More grovelling in the gravel
OWNER: Delwyn Mallett
As you read this we will be two months into 2016 but, as this tale begins, we are only two days in. New Year’s Day dawned bright and sunny in my part of the Isle, which encouraged me to fire up the Tatra and head over the 13 miles (if you are superstitious, that may have been an omen) to the New Year’s Day VSCC meeting at The Phoenix pub, in Hartley Wintney. Less than five miles from base, an ominous rumble from the rear rapidly deteriorated into what sounded like a major mechanical disintegration. After grinding into the entrance to a farmer’s field I resorted to that essential tool for the classic car owner: the mobile. An hour later an AA man arrived and an exploratory attempt to move the car confirmed that motion in any direction was out of the question. After jacking up the car, Mr AA removed the brake drum and diagnosed what I was dreading…
Yes, it was a seized #bearing
. This, of course, presented the AA Relay man (who arrived a few hours later) with the problem of hauling a couple of tons of dead metal, positioned at 90º to his vehicle, onto his flatbed. A plastic wedge hammered under the jammed wheel did the trick, allowing it to slide onto the trailer. Needless to say, the fine weather had by then turned to heavy rain, dampening body as well as spirit.
Chez Mallett, getting the beast off the loader presented more of a problem than getting it on, as it would not roll and the ‘wedge’ trick doesn’t work on gravel. A temporary ‘low friction’ area was created with the aid of an old kitchen cupboard door – saved because I knew that one day it would come in handy for something or other. Rain, sleet and bitter cold stopped play for a couple of weeks.
Eventually, between monsoon showers and sub-zero frosts, the application of a 36mm socket and a very long bar loosened the hub and – optimistically – I attached my hub puller. After a considerable amount of ‘pulling’ I had managed to move the hub no more than half-an-inch, bending the puller in the process. A visit to my friendly local village garage produced a hub puller truly worthy of the name. As Crocodile Dundee might have derisively pronounced on surveying my tiddler: ‘No, this is a hub puller.’
Several hours and an immense amount of effort later, still the hub was not pulled, although a large amount of melted shrapnel had shaken itself loose. With me defeated, Martin, proprietor of Rowledge Garage, volunteered for an away match to apply some oxy-acetylene. Much heat, hammering, grinding, chiselling and sheer brute force finally shifted the melted bearing. Next problem? Finding a new one to fit. Meanwhile my always-garaged Tatra sits on the drive, looking as pathetic as a stranded whale.
Below and right Awaiting the AA flatbed; industrial-sized puller was required to free seized bearing.