Célestine, looking goodCélestine is a Traction Avant - front wheel drive - car. This means that the front wheels need to do not only steering, but power as well. Whilst it is easy to send power along a straight axle to a wheel and it is easy to make a wheel change direction, it isn't easy to send power along an axle to make a wheel spin and change the direction the wheel is pointing (i.e turny wurny and bendy wendy all at once).
Pay attention at the back there...
The very first Traction Avants had universal joints between the gearbox and front wheels, a very simple and very old solution: the ancient Greeks knew about them even though they probably didn't do front wheel drive chariots. The problem with universal joints is that even when the input shaft (the bit being turned by the gearbox) turns smoothly, the output (the bit attached to the wheel) is irregular. There is a very complex sum here that explains it (don't ask me - I had to have a lie down after 4 lines...)
do do even rotation). My guess is that the irregularities caused by one universal get uncaused by the next.
A double cardan (also from wikipedia)Anyway - this works, and is how Célestine works as well. Except at the moment she isn't working as well as she could, so she is having her cardans looked at. For the past couple of thousand kilometres she has had a slight graunch in the left hand wheel, and it is suspected by people cleverer than me that there could be wear at the end of the cardan.
Célestine, looking poorly at M. Musseau'sM. Musseau did a really good job of a temporary fix so that we could continue working, but now Célestine is with Dr. Traction who has all the proper tools peculiar to the fixing of Tractions Avant. In two days time she should be right as rain, maybe with a new cardan, maybe not.
There. Now that is clear as mud we can all get back to more important things, like weighing the cat.