Automobile accessories reviewed

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SPARKING PLUGS

Sparking plugs have been in the news just lately mainly because of the “Golden Lodge” controversy. However, as well as Golden Lodge we have been testing several other makes of sparking plug, including Champion, Autolite and Fire Injector. The Champion and Autolite are conventional single-electrode plugs, although the American-made Autolite has only just been introduced in England. The Fire Injectors are sold by Birmingham Autocessories and are unusual in being of similar type to the Golden Lodge. They were brought to our attention by readers who asked us to check the claims made by Birmingham Autocessories that power can be increased up to 20 b.h.p. and fuel consumption decreased by up to 6 m.p.g. Another claim made was that they would outlast four or five sets of normal plugs. They were originally priced at 10s. each but when Golden Lodge were introduced they were reduced to 8s. 6d. Birmingham Autocessories willingly supplied a set for a staff Sprite and they have now been in use for several months and have covered about 5,000 miles. The car was nearly three years old when the plugs were fitted and was beginning to burn oil, so this seemed to be a very good test for the Fire Injectors. During the ensuing period the car has never failed to start and the plugs have always functioned perfectly even during a period when a carburetter was temporarily supplying a very rich mixture. When the plugs were removed for examination the electrodes showed none of the normal signs of combustion and they were virtually as clean as when they were fitted.

We did not expect any improvement in power or consumption and found none. If anyone ever does achieve an extra 20 b.h.p. and 6 m.p.g. with a set of sparking plugs they will have difficulty keeping up with the demand! However, despite these grossly exaggerated claims the Fire Injectors do work, which is more than could be said for the various sets of Golden Lodge which we tried in staff cars.

The other plugs we have been trying are Champion and Autolite but as they have only been in use a short while we can say little about them except that they work. It is of interest to note that Autolite do manufacture special racing plugs and will make recommendations for specific engines.

SLIP PRODUCTS

Four new products from Slip arrived in the office recently. These are No-Ice, Lock Oil, All-5 and Copa-Slip. No-Ice costs 7s. 6d. a bottle and is a windscreen spray to prevent or remove ice from windscreens. Although no chemical formula is given the smell suggests that tri-chloroethylene is the main constituent. It was successful in removing heavy frost from the windows of a car but required nearly half a bottle to do so, and a plastic scraper did the job just as well. Its best use would seem to be in prevention rather than removal. The Lock Oil in a small bottle with a detachable nozzle, costs 2s., and seems to have the same formula as the No-Ice. It is certainly useful to squirt into frozen door locks; as it frees them almost immediately. Slip All-5 is a radiator additive costing 8s. 6d. a tin which, it is claimed, seals leaks, stops rust, repairs cracked blocks, lubricates the water pump and prevents over-heating. When added to the radiator it turns the water bright red, and should there at some future time be an internal engine fault which gives rise to leaks into the water it will turn yellow. We have fortunately not had the misfortune to discover if this stuff works but will let you know if it does. Likewise we have not yet had the opportunity to try the Copa-Slip, which is an assembly compound of copper and lead in a bentone base which is claimed to keep nuts, gaskets, plug threads, wheel studs. etc., free from seizing after long periods exposed to the weather. It costs 4s. a tube.

MOTO-METER INSTRUMENTS

Among several items which we have been testing from the German Moto-Meter firm are a rectangular water temperature gauge and a tyre pressure gauge. The temperature gauge has been fitted to a staff A40 and has been most useful in checking of the water temperature, especially in cold weather when it tends to run very cool. It can either be fitted by cutting a suitable hole in the facia or attached under the facia with the bracket provided. Fittings are provided to fit either in the cylinder block or for cutting a hole in the radiator hose. This gauge costs £3. 3s. The Moto-Meter tyre gauge is of the circular type with a scale reading from 10-50 lb. which is also calibrated in kilos. The needle stays at the tyre pressure until the re-set button is pressed. The gauge has a chrome finish, is fitted in a plastic wallet, and costs 15s. 6d.

TWO TORCHES

A torch is always useful for the motorist and few of us bother with them until the car breaks down on an unlit road. The Super 200 made by Gulton Industries (Britain) Ltd. is of rather futuristic design but has some useful features for the motorist. It is of the rechargeable type and is supplied with an adaptor for use with 100 or 220/250-volt sockets. Another adaptor is available to enable the torch to be charged from a car cigar-lighter socket, either 6 or 12 volt. The Super 200 has a leather carrying strap to enable it to be hung up, allowing two free hands, and it has a magnet in one side to enable it to be attached to any metal part of a car body. The switch is luminous. The Super 200, which is guaranteed for five years, costs £3 17s. from retailers. Cheaper pocket models are also available.

Another useful torch for motorists is the Acculux rechargeable model by Chilton Products Ltd., of Hungerford. It is small and compact, easily slipped into the pocket, and has several useful features. It can be recharged from mains or car facia socket and is claimed not to lose power if left unused for long periods. It has a luminous bulb reflector to enable it to be located in the dark. There are several useful accessories for motorists including a reading glass and an angle holder. It costs 34s 9d and is guaranteed for 12 months.