Saturday, 25 May 2013
Preparing 't Kreng for the IAE
During the "Taith o Amgylch Cymru" two weeks ago the car really behaved quite well over the 2263 kilometres I drove during that trip. But there were some issues that needed investigating after returning home. The most irritating one being some rather loud squeaky noises coming from the rear after braking. Soon found out that pulling the handbrake would silence this, so clearly pad related. The other and more worrying problem was a funny noise (something between a vibration and rattling noise) that seemed to emit from underneath the gearlever and got worse as time and miles progressed. First thoughts were that one or more of the gearbox bearing's were worn. But there was no noise at all with the 'box in neutral.
So last weekend I put the car on axle stands and started with a (hopefully thorough) inspection of all things wrong. As the most annoying fault came from the rear brakes (squeaky pads) I decided to start at the back of the car and work my way forward. So dismantled the rear callipers for a good clean. And to add some copper grease to the back of the pads to keep them quiet for a while. Also cleaned and checked bearings and handbrake mechanism. No problems there, only the inside of the RH rear wheel was rather polluted with what looked like oil. As there were no visible leaks on the back axle I cleaned everything and made a mental note to check underneath the car thoroughly.
But with the rear sorted I first switched to the interior, for a first check on the 'box noises. This turned out to be a rather short job. When removing the trim around the gearlever I found that the two screws holding the two parts of the centre console together were completely loose. The two square plastic plugs holding the screws had completely fallen to bits. So looks like the noise was caused by something rather simple, because a thorough check of the gearbox extension showed nothing loose or wrong. There was some oil again though, so about time to get underneath the car ...
A quick inspection showed lots of oil coming from, what looked at first glance, the rear of the engine. And as all usual suspects like oil pump, transfer plate and connectors for the oil cooler were dry, the main suspect was the rear crank shaft seal. And as I was not going to change that, I cleaned of as much as possible and carried on with the service and checks. One of the last items of the check list underneath the car was the oil level in the gear box, it was spot on. So nothing to worry there.
Next point of call was the front suspension, which only needed a bit of a clean. As a result I could start on the last part of the inspection, the engine bay. And when opening the bonnet the source of the oil became a bit more obvious. There was some oil splattered against the right hand chassis leg, towards the front of the engine. As the oil cooler's thermostat connectors were clean there was only one possibility left, a knackered front oil seal.
Luckily I always have a few spare seals lying around so it was a matter of taking of the front pulley exchange the seal and refit everything. Despite all the horror-stories about undoing the pulleys big bolt it was of within 5 minutes. How it was done? Select 4th gear and put on the handbrake (disc brakes on the back axle certainly help here ...). Then you take a large 38mm spanner, put it on tension counter clockwise and start hitting it with a not to heavy (250 gr) copper hammer. Easy!
It was not so easy to get the pulley of. As the outside of the pulley (the damper part) is held in place by a bit of rubber, it is not advisable to put force in this part. But a block of wood wedged against the sub-frame, a tyre lever and 30 minutes of steady prising against the centre part of the pulley, while slowly rotating the crankshaft, got it of in the end. But something had to go wrong, well sort of. Turned out that one of the seals (recently supplied) was incorrect, spot the difference ...
Indeed the one on the left is an original one. Clearly visible is the difference of the inside diameter. Just glad I usually tend to check everything before fitting. And with the correct seal in place, refitting the other parts was easy. Last thing on the to do list was greasing the steering rack and the prop-shaft. After which the car could be dropped back to the ground, ready for another trip to Britain ...