Is it not time that “mechanics” at M.O.T. testing stations were introduced to the spring-loaded type of ball joint used on some pre-war cars? Each time I take my car (P.V.T. class) for the test I have a similar conversation with the knowledgeable little man who informs me that the steering is unsafe. It goes something like this: “Sorry mate, I’ll have to fail it.” “Oh, why?” “One of yer ball joints moves up and dahn.” “Yes, I know, it’s spring-loaded, but there’s no sideways wear.” “Oh no, mate, just up and dahn; I can’t pass it like that.”
Obviously getting nowhere I drive sadly home, unscrew the cap from the offending joint, remove the spring, insert a sixpenny piece (which happens to be just the right size), then replace the spring and screw cap. This procedure takes up the spring action and there can then be no “up and dahn” movement.
Returning to the garage. I find the “mechanic” and tell him all is now well. He checks and agrees. The certificate in hand, I usually inform him that the joint is, if anything, more dangerous now as there is more strain to force the ball out. This, of course, he fails to comprehend, and I return home to remove my tanner and the farce is over for another twelve months.
I enclose a sketch of the joint for your use. Should you decide to publish this letter, and I hope you will, I shall be glad if, for obvious reasons, you refrain from publishing my name and address.
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