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  1. #11
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Outside the M25
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    765

  2. #12
    Carburetion 'sucks' !
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Physically within the M25 force field - mentally anywhere else!
    Posts
    506
    Thought it perhaps about time to bring my crap up to date. Blame Malamute for it! he is an inspiration indeed for the 'written' word.

    Tales from the (not so very) fast lane part 8


    I thought perhaps it was time to bring ‘Tales from the (not so very) fast lane up to date. My recent duties after taking over as Chairman of the CCCUK and continuing as editor of Vette News do tend to take up a fair chunk of any spare time I might have in relation to the ‘written’ word.
    A chain of events over the last few days made me realise that perhaps I should continue ‘Tales from the (not so very) fast lane’. It occurred to me earlier this year that an annual ‘issue’ of some description or other seems to happen at the start of each calendar year. These ‘events’ significantly seem to delay use of the Vette until well in the ‘season’.

    I’m writing this in the first week of July, 6 months in to the year. Irritatingly I’ve probably used the car only three times so far this year. Its been the same for the last 4 or 5 years. The first problem this year was a coolant leak. Not a particularly big leak, about half a pint of coolant would be needed to top things up after a run out. To be honest it had been like this for a year or so but was starting to get worse. My maxim of ‘if it ain’t really broke – don’t bother to fix it’ was not paying off. Coolant was being sprayed all around the engine bay, and worse still was leaving nasty and hard to remove stains of all my lovely polished rocker covers, water pump and alternator. I knew the culprit – the water pump, or rather one of the lower water pump to block bolts. Someone at some point in the past had probably used a bolt that was too long (and one of the 4 bolts used to secure the water pump is longer than the others) whatever, it had probably ‘bottomed out’ in the tapped hole in the engine block and stripped the thread. Fortunately it was possible (using a 90 degree chuck adaptor) to drill out the stripped hole, tap it and use a ‘Helicoil’ type insert without a need to remove the radiator. Ever tried drilling cast iron? - its not easy, and so the insert was not a very secure fit – hence I was unable to torque the water pump bolt up to the correct settings (and no doubt why the leak started and gradually got worse as the water pump gasket deteriorated) I was also conscious that the ideal 50/50 coolant/ionised water mix (essential for engines with aluminium heads, radiators etc) was gradually being ‘watered-down’ so to speak. I didn’t want to spend-out £40 or so on coolant only to loose it all if the leak got significantly worse. Anyway to cut a long story short and after several unsuccessful attempts to fix the issue with the ‘dodgy’ thread I hit on the ideal of using a length of studding instead of the OEM style bolt (actually a stainless 12 point ARP bolt) My logic was that I could use some ‘Loctite’ on the thread of the studding, allow it to cure for 24 hours and then instead of tightening a bolt in the insert I would be simply tightening up a nut on the studding and hopefully minimising issues with the dodgy thread in the engine block. So far it seems to have done the job. The alternative of course will be to remove the engine (don’t want to do that), send to a machine shop to accurately install something like a ‘Timesert’. However one ‘iffy’ machining move could potentially mean breaking through in to the water jacket! So far it seems to be holding………….
    The next problem to occur was when I started the engine-up after a trip down to see John Dewey and the Crow Lane lads in Romford. The engine ‘kicked-back’ and the starter wouldn’t engage properly. Later inspection showed that a tooth had been broken off the starter pinion (when the engine kicked-back). Essex member and good buddy Tony ‘Vettehead’ Rudd gave me an old starter off a Chevy truck with a cracked housing and I simply replaced my damaged commutator shaft and pinion with his donated one. Job done (so far….)

    A few weeks later and it was MOT time, and taking the car to the MOT station it was making some odd noises from the rear end. I would accelerate and there was a clonking squeaking noise coming from the rear passenger side wheel/axle area – back-off the gas and it was doing the same thing. Worse than that, when stepping on the gas much harder the rear end would kick-out very slightly – back-off and it would do the opposite thing. Got to the MOT station, pushed the car around and there were odd grinding/rattling sounds. We put the car up on the ramp and went through all the obvious things, drive shafts, wheel bearings, parking brakes, trailing arms – it was all seemingly fine and MOT’able (it passed). Took it home and the same sounds were there – I was totally puzzled and made the decision not to take the car the the Nats and be prepared to strip out the rear end.
    So I jacked the rear of the car up, put it on axle stands, removed the wheels and did another visual inspection. With the wheels removed I could now see what hadn’t visible beforehand. The castellated nut (normally secured with a split pin) at the outside end of passenger side trailing arm pivot bolt had sheared-off. Worse than that the ‘good’ part of the bolt had worked itself out of the other side of the chassis and was ‘hanging-out’ about 25-35mm!
    Several things have amazed me about this. Firstly, and despite three or four of us looking under the car when it was in the lift none of spotted the protruding broken bolt. Secondly the obvious changes to rear end geometry etc were not apparent until very late. Looking at the state of the bolt one can see it had been like that for quite a while. Thirdly – how lucky was I (and bearing in mind that I’m putting some serious power through the rear end) that the trailing arm pivot pin/bolt didn’t come out completely – a nasty disaster and almost certainly a destroyed rear-end and probably much worse would have surely happened.

    Holidays – time away from home and problems that can ensue……...
    At Thornhill Towers we have long given-up ever thinking about going way on what most would call a ‘proper’ holiday.
    I guess it all started some 40 odd years ago when the future ‘er indoors and I were struggling to get our respective size 9’s and 2 1/2’s on the UK property ladder. A holiday away was a luxury we had earlier decided against – the nearest thing to it was a a couple of days B&B in Bournemouth while ‘er indoors was expecting our first child (I still remember the nylon sheets……..) even the decision when getting married of having a honeymoon away for a few days was a simple choice of either that......or a washing machine. Clean clothes won.

    Over the ensuing years it became very apparent that we were not destined to take holidays as normal people might do. Even when work called for me to spend a few days ‘oooop’ North something disastrous would occur back at the home gaff. I would be powerless to deal with the ‘problem’ (being hundreds of miles away) – I remember the Potterton floor standing gas central heating boiler in the kitchen failing when I was away somewhere exotic (Preston perhaps) and the missus naturally calling out the gas company for help (it was mid winter) and them turning-up and immediately condemning the boiler as being unsafe, turning-off the gas supply so there was no heating or cooking and my wife was dealing with two toddlers in the house.
    I also recall the time a few years later when my son was about 7 or 8 years of age. He was lying on his bed, contemplating the pendant lamp holder hanging from the ceiling with its braided cloth cable. How nice he thought it looked, rotating the lamp shade anti clockwise (like winding-up the rubber band powered propeller on one of his model aircraft), letting it go and the pretty lighting effects it created – for a while, until the cable shorted and ‘blew’ the main fuse box. I was away probably in Leeds or Newcastle this time and they had no power or heating for a day or so.
    I was probably in Manchester the next time when one of the ‘locals’ decided to sell his Subaru Imprezza to a friend. The friend, taking the car for a test drive decided to drive down our road at speeds probably well in excess of our national limit. Its a good thing to have four wheel drive isn’t it? - yes, well it is but it still can’t counteract for idiot drivers. This one managed to spin the Subaru several times along the length of our front garden wall, totally demolishing the wall, the gates and raining brickwork down over a 30 foot radius, amazingly not smashing any of our windows 40 or 50 foot from the road. Yes my wife had to deal with that situation too on her own.

    What I am trying to say here is that we have long got out of the habit of being upset about not taking holidays away. I’m fairly sure that if we were on an air flight the plane would crash or deliver us to Belarus instead of Bali.
    If on a cruise ship it would sink or we would get dysentery, Beri Beri or something equally nasty.
    So we have long accustomed ourselves to simply me taking a week off work and just going out odd days within a 50 or 60 mile radius. We are happy enough with this. But even that has its ‘downside’. The first day of my second week off this year started off badly. My current company ‘daily driver’ is due to end its lease in a few months and I have to say, given that most of its use is within the M25
    (and with 65K miles on it) the car looks quite tidy other that the inevitable scrapes to the alloy wheels. Er’ indoors and I drove into our town centre to the bank, parking in the public car park. Just before that one of my buddies and Essex CCCUK member Andy Maskery has just phoned me about something Vette related (my trailing arm issue) I was on hands free but cut the conversation short with Andy as I entered the car park. I nosed in to a space and there was a sickening crunch and the car stopped dead. Like so many modern cars the Lexus has a very low front and I had just ‘contacted’ an abnormally raised kerb creating lots of nasty gouges and scratches to the lower front. This raised kerb must ‘catch’ a number of unwary drivers each day. Yes, as you can imagine I was, lets just say ‘rather annoyed’.
    But as things turned out the following day the damage really didn’t really matter.

    So, the second day of my weeks leave and my good lady and I decided to take a trip along to Chelmsford just after midday in the ‘daily driver’. Turned off the A12 slip road and came down to the small roundabout to head via Hylands Park to Chelmsford – and did something I haven’t done for probably 40 years or so (no, smutty nothing like that) – rolled up to the roundabout and the very nice lady driving the Toyota Yaris in the micro-second (whilst I looked right to see if the coast was clear – it was) thought better of continuing to pull out – as I looked forward again I ran straight in to the back of her……..Fortunately none of us were hurt, yes the nice lady’s Yaris had a badly dented boot and rear bumper – the front of my Lexus had a fair bit of damage but was liquid tight and drivable. One annoying thing is the ‘pop-up’ hood. Seemingly if you hit a pedestrian of other object at a speed over 16 mph (or is it kph) a sensor in the front bumper ‘fire’ small explosive rams at the rear hood hinge points, bending them and knocking the rear of the hood up about 100mm. The idea being that it will roll the pedestrian up and over the windscreen and the top of the car – perhaps for a following vehicle to run the hapless pedestrian over?

    As the reader can imagine I was, ‘er rather annoyed about this. Not with the nice lady – she really was nice (no smutty, not that kind of nice – anyway ‘er indoors was ridin’ shotgun……) and she was very apologetic for causing the accident – not really her fault though was it?
    No what annoyed me was that I had just built-up a five year spell with no claims or convictions and had just insured the Vette the previous week for an all time low premium. Not sayin’ that I haven’t been involved in prangs – jus’ saying that I wasn’t the originator of any accidents in that period.
    I don’t want the reader to think that I’m some kind of motorised hooligan and going around continuously pranging vehicles – in my defence most of my 25000 miles a year are within the M25 and London, so as the reader can imagine driving can be challenging at times with ever increasing numbers of drivers seemingly fashioning driving licences out of cereal packets, for all the relevance that a driving license might have for their driving abilities. The point I’m working towards is that when driving in the UK’s major suburban conurbations one has to adopt, lets say ‘defensive’ driving methods – or in other words “do it to the mofo’s before they do it to you”, I.e eat or be eaten!









    I have come to the conclusion that the independent rear end of the C3 Corvette is actually a superb design. Why? - well apart from the fact that mine didn’t fall apart (with the sheared trailing arm pivot bolt) is a testament to either good design, good luck (or perhaps a bit of both). The Vette is 50 years old next birthday and I’m fairly sure that many of the rear end suspension components are the original OEM items installed when new. Why do I think this – they are almost impossible to remove, seemingly never ever removed. Good design – that sheared bolt (look at the photo’s) had been like that for a long time.

  3. #13
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Brough/Hull
    Posts
    3,544
    Wow! That was close! It is indeed worrying though that it couldn't be identified even when inspected up on a ramp Even more so that it could pass an mot (obviously the tester can only fail things he can see!)
    I'd say more luck than design to be honest but respectful kudos to the designer anyway, like you say, 50 years is a long time for moving parts to be working - maintained or not.

  4. #14
    Might as well be part of the furniture.
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Principality of Sealand
    Posts
    1,541
    OK...I'll take the blame on this one; Im used to it -= I get blamed for everything! But I'll accept this one cause its good.

    I hear ya about 'proper holidays' - ours was honeymoon or living room furniture. Then it was holiday or car parts. Then it was trying to race, and what 'vacations' we took were usually to a car show or race. Then...

    I'd say that the rear end problem not becoming a catastrophe is certainly due to good design, but a little good fortune , undoubtedly due to clean livin, probably didnt hurt! PLUS... we note GOOD fortune with driving a Corvette and NOT good luck driving that tarted up toyota ; theres a lesson there...

  5. #15
    Carburetion 'sucks' !
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Location
    Physically within the M25 force field - mentally anywhere else!
    Posts
    506
    Before I had a Lexus myself I always wondered why so many seemed in awe of the marque - comparing it favourably with other top European marques. I could never quite see it - generalising the Lexus, whilst well equipped with 'toys' as standard and with supposedly legendary reliability they always had an 'ugly' edge to them and the interiors, whilst perfectly serviceable, in terms of quality and design was just not 'there'. Just a well equipped Toyota in 'drag' IMHO. Relatively low resale prices tell you a lot about a vehicles perceived value on the market. After three years of use from new my thoughts now are much as above - except that the reliability (other than a DAB issue initially) has been 100% as has been comfort, silence. Economy has been on par with a diesel. Yes, I am sold on the hybrid principal, certainly for city and urban use. Disappointingly the car now at 65000 miles has a characteristic has does surprise me and one I guess that would only be apparent on less expensive cars..........drive over a poorly surfaced road and you are concious of rattles from underneath the car, presumably suspension, parking brake linkages etc. Not an issue on smooth surfaced roads - its still a very relaxed place to be.
    This exactly kind of thing I would have expected from one of the last of the Cortina's back in the day..............great cars, sacrificing cornering ability over comfort - the kind of thing we would have expected (albeit on a different scale) from an American car of the 60's and 70's. Nice 'wallowing' suspension rather than the accepted standard of today from any car, whether small or large...........with oversized low profile tyres, crashing from pot-hole to pot-hole..........rant over (if only for a short while)
    Last edited by roscobbc; 09-07-17 at 11:11 AM.

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