2-ton trucks, they are also used by a number of pleasure-car makers from the Locoinolalle downwards ; more than 75 per cent. of their output is taken by the truck-building trade. The makers are today supplying the needs of no fewer than 86 firms in the 'United States and Canada, and we take this as proof positive that design, workmanship and material are satisfactory.
We may further sax that the above three compo
nents are all embodied in the four-wheel-drive trucks, sonic hundreds of which are; we believe. givinaa-ood service at the Front in the hands of the British Army.
Similarly, there are other firms, such as Keystone Hindley. Timken and Sheldon, who specialize on the nroduction of truck axles ; both the semi-floating and full-floating types are produced. Neither of these firms produces any axles in any way suitable for pleasure-car work. Then there are firms who specialize on steel truck wheels and other components, so that, where assemblers employ parts designed and built for such work, their trucks, if skilfully put together, should, and do, give satisfaction. Of course, pleasure-car parts, being produced in still larger quantities, are cheaper, and where they are on that account employed trouble is likely to ensue, to B50 which extent your contributor's expectations will pro' bably materialize. We will only add that several of these American specialized truck components are now being employed. by British makers who find it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain adequate supplies at home under war conditions.—Yours faithfully,
For BRAMCO, LTD., Coventry. F. M. WHATELET British-born Engineer on the Controversy re American Supplies.
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir —Much has been written recently on the question of 'protecting the British motor industry from the so-called American invasion. As a British-born engineer, who has spent the last 10 years in America, and who is a member of the American Society of Automobile Engineers and the American Engineering Association, may I be permitted to make a few suggestions which might be of some help to British manufacturers at the present time? While many of the leading British builders are engaged on munition making, many others are still furnishing their entire output of lorries of various types to (or through) the War Office. Why should not some of the latter be allowed to devote a large part of their product to the crying need of commercial users, while the authorities make up the difference necessary to supply their own needs with additional American makes, of which there are still several excellent types, procurable in large quantities, but some of which, 'I am credibly informed, have not even been investi-i gated by the War Office up to the present time I So long as it is possible to secure from American manufacturers thoroughly-reliable vehicles to supply war needs, surely it would be better for the War Office to purchase more of these for temporary military purposes and to permit British manufacturers to supply at least part of the permanent needs for their own trade, and thus maintain their goodwill.
This would not only benefit British motor manufacturers themselves' but would enable commercial users to keep their motor fleets standardized. At the present they are in the confused position of having such British vehicles as they had left after the beginning of the war mixed in with American vehicles purchased since, and when the war is over and they go back to British vehicles they will still find themselves for some time with mixed types on their hands. But if, instead of using up almost the whole available supply of British vehicles for military use, as is at present the case, the authorities allowed a larger proportion of thern to be used commercially, the British trade would benefit, and American manufacturers would not be able to flood the country with vehicles for commercial use on a basis which will give them permanent standing,here.
It is all very well to say that "the American invasion cannot last when peace returns, because British vehicles are better." Such a statement is a generality, which will not hold water. Without attempting to make comparisons between British and American makes as a whole, no one who knows his subject can deny that there are certain very highly developed American-built vehicles which are unexeelled either in Britain or anywhere else, and private users, who are now being forced to buy American cars of high quality for their immediate needs, are pretty certain to stick to them after the war is over, if only for the sake of standardizing their equipment. It would be better for the motor industry if the War Office were to supply its temporary needs, as far as possible, with more of these reliable American. makes, and thus enable the British manufacturer to protect his regular trade. The same amount of money would be sent to America for the present, whether the American vehicles are purchased by the War Office or by private individuals, but the advantage would lie in the facts that we should be giving the. Americans the benefit of our trade during the period of the war only, instead of letting them get a foothold here, perhaps, for ever. I trust that this suggestion will be brought to the attention of the authorities, and that they will consider it worthy of adoption.---Yours faithfully, 125, High Holborn, W.C. W. R. McCuLLA.
Does Liverpool Still Sleep?
The Editor, THE COMMERCIAL MOTOR.
 Sir,—It is a paradox that, whilst Liverpool played a pioneer part on behalf of commercial and industrial motors, the while Manchester men were slow to grasp its mighty potentialities (1 refer to the years 1806-1904), the inland port has quite left the " real" seaport far behind in its enthusiastic development of business motoring. This is admitted in Liverpool itself, besides being obvious to the non-prejudiced visitor who is observant.
A strike last year seemed likely to rouse. Liverpool, for 250 motor wagons were simultaneously plying about, or to and from, the .city--a gigantic objectlesson of what the vehicle 3 could do. Incidentally, several firms then realized more than ever that horses, when not on active service, still need feeding and other attention, whereas a motor practically dc.es not.
There ought to be a great development in Liverpool of the use of motors carrying. 10-20 ewt., and again, at the opposite end of the scale, of. the heaviest of heavy motors for the big loads carried from the docks. A Liverpoorcritic, some time ago, averred that, owing to the heavy loads, steel tires were imperative. Why,
one wonders? Rubber is now so much cheaper.
Messrs. T. Blake and Co. lead in Liverpool with some 70 commercial vehicles in use daily, a2-id are agents for Commer, Albion, 'Alden, etc, This firm runs the motor mails from and in Liverpool. One van does 120 miles a day, via Warrington and Crewe, and on benzole has shown an economy of 5 m.p.g.. over petrol—in other words, a 20 per cent. improvement. Not only has a fleet of two-ton Commer vans served well, but a three-ton Commer has done considerably over 40,000 miles on continuous service between Liverpool and Manchester without any serious breakdown. This is but typical, but it should have the effect of helping to rouse Liverpool traders. —Yours
faithfully, S. LOMAX. Batley.