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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars Type 407 onwards - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

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Old 06-01-09, 02:00 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

I drove my 411 for the first time in nine years today and the most unbelievable thing happened - (unbelievably bad that is)

The car isn't quite roadworthy yet, but it's very close with just a few relatively small things to do. Despite this the guy who is working on it suggested a drive it down the dead end street and back (which he had done several times the day before).

He was in the passenger seat and I pointed out that there was an odd noise coming from the back of the car. I joked that it sounded like one of the wheels was loose. We stopped, he got out and vigorously tried to move the rear wheels which felt solid. We did another drive to the end of the street and back, only about 150 metres, the noise was still present so we headed back for the workshop when disaster struck. One of the rear wheels came off and the rear passenger side brake disc ploughed a metre long trough in the asphalt.

It was running on it's Avon Safety Wheels on which he swore the wheel nuts were tight, but clearly they couldn't have been. It's really not conceivable (is it?) that tight wheel nuts could have come undone to the point where they would fall off, in the space of a few hundred metres.

Fortunately there wasn't much damage to the car - the inside of the 'as new' alloy wheel was badly scored and the rear wing sustained a small amount of damage from the wheel.

Does anyone know what the torque should be on the Avon Safety Wheel nuts?
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Old 06-01-09, 02:53 PM
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Seems plain your guy doesn't, if he had done any work on the wheels.

Once, a long time ago, I was driving my pretty new Porsche 944 along a highway at speed - at least 60-65 mph, and heard a weird sound. When I stopped to check, I found that all of the wheel nuts were loose. Have no idea how this happened.

Glad you were not driving in a more dangerous situation.
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Old 06-01-09, 07:40 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Kevin, the question you should ask yourself is "what is the rest of the
car like " ????????
Geoff
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Old 06-01-09, 07:58 PM
TLF799R
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Old 06-01-09, 10:21 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Hi guys. I'm Frank. Didn't fit in. Left home. Now use Tele2. This is my
story.
Actually mine is worse!
2 years ago I picked up my Range Rover from my trusted local garage after a
service and drove it 5 miles home.
The next morning after 20 miles on the motorway the car started to shake and
got worse as I slowed down to take the nearest exit.
Walked around the car and saw nothing wrong.
When the equivalent of the AA arrived, I drove slowly forward on his
instructions and as he looked the front left wheel almost fell off.
4 of the 5 wheel nuts were missing, only one just hanging on the end of the
stud.
This is when I learned in an emergency to pinch nuts from the other three
wheels just to get home.
The owner of the garage was very apologetic, admitted his blame, and stood
the cost of the new nuts. I had never experienced this before. I mean the
apology.
A year later, I had new brake pads fitted to my wife's Discovery at the same
garage. After 2 miles she told me there was a strange vibration. This was in
itself unique. Women don't notice these things, at least if the radio is
still working, let alone report them. Normally she would just have dumped it
and taken another car, just as she would when the fuel is about to run out.
(This is not a racist comment - all women do this).
I know I should give her a bigger allowance.
On this occasion however, I was able to hand-tighten (yes, I mean litterally
with my fingers!) the remaining wheel nuts to drive back to the garage
before the wheel fell off. This time there was just no extra charge.
You've guessed it, I don't use this this garage any more. Actually they
dumped me, because I didn't pay their last bill.
But blow me, after driving 800 miles last year after another major service
on our other Discovery, with no problems on the motorways all the way to the
West Country in England, after 2 miles back up from our cottage in Devon,
one front wheel again almost fell off , this time with 3 nuts missing!
Having spent an extra night there with no help from the AA, (they couldn't
find Devon) the next morning the local garage refused to do the same trick
(i.e. switching nuts) for liability reasons (!!!) but I was able to borrow
their wheel wrench to switch them around myself. (Yes, our wheel wrench was
missing. Always check the tool kit when buying a second hand car).
Arriving in Exeter, I drove into Matford Land Rover to buy 3 new wheel nuts.
They were about 11 GBP, excl. VAT, each! The people there were very
helpfull, even fitting them for free, but at that price my initial thoughts
that maybe Land Rover's stainless steel nuts might just get loose because
they don't rust, or that the garages might be at fault, changed into the
idea that the nuts were simply so expensive that thieves might be trying to
nick back the wheel nuts they lost the night before.
As Land Rover dealers are so few and far between, this is plausible, isn't
it?
Yesterday I lost another one (well, at least the false cap on the one that
should be thief-proof).
Strange, because without the special tool, you can't remove this cap.
Is this just Land Rover?
PS. To finish this story. To tighten a wheel nut, normally you just take the
longest wrench you have and give it all you can. That should do it. They
only fall off if all the nuts are loose.
Best regards,
Rubbond.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Dowdle View Post
Kevin, the question you should ask yourself is "what is the rest of the
car like " ????????
Geoff
Geoff, I have no concerns about the rest of the work in terms of whether it has been done properly because he is such a perfectionist. I have seen much of the work along the way and documented it, although I must admit I didn't check the torque on every nut and bolt! He is at a loss as to how it could have happened and needless to say rather embarrassed.

One thing I should mention is that the old mild steel wheel nuts and collars have been nickel plated and polished (shown here), I was wondering if this could have affected them in some way, but I doubt it.

The wheels have been back on the car for a long time (years) but it hasn't moved, other than on and off the hoist in the workshop occasionaly. The other three wheels on the car were rock solid, so the only explanation is that they weren't tightened properly on the one wheel. My guess is that an assumption was made that they were all tightended a long time ago, possibly by someone else.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:00 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Kevin, What a shame after such a wait! I have found that Bristol wheel nuts
are threaded such that they are a very tight fit on the studs. This will
often confound air driven guns into thinking they are tight. However, the
strange thing is that if they were a tight fit on the threads, how did they
back themselves off by driving? Very strange. I have had a similar problem
with my Subaru after a garage swapped my car to snow tires but I stopped
before the wheels fell off. The lesson. Always use a torque wrench to
finally tighten wheel nuts.

Peter
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Old 06-01-09, 11:40 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Perhaps the rims are not suited to the nuts or vice-versa. If the chamfer
in the nuts does not mesh correctly with the hole in the rim, they will
come loose.
I assume Devon is still in the bottom left part of the country next to
Cornwall? The equivalent of AA needs a new map.
Regards,
Dorien
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Old 07-01-09, 12:21 AM
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On re-fitting the wheel we did notice that you can tighten all nuts by hand, wiggle the wheel a bit, then tighten them some more and you can do this several times, so they are quite a finicky fit. This suggests that if you lowered all of the car's weight onto the wheels before fully tightening the wheel nuts there is a chance that you would not be able to torque them up properly with a typical cross style wheel brace, even though they appear to be very tight.
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Old 07-01-09, 12:57 AM
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Bad luck Kevin, but like others have suggested, on my 408s and my 412 I found that even with copious amounts of Copaslip the nuts were always a pretty tight fit on the studs and could imagine that a torque-sensitive gun could come to the wrong conclusion.

I do remember assisting a friend with removing the steel wheels from his 406 and discovering that someone had so over-tightened them there were fatigue cracks emanating from the holes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubbond View Post
I drove into Matford Land Rover to buy 3 new wheel nuts.
They were about 11 GBP, excl. VAT, each! The people there were very
helpfull,
Rubbond.
From my memory of some years ago when I lived at Haytor Vale, the Matford people were helpful, but the nice people at Brookwells, Pottery Road, Bovey Tracey will do you a set of five for under 30. Incidentally, the steel ones for Series 2, 2A, & 3 are 60 pence each!

George
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Old 07-01-09, 03:00 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Never had a problem with loose wheel nuts, but frequently just the
opposite - wheel changers who torque the nuts with an airgun at the
gorilla setting. Problem: you need to get the wheel off and NOTHING
budges the nut. I finally bought a truck-sized breaker bar and an
extension handle and check all the nuts after any wheel service.

Bob
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Old 07-01-09, 08:20 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Okay. Try this for size.
Last year I sheared off three or four nuts from the wheels of one of our
water thingies for the horses.
The base was a pre-war axle from a truck.
Did I or did I not know that they were clever enough then to put right-hand
threads on the left-hand wheels?
(Or the other way around, I'm that stupid).
Anyway, I wrecked the whole thing as a result..
I still think a good "wrench" (in the old-fashioned sense) is good enough to
tighten up normal wheel nuts.
Good luck!
With best regards,
Andrew.
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Old 07-01-09, 09:30 PM
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Default unbelievable - 411 driven for first time in 9 years

Kevin,

In my experience I reckon you have put your finger on the most likely
culprit, the plating of the wheel nuts.

Back in my "yoof" I raced an Austin Healey Sprite Mk2A as one of a team of
three from the MGCC Qld Centre. One of the cars had chromed wheels and nuts
which were for ever coming loose. The owner was very proud of its appearance
until he kept having the wheels flapping. Not something you want on a race
track. To say the scrutineers were unhappy was to put it mildly and he soon
changed the wheels & nuts.

I suspect that the thickness of plating is variable more on small
dimensioned items like nuts. These are very small relative to most things in
a plating tank.

Worth having a very close look and measurements taken maybe under the
microscope.

Regards

Jon McCarthy
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Old 08-01-09, 12:01 AM
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Jon,
I hope you are wrong because the nickel plated nuts look great and the alternative - stainless nuts from Bristol - cost the earth.

If the plating was the cause surely it would have affected all four wheels?

I guess I will find out pretty quickly when I get the car registered and start driving it.

Regards,
Kevin
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