Tuesday, 3 April 2012

French for Motors

Having been In France for a while, and having hung around mechanical types for a bit, I thought I would pass on some words I have learnt:

First thing to know is le démarreur: the starter, is different to le starter, which is the choke. This is important in Célestine, because the choke knob and the starter knob look the same except for the fact that the choke says S and the starter says D. Confusing, what.

Then we come to the timing chain/belt. This is commonly referred to as la distribution, which is different to la distributeur (although both can sometimes be la distributeur). Thus it pays to check whether the mechanic is talking about one (courroie distribution, very expensive) or the other (tête de distributeur, less expensive, but modern cars don't usually have one) before agreeing with him. If you have a problem with your
tête de distributeur, (spark timing) it is a problem of alimentation. If you have a problem with your courroie distribution it usually means a new engine.

A random and very lovely engine from Retromobile.
I have no idea what it's from, but I want one.
(further research says it's a Bugatti Type 28 Torpedo 1922)
Another good word is bougies, which are spark plugs (unless you're very English or from the 1930's and call them sparking plugs). Bougies translates as candles, which are usually translated into French as chandelles, except that chandelles are what some people call headlight bulbs.

Another Retromobile engine. No prizes for this one.
The other word I have learned is roue de secours - spare wheel, or literally "the wheel of help". This is a lot easier than talking about having a trou in your pneu.

Trust me on that last one...

Simon

6 comments:

  1. That magnificent engine looks a bit Buggatti'ish... what a work of engineeeeeering art!
    You'd just want to drive around with the bonnet off and see peoples faces... Sorry, Susan and Pauline... other blokes faces!!

    sithinal egialifi... getting the air balanced through both carbs.

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  2. Tim - the radiator certainly resonates Bugatti, but the Fiats were similar. I looked all through my photos, and that's the only one I have of that car.

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  3. By "motors" you mean cars/trucks/vehicles? In the US the motor is what makes the vehicle go.

    Divided by a common language, we are! I enjoy seeing the differences.

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  4. Simon... I did say engine... but you've found out that it is! I was going on all the hand-built components and the machined engine bloque... even if the car wouldn't go, that engine would deserve pride of place on an Art Deco sideboard in the 'best' room.

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  5. And what prey is the french for dual mass flywheel?

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  6. Anon. I am not sure if I know the English for that one...

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