The second MOT - April
Now, I thought, nothing can go wrong! I've fixed all
that I can see wrong with it, I'd already had it welded
up this time last year, what could possibly go wrong at
the MOT? Maybe a little patch here and there, if anything.
No. Estimated at over six hundred pounds of work to make it
pass, I went into shock. I still had a few weeks left on the
tax disc so I decided to shop around and try to get a cheaper
price for the work, nobody wanted to know; they told me
stories of well over a thousand pounds to put it right, and
they wouldn't want to touch it themselves.
After several weeks had passed and I'd had time to think
things over, I realised that I either kept it or sold it.
One was expensive, the other made me some money. Wiping away
a silent tear I put an advert in the paper: 'VW Beetle, needs
some welding, 500 pounds'. To my bittersweet relief nobody
answered. I wanted to keep my car, so I plucked up the courage
and had that welding done, at a cost of five hundred pounds
(including VAT). A lot poorer, and a little wiser, I opted to
replace the brake pipes myself, with the help of my father
of course. The car went back to live near Scarborough while
this work was done, and I stopped renting that stupid garage.
The brake pipes - September
This was one learning experience I shall never forget. I bought
the brake pipes from the same place that did the welding, and the
guy said to me "good luck!". Hmmm. Firstly we had to remove the
old pipes, simple enough to do - some brute force, a bucket to
catch the fluid as it leaked out, and a hacksaw to cut off those
awkward pipes that were rusted solid. Fortunately all of the nuts
did come out in the end so we had good threads to put the replacements
into. We replaced the T-piece which had been badly fitted and
cross-threaded, and cleaned out the master cylinder. We also
discovered that the brake sensor contacts had rusted away so my
father went back to the scrap dealer and got a replacement.
All of the brake pipes came out, except for the mysterious one
going across the back of the car between the two rear brakes; we
couldn't even see it let alone reach it, but from the little bit
of it we could see which was attached to the T-piece it was untouched
by corrosion so we thought better to leave it where it is.
When we came to replace the pipes we discovered quite alarmingly
that most of the new pipes were the wrong length, only a couple
sufficed, all the rest were either too long or too short. We took
them back to the garage that sold them to us, who promptly got in
touch with the people who they'd bought the kit from with the
measurements that we'd made from the old pipes. The guy at the
garage was very good to us and made our pipes up to the right
length there and then, so we went away happy.
The next few weeks would be how I spent a lot of my days off work
this year - fitting brake pipes in and under my Beetle. The most
interesting part was bending them to the correct shapes, around
the chassis and suspension arms, under and over, round and round.
The bleed nipples were also rusted so we had to replaced those
that we could actually get off. At least one of them is as one
with the brake so we just left it.
With all the pipes skillfully laid and fixed in place, new
fluid was put into the system and the air bled out. All worked
fine, at last! It was time to make some final niggling adjustments
and get to that MOT.
The second MOT (take two) - December
We nervously sat in the waiting room at the test centre garage.
It took nearly two hours to do, and when they'd finished they failed
it. Excuse me? Failed? On what? Well, it turned out that over the
last seven months some rust had crept onto the front inner wings,
and one of the sills was poorly welded, the sill which was originally
welded for the first MOT. I was stunned and very angry; I almost
shouted at the guy before my dad calmed me down. The work was to cost
another 180 pounds, which included a replacement steering track rod end
(which I heard was a right little sod to get off!) I paid, wincing
as I did. Being the kindly soul my father is, he also chipped in.
So the car finally rolled away working and legal. I returned the
next weekend to pick it up. As I got in the car I noticed that the
wing mirror was misaligned so I reached out to adjust it, as I did
so it literally came off in my hand! It had been glued on with rubber
solution. I was angry, but then recalled that the garage had given
us a pretty generous discount on the work, and now I knew why.
I got over this, and tried to start the car. A fuse blew, then
the whole thing went dead. The money pit sneered. Fortunately
I am a brilliant man, so I replaced the fuse, checked all that I
could think of and eventually traced the fault to the
hanging-off live terminal connector on the battery; the guys
hadn't reconnected it properly when they did the welding, doh!
The car started up, I drove off, and started out on a new
adventure - driving without a wing mirror! It's quite an experience
as you approach the main carriage way from the slip road and
desperately look round and try to see if anyone is coming, through
the rear side window and blind spot.
It is legal to drive the car like this, but I am going to try
to get a replacement wing mirror as soon as I can.