Traction Avant

I note with interest that the letter from Mrs. Halliday is the only one you have received on the subject of B.M.C. constant velocity joints. I have experienced a faulty joint in my 1964 M.G. 1100, but have not hitherto written to anybody because I assumed, from what I had read and heard, that it would be a waste of time. One of my car joints became noisy on cornering at 8,000 miles, when the car was just over a year old. The rubber gaiters are sealed at each of their ends by an aluminium ring crimped into position. The crimping operation had apparently not worked well on the noisy joint, and the ring was fairly loose. On cutting it and peeling back the gaiter I found very little grease and a large amount of water which had washed the grease from the working parts. The gaiter itself was undamaged. The other joint was found to be all right and is still so at 15,000 miles. After drying, repacking with grease (at the handsome price of 2s. 2d. for 1.1 oz.), and wiring the gaiter tightly on, the joint worked quietly for 4,000 miles and then became noisy again. More water was found inside, not surprisingly, since the gaiter had to seal against the roughly machined outside of the stub axle.

At about this time the publicity on this subject arose, and as I became worried about possible corrosion fatigue of the now rusty parts, I decided to replace the joint. I telephoned the suppliers of the car explaining the situation and asking if they would like to investigate. They said they were not interested and advised me to write to B.M.C. but said they would replace the joint for a charge of £15. As I was about to go on holiday I decided to buy and fit a joint, and went along to their spares department. They told me that they had no joints in stock and that even if they had they would not sell me one as they needed any they could lay hands on for their own workshop. Hardy Spicer, they said, could not keep up with the demand.

I then visited a number of B.M.C. agents with the same result, and my request was greeted with hopeless gestures and, in one case, laughter. The nearest main agents would not accept an order for one as it might take months to come.

My luck then turned and I found an Austin agent with a joint in stock. Later I needed more grease, and had the same sort of experience. It was said that Duckhams could not keep up with the demand. I was tempted to use Unijoynt, which might not be washed away so easily, but eventually located some Duckhams. The joint is now not only wired on, but also glued with Bostik. I am now £5 10s. poorer, but happy, or rather I would be if it were not for the infuriatingly low-geared steering, as Mr. Schacht points out. Does anybody know of an alternative rack-and-pinion assembly, with a much larger pinion, which can be coaxed or bullied into position?

Swanley. M. Rainer.