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31st May 1921, Page 32
31st May 1921
Page 32
Page 33
Page 32, 31st May 1921 — MOTOR VAN ADAPTATIONS.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

How to Get a Light Van Cheaply. By Henry Sturmey.

POST cost is the great stumbling V block with many of the smaller firms, and with others also, whose capital is being very closely worked, when it comes to the matter of buying a light van. They appreciate, and fully realize, the advantage one would be to them, but the cost ! They feel that they really cannot afford it, because capital is wanted in so many other directions and oven a light van may run them into 000 or .C700. To such, the Ford van and truck have proved a veritable god send, owing to their low price. But even these ubiquitous American vehicles do not suit everybody, for the one is

built to carry loads of 750 lb.—say, 7 cwt.—and the other, 2,000 lb.—say, 18

cwt.—and the wants of the trader cover many intermediate, as well as extra, load requirements.

Befere the war, when second-hand cars of all kinds could be picked OF for an old songs--I have known many an old, but still serviceable, though out-of-date, 20 or 30 h.p. car bought for as many pounds—and converted to commercial uses. This was usually done by fitting a van body and replacing the pneumatic tyres with solids ; but. such a conversion was not often an unqualified success, because loads were imposed which the back axle and springs were never constructed to carry, and the solid tyres accentuated the defect.

To-day, however, cord construction of pneumatic tyres has been brought to such a practical point that, if larger and puncture-proof tyres are employed, there will not be the same amount of risk to be encountered in this respect as formerly, provided it is remem bered that the chassis of such ears were not built for heavy loads, and that not

more than, say, 10 to 18 cwt. loads, according to The make and construction, can be carried on them.

The prices of second-hand cars, especially of those with big engines, are coming down once more to reasonable propor tions, by reason of high car taxation and other factors. But when a car is used for commercial purposes, the high taxation on the big engine does not apply, and a new field for these old stagers is opened up. Before purchasing such a chassis, however, it will be advisable to have it inspected and passed as sound by a practical engineer, for there is always the chance of a novice being sold a dud."

For quite light van work, however, another means may be adopted of secur

ing the service .required, if the trader

is already the possessor of a car, for he can use it for both business and pleasure by the employment of a trailer. It is always easier to draw a load than to carry it and a light trailer can be hitched on to any car and made to carry the load. This puts no stress on the carrying members of the chassis and, more over, the taxation on a trailer is small.

For light loads up to 10 or 12 cwt. this forms a very practical and a very cheap

means of dealing with the goods transport problem and, even when an old touring car has been adapted to van work, it will he sound policy to keep its.

D30 carried load below, rather than above, its capacity and to carry the rest on a trailer. This is indeed, a very practi

cal method of is, with loads which are greater on certain days of the week than on others, and is more economical than employing a van capable of carrying the largest loads required and working it at only half capacity half the time.

American ingenuity, however, has endeavoured to fill the breach by special and entirely novel methods and, by the supply of specially designed adaptation equipment, to enable obsolete• touring cars of all kinds to be adapted to van work without imposing unfair stresses on the load-carryingparts of the chassis and, by similar means, they also adapt small-load van chassis to larger load requirements both as regards bulk and weight. The main idea in all these adaptations, or conversion units, is that, whilst the engine power in a car, designed for light passenger work, is fairly large because speed and rapid hill-climbing capacity is desired, it is ample to deal with much larger loads at a slower speed, provided that means may be found for supporting, i.e., conveying, the extra loads. The engine, therefore, is relied on to provide te power required, and the front wheels and axle Dnd steering gear are called on for the

guidance and, control of the complete outfit.

The difference in the methods adopted relates to the means employed of carrying the load and conveying the power of the engine to the special wheels entrusted with the work of load carrying and propelling the vehicle. Variations of most of the American forms are now being built in this country and experience over a period of years has shown that such constructions are entirely practical and enable an efficient light van to be provided at a minimum of cost.

Whilst in America such constructions are supplied for use with any make of chassis, all that are built here; and most of those in the States, were designed particularly for use with the Ford car and truck, the large engine, the high standardization and the enormous numbers of the Ford productions, as well as their low price, lending themselves well to such development. In these devices, inventive ingenuity has been expended in two directions: one to increase deadload capacity and the other to increase bulk-load capacity. In the former, the simplest and cheapest device carries the load on special springs and wheels, the load being conveyed to the wheels through the medium of what are called brackets, which, through the springs, are attached, not to the chassis, but the body. These carry the load and take the weight off the Ford axle, which is used only to apply the torque or power to the wheels, to which it isdirectly attached.

The more usual method, however, is to carry the load on a special chassisframe extension, supported by a. separate axle, the wheels being driven by chains or gearing from the Ford axle, which is used as a countershaft. In other words, it may be likened to wedding the front portion of a Ford chassis with the rear, or load-carrying portion, of a truck. These constructions are supplied for the conversion of the Ford car or van chassis to the work of tarrying loads of from 15 to 25 cwt., and cost from about £60 for the first-named type to £115 for the latter, whilst, where leads up to 30-35 cwt, are required, special conversions are sold which enable the Ford ton truck to deal with such loads in a similar manner As both the Ford van and the Ford ton truck are rather small in their platform length and, consequently, are unsble to carry their normal loads if such ire of a bulky nature, further inventive mgenuity has beefi expended in devising ihassis extensions, which will meet this difficulty and in such trades as, for in;tance, that of cardboard box making ind such light but bulky articles, these txtensions will be found very useful, more aarticularly as they, also, slightly .in:tease the dead-load carrying capacity, is it is arranged with them that the oad is supported at the farthest pos:lisle distances apart on the axle, and as dose to the wheels as possible. These !onstructions consist, usually, of extenion frame members—practically the ear end of a truck chassis frame, with pecial side springs—and the Ford car mr truck axle is brought bodily back rent 18 ins, to, in some cases, as much a 5 or 6 ft., thus lengthening wheelbase asrreapondingdy ; whihst special transnission extensions are provided in the onger models so that, altogether, it nil be seen tIlat, the ways and means ,f getting s useful light van at a model-te cost are many and there is a wide election.

There is on the market, as Mr. Seerley in his article indicates, a useful election of conversion sets for Ford hauls, and the following particulars ery briefly set out the specification of ach type. The success of these sets is mply roved by the large number that aye been supplied, and that are everyhere to-be seen on the road contributig their quota to the transport facilities f the -country.

The Baico conversion set consists of a omplete underfrarne for the portion of he chassis which carries the load, the reight being taken on a 21 in. square

elid-steel axle. The existing axle of he Ford chassis is clamped in the new nderframe above the springs, and beomes a countershaft, to the shaft ends being attached chain sprockets. instead of the road wheels. Chains connect the sprockets with the chain rings on the road wheels, the gear ratios being reduced so that increased load shall put no added strain upon the engine shaft or transmission. The conversion can be made very quickly. It, increases the

wheelbase of the vehicle to 10 ft. B ins. and the overall chassis length to 14 ft. 7 ins. The platform space from dashboard to end of chassis is 12 ft. 3 ins. or 13 ft. 6 ins., as may be required, and a body 4 ft. 8-ins. wide can be accommodated. The price of the set is £115 with five steel wheels and two solid tyres, and £110 with two artillery wheels fitted with solid tyres. The capacity of the Baico-Ford is given as 30 cwt., whilst with special 50 in. springs and extra brakes bodies up to15 ft. in length for passenger service can be accommodated. The Baico set is supplied by Baum Patents, Ltd., 115, Fulham Road, London, S.W. 3.

The Olson conversion set is a slip-on steel frame, 9 ft. long, which, when attached, extends 4 ft. 7 ins, beyond the rear cross-member of the Ford one ton chassis, or 3 ft. 1 in. beyond the rear axle, which is placed 18 ins, further to the rear, by the employment of a new propeller shaft of greater diameter and 18 ins, longer than the original shaft: The Ford rear springs are removed, and the weight of the load is carried direct to the wheel hub and not to the axle by means of specially designed yoke brackets. Semi-elliptic springs 52 ins. long -are provided. The wheelbase is increased from 10 ft. 4 ins. to 11 ft. 10 ins. with a proportionate increase in the body space, whilst the load capacity of the converted vehicle is 11 tons. The price of this conversion set is £75. There is made a special frame extension for vehicles to be employed in the timber trade by which a farther 2 -ft. 6 Ms, can be added to the wheelbase, bringing it

to 14 ft. 4 ins. The propeller shaft in this case is larger, and is divided, the two parts being coupled by a universal joint supported on an extra steel crossmember of the frame. The price of this set is £87 10s. The Olson set is supplied by Brame°, Ltd., Sts Nicholas Street., Coventry.

The Karyton chassis adapter is de signed to convert the Model T Ford chassis into a 30 cwt. vehicle. It consists of a supplementary frame having three cross-members. Substantial semi-elliptic springs insulate the frame from the axle and wheels, which latter are of the artil lery type with solid tyres. The power is taken from driving pinions fixed to the differential shafts through short roller chains to the road wheels. The wheelbase is lengthened to 8 ft,. 6 ins., the permissible overhang behind the axle of the adapter being 4 ft. This gives a space of 7 ft. 6 ins, behind the driver's

seat, and the conversion is capable-of being readily carried out. The price of the set is £92. 10s. It is supplied by Morris, Russell and Ltd., 163-165, Great Portland Street, Co.,ondon, W.1.

The Stento-Ford conversion set embraces and reinforces the Model T Ford chassis completely on three sides, as it starts from the radiator and it is 11 ins. wider in the frame than the original vehicle. The shorter axle housing and countershafts which are supplied bring the rear wheels in line with the front, instead of throwing them some distance out. The axle housing being rigidly bolted to the frame, it is equipped with chain pinions on the ends of the shafts, and thus becomes a countershaft, and from the pinions 11 in. roller chains

• (each link being a master link) convey the power to the chain wheels fixed to the new solid-tyred artillery wheels which run on the solid axle.

The brakes are substantial. being 14 ins, in diameter and 3 ins. wide.

The wheels are made of hickory, and in the eight years that they have been on the market the manufacturers (The Stentophone (Jo., Ltd., Alceder Road, Moseley, Birmingham) have never heard of one breaking up. Three sizes of sprockets can be provided, giving reductions from 20 to 42, 22' to 42, and from 24 to 42 teeth. A vehicle equipped with the lowest gear ratio will mount any ordinary hill in England with a 30 cwt. load on top gear, whilst it will take 2 tons over ordinary country roads. The higher gear ratios, however, are better for the engine, and 20 miles per hour at a moderate engine speed is always attainable. The price of this attachment is £105, subject to rebate for displaced parts.

The description of the Baico set, described earlier virtually fits the set made by Rejax, Ltd.,-of 30, Accessory Rouse,

Percy Street, Tottenham Court Road, London, W. 1. It is described as a 25 cwt. truck unit, and heavy artillery type wheels are included in the specification. The price of this unit is £11.3 10s.

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