Monday, 22 December 2014

Big Travel - to the continent - and a technical problem

In the morning I am leaving Leeds between 5 and 6am. The roads are empty. Long drive as usual to London. I take the A1, which is 30 min shorter than the M1. But it has worse lighting, and smaller rest stations along the way. Also its lanes are more narrow than on the M1, and there are some curves which require full attention when driving at 70 mph.

This is the first real long-distance drive for this Fiat Doblo. I had it in the shop for a service a few days earlier, to make it winterproof. Also the brakes were done, as they had been worn down quite a bit. No more work has been done regarding the conversion, since I am not planning to use the van as a camper for this trip.

Arrived ok at 11am, one hour time to wait and board the ferry at Dover.

No problems during most of the drive. But then after a rest stop between Köln and Frankfurt it seems as if at the left front wheel there is some noise. It seems to come from the wheel itself and gets louder when I accelerate or decelerate. I keep the speed down at around 120 km/h for the rest of the drive. The noise seems to get louder. I think it might be a ball bearing - had something similar once at my Mitsubishi Space Wagon. I keep the speed further down, am not too worried about it.

I arrive in Iphofen shortly after midnight. The first thing is having a look at that front left wheel. And what do I see: one of the wheel nuts is missing! And the remaining three are not very tight...

Next morning after sun rise I put a spare nut in, which I had with me. Try tightening the other nuts, but after a short while the noise is there again. So I bring the car to a shop. They have a look. Measure the balance of the wheels - both front tyres were out of balance. This might have been the reason. But also could have been that after the brake repair I should have tightened the nuts, about after 100 miles of driving. These are alloy wheels, and they do require this re-tightening.

Next time I will be more careful! This could have ended badly, with the front left wheel falling off on the motorway...

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