I have just been reading your correspondent H. Lang’s letter, regarding Ford reliability with great interest. Some of his figures have given me a good deal of thought.
First, assuming that he is not exaggerating when he says the cam followers were nearly worn away, I am loath to believe that the car was still giving the same fine performance at 70,000 miles as it had given when new, let alone at 97,500 miles, when the valve needed checking every day. Surely followers do not suddenly collapse in this manner without at least an inkling of the trouble to come? Cam trouble on an M.G. I owned showed itself in a decrease in power over a long period, and on an A40 with which I was associated, though the owner was quite happy, a driver new to the car could see at a glance that the power was not up to much under similar conditions to those described by Mr. Lang.
Second, if Mr. Lang changed his oil every 1,500 miles—and I think the Consul has about a 1-gallon sump, give or take a pint— this represents a cost for oil alone of about £69. Note, not for oil consumed, just for oil thrown away. By this reckoning Mr. Lang had just about paid for his new engine at 60,000 miles. If on the other hand, he had not changed his oil so regularly but had relied on a clean filter, would his engine have collapsed any faster? Evidence I have personally been able to accumulate, regardless of oil companies’ propaganda, seems to indicate that his engine would have lasted just as long, though perhaps needing decarbonizing a little more frequently.
Some of his replacements, too, have given me some thought. New rear springs and a new radiator, for example, and the new wheel bearings. I wonder if the radiator gave up through overheating caused by binding rings early on in the car’s life? ‘Tis possible. In view of the Motor Sport “that car again” achieving 42,000 miles on two of five tyres, presumably sportingly driven as well, Mr. Lang, with 20,000 miles per set of tyres, might well query (a) his driving habits, (b) his adhesion, and (c) his make of tyres. With heavily-loaded lorries run by B.R.S. achieving 100,000 miles per set of tyres (I have checked these figures), there is surely no excuse for today’s average car tyre running for less than 50,000 under normal driving and proportionately less under sporting driving. On a Y-type M.G. I owned I was assured that I had less than 5,000 miles left on the front tyres when I bought the car, by a reputable tyre agent; 10,000 miles later I was given the same diagnosis on the same tyres: so maybe Mr. Lang had the same treatment.
I am. Yours, etc.,
Alan H. Gayfer – London, E. 8.