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A cautionary tale...


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#1 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 08:17 AM

...never to trust the handbrake on your shite.Picture the scene, yesterday, 3pm, RW Towers. Arrive back in the estate after a run to Newport, park up, apply handbrake. Go inside and do some work.5.30pm - a knock at the door. It's my neighbour Tony, standing where my estate was parked..."I just heard a big bang, do you know your car just embedded itself in the wall down by the garages?", he says. Sure enough, there it is. Somehow in the intervening two and a half hours, the handbrake has given up the struggle against the 1 in 10000 hill my driveway is on (my theory is on hot rear discs that have cooled down), the car has rolled across the road, down the 50m slope between the two blocks of garages opposite my house before destroying the brick wall at the end of them, not to mention some of the brickwork on the end of the furthermost garage on one side.Bumsticks. The bonnet, both front wings, headlights, bumper and grille are smashed, to the extent that I can't open the bonnet to see what the slam panel and inner wings are like. And a brick evidently fell on the windscreen by the passenger A-pillar, cracking it. So that's that dead, then. And the handbrake was still on...it still drives with no fluids pissing out though, which is something.Bloody annoying as I'd only just got the car back from the garage with a new water pump and cambelt and had done 500 miles on business this week with it running sweet as a nut. It was only insured TPFT due to it's value, so the brickwork is covered, but not the car.A real waste of a decent motor. Moral of the story for me is to put every car I own in gear when parked and not rely on the handbrake.What a pisser...anyone want to buy it for £50? MOT to October, everything works bar the a/c, good tyres... :cry: :cry: :cry:

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#2 OFFLINE   michiel

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 08:50 AM

Ouch, that is bad luck.

#3 OFFLINE   MrRegieRitmo

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 08:57 AM

Was the estate the better of the two?

#4 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:09 AM

Certainly the more useful of the two, being an estate with roofrails and a towbar. More of an arse given I'd spent some folding on getting it A1 enginewise, so I could reap the benefit.

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#5 OFFLINE   STUNO

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:10 AM

Not any more ! Bad luck r.welfare , tis a cautionary tale

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#6 OFFLINE   Betaphile

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:12 AM

BUGGER. That sucks. I always tend to keep the Fiat in gear as I've never quite trusted it fully - there's a disturbing creaking noise from the rear drums if you push against it with the handbrake on. Beta has never given me any such worries, but maybe I should start...

#7 OFFLINE   MrRegieRitmo

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:19 AM

Was this the one with the Harlequin body panels?

#8 OFFLINE   pogweasel

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:35 AM

Tragic comedy gold. :cry: :cry: :lol: :roll: :wink: On the upside, I'm sure you'd be able to rape it for parts and weigh in the remains for a good few quid.I always have the opposite problem with handbrakes on shite, being that they have a propensity to get wedged firmly "on", and 9 times out of 10 this will coincide with a flat battery and the car being the wrong way round to jump-start.

#9 OFFLINE   MrRegieRitmo

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:48 AM

I haven't had a car with a good handbrake yet! Infact I haven't had a car with a good gearchange yet!.........maybe it's me :?

#10 OFFLINE   Pillock

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:00 AM

I once pulled into the carpark of the pub i worked at, to be met by a Seat Leon reversing slowly towards me down the incline. Except it seemed to be reversing in a dead straight line, towards me, with nobody in it! Quickly jumped out of my car and pushed against it till it stopped.... and was then stuck. Luckily a customer came out so I got him to go back in and shout out for the owner to come and sort it. He'd been driving 'quickly' (judging by the way he looked and the state of the car, 'like a tit' was more accurate) and reckoned, like you, the handbrake had loosened off as the brakes cooled.

#11 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:04 AM

Was this the one with the Harlequin body panels?

No, this was the decent, single-colour one I purchased a month ago to replace it!I still haven't had the bill from the garage for the cambelt and waterpump replacement, but I reckon that I've lost about 700 quid on cost of car and repairs, plus the inevitable hit to the ol' NCB.Life sucks. Still, no-one was hurt and cars are replaceable at the end of the day.

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#12 OFFLINE   seth

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:07 AM

Ouch! :( What a pain. Hope you can find something shite to replace it

#13 OFFLINE   pompei

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:08 AM

OOYAH Sorry to hear that - maybe you'll be able to salvage some of it?

#14 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:58 AM

Certainly thinking about swapping the two rear tyres onto the saloon, as they are almost new...there's also 3/4 of a tank of diesel in it, so that could be siphoned. I'm tempted to swap the steering wheels too, as the estate has a leather-rimmed 205GTI job which is nice. Would be a good reminder of it too...It's got tax until 31 May, but I'm not sure if it's worth it to cash it in, given that I won't be back from holiday until Monday week (31st). I think I'll just Bay it starting at a quid and see where it goes. The engine and box are superb so it could be of use to someone. If the windscreen wasn't cracked I'd be tempted to source some new panels to rebuild it, but I really don't have the time with the baby on the way.

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#15 OFFLINE   Mr_Bo11ox

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:32 AM

I remember a thing on top gear years ago where they looked into a load of reports of Citroen Xantias doing exactly that, they too thought that discs were shrinking while cooling and releasing handbrake pressure. they had a load of stories of folk who had parked their car on a hill, put the hand brake on, only to find when they came back from the tropical fish emporium or whatever that the fuggin thing had gone shrough a shop front at the bottom of the hill.

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#16 OFFLINE   Marty

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:50 AM

I know my Xantia could be pushed after being left overnight with the handbrake on, leave it parked up and it was unmoveable - come to it in the morning and you could give it a shove and it moved.Since then - always left in first or reverse.Never mind, would it be worth pillaging the front end of the saloon instead and rebuilding the estate?

#17 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 12:22 PM

Mr_B - think this is the same brake setup.Marty - not really as I'd hate to destroy the saloon, which is more of a known quantity to me. I need one working car, anyway...If the 'screen wasn't cracked I'd be half-tempted to gather the panels required, but factor in the cost of a new 'screen (TPF&T won't cover it) and it just ain't viable with the time and skillz needed. I'll probably cut my losses and think about a replacement somewhen :?

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#18 OFFLINE   Marty

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 12:52 PM

Pots on the bayBut I do hate it when traders dont put the milage on - we know its going to be up on miles and be an old shitter - so just tell us. :evil:One for the die hard autoshittist?

#19 OFFLINE   mk2_craig

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 01:08 PM

A real waste of a decent motor. Moral of the story for me is to put every car I own in gear when parked and not rely on the handbrake.What a pisser...anyone want to buy it for £50? MOT to October, everything works bar the a/c, good tyres... :cry: :cry: :cry:

Ooh, that's a birruva pig-f*cker isn't it. Is the windscreen bonded as opposed to gasket-mounted? I got a free Fiesta with a smashed screen some years ago. £10, a Stanley knife and a visit to the scrappy later saw it sorted.

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#20 OFFLINE   AnthonyG

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 02:20 PM

Bad luck Rich. Still , a good excuse to start looking for a nice late model high spec one :D . Leather, alloys, all the silly toys - or maybe a 605 for ultimate rare cheap Pug shite?I would strip the bugger for parts, incld the engine, as you seem to be a bit of 405 freak ATM anyway - There's enough space in that garage for bits. If you need a hand stripping it out (oo..err) give us a shout - not this weekend though!P.S. I have to say I never noticed any type of hill or incline at your gaff.

#21 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 02:26 PM

Given the esteemed view of the board, plus a bit of time to think on it, maybe I am being too hasty to cast it into the foundry.So - a week in France to ruminate (and consider how many 405 panels I could liberate from French scrappys that will fit into the back of a Skoda Fabia), then a review of the inner panels on my return. At the moment I can't get the bonnet open, so can't assess the state of the slam panel and inner wings. I am heartened by the fact the rad' doesn't appear to be punctured though.But it looks like all the panels and lights could be scored for around £200 new, probably less secondhand so that's the route I'll probably take. Sorrento Green is a rare colour, but if I ended up with black or very dark blue the difference wouldn't be that discernable...Not sure on the windscreen front Craig, will look into it. If Autoglass or similar could fit one for less than £200 (as they did with my neighbour's Mk3 Golf GTI a while back) I reckon that's not too bad.Thanks for the offer of help Anthony, may take you up on it. Finding a TD Executive estate (the only one with leather) is near-impossible. As you say, it's not as though my drive is on a 1 in 3 hill or anything.

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#22 OFFLINE   AnthonyG

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 02:40 PM

It would great if that powertrain would slot into a 406 - then you could find a cheap mega miles Coupe off Ebay and have a veg-oil supping piece of Pininfarina moving artwork :D .The above inspired by Monday's Fifth Gear. Never realised how cheap 406 Coupes (or Alfa GTVs) are these days!Perhaps not the most sensible idea given the imminent arrival at Welfare Towers - but there a few months of freedom left, isn't there?Have a good holiday in France - don't spend it all looking for Chrysler 2 Litres.

#23 OFFLINE   MrRegieRitmo

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 03:35 PM

Sorrento Green is a rare colour, but if I ended up with black or very dark blue the difference wouldn't be that discernible...

Is that what this one is?......

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#24 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 03:46 PM

No, Sorrento Green is a very dark shade, almost black. Popular on 205 GTI's, and I think that Xantias came in a similar colour too. Marty's BX might be the same shade, come to think of it?605s, and especially 406 Koops are no good for carting 3/4 of a ton of timber offcuts to the tip, AnthonyG :lol:

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#25 OFFLINE   MrRegieRitmo

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 04:41 PM

Of course, I guess the clue was that it was very similar to black or navy blue! :oops:

#26 OFFLINE   r.welfare

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 08:50 PM

OK, an update. With despair, hope often follows.After work this evening (when I should have been packing :oops: ) I took the opportunity to strip as much as possible from the front of the car. As a result, the Biffa men may be non-plussed to find my wheelie bin full of broken grille, headlights and indicators, but hey-ho.Levering away with a useful implement (extendable tyre lever) managed to get the bonnet open. Looking at the inner panels objectively, damage thankfully appears to be minimal - inner wings look fine, and the front panel (which is plastic on a 405) is in one piece apart from a bit of tearing around the lower mounting point for the n/s headlight. I'm hopeful that ministrations with a hot air gun/soldering iron may see this right. And possibly a bit of P40 if the bugger resists.With the help of a neighbour I also managed to remove the bonnet, and I only gave up my stripping exercise when (a) it got dark and (B) I realised I'd have to jack it up to get the bumper and foglights off.So, I definitely need another bonnet, headlights, grille, indicator lenses and bumper. I will also need an offside front wing but I might just get away with the nearside one, where the damage is limited to a tiny dent by the indicator.There's a little bit of water on the garage floor, but I noticed that the radiator had been pushed back out of one of it's clips, so I've pushed it back - hopefully it was just extra strain on one of the hose connections. Time will tell.I must say I am greatly cheered by this. In the opening words of the Six Million Dollar Man: "We have the technology - we can rebuild him".It's a one-in-a-million chance that someone is breaking a Sorrento Green 405, but I'm gonna put the feelers out. Wish me luck.

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#27 OFFLINE   wuvvum

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 09:29 PM

Good luck! I know how you feel - reminds me of the time the handbrake let go (or was let go :x ) on my old Sherpa van, which then rolled across the car park and wrote off my CX. I reckon you're taking the right route trying to repair the car though, especially after all the money you've spent on it. Maybe just find panels in as close a colour as you can just to get it repaired & back on t'road, and then once you know the car a bit better and know it ain't gonna go bang on you splash out for a front end respray?

#28 OFFLINE   Volksy

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 11:24 PM

Maybe your just destined to always have a multicoloured 405 :D

#29 OFFLINE   Spottedlaurel

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:15 AM

Bad luck RW! Glad to have picked up on this when I read the more hopeful conclusion. It certainly sounds worth persevering with.Even I'm having thoughts about Peugeot diesels lately, with a slightly longer journey to work at the new place and ever-increasing fuel prices.

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#30 OFFLINE   Karmann Ghiaman

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 08:20 AM

Comiserations Mr. W, what a real bummer :cry:

A similar problem with parking the KG on the highest point in the county, so I got a Polo to use as a carstop:

Posted Image

Sometimes it's the opposite problem, the handbrake being a bit too effective and almost impossible to release. This can draw the wrong sort of attention to one's mid-life crisis when attempting a hillstart, so it's best just to roll back a few inches (as most people in boring cars seem to do anyway) and just hope that whoever's behind has given our heavy pointy rear plenty of room.




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