Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin. A long, long time ago (last month) I was at my local garage having a Renault Clio MOTed (yes, that one, now owned by Angrydicky), when I happened to enquire about a Volvo V70 T5 which had been in the car park for a number of weeks. “Heater matrix gone, she’s scrapping it” was the response. Obviously, I toddled off to have a closer look. Despite every panel having a dent or scrape I saw
pound signs a car needing rescuing. Only 128k, MOT until next August and a full black leather interior, surely this shouldn’t be scrapped. OK, so the ABS light is also on (it transpires that it’s been on for years, and the owner’s garage helpfully reset it before each MOT).
I asked the garage if they could see whether the owner minded me contacting them, and whilst waiting for a reply did a quick CarTakeBack quote and googled changing the heater matrix (it’s really simple). For brevity, we agreed a price, met at the car for her to reclaim her belongings and sign paperwork and the car was mine.
Now I needed to get a car home which distributed water over the floor as quickly as I poured it in. I could have risked driving it the three quarters of a mile I guess, or got a friend to tow me on a rope. But being an independent sort, I decided to take the trailer and do it properly. It needed to be outside business hours so the car park was empty(ish) so last Wednesday, at 7am, in the rain, I went to get it. Started it, turned it round, switched it off. Backed trailer up. Got in to drive onto trailer. Wouldn’t start; well it caught each time then immediately died. After numerous attempts, and not wanting to have to winch it on, I decided to bump it on with the starter. Turn key, hop along, stop as engine dies. Repeat. At the top of the ramps I realised I was a bit off centre. One more hop and hissssssssss. I got out and had a look. Despite only just rubbing the side of the trailer the nsf tyre had somehow acquired a nice hole in the sidewall. “Oh bother”, or similar I
shouted muttered, Nothing for it but to continue. Hop, stop. Hop, stop. Two thirds of the way onto the trailer, just one more hop I thought. Turn key, engine catches…..and continues to run. Before feet hit brake and clutch the bumper has ridden over the posts at the front of the trailer (which I assume were put there as markers – don’t come any further forward than this!) which had impaled themselves through the front undertray. “Oh bother”, I muttered again. The car was firmly stuck so although the noseweight was clearly way too high I had no choice but to put the straps on and limp sadly home.
Angle grinder out, cut off posts from trailer, reverse off (obviously it started first time now) removing remainder of undertray, park in workshop and go inside for a cup of tea and to warm up.
Suitably refreshed, I went back outside to swap the punctured tyre for the spare. I knew I had the locking wheel bolt key so what could go wrong. The pile of Kwik-Fit receipts for various tyres should have set alarm bells ringing. Yes, wheel nuts applied by gorilla with windy gun. The non-locking ones succumbed to my longest breaker bar, then I stupidly applied the same technique to the locking wheel bolt, and promptly destroyed the key. I may have said “bother” again. Hammering a variety of normal sockets on unsurprisingly didn’t work, and just as I was about to give up I spotted a locking wheel nut tool amongst the bits belonging to Craig the Princess which still reside in my workshop. It’s the type which cut a reverse thread, and although I didn’t hold out much hope it bit on the bolt and eventually, with my largest breaker bar and scaffold pole over the end, the bolt came out.
Now I needed to get the tool off the bolt so I could do the other side (the two at the rear weren’t so tight and came off with a 12 point socket hammered over them). The instructions say grind flats on the sides of the bolt and hold in a vice to remove. This I did, but I refer you to the scaffold pole used in tightening it. With the vice tightened to breaking point (clue) I heaved on the bar. Bang. Yep, the casting of the vice had sheared completely across the saddle. Guess what I said.
But it does have 20 valves, a turbo and many horses hidden in here:
Changing the heater matrix (remember, this was the only thing I needed to do) took less than an hour!
I still need to sort a replacement tyre out and replace under dash trim, but expect ‘project’ to be replaced by ‘for sale’ shortly. It’s not cursed, honestly, and will probably* provide its new owner with
years minutes of reliable, fairly fast motoring.