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THE ALBION 31-4-TONNER
THE policy of Albion Motors, Ltd., Scotstoun, Glasgow, of producing only vehicles of best t quality, with a generous margin of safety against unfair usage, has never varied. Albion chassis are built to be used continuously for several years with a minimum of attention and replacement. They are largely employed overseas (the ground clearance being no less than 101 ins.), whilst at home their worth is appreciated by all who understand the subject of operating costs, and the heavy proportion which depreciation and maintenance represent in costs calculations.
The new Albion 31-4-tonner, which is available with either normal or forward control, gives one the Impression of being built for an even greater pay-load than 4 tons, despite the fact that the company reckons upon a body allowance of more than 1 ton.
The frame, which is massively braced, has a maximum section of no less than 9 ins. by 3 ins., the metal being 154 in. thick, and all other components and bearing surfaces are of equally generous size. Nevertheless, the new model is light and easy to handle and behaves creditably in. regard to fuel economy, average speed, braking, etc.
Good accessibility and maintenance facilities constitute a feature of the 31-4-tonner. A separate gearbox is fitted, so that removal is easily effected, and the power unit is equally simple to detach. The engine auxiliaries are within comfortable reach for adjustment and dismantling. Two interchangeable cylinder heads are fitted, renewable dry cylinder liners are pressed into the block and inserted exhaust-valve seats are employed. The overhead worm housing can easily be removed from the forged banjo-type rear axle to permit of withdrawal of the worm gear and differential.
The brake adjustments are conveniently reached, whilst chassis lubrication is provided for by batteries of greasing nipples. These are in three groups, located on the near-side and off-side frame-members and on the back axle. The petrol tank is slung beneath outriggers on the near side, so that it can be lowered for removal, whilst the instrument board is fixed to the dash, not to the body, so that it is independent of the cab.
To safeguard against over-driving, which would give no material advantage in the time taken for any journey, yet certainly would be bad for both engine and chassis, a
governor is fitted. This cannot be interfered with, except by removal of the front-end timing-gear cover, and it controls a throttle butterfly on the engine side of the carburetter throttle. The manufacturer's attitude, which is a wise one, is to limit the engine speed to that at which it develops nearly its maximum power, this providing a road speed on top gear of nearly 75 per cent. above the legal speed limit. The governor acts at approximately 1,800 r.p.m., the range of its action being limited to 100-150 r.p.m.
In practice the occasional loss of way when commencing a climb after a descent is not considerable—had it been so we should have noticed the fact immediately, for our test was carried out in the hilly country . of Dumbartonshire.
The governed speed in third dear is a 'coinfoetable 18 m.p.h., whilst in second gear it is 9i m.p.h. The first gear provides an emergency ratio, • useful in soft or rough ground or for restarting on a steep gradient. With the lowest gear we were able easily to effect a restart on a gradient of 1 in 6. In ordinary running it is seldom employed, and even on the severe winding ascent of Guilt Brae, which leads from Blanefield Station up to the Stockie Muir Road, first gear was necessary only
for one short section.
This hill, in addition to many others, served to indicate the climbing abilities of the laden chassis. It is nearly three-quarters of a mile in length, and, apart from the 1-ia-6 section, the gradient averages about 1 in 9; there are three acute hairpin bends. The chassis pulled regularly in second gear at a steady 5-6 m.p.h., the ascent causing a rise In the cooling-water temperature from 120 degrees F. to 150 degrees F., the air temperature on the morning in question being 45 degrees F.
the ordinary course of travel in hilly country we noticed the satisfactory engine torque at extremely low speeds; this rendered it possible on many an occasion to hold on to top gear at about 13 m.p.h., the engine being sensitive to manual control of the ignition timing. The acceleration of this model is quite satisfactory for all work on which a 4-tonner is likely to be used.
As regards stability and suspension generous spring dimensions have been the aim of the designer, with the result that there is no tendency whatever for the chassis to 'pitch, whilst the lateral stability, allowing for the fact that the chassis tested was not carrying a high van body, appeared good. This was especially noticeable when taking hairpin bends at fair speed in descending steep hills with wet road surface.
The steering is unusually light, whilst being of comfortably high ratio. The effect of traversing potholes is hardly noticeable. The massive oil-tight worm-and-sector steering box is mounted on the .dumbiron and has a short, stiff drag link, whilst the stub-axle kingpins have tapered-roller hearings.
This brings us to the general question of ease of control. The clutch, with its adjustable disc-type stop, gives a moderately quick change either up or down, whilst the righthand gear lever, acting through multiple selector rods, proved light
to handle. The chassis is, therefore, not difficult to tuanceuvre,
whilst a good point is that its turning circle is under 47 ft. In traffic the machine is responsive and handy.
The brake layout does not incorporate means for compensation, but there is a convenient master adjustment, in addition to the,four separate brake-rod adjusters. The Dewandre vacuum cylinder is connected by a short suction pipe and operates without noticeable time lag.
This is evidenced by the excellent retardation readings which appear in the accompanying graph.
Although the hand brake acts upon the transmission and is correspondingly powerful, it was found that, with care to prevent wheellocking, it could be employed to advantage in conjunction with the foot brake. The result is a strikingly good pull-up, most useful in an emergency. Even without the use of the vacuum service it was possible to check and hold the outfit on a 1-in-7 gradient.
Our fuel-consumption tost corn prised a 30.2-mile non-stop run from Glasgow out to Strathblane and iback, the route being distinctly hilly and above the average of routes in England. The average speed was 18.68 m.p.h. and the consumption reading of 8.825 m.p.g. must be regarded as favourable under these arduous conditions. The speedometer was checked. The Zenith carburetter was dismantled and found to have the following setting :—Venturi, 25; main jet, 120; compensator, 120; slow' running jet, 26-7.
Our test ran into the second day, and we noticed that the engine was started by hand from cold with absolute facility, responding to the first swing of the starting handle. Incidentally, the company fits an electric starter as an extra, whilst provision is also made for a gearboxdriven tyre pump.
In conclusion, it should be noted that this excellent chassis is available as a forward-control model with either 12-ft. 2-in. or 14-ft. wheelbase. With normal control thefl standard wheelbase is 14 ft., but a special 12-ft. 2-in, model can be had for tipping bodies.