Stupidity update

I am an idiot.

Subrosa casually mentioned on Twitter that if I was an AA member (the car one, not the booze one) I could get them out to fix it.

Well I am an AA member. How could I have forgotten? Those were the guys who dragged my immobilised car home when the transmission cable snapped at the start of lockdown.

Anyway, I have the home-start part of the package so I called them today. He arrived in a little over an hour and while it wasn’t an easy fix, he was able to tell me what’s wrong. Unfortunately the piston seal is broken so the piston is full of crap. I have to get a new caliper. He was able to free it for now but it’ll soon lock again.

Well, it is possible to do it myself but I’d only do that in a dire emergency. I’d much rather have an expert look at it. Anyway, I looked up the price of calipers and was pleased to see they are available as third party parts. Not that I’d refuse a genuine Toyota part but the dealerships don’t seem to want any business at the moment. I haven’t even been contacted about getting it serviced. So it’s not going to take weeks to have a part imported from United Arab Emirates like last time (and even with import duty it was still cheaper than the local dealership’s price).

The strange thing is, prices for the part range from £50 to £250, yet they all look the same. Surely the low priced ones must be safe, or the manufacturers would have had the balls sued off them by now. Is there any real benefit in paying five times the low price? I see no clear difference in the parts as shown onscreen.

Also, does anyone know, should I get both front calipers replaced at once? They’re both the same age so if one’s gone the other probably won’t be far behind.

There is one other small issue. If the local garage is indeed (as I suspect) closed, the nearest one is five miles away. Along a road with no bus service, no pavements and no lights. Taxi? Hahahaha. The nearest taxi rank is at least fifteen miles away so would probably cost more than the repair. So I can’t leave the car with the garage overnight. Also, thanks to Wee Nippy, nobody will be allowed to give me a lift home and back to the garage from Friday. Car sharing is on her latest Do Not Do This list.

Another option is to get the parts and get the mobile mechanic to do it. He did a good and fast job on the transmission cable and at a reasonable price.

Well, I guess tomorrow I’m phoning garages. If there are any still open.

One ray of sunshine. My daughter has offered to take CStM and I to see New Grandson tomorrow. It’s now going to be garden only, since going into family members’ houses is once again a Do Not Do This. It’s going to get interesting to see how much compliance they get in the snow.

So, fixing is on the cards. I suspect the rash of car problems is due to its lack of use over lockdown. It just sits there rusting quietly in the corner. Boris won’t care, he’s already planning to ban petrol and deisel cars by 2030 (although there will still be fossil fuelled transport for the Big Nobs and for Greenpeace’s pirate ships).

Maybe I should stock up on spare parts and get a few more jerry cans. Also, consider getting a steam engine suitable for fitting into a car…

24 thoughts on “Stupidity update

  1. The lower priced ones are probably refurbished/rebuilt units, with maybe a discount for sending your old ones back (so they can rebuild those and flog them to the next punter).

    Perfectly OK to use and, yes, I would normally replace both sides at the same time. A new caliper will be much more efficient than the old rusty one and you don’t want the car pulling to the side under braking.

    If mobile mechanic did a good job last time, get him in again, let him have all the fun of bleeding every tiny air bubble out of the system, unless you want to crawl around under the wheel arches yelling at CStM to pump and hold over and over…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have investigated this. You can now get vacuum pumps for brake bleeding so you can do it solo 🙂
      I’ll go for replacing both. Since both are 15 years old, it probably won’t be long before I’d have to do the other one anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Vacuum pumps – not a big fan to be honest. I take a more simplistic approach – push/pull piston out halfway and fill the caliper with fluid before fitting. Attach the hydraulics then push the piston back in, this pushes the fluid back uphill, chasing bubbles as it goes. Keep an eye on the reservoir level when you do this, you don’t want it overflowing.

          Then leave the pedal depressed overnight (read it a couple of Panoptica chapters, that should do it), any remaining bubbles will rise up to the master cylinder to be released when you take the pressure off the pedal in the morning.

          Or get mobile mech to do it all.

          Liked by 4 people

            • I didn’t find Panoptica particularly depressing. ‘Brave New World’ was depressing because most of it was so tedious. Waiting to find out how Panoptica ends is what is depressing! It is down the list of depressing things when, for example, this week you’ve received an eviction notice the day after the vet says your dog needs to be put down (there must be a country western song about that scenario).

              Knowing how rubbish GPs are at diagnosing, I got a different vet for a second opinion who said the dog doesn’t need to die just now, as long as he’s still reasonably happy. I find more and more that ‘professionals’ don’t have a clue.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Granny, eggs, sucking.
    If car is sitting any length of time do not leave handbrake pulled on.
    It stretches cable and brake will bind, sometimes needing a whack with a dod of timber to release them.
    Keep fuel tank full. this reduces amount of water that gets in there because of the air in tank expanding and contracting with temperature change. Stops tank rusting..
    Here endeth the lesson on bfo.
    Future fuel. You have trees, wood. Devise a gas generator and fit a large rubber balloon to your car roof. I have seen pictures of this being done during wars. You might even get a grant from Wee Nippie for saving the planet by using bio-fuel.
    Then you can be a self rightious annoying Greenie and earn oodles of boodle by appearing on BBC and writing right-on articles for the Grauniad. Acquire a deep tan.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Always do things as a left/right pair. Front pairs and back pairs can often be done at separate times (tyres being a good example). Keep safe. Never skimp on car maintenance. Sometimes doing it more often yourself can be the better option.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything has been said bar one other thing – you might as well have a good look at the disks. If the car has been standing unused for a while, they might be pitted & rusty. While everything’s off, it wouldn’t take a competent mobile man much longer to replace the disks as part of the same job. I believe dodgy disks are a pretty common MoT fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MOT was due last week, I knew I’d need a new windscreen.
      Windscreen people don’t come to you anymore, “because virus”. (??)
      “Bring it at 11:00am, collect at 4:00pm.”
      Four miles away from my work, city centre traffic.

      I hadn’t ridden a bike for many decades, but it turns out that you never forget how!
      It really was rather enjoyable. But I wouldn’t want to do it in bad weather 🙂


      BTW, I recently bemoaned the death of my Leg Iron Books mug.
      Our host, the “grumpy old bugger”, has sent me a new one!
      He’s a big softy!

      Many, many thanks, Leggy! I am not worthy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I tried checking the calipers on my bicycle to see if I could offer any advice, but I couldn’t find them. Ahh well… I tried!
    MJM <= which has become my standard sign off over on Quora during the past few years, usually with a cute little ending comment sorta like this but funnier…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You already stated the cause, ‘the seal is broken’, so replace the piston seals and any associated rubbers. Clean the piston with meths, and polish it up, and while you’re at it, change the brake pads, and change the brake fluid.
    The seal kits normally cost very little like 20 quid or so for both front, and if you’ve got the caliper out already, you’ve already done the hard bit.

    And for the brake bleeding, buy a brake bleeding kit, available all over – Screwfix, Halfords, Amazon, Ebay, etc etc makes it easy to achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, er, ummm…harrumph, and you know…isn’t the thing now, the next thing, to be to go with petroleum-powered internal combustion engines?

    Mankind has known about these for almost 130 years. The technology is very highly-developed, and is very very well-understood, even among the “lower peoples” that do not yet have the good fortune to inhabit the better nations, or who have been denied the opportunity to use it because of globally-promoted sociallism.

    Engines driven by products of even the crudest petroleum seem to be able to power not only local pop-pop-cars such as Citroen 2CVs, but also the Bughattis and Ferraris of foot-ballists and UAE Princes. Such engines can even drive “aero-planes”.

    Surely, since our masters and leaders intend us, despite ourselves, to worship trees, and go about doing it in mid-winter also, we ought to resist their attempts to further hobble us, by persisting in wanting proper mechanical contrivances to get about, at least between the various trees we have to venerate?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Mr Legiron

    It’s called a senior moment. Welcome to the club.

    Re the car: jack the radiator cap up and fit a new car underneath.

    @ Doonhamer on September 23, 2020 at 8:18 am said:

    “Acquire a deep tan.” Change name to Siddarthar.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I do brake bleeding with a vacuum pump and it does very good. I used to employ all kinds of measures, including the use of compressed air at 15psi to blow the fluid through. Do both sides or you will regret it soon, Include new discs as well, especially since they got hot and could be warped from the heat. At the very least I’d have them skimmed if you know anyone with a lathe, otherwise new discs would be cheaper.

    Liked by 1 person

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