Thursday, 31 January 2013

Taking a brake.

The handbrake hasn't been holding properly on our car (ten years old.) Wifey parked it at the gym car park and found it two hours later waiting mischevously in the bay opposite to the one where she'd left it.

 I plan to change the discs and pads this year but there is still plenty of meat on both so I put the handbrake problem down to a stretched cable or seized automatic slack-adjuster. I jacked the car up to have a look. The adjuster is buried behind the centre exhaust box and I'll be buggered if I'm taking that off. The problem can be countered by leaving the car in gear and turning the wheels towards the curb for the time being.  I did manage to get the heat shield off and my hand behind the exhaust and the adjuster does feel very dry and as though it's reached the end of its play.

I wonder - if I replace the brake parts - how on earth the adjuster re-sets itself, or if I'm going to have to take the exhaust off and work on it or replace it altogether.

New cars have transformed life for men. Handbrakes would have required periodic adjustment at the hubs as part of the servicing routine. I remember a time when every morning was spent with the distributor cap off and the weekend was spent having to sort out something or other on the car - but at least we COULD fix things then. Now much of it is inaccessible, disposable, irreparable.

Modern cars will go along beautifully until they go wrong - and when they're broken they tend to leave drivers stranded.  A good roadside recovery policy seems to be the order of the day.


Blue Eyes said...

The quality of even cheap cars has improved incredibly. I'd even trust a French car these days!

I saw under the bonnet of a new Beemer recently and it's basically a black box. You can add water and oil and that's about it. Impressive.

Also, the whole repair market is totally rigged, so there is a huge incentive to make it hard to replace bulbs etc.

Electro-Kevin said...

The black box is a cover. It pulls off to reveal the cylinder head, HTs etc. A friend of mine is a mechanic. He has a phone ap and a scart adaptor which plugs in under the steering column (on my car anyway.)

It will diagnose all systems on the car. Incredible.

He gets Beemers in with about 9 computers on board !

Often it's a case of whipping out a unit and replacing it with another. No 'fixing' just getting rid.

Highly expensive but far less frequent (or should be).

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yes, that is the general idea, make all the parts irreparable so that you have to pay for expensive replacements of entire chunks, rather than replacing the odd bit.

The extreme is car bumpers. Back in the day, it was just a strip of curved metal, cost you £15 to replace, or you could hammer it straight again if you weren't too fussed. About fifteen years ago, these disappeared and now the "bumper" is a massive chunk of plastic full of lights, electronics and all sorts of shit which sets you back hundreds of pounds.

That said, cars have improved enormously over the years, even if they've gone a bit too far with all this fancy electronic stuff.

Disclaimer: I have never had any interest in repairing cars, that's beyong my ken.

Road rage Beast said...

One of the most stupid things that I have done (There are many) was to jump out of my brand new Mercedes to kick fuck out of a Taxi driver
It was my first automatic car and 1990
I forgot to put the gear in P, so just as I had said Cabbie halfway out of his door I saw said pride and joy driving itself up the Rd and had to chase it and jump in,
Cabbie escaped and beastmobile was safe
Get a HAYNES manual and change them yourself
FFS you are a train driver ergo highly qualified to fix the thing
I dont do that kind of thing anymore

beast said...

Mr Wadsworth let me give another example
The 1991 Beast mobile was a 911
First service was £730 and the best bit was the £40 They tried to charge me for a test drive to make sure that they had done a good job
Upon gettng the invoice I told them that I wasn't paying them to have a jolly in my car
Another ripoff is the replacement car thing whilst yours is being fixed
I stuck mine into a wall when I found out that the Pakis were charging £160 a day for a 5 series
Yes I am that insane

beast said...

This is bothering me

A mate had his Range Rover steam cleaned and the CPU was fucked
Guess how much?

Thud said...

I'm sticking with my tractor.

beast said...

tractor is a good thing
You look landed and butch,plus sprat shit on any fucker that tries to beat you at the traffic light geand prix
That,crush them or push them into a river or wall or just sit ahead of some twat on a country road laughing as you drive @15MPH ruinining a persons day

Electro-Kevin said...

Plus you get a flashing light. OK. It's not a blue one but it's a flashing light.

Calfy said...

Beast, I'm confused about the replacement car thing. I've never been charged for one (and have used them several times). Is that just me?
My handbrake has not yet needed adjustment (I've done ca. 6000 mi since May). Thankfully my mechanic lets me use the ramps at weekends- under a car on a collapsed jack is not how I will die.

Electro-Kevin said...

Calfy - Ramps are a good idea... but jacks are more exciting.