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A .Refined Machine with a High Smooth Running and Economy. a Manoeuvrability Conti Eight -cylindered Engine. Silence, minent Characteristics. Excellent with Big Body Space
Road I o. 229
THERE is to-day, among commercial-vehicle makers, a tendency—possibly originating out of the weight-saving campaign—to get right to the root of the matter when reducing the size and mass of parts withont rendering them liable to failure under stresses. Instead of merely making them of betterquality material or more scientific design, efforts to lessen the shocks to which they are normally subjected are also discernible.
Smoother power generation is a case in point, and another, the elimination of variations in torque caused by the transmission system itself. Both constitute means for lightening the stresses and diminishing the wear in a large number of parts. Torsional vibration dampers and more efficient universal 'joints are instances of progress of this description in the latter case, whilst a firstclass example, in the former, is afforded by the multiplication of cylinders.
This seems to us to be the first answer to the question, what is the need for an eight-cylindered unit in a goods vehicle? It is not, however, the only answer. A secondary, but none the less highly important, consideration is its probable reaction upon the driver.
Modern conditions have made almost essential everything that enables the driver to maintain his efficiency on the road, and there is no doubt that it is less exhausting to share a cab with a silent, smooth-running prime-mover than with one having more obtrusive characteristics.
Moreover, ample power and liveliness seem to have a psychological effect upon the man in control, the engine's effortless performance, as it were, being reflected in him.
In this connection we must state that there is less noise in the cab of the Fordson eight-cylinder forward-control 2-tonner than in that of any forward-control vehicle we have tested. With 80 b.h.p. available, it is obvious that the vehicle will be unusually lively, B32 but it should be noted that this characteristic is all the more pronounced because of the lightness of the flywheel that the design of the power unit permits.
Taking the wheel, from the weighbridge near Hendon, on which we obtained, at the outset of our day's test,
the gross-weight figures quoted in the accompanying table, we headed the Fordson north-westward along the Edgware Road towards Brockley Hill. At once its ease of control was apparent. The steering is light, the vehicle steady on the road, and the chrtch and footbrake light to operate and quick and smooth to respond.
Although the gear lever is situated behind the engine, that is, approximately in line with the driver's shoulders, so that its manipulation at first seems rather awkward, changes can be made easily. Once we had accus:caned ourselves to the unusually quick speeding-up of the engine when downward changes were made, we experienced no difficulty in altering the ratio in either direction.
On Brockley Hill we made a timed ascent. Chang
ing down early, we approached the fool of the I-in-81section at -40 m.p.h. in"third," our speed dropping to about 38 m.p.h. at the point where the slope stiffens. A few seconds later it fell to 25 m.p.h. and a change to second gear was made. In this ratio the vehicle accelerated, reaching the summit at 30 m.p.h., the quartermile of steep gradient being traversed in 30 secs.
Our fastest time for this hill with
a 3-tonner (we have not climbed it recently with a vehicle better suited for comparison) was, up to this occasion, 50 secs. That will give some idea of the capabilities of this Fordson. Subsequently we ascended the same acclivity from the,corth side, ending the climb at 32 m.p.h. in third gear.
Particular interest attaches to our consumption test, because the view is held by many operators and engineers that eight cylinders are not conducive to economy. The return we obtained, however --with the carburetter pump in use-disproves this view in the case of this particular engine.
Starting from Bignells Corner-the junction of the London-Coventry road and the Barnet By-pass-we drove to the Great North Road, following this highway up the long slope beside Welwyn Garden City and down Digswell Hill to the end of the Welwyn By-pass. We returned to the starting point, via old Welwyn, using third gear for the short, steep ascent out of the village, and top gear for Digswell, which we climbed at 28 m.p.h.
The out-and-return run was 22.3 miles in length and 12.5 pints of petrol were consumed. This works out to give a creditable consumption rate equivalent to 14.27 m.p.g.
A point revealed by our acceleration tests, the results of which are shown in an accompanying graph, is that the engine is capable of high speeds, and should be allowed to " rev " for full advantage to be taken of its capabilities. Despite Its comparatively high corn
pression ratio, however, it evinces no signs of distress when the throttle is opened wide at low engine speed, and "hangs on " well, but its behaviour lower down the scale is definitely overshadowed by the surge of power that is the response to depression of the accelerator at higher " revs."
We have no fault to find with the brakes, adequate retardation being afforded by the pedal which acts on all four wheels (sec accompanying graph). They are not so good as the best on contemporary vehicles, but that is the highest practical standard of comparison.
The hand lever is of the type that is employed to best advantage as a means for holding on the brakes after they have been applied with the foot. From this it might be thought that difficulty would be encountered in starting from rest up-hill. This was proved not to be the case, however, a restart on a gradient of 1 in 6 being accomplished with ease in first gear. Indeed, an attempt in second gear only just failed. This test was rendered no less difficult by being carried out in the dark.
The turning circle of this 118-in, wheelbase model is an eminently noteworthy feature. It renders the vehicle quite surprisingly manoeuvrable. Fully to appreciate the cleverness of design and layout, that' it represents, the big body space available must be remembered.
Space does not permit ,an enumeration of the many attractive points in the construction of this Fordson 2-tonner, which, incidentally, is guaranteed to carry 3 tons. They are well worth investigation by a prospective buyer and many of them are new.
As examples, however, of the steps taken to benefit tip driver, we must mention the sliding roof of the cab, the asbestos-lagged bonnet, and the tinted-glass driving mirror. Among mechanical improvements, there are the construction of the complete cylinder block in a single casting, the ingenious crankshaft counter-balancing system, the employment of centrifugal force to supplement the clutch springs, the substitution of needle-roller for knife-edge bearings at the fulcrum points of the clutch-withdrawal arms, and the latest arrangement of propeller-shaft and tail-shaft bearings.
many details that combine with its major characteristics to give this Fordson a first-class performance on the road with the minimum amount of maintenance—in short, to ensure a long life of economical and efficient service. These are but a few of the