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Most Dangerous Fault You've (Unwittingly) Driven With.


Shirley Knott
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As per the title

Last weekend I set about the recent roffle win Golf's brakes and was horrified to find both caliper bolts flapping about and loose. Upon re-assembling with new discs/pads and then tightening, it was clear they were both stripped and spinning in the hub. FML.

God only knows how the caliper stayed attached to the car. Just thinking about driving it about for the week before that blissfully unaware honestly makes me feel slightly queezy.

Things are *somewhat sorted now on a temporary basis until a new hub can be sourced- The hub's been drilled out and fitted with 'top hat' style thread inserts that have been bashed into the hub (Inc threadlock) using this kit...

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BlueSpot-16pc-Brake-Thread-Repair-Caliper-Kit-M9-X-1-25-Ford-Vauxhall-VAG/233673109432?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m2749.l2649

 

100_0444100_0447100_0449

 

Probably my fault for not checking first, but genuinely, how many people strip and rebuild brakes before driving a new car?

This got me thinking, I can't be the only one this kind of thing's happened to.... I'm sure the Autoshite hive mind has similar (If not worse) awakenings re automotive safety/near misses.  Let's have 'em!

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  • Shirley Knott changed the title to Most Dangerous Fault You've (Unwittingly) Driven With.

Ex-girlfriend's Anglia. Used to be a fun little thing to whizz about in, so I had a spirited drive to The MoT station. They called me in to show me a fault - the chassis was rotten and cracked where the steering box bolts on, so as I turned left, the chassis leg moved right. I declined to drive it home, still the only car in 26 years of driving that has had to be recovered 

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Replacing the porous fuel tank and noticing that the rear suspension arm next to it had daylight shining through it... When I started taking it off to replace it, half of it fell off as I undid the first of the 2 bolts holding the rear axle to it. I had bought the car a week earlier and driven alot with it before noticing these minor details...

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It wasn't mine, or me driving, but collected a car with a friend and when we got it home, decided to jack it up and take a wheel off to see what was making the clonking noises. Expected it to be a bush or an ARB link.

Nah. It was bodged coilovers from another car that the previous owned had ground down to make fit. Only he had ground so much off, the metal for the hub carrier mounting bolts had split, meaning that entire corner, normally held together by 2 massive bolts was now only held by one, and the other one had split too, so was probably only one pothole/bridge expansion joint from that corner collapsing and veering the car off at speed with no steering to catch it.

We'd just done 90 miles at 70mph in it......

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I'm always amazed how little difference a broken coil spring makes. I once took my W210 Mercedes for a MOT and the tester said both front springs were broken.
He did also say they were both right at the bottom and were unlikely to have caused any problems in normal driving but it still freaked me out that I'd been driving it like that for God knows how long without noticing.

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Just came off the motorway doing 80+ in a car I bought years ago, reverses on to the drive and the axial Rod fell out of the steering rack, I’d had the car about a day or two, the guy selling it had the axial rod done as part of the test. If it had fell out 10 minutes previous I’d have been sat with Roy Orbison and John Lennon now. 

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31 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

I'm always amazed how little difference a broken coil spring makes. I once took my W210 Mercedes for a MOT and the tester said both front springs were broken.
He did also say they were both right at the bottom and were unlikely to have caused any problems in normal driving but it still freaked me out that I'd been driving it like that for God knows how long without noticing.

Not on a Laguna, sometimes if they break in the right (or wrong...) place it takes out the inside of the tyre. 

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34 minutes ago, Spiny Norman said:

I'm always amazed how little difference a broken coil spring makes. I once took my W210 Mercedes for a MOT and the tester said both front springs were broken.

It's only really a problem with pigtail ones, where the retaining cup is smaller than most of the spring. Fine if they're straight coils

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W210's regularly split the last 2"-3" off the end of their front coils.  I had it happen to one of mine.  I just cut the end of the coil square with a grinder, slapped some black paint on it and drove the car.  Absolutely zero difference.

My "oh shit I was driving that" moment was also with a W210, when the front lower arm split through.  I did notice it when it happened, but thought nothing of it at the time as the car still drove OK.  Wasn't until 30 miles later I noticed the issue:

20191021_195838.thumb.jpg.6e0db6106b1d230eda811dbf7c390a5b.jpg

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My Beetle (again), back in the mid-late 2000s. Being clueless about mechanicals at the time, I was unaware the braided fuel lines the last owner put in the engine bay weren't meant to be the braided type, but rather plain rubber. Why? Because you can't tell when braided ones are leaking because the braiding initially soaks up the drips, at least until the leak becomes severe.

Not sure how long they'd been leaking for, but I do know I came dangerously close to an engine fire when one started dripping fuel directly onto the hot exhaust. Replaced them all with the correct ones soon after!

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17 minutes ago, sierraman said:

Not on a Laguna, sometimes if they break in the right (or wrong...) place it takes out the inside of the tyre. 

I've had a spring snap on the Cinquecento and take out the timing belt.

Thankfully that was on the 8v non interference engine 😂

I know 406's can snap springs and go straight through the tyre.

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5 hours ago, Soundwave said:

My Beetle (again), back in the mid-late 2000s. Being clueless about mechanicals at the time, I was unaware the braided fuel lines the last owner put in the engine bay weren't meant to be the braided type, but rather plain rubber. Why? Because you can't tell when braided ones are leaking because the braiding initially soaks up the drips, at least until the leak becomes severe.

Not sure how long they'd been leaking for, but I do know I came dangerously close to an engine fire when one started dripping fuel directly onto the hot exhaust. Replaced them all with the correct ones soon after!

Funnily enough in the mid 90s my neighbour’s shitbox of a beetle started pissing fuel all over the place outside my house. The neighbours were nowhere to be seen (probably sleeping off a major pharmaceutical leisure evening)  so i ended up taking matters into my own hands and replaced the shitty braided line that seemed to be leaking along it’s entire length, running from the hard fuel line to the carb. Also fitted a filter which was absent previously. I only caught up with them a day or two later and told them what I’d had to do.

I’m guessing he had brimmed the tank and it was just the head pressure forcing the fuel out.
 

TL;DR: I’m the magic fuel line fairy. 

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The W202 Merc I bought had a couple of impressive faults. The rear replica mono-block alloys were held on by no more that a turn and a half of each wheel nut. The nuts being too short, but the previous owner just used them anyway.

Same Merc had 3/4 broken springs albeit the last bit of the pigtail as mentioned in previous posts. Lesson being check the paperwork more thoroughly and walk if someone has done a half arsed job of changing only one spring.

My current Land Rover had a loose pinch bolt from the splined steering column to steering rod. Thanks mister MoT man as it wasn't dead obvious, but could have been lethal.

Land Rover also had a leaky wheel cylinder which introduced the 'magic steering fairy' under braking. The kids found it more amusing than I did. Binning of the cheapo wheel cylinders sorted that.

A '64 Beetle with judering brakes due to one of the three stub axle bolts being absent. 

Finally a Mk2 Jaguar bought a auction with mystery brand tyres. The front offside decided to shit its tread as I got to 70 on the M25 slip road. It was as if someone had gone round the entire tyre with a giant potato peeler. I only buy decent tyres these days and when looking at a car to buy the first thing I do is look at the tyres. Expensive tyres are a good sign someone has cared enough to spend money on a car.

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Most recently I had been experiencing worsening brake judder on the 75. I knew that the fairly recent front discs were slightly out of true but there was now a bit of a noise on heavier braking. When I took the pads off, on the offside the friction material had completey broken away from the pad and had disappeared. A few months previously they had at least 50% left.

And a warning about heavily undersealed cars, for which my Corsa got an advisory this year. Way back in 2012, when I had a new front crossmember fitted, I noticed a small amount of surface rust on the front chassis rail, which is a common rot point on Corsa Bs. I asked the garage to sort that at the same time and just reunderseal the whole car. Every time they treated some surface rust they repainted it with thick underseal. Fast forward to last year, and I noticed that the same offside front chassis rail had almost completely disintegrated. Big chunks fell off in my hand and there was literally fresh air around most of the lower suspension arm mounting. The nearside was completely solid as it doesn't sit below a bulkhead drain point. This had clearly been like this for at least 5 years as I hadn't driven the car in the winter or indeed much at all for the previous 4. I had my son in the car during that time too.

Before I had it welded up I went over the whole underside with a hammer and screwdriver in all the other common rust points, thankfully nothing else critical was found. I had it MOTd at a different garage this year too who pronounced it fit for purpose.

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I covered 2000 miles in less than 2 weeks in my camper-converted Hiace van a couple of years back, driving from Devon to Scotland.  This was finished off with a 13 hour, 670 mile drive straight home with only a couple of brief stops after I got fed up with the soggy weather. 

I came out to it next day to find one of the back tyres had gone flat overnight.  Once removed and replaced with the spare, I found it had split open inside the tread in a most alarming manner - this is where I learned that even when a tyre is a good brand and has plenty of tread, if it's ancient (which it turned out those were) it's still not great. 

I took it to my local garage/tyre place for a pair of new tyres and asked them to assess the crusty underside while they had it in.  Got a phone call about 30 minutes later saying "are you sure you want to put tyres on this?".  Came back to find it up on the ramp and a pile of brown debris on the floor underneath it.  Some poking with a screwdriver had revealed that a lot of the underside from the middle back was either rotten or missing, with holes poked in the rear suspension mounts you could fit your hand in and not much metal at all behind the back bumper.

It'd passed its MOT only  a couple of months previously.  It went off to a Toyota breaker in Manchester shortly afterwards.

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Sitting at the lights on a slight incline holding my dtr 125 on the front brake then wee big squirt on brake fluid down the side of mateys merc and I’m rolling backwards. Front hose had been rubbing on the tyre as kinked above the hose clamp and worn through to a pin hole. Moments earlier I’d been making serious progress as had been clocked by old bill going the other way as I emerged from the golf course after some impromptu off road action.

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I borrowed the parents' Discovery 2 TD5 manual a few years back to help a friend move house. Was great for buying some sheets of plasterboard and getting them in the back.

It was the first time I drove it any distance, and I loved how it drove!

 

Then 3 days later it went in for its MOT and was condemned for chassis rot in the O/S chassis leg. There was essentially not much of a chassis leg left, from what I heard. If I'd hit anything it probably would have folded up like a paper bag! It got sold to a Land Rover breaker.

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8 hours ago, OM646 said:

Audi 80 - Completely knackered front suspension control arms and CV joints, you could see the wheel flapping if you were outside the car.

Audi 90: front tyre treads worn down to the steel bands...

635CSi: n/s/r wheel parted company from the hub at 50mph when the wheel bolts unscrewed themselves after leaving the tyre fitters...

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I had an old BMW 525, noticed a slight whiff or petrol but decided to press on. On arrival I lifted the bonnet to find a fine jet of fuel spraying out of a the rubber hose feeding the fuel rail. That weekend I changed all the rubber fuel line and a lot of it just fell apart.

Then there were the Minis. One with 3 of 4 front subframe mounts split and only the top mounts holding it in. I was 17 so didn't really notice, but it sure handled sharper afterwards.

Mini number 2 I bought without much of a test drive as the guy lived in a busy part of town and I had no insurance. When I picked it up it felt a bit wayward. Couldn't see much wrong underneath. Once home we had a closer look and found both front hub nuts finger tight - thank god the manky split pins were still there....

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12 hours ago, Lacquer Peel said:

That's such a crap design on the Golf, the threads stripping is quite common.

I limped my Volvo home, thinking the shock absorber had lost its fluid, but the strut had snapped in half. I didn't realise it was quite that bad til I took it apart. 

PXL_20201004_155917165.thumb.jpg.2f51868b58f68b48b2f9a3b26fa66074.jpg

PXL_20201009_162351657.thumb.jpg.62307ae7f299ea8b6425ebd088296125.jpg

Think I'd be as nervous of that single spring compressor as I would have been driving the car!

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