Racing Minis at Zandvoort
Photo: Copyright © 2019 Eelke Blok

Shameful saturday

Looks like I've commited to reporting everything that happens in my automotive live, so it wouldn't be fair to only report about the good times (and the moderately bad, see chrome trim episodes), but also the bad and shameful times. So, here goes...

After having come home from the Ardennen-weekend of the Mini Seven Club
last weekend, I came to the conclusion that not adjusting the right
Hi-Lo back to a slightly higher rear ride height wasn't such a good
idea. The wheel had been rubbing the wheelarch all weekend, with and
without luggage. So, of came the wheels (both sides this time, as the
whole point of the last adjustment to the right side was to get it at
the same height as the left one). We bought a nice big, fitting spanner
(32 mm, that's big!) and got the job sorted without any trouble to
speak of.

With a girlfriend at the other side of the country, I have to take care
not to drive too many personal kilometres in the company car, so I
decided that the wheather was good enough to take the white Cooper for
the weekend. So, after the job was done, I set off home, from the
garage near my parents' house to my home in Hilversum. My dad followed
in his Volvo because we had some business in Hilversum to sort out.

After about a kilometre I started feeling a bit of a bump which seemed
to be originating from the left rear. Pretty much convinced I had a
flat tire, I started looking out for a safe spot to stop and check it

But right at about the time I started thinking about pulling over,
there was a big bump, and a horrible grinding sound. Next thing I knew,
I was overtaken by my own left rear wheel.

To cut a long story short, I had neglected to fully tighten the wheel
nuts and they had come undone, with said consequences. Luckily, the
speed wasn't high as I was already looking out for a place to stop, but
we were at a rather cumbersome spot. My dad started conducting traffic,
and we called the ANWB (road service) because at the time we had no
idea what to do. The car was on the brake anchor plate on the back, as
the brake drum had come off as well.

When stress levels dropped slightly we actually figured it wouldn't be
too much of a problem to get the car up on the standard jack which is
meant for road side repairs, so I did that. Next stop was getting the
brake drum back on, which prooved to be a bit of a problem, possibly
because the wheel bolts are bent. Turning the brake adjustment down all
the way, and some persuasion from a big hammer did get them back on
eventually, after which putting back the wheel wasn't a problem (also
thanks to a friendly gentleman on a bicycle who found three of the four
wheel nuts).

So, after about fifteen minutes, the white Cooper was back on its
wheels. However, driving meant the left rear side produced quite a
horrible grinding sound, and my dad said the wheel whoed a bit of a
wobble when driving. So, being only about a kilometre away from the
garage we drove the car back very carefully, where it is now waiting to
be taken to Amersfoort to get the left rear suspension repaired.

It is very lucky that no one was around to get hit by the wheel, which
turns into a surprisingly dangerous object when it comes of the car
even at this slow speed. It is also lucky that were were actually going
at a slow speed, I dread to think what would have happened on the
motorway, for example. This is one of thiose life lessons that tells
you why exactly you always need to triple check whether your wheel nuts
are fully tightened.

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