President's Report - July/August 2001

Greetings All,

Our June monthly meeting was addressed by Dennis Backhouse, manager of Woden Tyre and Exhaust in Botany Street, Phillip. Some 20 members present were treated to a thoroughly entertaining and informative talk, focusing on Michelin tyres. Michelins are not manufactured in Australia. Neither do we get our tyres from France. Most are sourced from Asia, where (so Dennis is assured by Michelin) tyres are made to the same exacting specifications as in France, with no loss of quality.

Dennis' talk ranged through useful topics such as how to read the printed information on tyres, the different kinds of treads and their handling properties. He stressed that the single most important factor in obtaining maximum tyre life is correct tyre pressure. This means buying a high quality tyre gauge and regular checking of tyre pressures (every two weeks, say). Furthermore, over-inflation is better than under-inflation in maximising tyre life.

Another interesting tip was that the two best tyres should always be on the back wheels, not the front, even on front-wheel drive cars. This is the opposite to what many of us had always thought, but as Dennis pointed out, worn tyres on the back can lead to oversteer which is a much more dangerous in most situations than neutral or understeer.

A stream of questions at the end of the talk was ample evidence of the success of the talk. So much so that we had to virtually push people out the door to allow Dennis to get away!

Brad Pillans was driving to work recently, cruising (under the speed limit of course) along the Tuggeranong Parkway, when an unusual warning light illuminated on the dashboard of his 505. On stopping, and consulting the owners handbook, the light was identified as low oil level, measured by a sensor on the dipstick. A quick check of the dipstick revealed that indeed the oil level did seem to be low. Funny. No obvious leaks underneath, and a recent service by Bill had revealed nothing unusual. In fact Bill has always been suspicious of Brad's 505 because it has no engine oil leaks at all! Another quick check also revealed no oil container in the boot, so Brad drove slowly to the nearest petrol station (he refuses to call them service stations, because they don't provide "service" any more) and bought some oil. A few hundred mils of oil were duly added, only to discover that the oil level was now above normal. On querying Bill the next day, he told Brad that the best thing he could do was take the warning light bulb out and throw it away. Problem solved, according to Bill!

Conclusion: the measurement of engine oil level on the dipstick can be very unreliable unless the car has been sitting, with the engine off, on level ground, for some time.

A friend of a friend was in need of a cheap car recently. Melrose Peugeot had just traded a well-worn, but mechanically sound 504, which they wanted to shift for $400, so he was sent in their direction. On arrival, he immediately turned his nose up at the 504, and bought an equally well-worn Mitsubishi Colt for $1000. No accounting for taste! A few days later, a 405 owner from Wagga Wagga needed major work done on his car and had to leave it in Canberra. The 504 was promptly bought as a stop-gap measure, and was last seen heading to Wagga. Beats hiring a car for a week, especially if the 504 is re-sold for a profit!

Keep on Pugging,

Brad Pillans

Picture of Brad

Trivia Question

How many 203's were entered in the 1953 Redex Round Australia Trial, and how many finished?

Answer: Eleven 203's were entered, in a total field of some 180 cars, and all eleven finished.