Miscellaneous Car Advice

I have had a hissy fit about the changing schedules …

@plonkster our resident car enthusiast on all things repairs. So Suzi needs new front wheel bearings, right front, so I said to replace both, after 24 years. Shudder on the steering at 2000 rpm in 5th gear only when the road is flat/and or downhill. Not balancing. Did that twice.

Twenty-four years on the OEM bearings, not too shabby I say.

The repair shop says to bring her in at 7h30 so that they can put her on the lift before 8am. There are a lot of cars there, all early. Simple plan, lift the cars that need 2 hours on the lift first and get going.

Got there at 7h30, Chaos. The schedule has changed since yesterday late afternoon. Dire impact on all their bookings for the day as the LS is also at 2pm. Their entire day is “moertoe”. May only get the car back tomorrow.

The owner agrees, stick to the damn schedules, then they can work around that. This changing all the #($*% time is messing them, and therefore their clients, around badly.

So we spoke, they need 3-phase inverter UPS to lift the lifts, coming down is fine, don’t need power for that. Need a lot of cars serviced to afford one.

Been there with a mate… I really believe this is a small price to pay in the Long Term. You will gain more customers in the end and pay off sooner. Otherwise you are out of business. Wed and Thursday we were out from 13:00 to 17:30 (both days).

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VFD’s can be cheap, then at least you don’t have to cater for the starting current requirements…

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Tip to check wheel bearings. Lift car. Grab on to the coil spring with one hand (fitted over the shock absorber in most macherson strut setups). Spin the wheel with the other hand. If you feel a vibration through the coil spring, you need new wheel bearings.

It’s a bit harder if you don’t have a macpherson setup, eg leaf springs or the typical torsion bar in the rear, but you can often still feel it by comparing with one of the other good wheels.

I bought myself a bearing kit a while ago, for pushing bearings out of hubs. Important, very important point to note: Make sure the circlip holding the thing in is properly seated in the groove when done.

Thus concludes today’s DIY mechanical advice… :slight_smile:

Oh, and buy a Torque Wrench.

With Suzi, by the time I use it next, what, a quarter of a century later(?), I would be too old to care to do it myself. :rofl:

Ok, R14k later …
Idler Arm - needs replacement urgently.

On heavier vehicles, “you strip to quote”, so a few more things came to light:
LHS Inner & Outer Tie-rod ends
LHS Lower Ball Joint
LHS Upper Ball Joint
LHS Front Wheel Bearing Kit

RHS Inner & Outer Tie-rod ends
RHS Lower Ball Joint
RHS Upper Ball Joint
RHS Front Wheel Bearing Kit

RHS Front Brake Pads
LHS Front Brake Pads

Gearbox/Diff and Engine Oil
Diesel and oil filter

I’m absolutely in awe of how easily the parts are still obtainable, awestruck that they lasted 24 years, me not thinking twice to drive off-road, and lekker fast on dirt roads. Speed bumps, most of them, where?

See, the faster you go, the softer the ride … works even better if you have +200kg load in the back too, else your kidney stones will turn to dust with the hard suspension.

I like my car … 6 years and it is a vintage … YES!

EDIT 1: a Few years ago, I had to replace the bushes on the back springs. They were powder. Only became aware of that when I complained about a clicking noise when turning. The blades moved.

Same time, the guys checked the shocks. There were none left. WTF I said, speedbumps are no issue, no bouncing around ever! And show me where on the tires anyone see any feathering. Tires last ±10 years or 100k’s.

Point is, a heavy solid vehicle, takes a lot to make it wobble … and I still get ±11.5km/l with city driving.

Open road … I get ±11.52km/l. :rofl:

And if I can find bio-diesel, I drive with that - FISH AND CHiiiPS here we come.

Suspension work can creep up on you unexpectedly. I discovered on Monday that my car’s right rear camber is out of spec. It should be max -2.02° negative camber, mine is -2.09. And it is not adjustable. To fix it, it will have to go to a suspension shop. I see you can buy adjustable links aftermarket. Maybe I will do that some day. Right now however… it has no real effect on the car’s handling, and I can hardly see any accelerated wear on the inside of the wheel. So I’m going to ignore it for a few more months.

Ten years on tyres though? You’re pushing it. Dry-rot is a thing. Tyres older than 5 years really should be changed for the sake of safety.

Absolutely true … unless you have them checked regularly.

Also picked up stompies that IF a tyre is the cause of an accident, and it is older than 5 years, it could affect the claim.

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Because of this comment, even though I had the tyres regularly checked, my own comment about the insurance made me rethink it carefully.

So I went “shopping”. First quote R3700 per tyre. Nope, not going to happen … next quote R2900 a tyre, I smelt blood, down to R1930 per tyre … how low can I get I wondered … R1710 per tyre, fitted and balanced.

Not a bad price for 215/80/15 Firestone Destinations.

Good for 10 years again methinks. :wink:

All the front suspension parts were replaced, steering stuff too. Drives like a brand-new car.

Still amazed at the availability of Suzi parts and their prices. Huge chunks of metal with thick rubber parts.

2029 and Suzi is a vintage … I like my car with all new front suspension, all cooling pipes replaced, 4 new tyres … “new” car with no money to go anywhere this holiday. :rofl:

Oh man, that was a revelation for me too, when upgrading from the Corolla (205/55/16, around R900 for a Falken tyre) to the RAV4. Now that size tyre is VERY popular, which helps, but…

The RAV4 has 225/65/17 tekkies, which you sometimes have trouble finding, and it is much pricier. You can get Michelins or Pirellis or Contis or whatever, and they will set you back around 4k. On the other end of the spectrum, you can get Kumho for around R1800, but I don’t know how I feel about that. So I usually end up fitting Good Year, around R2500 each, which I’ve had good luck with over the years (slightly softer compound though, so it does wear a bit faster).

This is one place where I don’t believe in getting the cheapest possible deal. Tyres and brakes are often the only things keeping you alive… :slight_smile:

Hence I also go for tried and trusted brands … but one needs to check the prices on them as some dealers load their prices and unless you know better, why pay a premium for the same make and model when you can find it at 50% lower at times. Not always, just sometimes IF one makes the effort to phone.

Remember 10 years ago, the tires that were now replaced, I got them in Swellendam at a price no one in the city can supply. The same goes for dealers between Durbanville/Bellville/ Parow for the same product.

Like groceries, a comparison (prices just explaining a concept that we’ve seen the last 5 years) … like at Checkers Willowbridge you pay R3000 for a trolly.

Go over the freeway to Brackenfell Hypermarket, you get 2 trolleys for R3000.

Now go to N1 city Checker, you can walk out with 3 trollies.

Drove for fun trucks for Checkers, at each offloading point, I check the price for the SAME goods. Man, what a difference in price in the shops all over. Geez.

And then you go for Die Viswinkel and other specialist shoppies, like we budgeted the trolly will be like R4k, was R2.1k …

Dentists, Dr’s, same thing.

My mother taught me to shop around, only now I’m learning why. :man_facepalming:

Haha! Yes, shopping around works, but only because many people don’t. If everybody shopped around, the prices would reflect only differences in “quality/popularity for some other reason”. Now prices reflect “convenience” as well. Don’t pay for “convenience”. The Afrikaner culture is one where suffering for the sake of frugality is considered a virtue.

So sooo true. We act as if time costs us nothing, if only we can save a buck.

I’ll tell you of the one day I realised that I was doing it. I had a blown fuse in the car. Replaced with one of the spares, but now of course the spare needs to be replaced for next time. Can’t find the stupid small fuses with the blades on the sides (instead of under) of the cartridge. After trying the Midas, the Autozone, and another place… I realised that even at R50 a fuse, it’s cheaper to just go to Toyota and buy it there.

So yes, Toyota did charge something like R15/fuse if memory serves… but it was cheaper than what I was doing!

Very fine line that yes.

Definitely a better way of saying it.

But then again, if you learn something out of the experience, or even enjoy it, it might be a cheaper source of enjoyment per hour than going to the movies. :smile:

Exactly my recent venture on tires, enjoyed it and learned a ton.

The joke is, took me less than 10 minutes.

Modern technology, such as telephones (!) do help. Websites even more so. For myself, I’ve learned that there are two places I buy tyres. Either 15km away, at one of those no-frills places (no complimentary coffee, no waiting room)… or the Tiger Wheel and Tyre that’s 2km from my house (which is the exact opposite). Because of my previously mentioned preference for tyres, the TWT closest to my house won the previous two times. The research indicated that the other shop doesn’t have the tyre I’m looking for, and that the general prices for that size means the saved time is worth whatever additional savings could be had by trying harder.

Yes, they do stupid things like a free “nitrogen” fill for the tyres, and they try hard to up-sell you on some kind of insurance, but in the end they are not too bad (at least the local ones) for a chain-store.

I agree. I recently had some new security gates installed. They called me up and gave me a date and time. I said what about load shedding. They said no problem, they take their customers security seriously, and so every installation team carries a generator with them.

When you do things like that, when you install on time and to heck with Eskom, word gets around that these guys are reliable.